Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Protestant Work Ethic is Ready to Admit It Has a Problem

Last Saturday a guy who was working for our neighbor came up to ask if he could make a bid on hauling away the pile of kitchen tearout/basement cleanout crap that's been residing against the side of our house, making us look like rednecks. Anyone who wants to make a bid on our unsightly house projects can come over anytime, so I said sure, and he offered to do the job for $80, which sounded pretty good to me. I had him write down his name and number so I could clear it with Jarod and get the money together.

Fast forward to Sunday night at 10:30, when there was a knock at our door, which I thought was the wind, and then the bell rang. Oops! Not the wind! I couldn't see a thing out the peephole, so I took my chances, and there was the guy that had bid on our waste removal. His son had been in a household accident, and he was short money for the prescription he needed. Obviously he could have been lying, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and coughed up the $24 he requested. He offered to come and get the trash the next day, just for loaning him the $24, but I figure that if he's having to go up to homes of strangers to try to pay for medicine, he probably needs the full amount. So today I gave him another $40 and he hauled it away, which leaves me owing $16, but he'll get it. I've also agreed to hire him to clean up our backyard, and I've got my eye on a few other projects as well.

Now I realize that these are jobs that we could do ourselves, and if we were to work at it steadily we could probably get the backyard done in a single day. But our free days are few and far between, and the list of projects we have that we could do ourselves is long enough that if we were to actually do them ourselves, it would take most of our free time for the better part of at least a year and leave me hating this house. I figure that if we can help someone else out and get some things done that need doing, it's a win-win situation.

This is something I have struggled with a lot in my life: finding balance between being hardworking and working too hard for anyone's good. Everyone needs to rest, and everyone needs good work to pay the bills. While part of me feels guilty for diverting this portion of our income to having someone else do something we could do (if only we worked hard enough!), the rest of me feels relieved, and a little less like a hamster on a wheel, waiting for the next project to appear. And I feel good about giving someone else work when they really need it. I have plenty--of work, of goods, of everything--and there is no reason not to share the wealth.

There's also no reason to not do cartwheels in our backyard when it is all cleaned up, which is what I fully intend to do.

1 comment:

Shiz said...

You wealth-sharing Marxist. ;)