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September 2011
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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.

8 comments to Up Keep

  • Alex Gordy

    For the roof, you could look at aluminum/metal roofing. More expensive at the beginning, but if I remember rightly, it lasts a LOT longer than shingles and are more durable for thinks like hail and snow. Just something to think on.

    Wikipedia on them

  • CKH

    If you want an amazing dentist you can trust not to pad your costs with extra work, look up Dr. Warner at All Around Dental in Provo. We had Dr. Warner as our family dentist when I was growing up in California and I happened to stumble across him again after moving out here. He is exceptional.

    The office also offers a very reasonable House Plan for those without dental insurance. I’m sure you already have arrangements made or a dentist you’re familiar with, but it might be worth a phone call to go over numbers and see.

    My brain always shifts into problem-solving mode when you talk about the various obstacles you are facing, and I hope I’m not making too much of a nuisance of myself when you’re just airing your thoughts.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. We’ll probably stick with the current dentist for now, but it is always good to know where another good one is. You’re not being a nuisance at all. I’ve gotten some really good information from people who leave comments.

  • Ginger

    Sympathy with the upkeep. Even when funds aren’t tight it’s still a hassle to schedule such items.

    I like the aluminum roofing option, but be aware that it is much MUCH louder. Both when it rains and when the wind is strong. I grew up with it and rather miss the sounds. However, if you’re not used to it then sleeping through your first rain storms might be hard. Depending on the pitch of your roof, it is also much more dangerous if you need to go out on it. Also, the snow will melt of aluminum roof and slide off in a big mass instead of melting and dripping. It can be quite dangerous if you’re not expecting it. I don’t know if rain gutters really work with it (my family was much to rough shod to try). You might also look into the thermal properties of it which, depending on if you go with shinny or painted, are variable.

    Though, actually as you’re in town you’d probably have to make sure first that it’s allowed by deed restrictions. I hope it is, just because I hate being hemmed in by other peoples’ priorities.

    Hope the power wash and staining go well.

  • Alyson Mansfield

    Sandra, I just read your blog because you posted an entry to Facebook. On your dental stuff, my friend Sarah Buswell Kolar is in her last semester of dental hygiene school has to find her own clients/appointments and she still has openings available. Here’s the info she gave me and I posted it on my FB site: “The dental cleanings are only $10.00 and include x-rays, cancer screenings, cleaning, fluoride treatment, exam by a dentist, and sealants (if needed). All ages are welcome (Ages 3+). This is an amazing deal! If interested, please contact me via phone or e-mail. My number is 801-960-2939 or 801-372-4589.” And if you prefer your own dentist, I totally understand.