Friday, May 09, 2008

can't get a break

It's been a bad week so far. I wish, just once, that God would decide "You know, that Dave Learn deserves a break" and send me a financial windfall.

Last week, I borrowed an ax to chop some firewood that's been sitting in our driveway since last fall. I managed to split exactly one log, and to pull several muscles not accustomed to hefting an ax and chopping wood. I've had a steady ache across the top of the chest as a result almost ever since.

On Thursday afternoon, we discovered the girls have lice. This requires combing everybody's hair thoroughly at least twice a day to remove adult lice, immature lice and their eggs. It also requires washing and drying pillowcases, sheets and bath towels every day; freezing combs and hair brushes to kill any eggs that might be on them; and a few other things that have to be done.

On Friday afternoon, the washing machine broke. The repair worker who came to fix the washing machine ended up charging us $70 just to say that he couldn't fix it because the transmission was shot. A few years ago, it would have been possible to buy a rebuilt transmission and install it; nowadays, you have to buy a new transmission, which drives the cost of the repair up high enough that it's cheaper to buy a new washing machine.

Efforts to find a store selling used appliances were fruitless. A Freecycle check turned up something, but it already was taken. So a new washing machine it is. We needed to spend $400 on a new washing machine like we need the girls to announce that they're dropping out of school to join the Hell's Angels. (Side note: Evangeline said this afternoon how cool it would be to have blue hair, since no one else has it.)

Incidentally, did I mention that Natasha is losing her job in about six weeks?

Tuesday the microwave oven stopped working. The lights come on and it makes that cute noise it makes when it's running, but if there are any microwaves being released, they're not warming up anything inside the microwave. It's been around a long time, and it's put in some good innings, but did it really have to quit now?

And then Thursday night, I flipped on the light switch in the bathroom. The bulb blew, which isn't a big deal in itself, but for some reason, it took half the outlets in the house with it. I needed an extension cord to run the washer and dryer tonight, the answering machine and cordless phone are out, my alarm clock has no power, and some nonessentials like the TV and DVD player are kaput for the time being too. (Ironically, the VCR has all the power it needs.)

It's not the circuit breaker. I checked, and not a single one had tripped.

The fellow who owned the house two owners before us did a lot of handyman stuff, and based on some of the repairs we've had to make and still do need to make, he did a half-baked job at a lot of them. The electric wiring was one of the things he did -- we just had no idea how half-baked it apparently was until Thursday night.

We had planned to use the tax rebates for paying down Natasha's college loans some more, or making a bigger payment on the mortgage, and investing a little more. Now it looks like the whole thing is going to be blown on the events of the past week.

I know I shouldn't complain -- I know how much rougher it is in most of the world -- but it almost feels sometimes like God is saying, "Hey! Dave Learn's starting to get ahead. How'd that happen?" I already live a much simpler lifestyle than just about everyone else we know.

If he's trying to teach me something, he doesn't need to do al this. I'm willing to listen.

Copyright © 2008 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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