Once Every 30 Years

IMG_0098It seems that we’re in deferred maintenance mode this year.  It’s catch-up time for the tasks that you know you should tackle, but that just aren’t at the top of your to-do list.  This summer we finally had our septic tank pumped.  We knew we should have done it sooner, but we just never got around to it.  It turns out you’re supposed to pump the tank every 3 to 5 years.  For us, this was the first time since building the house over 30 years ago!  Oops.  When the technician first came, we couldn’t even find the cap to the tank;  that took a friend with a small backhoe.  With the second visit, we had the pumping of the sludge, with a giant vacuum cleaner tube sucking muck across the lawn to the truck. The tank was full, but thank heavens it hadn’t clogged the leach field yet.

Later in the summer, when we had our furnace checked, we were informed that they wouldn’t give us a service contract for it anymore;  it is too old.  We’ve had small repairs over the years, but apparently furnaces typically get replaced after 15-20 years.  We’ve had ours over 30.  Since the house has a passive solar system, we haven’t overworked the furnace, so perhaps this is not a surprise. Still, we brought in two plumber/HVAC specialists to tell us what we need and give us quotes.  After including a few improvements that we’ve been considering for a few decades (more deferred action), we’re planning for a small disruption and big bill next month.  That’s better than waiting until it breaks down in the middle of a blizzard.

This week we also took care of another long deferred task – updating our wills.  The last time we did this, which was also the first time, was 34 years ago. At the time, our main worry was who would take care of our children if we died in a plane crash.  Now that they’re having children of their own (or hopefully thinking about it) our motivation has changed. Our current goal is to keep things simple and make transitions as easy as possible.  I was shocked at how much this will cost, but the lawyer pointed out that the bill from 34 years ago, which was still attached to the old will, was substantial for the time.  Given inflation, I suppose it’s not so bad. And if it saves our kids the frustration and fees from sorting our affairs after our deaths, it’s worth it. I’m just glad we’re not paying New York prices for this!

Pitcher plant and ants

Ants on a pitcher plant

As I move through my third week of retirement, the list of deferred tasks to address seems to be growing instead of shrinking.  I wish I had kept up with more of them, both the short term and the 30-year ones, but I don’t regret time spent on more pleasurable activities.  My advice – find a balance;  you don’t have to be an ant, but don’t be a grasshopper.  Make a will before you die, and definitely pump your septic tank before it overflows!

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2 Responses to Once Every 30 Years

  1. speakingwins says:

    Well heck, ants can cut loose for some fun. I did something frivolous quite recently…not that long ago…definitely not more than a year ago…

  2. bethanyk says:

    Yeah…after 14 years we learned that we were supposed to blow out the dryer vent. Oops on that! Maintenance on a house is a full time job it seems! Just the yard alone! Now the house has decided to settle and we have a lovely crack all the way through the kitchen tile. It is superficial but still looks bad. I wish it could have at least made a straight line!

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