Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Maintenance Month

Photo courtesy Flickr


August is no time for business in Seattle. The city is too popular with visitors from the sweltering east and south to be able to count on uninterrupted work time. I use casually scheduled chunks of time during the week to tackle maintenance chores that disrupt interior space. A lick and a promise will hold the place for the rest of the year.

Long ago, I owned a VW bug that was old enough to vote. It had been a gift of the beloved aunt who bought it new in 1965. I realized over time that the car was becoming less and less competitive for contemporary road conditions, but I loved it, we loved it, the family loved it, and visitors who regretted disposing of their own bug (and youth) would ask if they could just sit in the front seat for a while.

Every few months, I’d start itching to sell the car, so I’d detail it. Then it would feel so good, I’d keep it for another six months. Eventually, the realities of ferrying children here and there led to a safer vehicle, but I have not forgotten the lessons I learned about maintenance.

The area of housekeeping between swipe and make-over is very profitable. Green rules, and obviously it’s greenest to make the most out of the things one already owns. A few hours’ fiddling with cleaning and polishing agents and touch-up paint will renew any but the most weary space and work the laptop kinks out of one’s back and shoulders as well. 

This is a year to temporize on maintenance, because the neighborhood is developing at warp speed. An interlude like this one is a heaven-sent opportunity to experiment with low-impact responses to changing needs for privacy, lighting, and heat. Over time, I’ve learned to keep the place ship-shape with almost nothing and for almost nothing, as long as the structure is sound and the paint in good condition.

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