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Back again!

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and are all geared up for Christmas and Hanukah. By “geared up” I mean you’re practicing your deep breathing skills and have laid in enough flocked gift paper and curl ribbon to wrap your entire house. If you haven’t made it to Target yet, go today. Or head to Lowe’s which from my recent visit seems to have enough trees to populate a fir forest in the middle of Florida. They also have deep inventories of blow-up Santas, elves and small Pug dogs but if you aren’t quick, I’ll snatch up all the Pug dogs.

But I digress. I’ve been spending the last two months on home repair. After five years, the new house honeymoon is over and I’m being reminded that maintenance is both eternal and infernal. Since everyone and their sister is still moving to Sarasota getting things repaired is um, challenging. Just when I think I’ve got things under control, something else pops up.

Here’s my litany of disaster, in chronological order:

May: Clear ice maker quits. No more ice. Since I’m heading to Cape Cod in June, I punt this to the fall and turn on the ice maker in the fridge. Repair estimate = price of my first car (1975 Mercury Capri). New unit = price of second car (1978 VW Rabbit). Do we really need ice?

Cement driveway must be waterproofed. Who knew you waterproof driveways? Could just paper it with dollar bills.

June: House minder finds leak in guest room ceiling from last hurricane. After a month of calling, roof guys arrive to check it out. They bring one guy and a 10 foot ladder to check out the 24 foot roof. Head plant here. Eventually they return with taller ladder and more guys and repair. Dollars shift electronically to roof guy but job too small to get a painter to fix the interior stain. House minder sprays Kilz and it’s done.

July: Need a new irrigation system for the landscape. Original one used drip hoses, new gardener (fifth in 5 years) says must change to sprayers. Untold dollars shift electronically to gardener. May need more bandwidth to accommodate size of financial transfers if this keeps up.

August: New irrigation system is now watering old weed strewn lawn (or more correctly, lawn strewn weeds). Untold dollars shift again to gardener to remove old grass and install new weed-resistant sod. Transaction so large that banking authorities might have to notify the Fed.

September: Decide to put porcelain tile behind built-in grill in the outdoor kitchen. This requires removal of hood, grill, sink and faucet, and services of an electrician and gas plumber. Obviously, I am not thinking clearly. It would be easier to knock down the house and rebuild with the correct backsplash than it is to do this job. Dollars expended = 0.

Upstairs air conditioning unit fails. Not to be outdone, downstairs unit fails two weeks later. We consider adopting the air conditioning repairmen. Zelle is getting tired.

September-November: Water bill arrives from the city. Normal $200 monthly bill (this is Florida) is now $1500. Stress ensues. Immediately target landscape irrigation as the culprit, since, see above. Sadly, I am wrong. Now using firehose to pay repair bills. Problem is finally diagnosed two months later as faulty pool filling line. Jackhammering commences. Firehose not big enough for pool repair bills, must use cement mixer to transport the cash to the repair guy.

November: Holiday guests come and go—nothing breaks. A minor miracle.

Expensive Bosch Microwave/Convection Oven breaks in the middle of dinner. Total shutdown. Electrician arrives, says it isn’t the panel and leaves with check. No Bosch repair available for 3 weeks on this five year old unit. I consider buying a replacement (cost as much as first car, see above) but smarten up and head to Lowe’s for a $179 micro/convection/air fryer until Bosch repair guy arrives with Brinks truck to repair. House deeded to repair guy to assure he shows up.

So, anyhow, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing. But now, I don’t care if anything breaks. Let it. I can always write about it.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill
Dec 03, 2023

I am laughing out loud, Laurie, as we can relate to these irritants you speak of! It's the "brave" new world we live in. Read Aldous Huxley. I try to remind myself how lucky we are to escape the northeast winters though. All of it comes at a cost!

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