Deferred Maintenance

We’re in the middle of a house dance. The old home is sold, the new home is nearly complete and in the meantime we’re in a “layover” apartment.  It’s a dance that started in earnest in 2015 when we decided we needed to 1) move closer to Seattle and 2) move to a more walkable, more urban environment.

Early in 2015, we had the old home inspected to see what we needed tackle before putting it on the market. Everything was sound, but there were a few items of “deferred maintenance” that needed addressing – like dinged up rounded corners on drywall and upstairs wall-to-wall carpeting that really had served beyond its intended lifespan.

That phrase – “deferred maintenance” – stuck with me and I don’t want to let that happen again in the new home or… with my own health.

As a software engineer, I sit a lot. A whole lot. And while I used to be a gym rat, that really hasn’t been the case in more than a decade. And while I’m not at my heaviest weight by any means, my BMI still places me in the obese category and my legs and core are super weak.

I’ve “deferred maintenance” on my own health, and it is past time to stop doing that.


Shake the Disease

What madness lately. A head cold bad enough to prompt me to present ID to buy Sudafed, followed by a root canal, followed by pulling a muscle in my lower back so badly that I could barely walk for three days. And all I was doing was getting dressed. 

The last one is most likely due to a very weak core from too much sitting, sitting too long without a break, working while sitting on a couch, and limited exercise.  And that’s because I crave “Likes” and attaboys and I get that mostly from work. 

I need to break that addiction pronto.  Before it kills me.

And the back ache also has roots in my nervous tension. This isn’t the first time my back has thrown a fit. I need to let go of the need to be in control. My anxieties are eating me alive.

Deferred Maintenance, Despair and Holy Running Shoes

We’re getting our house ready to sell – we’re moving into town after 16 years of living in the beautiful and quiet but sidewalk-less and insular country – but before the house can sell it needs a new roof, and we need to do the exterior painting we’ve put off year after year, and we need to catch up on years and years of unrequited drywall dings and stubborn carpet blessings.

We’ve managed to tread water financially by putting off a lot of things, or by leaving things 80% done, but now the chickens are coming home to roost, and it feels overwhelming and awful.

It is good to finally be attending to these things (and it is a habit I want to continue in the new home), but it doesn’t feel good to be asking for an increase on the home equity line of credit to pay for them.  It doesn’t feel good to reduce the amount going to the 401k each paycheck back down to 1%.  It doesn’t feel good to be adding to credit card debt instead of reducing it.  It doesn’t feel good that we haven’t had an away-from-the-house vacation in years, just day-trips here and there.  It doesn’t feel good that the emergency fund is gone again thanks to new tires for the car and an unexpected call to an exterminator.  It feels kinda hopeless.

It doesn’t feel good to think about selling the motorcycle every day to buy some time – it feels like it would be a single bucket of water thrown against a raging fire – evaporating violently in a hiss of futile steam.

My running shoes developed large holes in them a few months ago and when they started hurting my feet I threw them away and I haven’t been on a good brisk walk since and there’s no money for another pair, not with that balance on the credit card now.  And that (no exercise) is its own kind of deferred maintenance.

But the alternative is worse.  To give up on trying to keep a handle on debt would be far worse.  To give up on trying to rebuild the emergency fund is worse.  To give up on trying to stay on top of household maintenance would be far worse than attending to little things before they become big things (or big things becoming even bigger things.)

And I guess it’s about priorities, again.  And that means I need to buy some new running shoes, and rebuild the emergency fund tomorrow.




It was sunny today. Ideally I would have gone to walk + jog around the lake at the warmest time of the day, but I didn’t and was stuck with “leftovers” – right at sunset.

I’m going to work at that. I’m going to try again to not fill up my day with a million things to do and leave leftovers for self-care. 

But at least I did this.