Friday, February 12, 2010

Sliding Numbers and a Butter Knife

Remember that sliding number puzzle game we played with as kids?  I never could get the hang of it.  My cousins and my younger brother slid the pieces back and forth and up and down until all the numbers were lined up in a row.  Me, I'd get frustrated with the darn thing, pry the tiles out with a butter knife, then snap em back in the right way.  "Cheater," my brother said.  So I'd throw it at him and stalk off to read Harriet The Spy for the zillionth time. 

I bring up that game because, now that I'm all grown up, sometimes paying the bills and funding the restoration (or is it renovation?) of this house gives me the same feeling as trying to get those infernal little tiles all lined up.  If I pay a little less here...then I can pay a little more there...or dip into savings...and maybe this or that can wait til the next paycheck...Pretty soon I start grumbling.  I'm frustrated.  Impatient.  Ready to take something sharper than a butter knife to the checkbook.  Y'all know just what I'm talking about. 

What really gets me reaching for the knife block is unexpected expenses.  Like the ER bill I incurred from my spill off the ladder.  I tried to avoid the ER, I really did.  Nothing irritates me more than folks who use the Emergency Department when they could wait to go to the family doctor.  I didn't want to be one of those people.  So I waited.  Waited in my kitchen for an hour with a bag of frozen lima beans on my wrist and a frozen salmon steak on my butt.  (Doesn't that conjure up a pretty picture?)  And when things seemed to get worse instead of better, I dragged myself out to the rotted carport and fired up the Brave Little Toaster.  (My Kia Soul, so named by a friend of mine who claims it looks like a toaster on wheels.)  I'm glad I went.  Going to the ER ruled out broken bones, some of which could've moved around and poked other important stuff on my insides.  It got me a cool-looking splint, some good medication, and a note from the doctor for work that it really is medically necessary for me to sit on a big pillow from my bed with a pink flannel pillowcase on it.  (Because if you think I'm walking into a firehouse carrying a donut pillow from the ER, you got another think comin'.)

And the other unexpected expense, you'll recall from earlier this week, is a new ladder.  After enduring a chewed-up-one-side-and-down-the-other rant from an old boyfriend about the foolishness of using a ladder that's a bit too short for the job and then leaning into the corner of the dining room to boot (as well as the foolishness of working alone when my cellphone's at the other end of the house) I have made the wise decision to not cheap-out on the next ladder I buy.  Therefore, I am scrounging together money from my itty-bitty tax refund and re-allocating the money I'd saved to go to Nashville for a long weekend next month in order to buy a new ladder.  A very expensive new ladder.  The Little Giant Titan 31-in-1 Multi-Function Ladder.   It's not just a stepladder, it's five stepladders.  And a 19-foot extension ladder, so I don't have to borrow Floyd's anymore.  And two trestles, which I'm thinking could come in handy for gluing together doors.  And some 90-degree ladders, which might be good for wallpapering and painting.  And a bunch of other stuff that somehow makes it 31 ladders in one.  And it comes with a wheel kit so I can roll it around by myself.  Because, you know, I'll still be working alone, no matter what Ran says.  He better not argue with me either.  I'll take a butter knife to him. 


  1. Holy Toledo, that is one expensive ladder :-)

    I have to buy something like that to work on removing wallpaper paste and painting in my stairway to the second floor, but I hadn't realized how much they cost.

  2. p.s. Don't you folks have urgent care places in your neck of the woods? Non-ER places where you can just walk in (and wait) because you damaged an appendage, etc. as opposed to being at death's door?

  3. I think that ladder will pay dividends in the future, in the form of no more ER visits. I love the way it can lean up against the wall, I might need one too...

  4. You go girl! I bought a Werner 17-footer that does the same kind of adjustable settings. Haven't used it yet. (Probably doesn't do well in snow and ice. :-) )

    Believe me, I GET the whole unexpected expense thing. It happens. Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on. It will get better. What we don't do for these d*mn houses!

    Meantime, just focus on healing up!

  5. Karen Anne, It is expensive...and that's the best price I've found for it on the net. ...sigh... And nope, no urgent care in my neck of the woods. Closest one is down the street from where I work, about 26 miles from my house, and closes at 7:30 at night. I fell shortly after 8 p.m. Welcome to rural health care.

  6. Rachel, those salmon steaks in the plastic bag at Wally are really good!

  7. I understand rural health care, unfortunately, having moved to the boonies after decades near Stanford. The worst is the scarcity of good doctors, I think.

    I just looked on the map, and the urgent care place I've been to is 18 miles from my house, open 8am-9pm seven days a week.