One of the reasons why I was able to survive on so little money last year is because I already had a lot of the things that one needs to look presentable and take on the world: good coats, for example, and suit jackets and boots.
I had functional things that allowed me to work: a car, a computer, a bar card.
I even had bits and pieces that make life a little better: a full box of q-tips, extra tubes of toothpaste, a happy light.
I didn't need much, because I'd already acquired most of the things one needs to be relatively comfortable in the world.
Now that I have a new job - albeit one that is temporary and does not pay much - everything is falling apart.
My computer was a little ahead of schedule - it died right as I got a check for the Major Work Event last year.
My car is making a noise when it goes over bumps, and it probably needs some strut or something replaced. Also it is about due for a timing belt.
My q-tips and toothpaste have or soon will run out.
My long wool coat is missing a button and the lining is falling out.
And now my boots, my beloved boots, are starting to give out on me.
My favorite grey pair started leaking, and when I looked closely, the leather has started cracking and tearing away from the molded sole. I don't think it can be fixed without molding a whole new sole. This is very bad news in a place where it rains from October to June. Feet cold and wet, all day long.
I wore one of my black pairs last weekend, only to discover when I took them off that one of the soles has cracked completely in half.
Another black pair is starting to look beaten and misshapen.
I have one black pair that still holds together.
I cannot wear the same pair of boots every day. (It is really bad for the leather and shortens the lifespan of the boot.) I can fix the black pair with the broken sole, but those boots are a little too much like combat boots to wear to work most days. They only work with certain outfits without looking like I am dangerous.
Today I wore the grey pair (it wasn't raining), and when I took them off at the end of the day, I saw that the sole on those is also starting to split open.
i really did expect better from a $150 pair of boots. This is only their third winter. (Note: I did not pay $150 for them. They were on clearance.)
Apparently I am now going to have to start fixing and replacing all the things that lasted so well while I didn't have a real job.
Here is the real dilemma: with what do I replace them? The car parts are easy, as are the q-tips and toothpaste. The vital question, though: should replacement boots be the cheap kind (downsides: must be replaced practically yearly, uncomfortable; upsides: cheap right now, possibly own more pairs) or the expensive kind (downside: expensive, probably only one new pair; upside: possibly last forever if made right)?