Channeling Betty

Or, Mom would so be laughing at me right now !


I’ll say it.

Mom sacrificed a lot for us kids.  While I give lip service to understanding her priorities and how hard she worked to make things nice for us despite our trying financial circumstances, it’s been confirmed for me this week that I really didn’t know.  Not until now.

I have gone through life as one of my Mother’s biggest fans.

I was there when she was choosing to divorce her faithless husband, instead of following through on her attempt to murder him in a fit of passion.

14 stabs into a mattress showed me just how dangerous and crazy adults could be.  How difficult life could be when hormones overrode pride or commonsense, and all efforts to reconcile were wasted because someone was going to die if they didn’t get away from each other.

So, I knew both the good and bad choices my Mom had made in life (as had my Dad), and I was determined not to follow in their footsteps.

Mom was a hard worker and the giver, ensuring that we had the money to pay our bills, and that the family prospered despite our circumstances.

Dad was an artist and the taker, tired of budgets and planning, who felt life owed him due to his talents, and it was long past time for him to have some fn and collect his due

Before they came to this point, divorce, they were a young couple, full of hope.  Then, life happened to stomp on their aspirations.  Instead of maturing together, they broke apart and went their separate ways.  Being star-crossed lovers wasn’t as romantic as in the movies.  There weren’t any fun or healthy choices when breaking up a home and forging new paths.  Paths that cost money.

Dad stripped anything of monetary value out of the home, using the cash to pay for meals out, a nice car, and the illusion that he was successful while hiding his earnings from the child support enforcers.

Mom fought for her children and herself to not end up homeless.  As she pursued a divorce, she kept moving and hustling to prosper, and succeeded despite her husband’s efforts to auction their family home off so that he could disappear with his half of any salvaged asssets.

Into this history of memories comes me, someone who swore she’d never be a homeowner as she didn’t want to be tied down to one place and a large financial obligation.  She didn’t want an asset that could be coveted or taken away if anything went wrong in the financial planning.

I’ve done pretty well over the years, despite upswings and downswings in the economy, and have managed to live beneath my means while traveling and learning new regions and social customs.

But, I couldn’t outrun myself or my failing health.  So, I fell back on Mom’s mantra of homeownership to make it through this next adventure of seeing how I’m going to afford to live, despite failing health.

So, it’s very strange to be in a wreck of a mobile home, rehabbing it to make it weather tight, and trying to ensure the investment is as sound as it can be, and be channeling Betty.

I’ve been doing a lot of the rehab work myself, as well as hiring contractors where necessary to get the work done right.

Nothing, however, showed me just how far I was going in channeling Betty until the morning I took my first shower and found myself wiping down the windowsill.  The windowsill I’d bleached and painted within an inch of its life with Rustoleum to ensure I eliminated all the lack mold and made it water tight.

Just like Mom insisted back in 1976, after the bathroom remodel was completed and the new Anderson casement window was installed in the shower.  The windowsill that was wooden and laquered within an inch of its life to keep from rotting out.  The windowsill that had to be dried after every use to ensure Mom’s money wasn’t wasted.


I now have my own nemesis of a windowsill.

Betty would be lauging so hard to see me drying it every day prior to leaving the shower.  Oh, how the mighty (footloose and fancy free) have fallen.  But, in the rehabbing, some lessons never get forgotten.

If you’re going to spend the money, take care of it.

You can only spend it once…

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