Ring symbolizes commitment to work ethic

Be careful not just what you wish for, but what you complain about. No sooner did I write about being nickeled and dimed, dollar and debit-carded, when all kinds of small and not-so-small things starting going wrong around my house. Isn’t that how it always goes?

When multiple household items, ranging from clothes dryer knobs to diamond rings, simultaneously went on the fritz, I decided to replace the pennies in my loafers with nickels to reflect being nickeled and dimed at every turn.

The furnace required two repair visits, a new nozzle and set of sensors; the aging tapestry fabric on everyone’s favorite fainting couch in the parlor gave way via a long, unsightly tear down its center; and a paring knife got dropped down the kitchen sink drain and was blocking water drainage, necessitating tearing apart the plumbing to remove it.

Then my cell phone finked out on me. I could not hear incoming callers unless I put them on speaker phone. So much for confidential conversation. I had to purchase a replacement phone two months before my contract expired. Yippee!

In the category of less urgent matters that didn’t have to be taken care of right away, but were due to the annoyance factor, the volume on my kitchen CD/radio player went on the fritz (CD setting only). The repair estimate exceeded the cost of a new unit, so I replaced it. Hey, we didn’t want groceries that month, anyway.

And finally, or so I thought, my favorite, one-of-a-kind music-themed clock that hangs above the self-destructing fainting couch succumbed to peer pressure and acted out by refusing to keep time. Clock repair cost ran roughly two-and-a-half times its original price. I guess you can put a value on attachment. At least the clock shop had free pick-up.

Just when I thought it was safe to go to bed, I discovered I was wrong. When I tossed my pajamas into the dryer so they would feel toasty, the dryer’s timer setting knob broke off in my hand. Instead of showering that night, I took a hosing on eBay locating a replacement. In the interim, I “borrowed” the knob off the permanent press/delicate cycle control. MacGyver would have been proud!

The final blow came from one of my students at work, whose watch battery expired. He had a new battery, but no one was able to pry the back from his large-faced, waterproof Timex Indiglo watch. I knew exactly what he was up against because I own that same watch and have to go to one of those opportunistic, high-priced battery stores to get it re-batteried.

Before all the household repairs tried to get into my pocket, I had earmarked money from the upcoming paycheck to go toward repairing a special ring that had broken two years ago. I had been unemployed at the time and a jeweler had quoted me $200 for the repair. I had to decline, for while the ring had great symbolic value, it was not a necessity.

When I was 20 and waitressing my way through college, I had come home one night and bellyached self-righteously to my father that I was the only employee who got stuck vacuuming the dining room floor at the end of the shift. And I was the only employee who vacuumed the way we’d been instructed, by back-breakingly moving all the tables.

My father was less-than-sympathetic. He asked if I was being paid to move the tables and when I said I was, he suggested I shut up and continue to move the tables, no matter how hard or unfair it felt. That’s why they call it work. End of discussion.

The next time I was moving tables and vacuuming underneath, something shiny caught my eye: a 1920 circa gold ring set with a mine cut diamond. I turned it over to the restaurant owner. When, six months later, no one had claimed it, he gave it to me for my hard work and honesty (someone had noticed!).

I took the ring to a different jeweler last week, who fixed it for $85 dollars. The jeweler also replaced my student’s watch battery as part of the deal. Hopefully, because I asked nicely. The special gold ring is back on my hand, serving as a visual reminder to keep moving the tables even when it feels like life has turned them on you. Commitment counts.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Janet Koehler
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 02:29:29

    Excellent lessons here!!!


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