Our foundations are falling away from our house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

It’s not. It happened so slowly we didn’t even notice for years. We’re not sure what caused it—could be the sprinkler box outside the bathroom window, leaking. Could be the drought, working on Colorado’s expansive soils and causing them to shrink.

But it has spread to most of one side of the second level of our house. That’s the level the bedrooms balance on. The place where we rest and dream.

We’ve discussed lowering the baseboards, both to hide the problem and to see more clearly if it continues. But we haven’t done it. I have an amazing capacity to live with things, to the point of laziness.

Our house dates from the 1970s, so I think it’s held together pretty well. Every winter it withstands the winds howling down the valley from Boulder and the Foothills. It has a great view.

But it won’t last forever. And it would be a mistake for us to assume we will always have it, just because we have had it.

Go and read this article by an American man whose family fell into poverty.

And go and read, if you haven’t, Leo’s discussion of the causes of poverty worldwide.

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Leave A Comment

  1. steph October 17, 2008 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Beth, love the changes to made to your banner and the blog in general! It looks great!

    Thanks for referring me to those articles. Talk about putting things in perspective.

  2. Beth Partin October 17, 2008 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Yeah, I thought the articles were great.

    I’m trying for a cleaner look on the blog in general, though I haven’t completely figured out how to incorporate ads into it. For now I’m just putting them in the odd post and making sure I don’t have more than 3 ad units per page. It’s a little tricky.

  3. BernardL October 18, 2008 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I won’t profess to know about causes for poverty around the world. I suspect it has to do with leaders like Arafat was in the Middle East, who stole everything intended for the people he supposedly represented. In this country, I believe the reason for poverty is living beyond one’s means, and always assuming saving during the good times is unneeded, because the good times will always be there. I do my part in the fight against poverty. I keep my extended family off the street. It may not be politically correct to believe we have a duty to not let our excesses make us homeless, but everything good in life starts with personal responsibility.

    No, the man’s story of his descent into poverty didn’t move me, nor did his tips on being homeless vagabonds. If he had written about working any menial labor task for eighty hours a week well before he plummeted into oblivion: that would have impressed me.

    No, I don’t believe the USA or the industrialized nations are responsible for third world hell holes. We tried being a ‘meals on wheels’ in Somalia. They dragged our soldiers through the streets. The leader/thieves in power, and the people under them more willing to murder each other, rather than throw off oppressive rule are the reasons for third world poverty. The US government has thrown away enough of our tax dollars in third world toilets to make every one of us millionaires. The only thing it accomplished was to enrich psychopathic leaders, and provide them with mansions on the Riviera.

  4. Beth Partin October 18, 2008 at 10:02 am - Reply


    a few points.

    There’s nothing in the article that indicates this man’s excesses made him homeless. It sounds like he just couldn’t find an academic job. From what I know of academics, having been a graduate student, it’s not an easy field to break into. You can’t apply year-round for academic jobs; usually the process begins in the fall and continues into the spring.

    Most people say looking for a job is a full-time occupation. Yeah, maybe he should have stood out on the street with the day laborers. But he did eventually succeed in a getting a job doing what he was trained to do. It’s not as if he stood around saying, “Feed me, TANF!”

    My problem with a lot of people in the United States is that they’ve grown up with the idea that the actions of the United States around the world are always benign or beneficial. They’re not always positive. Sometimes they’re negative. No one and no country is perfect, so can’t we just own up to the fact that we’ve caused some problems? So have other countries. Why are we so invested in having a perfect country? It’s really weird, I think. We need to get over ourselves.

    It’s true that Arafat was corrupt, and that the Palestinian Authority was corrupt after he died. So are many other leaders. So was Kellogg, Brown & Root (Halliburton’s subsidiary); even the Pentagon went after them on more than one occasion for their overbilling in the current Iraq war. Corruption is not something that happens only in poor countries, and rich countries and corporations often use “the rot” to their advantage. Why do you think so many things are made in China now? Because the standards aren’t as high, and thus it’s cheaper.

    I don’t believe that the United States is solely responsible for “Third World hell-holes.” But the colonial system does bear a great deal of responsibility, and it didn’t completely end when all the countries in Africa became independent in the 1960s. Its effects lingered, and one can make a good argument (I know, because I read a lot of this stuff, for and against, as a copyeditor) that Structural Adjustment Programs and other such “help” proferred by the First World to the Third World was mainly designed to help the First World.

    When you think about it, it’s logical that developed countries would offer (to other countries) what works for them. That’s not necessarily exploitative or evil in design, but the effects may be very bad for countries on the receiving end that lack the infrastructure or regulations to cope.

    That last point of mine was the main point Leo was trying to make in his article, and I wish you–and the other commentors on his site–would see the justice in it.