Well it is another Tuesday night here in the shack. I just finished paying bills and I am feeling irritable. It is not surprising, nor shocking to feel this way, but a little tedious. Allow me to vent, to spew out the negative energy and recharge my batteries.
Today marked the second trip the plumber has made to my house in the last week. We have a very large tree in front of my home, it is beautiful, but it is killing my pipes and starting to impact my pocketbook.
Sooner or later there is going to be a showdown between the tree and I. If I allow the tree to stay I can figure that in the not so distant future I am going to be tearing up my driveway and rerouting the pipe from the curb to the house. Depending on the plumber it will cost anywhere between $1800 to $3,000 to do the work. Now I realize that this is a big range, but it is impacted in part by whether I hire someone who is licensed to do the work.
There is no question about this, I want the license because I need to have some kind of recourse if he screws it up because I could literally be up the creek without a paddle.
When the driveway is torn up is also the perfect time to have my cracked asphalt replaced with concrete or some other substitute. So we can figure that the tree is going to cost me around $5k, not to mention that if I leave it standing the birds that live there can still use my car for target practice.
Ok, the reality is that I am not going to kill the tree, but I am going to kick it and swear at it. I am going to threaten the tree and ask it in a very stern tone to leaf me alone, but I am less than optimistic about it.
My sprinklers need to fixed too, in both the front and the backyard because they are just barely functioning. I can do the work and save a lot of money, but I don’t expect to. I won’t do it because I can hire someone who can do it faster and better than I can.
I am not real happy about this, but it is my home and I don’t won’t to get cheap about things like that. I am willing to pay for quality. Some people don’t think about this in realistic terms, but I try to.
In a past life I used to sell diamond blades that were used for cutting concrete. Certain blades cost about ten times as much as the cheaper abrasive model, but they also used to last substantially longer. I used to have these silly conversations with people about how much the diamond blades cost in which I would chart out the additional cost of the diamond blade versus the abrasive and the cost of the time it took to replace a spent abrasive blade.
It was trues that they were cheaper, but they wore out faster and consequently you had to replace them more frequently. And that cost all sorts of money.
If you were the person paying the cutter you wanted them to work nonstop or as close to it as possible. But every time they had to stop to change the blade you lost the time it took to change the blade and took the chance that they might decide to use that time to take a break. So in the end the savings didn’t always add up and sometimes by spending more you could actually end up ahead of the game.
So I am going to pay someone to fix the sprinklers, reroute the line and do a couple of other things. I keep fixing my back gate, but my repairs are like band-aids that get wet. They stick briefly but never quite last. Add that gate to the list of things that need to be done.
There is some painting of the trim and the need to replace a door and about 16 other things. I am far more critical of the house and chances are that you wouldn’t agree with most of what I see, but I live here and I see it.
I am proud of this house. We got it without any assistance from anyone, that includes the downpayment. And for the most part I have kept us afloat here for four years, been running the whole show on my own for almost 5 now. Ok, it is only 4.5, but I am proud of it because not everyone can do it.
But sometimes when I look in the mirror I see how it has aged me. Sometimes in the still of the night I sit up in bed and consider all that I have to care for in my kingdom and I wonder if my shoulders are broad enough.
My life is much easier than others and harder than some. I am a survivor and always will be, but like Tevye said I wonder if it would be so hard to give me more than a couple of kopeks to play with.