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Xanthe, Job Creator

As a senior, I’d be untruthful if I didn’t admit all this buzz about seniors gaming the system – via SS and Medicare (or Medicaid) depresses me. The oft heard meme “They should have saved:”  Well, I did save a bit but 2008 happened. Next, please. Means testing:  This is quite frightening. With what we’ve seen of our political class – is there much hope this would be fairly administered. More importantly, why should it be administered at all. It is the beginning of the end of the SS System — until it becomes some welfare system after you’ve rid yourself of your home and savings, not to mention your antique piggy bank.  Anyway, why should we benefit if the youngers don’t. Working longer (in my case: 50 years. At what point aren’t you considered a slacker? 75 years?) Being young during better times when the government gave a hand here and there, allowing Americans to work when there were jobs and save safely. It’s called policy and frankly the working class has lost any say in the matter .

Let’s face it. Aside from keeping my son and daughter-in-law in their home and lending sums of money to family and friends here and there (so far no one has paid me back), I have been a job creator the last ten years or so. Seniors need to remind themselves of these facts in the face of the massive, invidious  propaganda campaigns on SS, etc. making us feel occasionally like leeches with no regard for future generations. Basta.

I bought a house built in 1888. Of course, I knew better but I walked in on a glorious October morning, with the sun streaming through every room – and the trees front and backyard with soft green and golden shades of light gently laid out across the lawn. It’s a corner property as well on a nice street. Naturally – I bought it at the top of the market. Ahh, lessons learned — I hope not too late.

The house made me do it. Become a job creator. I had no choice. I am never going to sell it and get back its price, much less my efforts at keeping it going at all. Herein my portfolio of job creation.

Masonry. Very expensive. Bricks were coming loose on second floor – and my masonry employees and I decided we should probably do the whole of the upper portion on the street side, rather than replace here and there. There were at least five employees working on the masonry at one time.They did a beautiful job. Moreover, it was necessary. But as I say it was quite expensive. This work lasted about three weeks. I missed the male energy when they left.

Plumbing. Did I mention when the house was built? 1888. Plumbing is a huge concern in this house. My plumber employees and I have even become friends. The top guy invited me to his daughter’s first  communion. I have had to do excavation and continuous here and there touch-ups. I live in the land of plumbing terror. As in: Please dear God make me get through this winter and sell the house in the Spring for l/3 of what I bought it for without another plumbing bill. Plus, I’ve introduced the plumbing employees to the concept of “footies” when they come upstairs. They think it’s a swell idea and use it in other homes now.

Heating and Cooling.  Every year the heating and cooling system is checked.  The men come out in Spring for cooling and autumn for the furnace. This has been going on for the last ten years without fail.  Even so, there is the occasional dreaded call in the middle of February when something doesn’t work.  And they show up – thank God. My heating and cooling employees are pleasant young men whom I occasionally meet at a neighborhood bar. They buy me a glass of wine and we chat about the Blackhawks. They also use footies. So if one considers new parts, footies, etc. – I am also employing certain manufacturers. Same for all the employees and their moving parts.

Roofing. Level roof – no incline, decline. New roof  second year. At least 5 employees. They were around for about a week. Check out roof every other year or so – and we have a reunion.

Let me pause here to mention that I did hire a housing inspector when I bought the house. He got paid.  Apparently for nothing. But again – he got paid.

Yard Work. Up until this year (I’ll be 75 in December) – I did my own mowing and with the help of Edwardo (a talented and generous gardener, landscaper and all-around green guy), we managed. Edwardo is paid well; and he deserves it. Because he is a good man – he sometimes works for nothing – he insists so I would be meanspirited to refuse. Also hired employees for my trees. Edwardo takes care of my bushes and helps with the garden but arborists are occasionally necessary. At this moment, I can hear the lawn service mowing and leaf gathering. I’m just not strong enough to gather autumn leaves anymore. Sad. Did I mention it’s a corner property? Besides the weekly fee, I try to tip the lawn service when I can. They are hard workers and when I can – I do tip. These are my yard maintenance employees. I appreciate them.

Snow. I live in Chicago area. So… one needs a snow service. No getting around it. These employees are often kids but they have all the bells and whistles (snow equipment). Also appreciated employees and wonderful manners I must say. And they are tipped as well – depending on my pocketbook at the moment.

Let me step in here and answer your putative question: Where is Xanthe’s son? Does he never help his mom out? Answer: Darned if I know.

Oh, I could go on and on but perhaps your head has hit the desk in a coma. As well, the reader may be tired of the  I pronoun, but I do write this on behalf of all senior homeowners who cannot do the work they used to in their homes and must hire help. Most especially on behalf of senior women hanging on to their homes who are living alone, and there are many of us. This is often a topic of our gossip. We call ourselves “The Hiring Mavens.”

Yet, we hear again and again how useless and greedy we are. Most disconcerting. To those of you who may say: Well sell the house. A whole ‘nother diary. Let’s not go there this morning.

Lest I forget: Cook County (and other Illinois suburban counties) real estate taxes. Yes, seniors pay high taxes out here. I am paying more than some younger homeowners who didn’t buy at the top of the market. The senior freeze? Don’t make me laugh. Well – okay, I could use a smile.

Query: Since we are job creators, is there any help for us as we are certainly doing our part, and I haven’t even mentioned cabs, house painters, electricians and an army of useful individuals who keep us in our homes. If  banksters are paid handsomely for their nonexistent job creation, will we receive bonuses too. After all, we circulate money in the economy. And we would assuredly run (or hobble) out and spend those bonuses on our children, grandchildren, employees and thrift stores. Not to mention animal charities.

It’s not bloody fair. And to that chorus of Dickensian villains out there (including Dick “we all have to make sacrifices” Durbin) – STFU.


This diary seems to tie into Wigwam’s  most excellent diary up today re SNAP.

And thanks to Brian S., tech extraordinaire,  for retrieving this  diary which I lost early this am in the ethers of blogdom.  I am after all a 1970 Pontiac in 2013 Dubai.

Photo by PINKÉ, used under Creative Commons license

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