We’re having our dining room floor joists replaced. It’s an interesting process here in the Lowcountry, where most homes have a crawl space instead of a basement.
Our house is from the mid-60s. It sits on a brick foundation which sits on a concrete footing, and underneath the house itself is a smooth dirt floor. Our house in Raleigh was the same, but we could actually go underneath the downhill part, and it had a door. We actually put shelving down there and kept things in it, like a shed, albeit a cramped one. We don’t have hills in the Lowcountry. And you do not want to crawl around that 2 foot “crawl space” in the damp and dark.
The man who does these projects for us, knew just how to approach it, though, and when he got the new flooring off the old hardwood, pulled out the subflooring, and was down into the supports themselves — those he could pull off and apart with his hands.
Way more of them were that rotted than were sound…the dining room floor was becoming like a trampoline — because of an oxymoron called dry rot.
Dry rot is actually caused by wet. We live in a very wet environment. Despite putting barriers in for critters and termites, the moisture in some areas is just as destructive.
When you get 16 inches of rain in a hurricane, for example, it is 5 inches deep in some parts of the yard, but all that water is also seeping into the suspension of earth all around it and the moisture is invasive.
In our world, moisture is a fact of life, and it settles in wood.
But you can’t really see it. The surfaces look fine.
For example, we knew when a joist had failed because we could feel it under the flooring. What we couldn’t see was that everything around it was also rotten.
The builder joked that the only thing holding up the floor was the hardwood* under the new surface we put on 7 years ago. Everything below it was an illusion.
Dry rot is like osteoporosis for wood. An old person puts out their arm to break a fall, the way they always have, and now it breaks, because inside the shell of bone is air, not a mesh supporting framework. The surface looks okay, but the inside supports have turned to dust.
Our country is like that.
Freedom in America is like that.
It has rotted from within.
And we’ve been asleep at the wheel.
We have thought the systems in place would work forever, because everyone wanted a great country, like it had always been. But many years ago our education system started teaching communism, under the guise of socialism. It invaded our courts, and our government. The medical establishment began to value payoffs more than their patients’ actual health, so they threw prescriptions at us, and expensive “cures” that didn’t. Music went from melodies about sad love affairs to rapid rants about whores and drug dealers. Hollywood slid into a scummy underworld of cynicism and sin, and we became desensitized to violence and the lack of values. And don’t even get me started on sports…
….everything around us now is subject to the whims of someone’s concept of reality, whether it’s actual or mental. There is no “real” real any more, when a man who identifies as a woman wins a women’s swimming event, and a woman in the running for the Supreme Court can’t define what a woman is.
Think of how wildwest it will become without police. The police are like the vapor barrier under our floor — there wasn’t one, and everything was ready to cave in. The new floor is protected with a double vapor barrier. And that’s what we’ll need to get back our country, too. Actual enforcement of the laws that protect us.
In Genesis, God gives us the earth and the stewardship of it. That means to take care of it. Taking care of the earth is not putting exorbitant fees on carbon products. It’s making sure the forests are culled of deadwood, and the herds are healthy.
Making sure that the people you serve are healthy themselves. Including you. It’s not for no reason that “leaders” used to be “held to a higher standard.” It showed how it’s done. It meant applying a good, sound value system to the systems. Actually adding value.
Being a good steward of something doesn’t mean to lock it in a vault and not use it. Nor does it mean to place no value on things, so that they decay, blow away, get stolen. These days they are stolen by the people who are supposed to protect them.
We are supposed to protect and grow the lives (and places) around us. You wouldn’t let your 3 year old wander around a dangerous intersection by herself. You would try to keep a fire away from your house. You don’t leave your car open to the elements, or unlocked downtown. It is simple common sense. Which, apparently, is neither simple nor common any more.
(And, as an aside, “common sense” is the knowledge of the common folk. Practical knowledge. Useful and sound. The aristocracy was often privately tutored, and, therefore, removed from “common sense.”)
None of the people we have hired or elected to be stewards of our country seem interested in anything other than the money available to skim from that position, whatever it is. Public office is a license to steal. No one serves the people.
And there are no longer any consequences for that. Or for ruining things. Or allowing them to be ruined, destroyed, stolen. None. In major cities in this country you can now walk into a store and just steal whatever you want. No one will challenge you, and if they do, you are freed without bail within minutes of the charge.
So, why try to take care of anything? Or work at it?
Look at the number of people who are willingly homeless. Or very nearly.
If you asked half the people under 40 if they would rather have an interesting job and make significant money — or watch TV and get a handout and foodstamps……what do you think the majority would choose?
Am I too cynical?
Well, we have a system right now that is so broken we have roads and bridges that are truly dangerous. They cave in and fall down.
Our military is taking social consciousness classes instead of readiness drills. Our “president” told Russia he didn’t mind a minor incursion of Ukraine (as long as it covered up the crimes of his family and all the significant people in congress who are also laundering money there.)
Everyone in America can be bought. Everyone in Ukraine.
Everyone has a price.
Not Christians you say? I give you Joel Osteen.
Not charitable “foundations?” Hillary and Bill have given less than one percent of the money they raised “for Haiti” to Haiti. Bono, who the ever illustrious Speaker of the House quoted in regards to the aforementioned Ukraine – his “foundation” gave less than one percent to the poor he is supposedly “helping.” Evidently, there is no oversight of “charities” either. They are just another means of grift and graft, and one percent to the needy must be the magic number.
I could go on, but…..
Our country, and possibly the entire “civilized world,” is living on a brittle shelf above a deep abyss. Our entire “civilization” is resting on the illusion of substance. The systems and people in charge have been eroded by the rot of greed.
It we lean on it too hard, it will shatter like that 90 year old arm bone or crack like our joist — and there will be no foundation below it, not even a nicely swept dirt floor.
It’s going to take some real “infrastructure repair” and I don’t mean the pork in the bill in “congress.”
My dining room was finished in three days. I hope the work starts soon on the joists and rafters around us, the ones that keep us safe from harm. But hope is not a strategy, so we take care that we are secured and prepared.
It does no good to throw up our arms and say there is nothing we can do. If you do that, you are like the person on the roof in the flood — you know the story. A boat comes by and offers a ride, and the person declines, saying “I’m fine, God will save me.” After a helicopter and another boat, he drowns and goes to heaven and asks God why he didn’t’ save him and God replies, “I sent several boats and a helicopter…”
This is that moment. Don’t be that guy. Our civilization is on the roof. Stand up and wave, and get on the boat. Shore up the rafters and the joists. Put food away for the people, like Joseph in Egypt. Don’t leave the weapons behind for the enemy, like Joe in Afghanistan.
Have a voice in who’s teaching your children and spend time with your grandchildren. Plant a garden, and show them how. Take the time to get to know your neighbors, because if there is a SHTF moment any time soon, we will all need to work together.
*The hardwood couldn’t be saved this time, though.
Here’s Roger Simon’s take on it from his neighborhood, one aspect of being “asleep at the wheel.” You can’t complain when someone wins an election if no one is running against them….this is what we’ve done.