...of things that are broken.
Every year at about this time, everything breaks. I suppose it's a Spring thing. Winter weather grinds some things down, some things get used for the first time in months, some maintenance that is easy to do in summer just doesn't get done in winter, and after Christmas, school fees, vacation planning, and no raise (again), there's never any money left.
This happens to me every year, you'd think I'd be ready for it. But some years are worse than others, and this is one of them. Here's my list of thing that are broken this Spring:
The gutters fell off the back of the house. They were new two years ago, but the moron who installed them put them up with inch and a quarter drywall screws. So between rust and the thousand or so pounds of global warming we got this year, we ended up with our gutters on the ground just in time for Spring.
Another Global Warming inspired event, the pavers in front of our garden shed heaved this year and blocked the doors from opening. Not usually a problem unless you ask a fifteen year old boy to fix it. Because a fifteen-year-old boy will smash the pavers with a maul.
My driveway needs re-sealing. I spent most of last summer on the road, and blacktop was more expensive than sperm whale oil, so I didn't do it. Has to be done this year.
For some reason the doorknob on a back door that we never use is falling apart for some reason. It also interferes with the doorknob on the new storm door that I put on it this fall because the old one rotted.
The deck needs to be painted. I stained it the summer after we moved in. It needed to be re-done last year. See the item on the driveway above.
My car needs new tires and brakes, plus the 100k service.
maddmoms car has an airbag light on, needs a new part. Warranty work, but has to be done in Louisville.
The finish on the floor has worn through in some areas. It's an oil finish and we were warned that this would happen because the wood is so oily.
The Prince hit a golf ball into the big picture window in the dining room. Don't ask.
The kitchen sink needs to be replaced. It looked like a good idea four years ago, but it's not working out.
The kitchen faucet needs fixing. My fault. Hard water's a bitch on those things and I had been trying to reduce our water bill by not backflushing the system every other day. Mistake.
Garage door. I've been putting this off for two years as well. But I can't get a new one until...
The Garage floor needs leveling. Water pools in our garage, because the previous owners built up a ledge under the garage door to keep water coming in. Water was coming in because the gutters needed fixing. Now that those gutters work, water doesn't come in when it rains, but it also doesn't go out if it drips off of the car, melts from snow, or the hose bib leaks. So we get a nice pool under my tool bench.
The front door is all jacked up. It works, but it's messed up. I have to fix it.
The A/C downstairs needs replacing. Almost forgot. Better remind the wife.
The ongoing plumbing issues are legion, here's a sample. The hose bib in the front of the house needs replacing. The hot water heater is half full of sediment and needs replacing. The soaker tub in the master bath needs new plumbing. The icemaker line needs to be moved to a softened line. I need a cutoff valve on the main inside the house before the water softener. The washer needs to be moved. The sink in the laundry room needs to be moved.
The clothes dryer needs to be moved.
The outdoor lights on the garage need to be replaced, they are messed up, leaking and left on too often.
Need a motion detector on the inside garage lights.
I'm not even going to talk about the chimney. I can't afford it.
Plus, my checkbook doesn't balance. Granted, I haven't balanced it since January, but I'm almost $90 under what the bank says I have this month. I know this is karma biting my ass because I told my wife that being off $2 was no big deal. When I did my reconciliation last month, I was only $20 ahead. I don't remember anyone dumping $70 into my account, and it's not on my statements so I guess I could ignore it... right? Maybe not. I now have to go back four months and check my arithmetic. What fun. I guess the most fun is that I can't buy gas until I do it.
You know, I use a calculator. I do. I think it may just be my handwriting. I guess I'll have to start using Quicken.
At any rate, when I was making the list of broken things I hadn't taken my smart pill yet and my mind wandered to this:
Time Flies Dept.: Dot-com craze peaked 10 years ago.
I had just been promoted and was in California at a strategy meeting where we were informed that our budget, the IT budget, would be increased to 7% of gross sales. We discussed our e-Commerce strategy and were introduced to our new CIO, who outlined his plan to do a complete tech refresh over the next year, from Dell to IBM, starting with all servers. We had just purchased our Dell servers seven months prior when the sale of my company was complete and Teledyne removed all of its corporate IT assets.
Within the next year we had closed three of seven plants, another was for sale and I was moved to a "corporate" position that was basically a temporary job, shutting down the IT infrastructure that we had spent all that money on. I remember sitting in my office, one of three people left in the building, when my new IBM laptop arrived via FedEx. Three days before I was finished.
It wasn't just the dotcoms who were irrationally exuberant in those days.
I got a new job, at about 60% of my old salary on September 11th, 2001. I took it for reasons that should be obvious given the date, and the fact that I was almost out of severance money. I didn't get paid as well in that job, but it was a good job, and a great bunch of people. And even though it was a corporate drone job that sucked the life out of the people who did it, I think it was the best job I ever had, even and including the one I have now, which I like better.
I learned a lot driving that cube, and the company that employed me at the time gave me the opportunity to do what I needed to do and learn what I needed to learn. And they paid me. Pretty well. So I'm kinda loyal to them, even to the managers I didn't like. And I'd go back to work there if they weren't canning their IT staff now like everyone else.
Now. That doesn't mean I'm super happy, or a positive guy. It means I can recognize a good thing when I have it. I have one now. But I can still point out the things that are wrong, and boy, is there a lot wrong. But when I started this blog I said I wouldn't blog about work and I wouldn't have a blog roll and I wouldn't get into blog fights or trackback pissing matches and so far, with few exceptions, I haven't. I can tell by my traffic that I've been mostly successful in not doing anything here remotely interesting and I guess that's been good for my career. So while I can still point out things that I don't like about work, I won't. Or rather, not in any recognizable format. But if you ever see a post that begins "Consider the lily..." or "A friend was telling me about an acquaintance of his problems..." you may assume the worst. Or not.