Posted by Lorraine (L.L.) Bartlett

BridgeThe recent collapse of the Minneapolis bridge was a warning to America that our infrastructure is failing. That's not surprising, considering that the U.S. system of repair and new-building is based on accepting the lowest bid. Pay crap--you get crap. In Europe, the road beds are several feet deeper than ours. They last decades, not just a couple of years, and without the hassle of potholes.

I repeat: YOU PAY CRAP, YOU GET CRAP.

This past week hubby and I had to have our roof replaced. Not just the shingles, but 90% of the decking. We could've bought a very nice car for what this cost, or had three wonderful vacations in England. Instead, we're hoping the new roof will last 20+ years. We gambled by tossing a few hundred bucks every couple of years at trying to fix the problem and lost.

No sooner had we contracted for that, than the furnace in our 40-year-old home died. DIED! No heat. A cracked heat-exchanger. Dead and gone. Our home-front infrastructure is falling apart before our eyes. We're waiting for the bad news from furnace place. And now we're afraid to open the garage door, or even the front door for fear something else will fall apart.

And to top that off, now I've chipped a tooth. And I'm between dentists. Not to mention that I lost a full quarter of a molar not less than a month ago, and I no longer have dental insurance. Oh woe is (my) teeth.

Mr. Furnace-Man relit our pilot and said, "I can't turn the furnace on. If you gas yourselves (carbon monoxide poisoning by turning it on) that's your fault." (I thank the maker I asked and received a carbon monoxide alarm for Christmas last year.) This won't cost near the amount of the roof, but it's money we weren't expecting to spend.

So the point of this post? The next time your local government wants to pay to have something repaired/replaced....maybe you should think of the long haul. Maybe it IS better to pay a little bit more on the front end and have the job done correctly. Otherwise you'll end up like us. Yeah, I wish I had gone for the roof repair four years ago when I still had a real job.

Penny wise, pound foolish.

Sometimes you're better to cough up the pounds ($$$) first.

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