Home Life

Friday No. 5

Rainbow. Photo by the author.

It’s the fifth Friday of 2023 and winter is here… not for long, though. The forecast through Feb. 14 is mostly for highs in the forties. While this above freezing forecast sets back my winter fruit tree pruning, I will adapt. Adaptation is what it’s about in the newest era of the climate crisis.

For the first time in nine days I ventured out of the house, off property. The trip to the wholesale club, including drive time, took 90 minutes. At this rate, the fixed cost of the car loan is about $50 per trip. If that usage continues, this vehicle will last a long time. To put it into perspective, every time I leave the house, it is expensive.

Needing a new car was an unwelcome surprise. The drive train and body of the 2002 Subaru Outback would have continued for a long time. The problem came in when repair parts for critical systems were not available because they quit making them. Since we didn’t have $20,000 sitting in the bank, we took out an auto loan and that will be paid back over five years. The car will last that long, but the car payment blocks out other spending. Welcome to the world of being a pensioner.

Spending more time at home is revealing how much upkeep owning a home involves. While we bought the best appliances we could afford, they are wearing out, in some cases after more than thirty years of use. The next challenge is how to pay about $1,200 apiece to replace the four appliances next in queue. Basically, we’ll charge them on a credit card, then pay off the balance with whatever is left of our pensions at the end of the month.

Fridays have become my indoor seeding day. Last Friday I planted stevia to grow indoors (Stevia is zone 9). Today is kale seeding in a tray of 50 blocks. The main crop kale is a combination of Winterbor and Redbor. These varieties grow easily, are tasty, and freeze well. I will also plant Scarlet, White Russian, and Dazzling Blue. The tray will be 15 each of Winterbor and Redbor, six White Russian, six Dazzling Blue, and eight Scarlet. Depending upon germination rates, this should produce enough kale to last through the season and in the freezer until spring 2024.

When spending a lot of time at home, we crave order. I’ve tried to frame a weekly order, yet it is not going well. We don’t have “weeks” in retirement when each day blends into the next. Fridays are the most settled pattern because the regular week is over and we’re heading into the weekend.

Our mind works to create structure. I end up framing a week, however imperfectly. I feel a residual cultural need to say, “Thank goodness it’s Friday.” I resist, and attempt to go my own way. There is a song about that.

One reply on “Friday No. 5”

Feeling related feelings when I read this. I’m beginning to think that my 18-year-old car may not get replaced, assuming nothing breaks that can’t be repaired (though as you note, that can’t be assumed). I’ve done the water heater (unscheduled) which prevented me from switching to electric tankless for logistical reasons. I did the ‘fridge and washing machines last year too after failure. I’m leaning towards replacing the kitchen range with an induction model, not out of failure of the decades-old one, but because there’s some energy savings and potential convivence for our family’s cooking.

At my age, when something offers a lifetime warranty, I ask if there’s something with better terms.

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