Ego, Deservedness, and a Radiator

Liz Sumner Progress 2 Comments

This is about lengths we go to avoid giving ourselves what we truly want.

We live in an apartment that was built 100 years before Columbus was born. It’s been fixed up a bit since then, but not entirely modernized. When we first moved here in 2011 there was no hot water in the kitchen. We “solved” that by adding a 10-liter hot water heater. Do you have any idea how quickly 10 liters of water gets used up? It’s about one dinner’s worth of dishes minus pots and pans.

There’s a fireplace in the large, central room which we rarely use, and sometime in the last 30 years they installed a large gas heater intended to heat the entire apartment. It didn’t succeed. We’ve been supplementing with electric space heaters and dreaming of the day we could install radiators in every room.

We’d gotten a rough estimate of the cost a few years ago and I put it at the top of the wish list. “When we get a big windfall we’ll spring for it,” we told ourselves. Then another winter goes by with me wrapped in triple layers and sniffling.

What stopped us from investing in a basic, middle class commodity like heat? I kept putting conditions on it– this must happen before we can allow ourselves the luxury of not being cold. I must get an additional new client, sell a deluxe program, give up something else in exchange. There was even a touch of, “Who am I to think I can have this expensive renovation? You haven’t done what it takes!”

Somehow reason took over and I vowed not to go through another winter being cold. It took perseverance to make that decision a reality. Because we live in an historic district you can’t just call up a heating service– you have to go through hoops with the commune. I made the initial inquiry on August 1st. August is vacation month so the appointment to discuss what we wanted wasn’t scheduled until early September. The estimate was presented to us in early October. We were told the work would begin in early November. The workers arrived the day before Thanksgiving.

But now we have lovely heat and infinite hot water. We have radiators in every room. The one in the bathroom is horizontal so I can hang the towels on it and they’re toasty warm. Michael can take a long bath and I can take a long shower immediately after!

May I always feel this sense of gratitude and appreciation.

What are you withholding from yourself with the mistaken belief that you don’t deserve it? Take a close look at any desires you’re putting off. What would you choose if you truly valued yourself?


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Comments 2

  1. My flight back to the US in late August of this year was easily the worst flight I have ever been on, bar none. Yes, even counting the one where I was strangely beset by fleas or other biting insects while sitting belted in my Moroccan Airline seat. And worse than the one where I ended up next to a body builder whose shoulders were so expansive that one of them overlapped my chest and formed an awkward relationship with my right shoulder and breast.

    My late-summer flight was low cost and completely grueling, from the ridiculously narrow seats, the out of order bathrooms, the inedible food, to the inept staff (That’s a rarity!). I ended up with a pinched nerve in my hip and a gimpy leg that grew worse with every climb to my daughter’s fifth floor flat.

    I tried not to kvetch beyond a scathing review for Euro-Atlantic, but my daughter picked up on my consumption of acetaminophen and made a wise suggestion. “Mom, next time pay the extra money and fly on a real airline. You are worth it.”

    That comment, in less than 20 words, echoes the blog post you wrote about finally getting heat in the house. Somehow, in my unnecessary zeal to save $200, I was willing to suffer 9.5 hours of excruciating economy.

    I can easily picture you, Liz, in several layers of warming draperies, living through the bitter cold that those not living in stone houses will never know. I thank you for the reminder that the brain needs to keep asking “Why?” even if we think we know the answer.

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