Contractors . . .

I have no idea if what we have experienced lately is a part of a greater phenomena, but we’ve had a lot of trouble with local contractors in the last six months.

For example, the guy who installed, and has maintained, our house guttering for the last 6 years, was also the guy who was doing our mowing.  In the last 6 months, he’s been increasingly undependable, and has not cleaned our gutters since October, even though we paid in advance to have it done back that far.

We also just finished getting our house repainted, and even though we asked that the front door be painted to match the trim paint we selected, it did not happen.

I fully realize that Covid-19 has changed a lot of the rules of how contractors do jobs for private individuals, I am upset that we are having trouble getting contractors on the phone to discuss these problems.

We greatly prefer to give our business to local, even independent, contractors, for the specific reason of supporting local, self-employed businessmen.  Not only do they usually care more about doing a good job, but they also are people it is easy to develop a personal long-standing relationship with.

Except that the rules seem to have changed, since the genesis of Covid-19.  Since then, even the contractors we already had good relationships with have become difficult to get in touch with. They don’t answer their phones, and sometimes don’t even have voice-mail set up on their phones.  Several of the ones we’ve worked with for years are now distracted by jobs they took on that have nothing to do with the businesses they were building, but that they needed to keep their bills paid.

It breaks my heart to do so, but I feel that I have no choice but to replace the contractors that have become unreliable with other contractors who will respond when we call them.

As a foot-note, we had our house painted last week.  Our all-brick house is now a very light tan color with brick-red accents.  That cost us $2000 US plus the cost of the paint, but we’re already seeing a return on the investment.  Our HVAC system isn’t having to work as hard as before, in the job of keeping our home cool for the summer.

Anniversaries . . .

Ooops!  On July 10th, I missed acknowledging the 10th anniversary of the day my wife and I signed the documents to close the deal on buying our home.  It has been quite a ride.

Still, there is another far more important anniversary that I want to mark today.  This is the 20th Anniversary of when my wife and I stood before a St. Louis County, MO, Justice of the Peace and had his secretaries witness  that we exchanged vows to be Husband and Wife.

Happy Anniversary, honey.  To this day, I’m amazed that you put up with my bad jokes, my physical challenges, and the limits our marriage put on your quality of life.  I remain your faithful companion, and will be such as long as I am still able to help your life feel easier or better.

Love, Vernon

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Saturday Posts . . .

fyi – My wife found this post on Facebook, and forwarded it to me.  There is only one thing I might add to this – that Bernie’s 52% tax is ONLY the federal tax.  There is still the additional state, local, and sales taxes to be factored into the equation.  If Bernie has his way, anyone making less than $100k/yr will not only be taking a pay cut to fund his Universal Health Care initiative, but they will also qualify for welfare.  It is absolutely certain that anyone making minimum wage right now will be taking home less than they are now if Bernie gets his way.

Your final moments . . .

I know, I have written before about the importance of writing a living will or an advanced directive.

However, my wife and I recently visited a lawyer to take the official step of setting such ideas in stone.  And I much need to say that I feel the minor expense was very worth the time and hassel.

No baby, even those conceived by rape, has a choice in whether or not they are born.  No person of any age has any choice as to whether or not they are victims of murder. But every person alive has a choice about what conditions they will agree to  about the end of their life.

This is why I am a staunch advocate of Living Wills and Advance Directives.  These are the legally binding ways in which you have the power to tell health care professionalls – esessially those who may try to overrulle your preferred choices, exactly what you want them to do when you have lost the power to make those decisions for yourself.  You get the power to appoint ONLY ONE person, who already knows your preferences, as your  health care decision maker if you are unable to voice your own preferences.  You also get to make legally binding demands that certain types of care are not to be used, especially if they are beyond the financial reach of your immediate family to pay for.  In short, you get to decide, in a legally binding way, how far you are willing to allow a hospital to go in trying to save your life before they are required by law to pull the plug.  This is all about how much fincancial burden I’m willing to force upon my wife before offering her relief and protecting her from bankruptcy over the cost of my care.

I have taken the step of authenticating both a Living Will and an Advanced Directive, for the specific purpose of trying to make certain that my wife will NOT, under any circumstances, be bankrupted by the medical care required if I might meet a less than desired end-of-life situation.  I was very specific about several situations that might realistically happen in which I wanted NO life-saving measures to be used.  I also gave my wife, and as an alternate a very close friend, the power to make end-of-life choices regardging my health care.  They both know and respect my feelings on this matter.

Also, as a co-home-owner and husband, I agreed with my wife that we needed to go to a lawyer and transact a Last Will and Testament.  This is not because I feel that I may die at any near time, but rather because I believe it is better to be prepared in advance than to be caught off guard. It’s a relic of when I was in the Boy Scouts – more than 40 years ago.