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Walking on Water

So after getting into my home, I realized there were a lot of idiosyncrasies that we had to learn about this home.  each home has its own rhythm and the real test is how quickly we understand them and respond accordingly. I should have known that water would be a prevalent theme.  When your home says this is my Achilles heel, it would be good to bring a foot doctor to the party.

When I first moved in, one of the great features in the house was a Jacuzzi.  I loved that Jacuzzi.  I loved water…I would sit in it for at least an hour a couple of times a day.  That was doable since I work out of my house.

Then little projects started to spring up.  We have  basement that has a sump pump.  Every year you want to make sure it works.  You can go 8 months without it ever going on.  The only way you know it is broken is when I fails to pump water out of the well. When that happens you get a flood.  The first flood was 6 inches across the entire basement. We had a lot of items stored in cardboard boxes and that meant a lot of sentimental items were now lost do to water damage.  The next year, we tested and found that we needed to replace it again.  I remember when the electricity went off in our home, the sump pump could not work.  The water tables were already incredibly high.  I start emptying totes and doing a bucket brigade into the totes hoping that any moment the electricity would come back on and the water would naturally pump out of the house.  I was just about physical wasted at 3:10am when the lights came on and the water started pumping out of the house.  Now I have back -up units and a gas generator so that does not happen again.

A week later drips comes through the roof into our bedroom.  Higher a guy to fix the roof and that is alleviated.  Then leaks from behind the washing machine.   Water was literally gushing through the walls.  I called Upstate New York Plumbing and they saved the day.  I am out of my depth in most things related to plumbing.  I had a leak under my kitchen sink and tried to replace pipes three different times and never could get it to stop leasing.  That is correct, I called my plumber again.  I have him on speed dial for all of my emergencies.

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Whole lotta yard

Now that I have gone past the half century mark, I start looking at the amount of work that is needed to just not lose ground.  Every year, the wild fringes of the woods claim a little more ground that we have toiled to keep groomed.

Just one year of me ignoring the yard work, meaning yard work beyond cutting the grass and I lost 20 percent of my property.  Junk trees growing and then falling over made getting back to the second third of my property extremely difficult.  The last third of my property is what meets up with our creek.  So we want that to stay natural.  I just wanted a path to be able to easily access the creek.

It has been easier to cross over into our kind next door neighbors yard to access the creek, but that is not our long-term plan. We want to build easy access from our yard.  I have found that I alone cannot keep pace with cutting down trees and stacking the wood or moving the wood.  I have had problems with back, elbows and shoulders and as my health diminishes, the work seems to increase.  If I get behind a little, it seems to snowball into an avalanche of work.  If I do not get obsessive about it, then I lose my back yard.

I like to have a thing that I do during the long summer nights, but I am thinking I would rather find fun activities with my wife and not beat back the bush 5 months every year.  I have two acres of grass to mow and then the wild seems to invade on all fronts.

My wife’s project for the yard is plants in the front yard and does a bilk of the weeding.  I do try to kick in with the weeding, but there are only so many projects I can attack outside.  So as my kids our in the college years, I wonder if it is time to find the smaller home with much less upkeep.  What a great idea.  To get the price I would need I think I am going to need to get the yard looking pretty good.  For me to do that, then I can to need to obsess about it to get it done and then I am not spending that quality time with my wife.  This endless loop needs to have a logical exit point, but where it is seems to be a mystery.

I think I am at the age of desiring big pieces of machinery to get this kind of work done.  Perhaps this summer i will rent a bunch of industrial equipment and act like a little boy with my trucks.  I think I will have a tough time getting buy in from my wife, but that does seem like a fun alternative to cutting down trees.  Perhaps I will just hit with the bulldozer and call it a day.

House not Covet

It is one of our 10 commandments declaring “thou shall not covet”, but is our dna designed to work another way.  Is the programming so hard coded that we cannot stop the QVC must have right now moment.  All of the products get sold literally the next day, because they caught you on the couch late at night coveting thing. Not things you need, but rather things that you want.  So many people buy like this, that it puts a strain to actually deliver all of these products within three days.  So how do we reprogram ourselves not to covet?

The first thing is to buy only want you NEED.  This is something that costs over $50, then your spouse should have to agree that it is something that not only you need, but you need it now.  Sometimes just pushing it out of the queue and saying that we will need to get that down the road sometime takes it off of the front burner.  the longer you ponder it, without dismissing it, the closer you come to giving in.  At the same time, things under $50 that you just want to pick up here and there.  Then the kids asking for things that they really WANT.  Explaining the need process to them when they have noticed in the past that you have not applied those same principles to your own buying.  Kids can spot a hypocrite as early as two years old.  They do not use words like hypocrite, but the will say “how come when you…”.  You get the point.  You need to own for yourself so you can be somewhat authentic when guiding and instructing your children. So the first principle is buy what you need and have your spouse hold you accountable, as you hold her accountable.

Buy good enough.  There is no real value or advantage of buying on the bleeding edge.  You are part of that curve that got swept up in the land of “everyone has one but me:(“.  If you analyze what you need something for and buy to that need, you will find used or lower cost models will do more than enough.  You do not over buy in case some day you want to be a professional gamer.

If you want something bad enough, then earn the right to buy it.  Put together a savings envelope where you purposely set money aside for that acquisition.  If you take a long-term view of the acquisition it can develop good saving habits for other areas you will want to save up for.

Do not buy something that you do not need, just because it is 50% off, 60% off or even 90%off.  Only leverage discounts when it supports a need that you are already in process of procuring.  My wife bought me a new office chair. We had set aside a specific amount.  This had crossed over from a want to a need.  I sit down in that chair at least 8 hours every day and I need to make sure that I am not have health problems attributed to my work environment.  Once the chair was selected within the price range we discussed, then she proceeded to inquire about discounts and coupons. I am not quite sure how she did it, but it account for a $100 savings.  My wife made the discounts work for us.

When looking at the big acquisition like buying a home in say Laguna Beach, look at the long-term cost of ownership.  You may be able to pay cash for the home, but the property taxes will likely be the size of mortgage.  The landscaping costs, the pool cost…  You may have enough to buy the house, but you become house poor. No money is left over to get you that ergonomically correct chair to save your health.

In the end, these are tools.  We really need to redefine what makes us happy.  That can be found in a small home, with second hand furniture with children fully capable of finding out how to stay out of debt as they enter the world from outside of the protective bubble of home.  Just enjoy what is right there in front of you right now.

 

What is Paradise

Have you ever wondered what Paradise should look like.  Are we conditioned into what it should loo like and how we deserve to be in paradise.  Pick a spot near water and the marketing engines kick in.  Are we wired to go on vacation in or around the beautiful beaches and lakes? What constitutes a successful vacation?  Does it live up to the hype? Or are we just trying to find to decompress for a while.  When that is the case it seems like it takes a couple of days to fully fall into vacation time.  Then starts the count down when you have to go back to the real world in 4 days,, 3 days, 2 days urgh lets pack and go.  Then the plans start about what you will do different next time.  My real question is that what is paradise.  Is it merely an escape from the daily grind, if so there are much less expensive ways to possibly accomplish that.  I get back to have we been wired to expect that a vacation looks like a trip to Disney land or the Outer Banks or Laguna Beach.   Is a vacation where all warring parties agree to a cease fire.  Or do arguments start because everyone has competing agendas on the vacation and no one feels as though they have been heard.