2013-1103dreamToday’s artwork is an art journal page, worked on watercolor paper with—go figure—watercolors. I finally busted open the package of Twinkling H20s I bought for my birthday last month, and took them out for a spin. I liked them. In fact, I liked them so much that I bought another handful of colors after I did this page.

Those will probably be the last art supplies I buy this year, which is a sad statement. I love buying art supplies, even if it’s just to restock watercolor paper, or to refill the leads in my favorite pencils. There’s something so full of possibilities about buying the raw materials I use in my work. Some day soon, these assorted items will be something—else. Maybe something wonderful.

The reason for the art supply embargo is that my 20+ year old HVAC system finally had the last rights this week. When the a/c motor blew a few months ago, I got myself on an annual plan that included fall and spring checkups. The same guy who replaced the motor came out to do my fall checkup, and while he was cleaning the system and getting the heater ready to run, he discovered that at some point, there had been an actual fire in the unit. I’m thinking that happened when the roof was replaced, and roofing gunk rained down into the cabinet, including down the flue.

Anyway, repair dude asked me if I had a carbon monoxide detector, and when I said no, he recommended that I not go to sleep until I bought and installed one. In his estimation, the demise of my system was imminent, and there was every reason to believe it could take me with it. I asked if we could duct tape and bailing wire it until January, when I’ll be a little more solvent financially, and he didn’t think he could make it last that long.

Long story, slightly shorter: I had a new HVAC system put in, to the tune of $6,000, which I honestly do not have.

$6,000 seems to be my number this year. Every so often, I go through a cycle where there are a group of large expenses about the same amount. In 2013, it’s $6,000. That’s how much the in the hospital, under anesthetic biopsy that found my cancer cost. It’s how much medical debit I ended up financing after all my available cash was wiped out. Now, it’s how much I financed to get a new climate control system.

Sadly, or maybe mercifully, I can see what will break this cycle: my computer is starting to send up signs that the hard drive is going to fail. Maybe not right away, but I’m certainly starting to price new systems. Since I do so much graphics work, I need a desktop, with a big, fat hard drive, plenty of RAM, and a decent graphics card. The good news is that I can replace what I have now with the exact same thing for 50% less than I paid for it four years ago, and it will certainly keep me going for another four years. I can maybe do some tiny upgrades, and still come in under $1,000.

Where that thousand dollars will come from is a question to be answered some other day. For now, I’m going to go stare at the lovely blue screen of my swanky new thermostat…