Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thread Bare and Hanging in There
By Michael

A very cold walk home from the bus stop tonight, and the winter wool coat I wear to work is thread bare, long over due for being replaced. I walked in the front door, greeted my girls, and headed straight for the back of the house to check the thermometer on the back porch. It lay broken on the ground, fallen off its mount. Crap, another thing busted.

The work sock of a soon-to-be cruiser
I returned to the living room to hang up my work bag in the coat closet; I do so carefully because the spine of the bag is broken and hanging it by the shoulder strap causes the bag to collapse on itself. I removed my shoes, no longer comfortable as they were before the insoles wore away at the toes and heel. I can feel the cool wood floors through the hole in the sole of my right sock.
This past weekend, I noticed that the squirrels chewed a large hole in the thick plastic wall of our backyard composter. Untouched by them for 10 years, we probably could have gotten $50 for the thing at our moving sale, now it is nearly worthless.
It goes on. We regularly hand-wash our motley collection of soup and cereal bowls because the few that remain don't get us through dishwasher cycles; seven of the original set of eight busted one-by-one over the past five years. Lately, we've been repurposing ramikins and our dainty collection of Chinese soup bowls--both also dwindling in numbers as they slip, one by one, through tiny, milk-slick hands. Windy's reporting a strange knock from the rear of the car and our living room furniture is cat-clawed. The finish on the dining room table is worn through and we used up the last of our firewood over the holidays. Frances's knees nearly touch her chin as she pedals her bicycle .

It feels as though everything around us is falling apart, disappearing, or begging to be replaced. We've maintained our house and ourselves, but our personal property that isn't going with us to the boat, is taxed, much of it used up or used beyond the point of donating it to the thrift store. It's hard to go out and buy new work clothes or cereal bowls when we know we'll only be using those things for a few more months (hopefully). We start a lot of sentences with, "If we weren't going cruising, we'd get a new..."

In this way, the Robertsons began austerity measures long before they were The Thing. And while this has been good for the cruising kitty, the side effects are not pretty. We've become a rag-tag bunch. Only eighty days remain before the house goes up for sale...


1 comment:

  1. I wish we were there to help you! Or at least feed you when you run out of bowls and plates.


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