It's springtime - and in my neighborhood that means everyone gets out and starts some kind of home improvement project. From new landscaping to remodeling bathrooms (something I feel like an expert on by now) to painting - there is always something going on at one of the neighbor's houses.
And we're not exempt from that. My current project is cleaning up the awnings on our house. We've got A LOT of windows - half of which are currently capped by 1980's forest green awnings that have seen better days.
It is an understatement to say I don't like the look of them.
But I like the shade they provide and they do give us some privacy on our corner lot. So I called the awning company to get someone out to give me an estimate. They sent Delores.
And Delores was delightful. She suggested colors and trims and talked about paint colors. She pretty much solved all my home's exterior issues.
And then she gave me an estimate. Replacing 10 awnings is not an inexpensive endeavor.
But as Delores said - if I don't replace them they won't look any better tomorrow. They will just keep deteriorating, getting worse and worse every year. And, Delores reminded me that new awnings are an investment that will actually add value to my home. And, if maintained and cared for, would last 20 years or more.
She also reminded me that, if I don't take care of my faded, dilapidated awnings, replacing them would only cost me more in the future.
I asked Delores if she'd ever attended one of my presentations - because she was saying the same things about awnings that I say about infrastructure.
If we don't do something about the problems we have with our infrastructure today, they will just continue to worsen. The pot holes will not stop forming, the bridges will not stop deteriorating, the rail crossings will not become more safe, the concrete at the riverports will not stop cracking, and the transit buses will not stop needing to be replaced.
And if we maintain what we have - which truly is a multi-modal interconnected transportation network - it will serve our state for decades, increasing our economic development opportunities, educational opportunities, and improving the lives of our citizens.
I agreed with everything Delores said about the awnings - and Delores agreed with everything I said about infrastructure investment.
I just hope that we all agree that we need to make the investments today so it doesn't cost us all more in the future.