Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Numbers Game

Six hundred and twenty-eight dollars. That is what I had to spend on a new water heater yesterday. Jon discovered the tiny river running through our basement yesterday morning, after I had already left for work. We were fortunate that it ran directly towards the drain in the utility room rather than veer towards the parquet floors in the finished portion of the lower level. The installer said we were lucky that it was discovered so soon because just a few warm showers later it could have burst, shooting water in all directions. I don't feel lucky to have spent so much money on a big chunk of metal, but you know, if he says so.

Ten miles per hour. That was my top speed as I inched my way north on I-71 through the so-called blizzard that ravaged Northeast Ohio this morning. We could have gone a little faster, but it is a known fact that Ohioans have to retrain themselves to drive on the snow every winter, making the first big snowfall the most nerve-wracking. It is only after the first four or five inches accumulate on the highway that we remember to not drive as fast or to pump the brakes instead of slamming our foot down on the peddle. Of course, I was moving at a very cautious fifteen miles per hour through my neighborhood, pumping my brakes every few seconds, and I still managed to careen directly into a curb, narrowly avoiding sliding right into someones front yard. The crunch of my rim as it hit the concrete curb was not a pretty sound.

Fifty-five minutes. That is how late I was to work this morning after facing the congestion on the highway. While the snow was very pretty once I got tucked away in the safety of my office building, it was not worth having to stay later than everyone else.

Seven. That's how many gifts I have left to buy before I have finished my Christmas shopping. I'm actually very proud of myself. I have been able to do most of my shopping while avoiding the over-crowded stores as they carry out the biggest sales, and yet I have still picked out some really great gifts for not a lot of money. Originally Jon and I had planned to go easy on gifts this Christmas because almost everyone (except us, of course) would be out of town, and we had to ship everything, but now I think I have truly been humbled this Christmas season, and I have more of a it's-the-thought-that-counts take on it all. I am buying these gifts to show my family and friends that I love them, and that I'm thinking of them, not to show that I can afford to do it bigger and better than the next guy. It has been a long time coming, and I welcome the humbling.

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