Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things Don't Last

Ever notice how things don’t last anymore? I once had a dryer that lasted twenty years...never even a repair call. That dryer died in the fourth year of my current marriage. Now, in only eight years, we are getting another dryer. Ditto on the washing machines. Twenty years, not a problem. Broke within a week of the old dryer. Washing machines, however, have it even rougher than dryers. We bought the third washing machine of our marriage this past fall.

I lived in a house in Germany that was over five hundred years old. I am getting worn out trying to maintain my current forty year old house. Nothing lasts anymore.

When our kids are gone and we buy our house in Scotland, I’m opting for one that is at least two hundred years old. I have my eye on one that was built in 1698 on the Isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. It is currently owned by an English family who use it all of two months each year. The house overlooks my ancestral home of Finlaggan Castle (my MacDonald roots are showing). This is a picture of the castle ruins from the front gate of the house.

Or if I had $7 million laying around today I’d buy Borthwick Castle, which came on the market just last month. Borthwick Castle was completed in 1430. With walls fifteen feet thick, it was virtually impregnable . Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle frequently. Oliver Cromwell laid seige to the castle in 1650. It was the last castle in Scotland to fall to Cromwell. Damage caused by Cromwell's artillery to the tower on the left is still visible. They built ‘em to last back in those days!

Books…I’ve got books that are falling apart and are less than ten years old. Then I have my old books. The ones I like to collect. I’m talking two hundred plus years. My oldest complete book was printed in 1611…ok it was rebound in the 1800’s, but the pages, though yellowed are still supple. They made them to last back then. I have a partial book of the Acts of the Scottish Parliament from 1497, it was damaged in a fire in 1712, but the remaining pages are still supple. Once upon a time things were made to last and/or be repaired. Nowadays it’s, throw it away and buy another.

There is one thing I am glad doesn’t last – teenagers! Mine are driving me crazy. I’m glad I never was one!


Ello said...

Oh wow on the buying a 200 year old house! I love the idea of the strong foundations but all the old houses I've been in feels damp and moldy. Maybe they just haven't been taken care of well. But what a lovely idea about buying your estate in Scotland. Modern appliances might not last that long anymore, but I wouldn't trade them for any of the oldfashioned ways!

And I am not looking forward to the teenage years. I wonder if I should send them to boarding school just for 13 to 16? ;o)

J. L. Krueger said...


We've frequently threatened ours with boarding school! Our oldest daughter (16) is just now turning back to human, but she has relapses now and then.

The new dryer arrives tomorrow. In the meantime, we've been drying the old fashioned way. Luckily, the weather has been cooperating.

One does have to be selective when opting for a real old house. They can indeed be damp and moldy if not properly maintained.

The Muse said...

That view! Wow. You know, things just aren't made like they used to be...I'd love to live in an old castle. 7 million? Let me call the bank to check my balance. Maybe we could get into a bidding war over it.

I love our dryer. It works great (knocking on wood). It actually belonged to my grandparents before me. The set was purchased @ 1982, I think. Get this they're Monkey Wards brand. When the set was in the garage, I ran into the dryer once and put a huge dent right in the front near the door. It still works beautifully. Now that's quality.

Too bad Montgomery Wards is no more, I'd buy a set like that again in a heartbeat.

Ello said...

You know I have heard that 16 is the age where humanity returns. But the other problem with modern times is that kids turn into teens younger so instead of starting at 13, I'm being told 11 and 12 are the ages where they turn into little monsters. Oh joy! 3 in a row. Seriously, I don't know how I will survive! ;o)

J. L. Krueger said...


How's this? Mine are 18, 16, 15, and 14!

The 18 is out on his own and in the Army (his unit deploys to Iraq this summer).

The middle girl is the most level-headed, but has those evil moments.

Youngest is a real pain. Throughout her young life, she's been whacked more than the other three combined!

All of ours turned "ugly" when they hit middle school.