Up Keep

I went to the dentist today for the first time in *mumble* years. I’m not trying to be coy about how long. I honestly don’t remember. It was probably about the time that our dental insurance ceased to exist and that was at least six years ago. I am fortunate to have pretty good teeth. Howard has super teeth. Our kids haven’t complained about their teeth, so we’ve kept going without maintenance visits. The thing is, I know that skipping maintenance increases our risk of emergency. I also know that there are incentives present for dentists to recommend more work than actually needs to be done. I still believed that dental check ups have value, even though we haven’t been doing them. Howard went to the dentist right before WorldCon. His major issues were to whiten or not to whiten. I went today and I’ll get to go again in two weeks because two of my teeth have holes that need plugged. After that, I’m going to take a deep breath and take my kids one by one. Once we’ve managed those bills, the dentist tells me that attention needs to be paid to the 30 year old fillings in my mouth. It is time to pay attention to maintenance again.

Our deck and redwood play set are almost bare wood these days. All of the stain has faded, peeled away, or been scraped off by paper wasps. This is not a new problem. We’ve watched it happen slowly over the course of years. Every summer someone will say “We really need to re-stain the deck and play set.” Unfortunately our summers are notoriously busy and no one took any steps beyond saying the words. I have decided that before September is through I will rent a pressure washer and a paint sprayer. I will perform this small maintenance task which will make us feel better about our back garden and which will defend our structures from the elements.

Our roof has begun shedding. After rain storms we can find a scattering of roof gravel on our driveway. Sometimes there are also pieces of shingle. The roof has held up well since the house was constructed, but it is showing age. I need to call and get an estimate on a new roof.

Things require up keep or they will fall apart. During the Novell years we were on the dot with all sorts of up keep. It was easy because the money was available. Then money was less available and we coasted along only managing maintenance issues when they reach crisis level. I am trying to push that back so that we’re keeping things up when they’re only urgent. Perhaps after that we can venture into the realm of just keeping things up because they need done. All of this maintenance will have to be done carefully and balanced against our budget. Our money is not plentiful, but it is time for me to stop living in crisis mode. I just wish that up keep wasn’t so expensive.