Our 6 kids live in Utah and Arizona. In a strange twist of fate and against all odds, those happen to be the same states our 12 grand kids who are all under the age of 11 live.
Every summer our daughter Meg comes home and spends two or three weeks with us. I love her visits but the cheapskate side of me wishes she would stay the heck home. It’s not because I don’t like her visits. It’s because every time she darkens our doorway, it costs me several thousand dollars.
Here’s what happens. She loves to pine away and plan for major rebuilds to our 40-year old faux mansion. She shops around for new fixtures and furniture and admittedly gets great deals but somehow it all ends up on my credit card bill.
I know her mom loves the yearly upgrades. However, I think I could hold Michele off the spending spree extravaganzas on this casa if it weren’t for Meg. Without Meg, our living room would still look like a converted garage. Without Meg, our bathrooms would still be sporting the original equipment toilets.
If not for Meg, we’d still have the same blue bathtub that I always loved. It was a wonderful basin. I’m a bath kinda guy and usually come home coated with grease, dirt and blood. With the blue tub, I could scrub it out on an annual basis with Michele usually ever noticing the pronounced 1/4″ thick ring around the perimeter.
That blue tub hid all the different tints and earthy samples I left in my wake. Now, with the new white enclosure, all I have to do is sneeze and there’s a ring around the tub.
In order to keep Michele happy and the tub clean, I have to scrub it before I run the water, during the immersion, prior to draining, right after I hop out and like I said, every time I sneeze. The blue tub was much more conducive to my redneck ways.
The downstairs bath got a big remodel. With Meg in the house. The downstairs bedroom no longer looks like it used to. With Meg in the house.
Because of all these upgrades, at the end of each summer, my wallet visually appears famished, almost skeletal. Kinda like a frog after he’s been sitting on a hot July sidewalk for three weeks without any liquid refreshment.
The house looks nicer but I don’t like the looks of my frog.
How many redneck items can you spot in this picture of our front yard? I end up with seven if I count the tire tracks on the lawn that are pretty hard to see from this angle if you didn’t make them (like I did).
This picture was taken after Meg and Michele bought new couches and threw the old one out the door for me to haul away.
It was a perfectly good sit-down. There was not a thing wrong with it other than a big rip in the back cushion, the grape juice stain on the seat and the broken spring that kept snagging visitor’s pants and dresses immediately after contact.
I was going to fix that spring as soon as I found my vice grips. But they had to rush out and plunk down my cash on not one but two new sofas before I could locate the tool.
And I’m pretty sure a half-gallon of bleach would have made that grape juice stain disappear and I’m absolutely positive I could have stapled that rip back together.
I told the girls that they were out of line with my credit card but to no avail. I suppose if we lived in cave man days, I’d be hauling out old sofa rocks and dragging newer, bigger and shinier boulders in every year, whether they were needed or not.
It hasn’t always been this way. It used to be worse. The following picture is of Derek, our son who is now in his mid-thirties. Here’s a Facebook post I made several years ago with his reply:
He thinks since he’s moved out of our redneck house and into a Phoenix mansion, he can lose the stigma and reputation. However, I think he still has a trace of it left in him. Notice the toothpaste and toothbrush in his suit pocket.
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