Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Staying focused

to concentrate: to focus one's thoughts

I want to end 2017 by being able to point to concrete achievements. To do that, I must focus

I love the baked spaghetti pie at a local restaurant. I really, really love it. It's gooey. It's yummy. If I could, I'd marry it.

Today, after I voted, I could have just walked up the street and rewarded myself with that fantastic spaghetti pie. But I didn't. I came home and had a hot dog and salad, all with ingredients found in my refrigerator.

I had time. I had cash in my wallet. But I kept going because I kept my focus. After all, I just voted to increase my own property taxes. If that referendum passes, it's another $30/month that I have to find somewhere in my already weary budget.


I have spent all my adult life in this neighborhood, but I didn't become a homeowner until I was nearly 45 years old. When I rented, I always voted "yes" on referendums because 1) I wasn't being assessed the resulting tax increase, my landlord was* and 2) schools, libraries and parks benefit us all.

I never have been able to stand those people who vote "no" because they don't have kids, or because their kids are grown. Having a family-friendly community with safe facilities raises everyone's property values. And then there's the moral imperative. Children are everyone's responsibility. It does take a village to raise a child.

And yet today, I was tempted to become one of those people. There's a local election today, and a rather expensive referendum is on the ballot. I'm taking today off work because I'm collecting estimates from two contractors and will soon learn how very much it's going to cost to repair my living room wall.

My condo association fees have gone up. My county property taxes have gone up. I need a new mattress and box spring. I have to take my Mac in to the repair shop but I wish I could replace it instead. My little TVs are both (gulp) 17 years old and nowhere near up to date with new technology.

Unless you're very involved in local politics, you may not even know we're voting today. In elections like this, one vote matters a great deal.

I'm going to do the right thing. I refuse to be one of those people. I'm going to vote "yes."

But I admit it's not as easy as I always thought it was.

*In my community, there's a ceiling on rent increases. No matter how many spending bills pass, my landlord could never raise my rent more than 5%.