This morning when I wake up too early to the cleaners, here to clean the day care only perhaps this time round, not the second floor, as a cost cutting measure, I read my e-mails, tired having stayed up too late, having spent much of yesterday entering bank statements into Moneydance, the alternative to Quicken, and this morning for once I read the NYTimes that comes in my inbox each day. On Friday I gave up on the NYTimes, erased over a full year’s worth of morning messages requesting my attention for the news, to which I felt compelled to subscribe for my own good, for the good of the world, but rarely read. Today I read the leading article, all about state budgets, and the need for us all to face reality, or not, I think, now, wondering if I read because of my own immersion in finances this weekend, my own angst about the reality or unreality of my own budget here, my wish to get it all straight in my head, on paper, on the computer, to have a plan and a budget that will work out, not just this week or this month or this year, but long term. I owed quarterly taxes this week and I held off paying, till other things were in order, tuition deposited, bills paid, account balances verified, house cleaned, dishes done, son conversed with and fed. Even in a quiet house with only the two of us, all these things take time, and somehow, here I am on Monday of a long weekend, having stayed home to catch up, as buried as the newly elected governors in angst and worry, trying to get it done, to make and balance a budget, to get the reality and unreality to fit, to balance the want and need, the wishes and dreams and potential and ability to pull it all off.

The image one governor used to describe the state’s budgets in this time of fiscal crises struck home:

“an old house in need of an overhaul.

“There are too many rooms, and they aren’t the right size,” Mr. Kitzhaber said. “There’s no insulation, and the windows are drafty. And the cost of keeping this house is more than the family can afford. The roof needs to be replaced, and the siding is falling off.”

When I read it, all I could think was, I did lose that roof last year, and I managed to have it repaired. The back porch roof needs repairing next, but that can wait. The siding was falling off and we replaced that a few years back and it ought to last many more. There hadn’t been any insulation, and we had that blown in, too. The windows are drafty as hell, but last fall I had a bunch of them rebuilt. There are many more in need of that, or of replacing, and we need new storm windows, and the house is shifting and nothing lines up straight, and there are too many rooms and it’s not clear at all that the eight hundred and fifty dollar oil bill this month is something this family can afford, but for now, we’re doing it, we’re doing it and holding our own.

When I got my accounts entered, bank statements finished last night at 1:30 am, after a break to play Pentago with my son, who I beat twice, big deal for me, and who beat me so many times I didn’t count, said his head hurt from thinking too many moves ahead, and observed that I couldn’t see that particular move and I agreed, I couldn’t see it coming at all, no matter how many times he did it, and I extended the break to go to a party with a bunch of mom friends, to drink sparkling wine and eat chocolate and nuts and dried salami and olives on lavash bread, while the host’s kids slept, her husband was away on business, my kids were in Western MA with their dad, in the other house that must surely be more than this family can afford,  and home on the computer, endless gamer testing his mother’s ability to set limits, to know what’s right, and we talked about religion, and communism and fervor and anger and disinterest, and the simplicity of a country church or a reform synagogue, the glory of a cathedral, the vitality of a black church, the comfort of kripalu and a new home in a modern religion that feels right, that acknowledges we are all a part of something larger, or going churchless, synogogueless (?), about wreaths and Christmas, about schools of all stripes, public, private, charter, homeschool, and then I was back to the books, and when I woke this morning, my head and heart were in both places, friend coming for a visit, son asleep, cleaners downstairs, piles of work left to do, laundry to wash and dry and fold and put away, floors to sweep and vacuum, piles to sort and tidy and move along, receipts to write for families, tuition to deposit, friend to meet for Charter School work, contacts to make on that group’s behalf, groceries to list and buy and lug and put away, meals to prepare and eat and pack away for later, dishes to wash and shelve and wash again.

And just now in my mind  from the side of the grave on the cold and wintry day (just two short days ago) I hear Taps, Day is Done, and I think of our dear friend’s dad, gone from this world, gone from all these cares, gone, gone, gone also from the ones he loved and who loved him, from the ones he struggled with even, and who struggled with him, and I figure I’ll get through, as will the states and their budgets, moving along in our own versions, individual, shared, communal, of reality and unreality, all the way, as they say, to the other side, where ever that or they may be.

The dream of Salvation might be as much from the burdens of this world as from our sins.

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