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June 9, 2013

Anderson column: Made in the shade: How to escape from all the bad news

My favorite summer destination is my back yard.

When my partner Chip bought the rope hammock for me, the double-trunk maple tree had a tight canopy, creating deep shade that was many degrees cooler than the surrounding sunlight. Over the years, some of the heavier branches have become horizontal, with two of them positioned just above my reclining body. Even those smaller branches at the top have spread out to allow sunlight and heat into my space. It was time to move.

Fortunately, the tree had an offspring, which has its own tight canopy, creating a dark tunnel between the younger maple and the arbor vitae. My rope hammock was moved there just in time for the weekend heat wave, which I had to escape because the window air-conditioner won’t be installed until the new living room window arrives.

I’ve been making my house more energy efficient, one attic, two doors, one window at a time – I don’t borrow money, just save up and do projects when I have the cash. This lifelong dislike of borrowing is why the seemingly inevitable economic crisis doesn’t scare me as much as it would if I owed money. The only thing that worries me is the idea of out-of-control property taxes, which were the norm in the early years of my mortgage, when my family struggled to pay them.

We voters eventually achieved some control by passing Proposition 2 ½ in 1980. But at a recent State House hearing on taxes, House Revenue Chairman Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, said that maybe “it’s time to take a look at Proposition 2½.’” And this is why I don’t retire permanently to my hammock: Eternal vigilance is the price of keeping my housing affordable.

The heat wave sent me to a weekend retirement, though, an escape from the ongoing drumbeat of government-dysfunction news:

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