Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today (as of writing this post) was interesting. I had to sell some of my stock, which I put in as an order yesterday. Today I woke up with over $35,000 more money. My father’s retirement account requires a minimum annual distribution, meaning that basically I need to liquidate about 20% of its value every year. This ensures it will be liquidated (and taxes paid) within five years. Well, that’s okay. It still strikes me as odd to see such a bump all of a sudden, especially since this much money should actually last all year for me if I’m thrifty, which, sadly, I really am not.
I mentioned this sudden although very much anticipated influx of money to my friend and was asking what I should do with it. The correct answer, of course, is save it and use it appropriately throughout the incoming year, which she actually did suggest. Then she had another question; what improvements are needed to my house?
For the house, it’s been a very expensive year. I purchased the house a year ago, and since then, major improvements included the installation of a car port, outdoor shed, gas stove and refrigerator, washer and dryer and even a new furnace with central air. I guess I should think about the hot water heater, but for now, right now, everything is perfectly functional and purring along. The guts of the house are taken care of, the roof is not leaking, and we seem to be good, and I’m happy to report that as expensive as these new additions were, they all improved the value of the home. Will I see a complete refund on these monies should I sell the house? Probably not, but if I sold it tomorrow, I would ask for considerably more than what I had paid.
And then this question. What still needs to be improved? The interesting thing about this question is how subjective it is, meaning, where personal priorities lie. For me, it needs nothing (save some building projects I’m wanting to do myself). The plumbing, electricity, appliances and environmental controls are all good. I can live here without further problem, but if you should see it, my dear reader, you would think it looks like a gulag. There is no art (save a couple of my very favorite pieces from my artist friend in Scotland), no throw rugs, no carpeting. The furniture is all very basic and not terribly colorful, but the furniture very much reflects my personal proclivities. See, it’s not really much to look at, but it does have some great features that I don’t think are very common in furniture. My dining room table, for example, converts easily into a game table (although I have no friends who come over to game with me). Not pretty, but functional, just like my house, and frankly, just like me.
There’s an expression, “it needs a woman’s touch”. The phrase is terribly outdated as many men are great at decorating, and many women look at function rather than form just as I do, but as outdated as the saying actually is, yes, this house needs a woman’s touch.
What we view as important, what we value in life, is much like my house. What does it need? Depending on your point of view, it needs everything, or it needs nothing at all. In my life, I need a partner. I’ll leave it at that because, unless I marry a woman who already has one, it’s just too late for me. “But, Bleil, Picasso had children well into his nineties!” Yes, well, Picasso I am not, and even if I were I don’t think I would be happy being as promiscuous as he was at that age. Fame and talent certainly goes far in the casual encounter realm, but for me, as much as I enjoy (and crave) sex, casual encounters just are not of interest to me.
That’s not to say that I don’t have some cool stuff. I love going to my gun club and “popping off” a few rounds at some targets (but I really have no interest in hunting). I have a zoo membership that I’ve used a few times and intend to use with fair regularity. I have video game systems, and musical instruments that I should use more frequently, but are present when I’m ready to pick them back up. I even have computers where I can continue my research (someday) and tools for building. I’m just missing somebody with whom to share my time and accomplishments.
So here we are. Functional, but not well decorated. Everything necessary is in place, everything necessary is present for smooth sailing well into the next year but it just isn’t appealing. But, at this point, I’m not sure if I’m talking about my house or my own life.