Saturday, April 04, 2015

Giddiness and Math...

FOR THE RECORD:  Mulching that is done by someone else is one of the bestest yard things in the world!  I am still giddy about that.  Absolutely giddy.  The free mulch was just fine to me, even though Tim worried I'd snub my nose at it.  It was even steaming!  Smelled so good I could hardly stand it!

I should have known that Tim would be a superb mulcher.  But I was surprised at how tenderly he placed it around the bulbs that had already come up.  Even better, he cleared out all the leaves and debris from the hosta bed on the side of the house before he mulched it.  My neighbor on that side allows lots and lots and lots of trash to blow around and does not tend to her leaves, so I oft grow weary of clearing out the bed.  However, that bed is like a secret treasure.

Turn the corner and you see a long row of lovely hostas, all created from a single clump that I found the first summer I moved here.  It was languishing in the bright sun.  I rescued it, divided it, and plopped the hosta bits in the side bed.  A bed in total shade.  A bed that is never watered.  I do have to watch out for the weeds that blow across from the neighbor's bed just a few feet away, but the hostas throw out lovely purple blooms for weeks on ends.  Plus, they are variegated.  Remember, I love all things variegated.

I celebrated the mulching "I did" by taking my giddy self to Taco Bell.  Then, after chowing down the Taco Bell, playing "Where's Momma" with Amos, and pondering the fact that I was still in my outdoor clothes, I took myself off to Menard's to get those GREEN slippers with my rebate checks.

And the handle for the foot rest (which makes it ever so much easier to move when needed).

And a new baluster (since one of the unpainted ones bowed over the winter).
And a new packet of self-tapping screws (you should always have a few in your tool box).
And oregano and dill (since I remembered Menard's only gets herbs in April), which are now up in the solarium.
And the rose bush (because I never bought a replacement last summer for my dead rose bush), which is already in the ground.
And a bag of caramels.

And a new broom.

Yes, I was weak-willed in the austerity department.  It is just that my budgeted amount for mulch was $225.  That was dropped to $100 when Tim thought he'd be getting me contractor-rate mulch.  Then it was dropped to $50 when he got the free mulch.  All that savings went to my head and I took the wants-over-needs plunge.  It was just $7.98.

And then I used a small Easter treat check to purchase this discontinued-close-out throw pillow that perfectly matches the cushion for the steamer lounger on the airing porch and will give my arm greater support when Amos is resting his head on my arm rather than curled up in my lap.

I think I should receive brownie points for not purchasing the lady bug pot I saw as I was coming back from getting the herbs.  I once had three lady bug candle holders on my kitchen window sill.  Apparently, lady bug items are too much temptation toward breakage for guests.  I sighed heavily as they were broken by different visitors.  In my mind, I practically deserved that lady bug pot.

In short, Menard's is an altogether dangerous place to visit for those who are trying to follow the path of austerity.

But I do think it is important to note that by lowering the thermostat another 5 degrees during the last billing cycle since it started to get relatively warmer outside, the gas bill was just over $75 less than last year.  And, despite heavy use of the heating pad (for my painful abdomen) and the electric blanket, my electricity bill continues to be lean and mean (lean and meanness in electricity is exempted over the summer when AC is a need not a want, as I view any heating over what I can tolerate with warm clothes and an electric blanket a want not a need).  I have, from January's expenses through all of April's (projected) saved (and earned a bit) the $509 I needed to pay my state tax bill.  I don't want to be so severe with groceries and utilities all the time, but I taught myself that if I must, I can.







Before he left, Firewood Man sat down and helped me finish a chart (i.e., correct my mistakes) to work up what I spend with him for the year.  I want to start budgeting for him, to start paying him monthly, so that I don't have financial crunch times due to the work he does more in the summer.  I rounded it up to $70 a month, since there are things he does that are not on this list and since I like whole numbers.  Lest you think I take advantage of his good nature, I forced him to charge me more for power-washing since he now has two porches to do.

To me, this is a both painful and beautiful chart, for it represents the recognition that the bulk of all yard work is no longer within my ability to do, but it also represents a whole of lot of non-labor/rest for me.

Mowing will start next month and will be $80-100 a month, depending on the number of weeks in the month.  So, I need to work out how much I need to give him to jump start the funding so that he is not shorted over the summer whilst I am working on building up my "account" balance for him.  I decided last fall to keep a small cushion with him, for his sake as much as my peace of mind about suddenly needing a bit of help.  But I am spinning in circles trying to figure out just how much I should add, now, to compensate for the summer, but still leave room in the fall to balance out the rest of the year.  I guess I have until May to figure it out ... unless one of you out there in Internet land can tell me what I need to cover the shortfall that mowing and power-washing will incur this summer.  Or ... is the math so hard because it would be easier to simply pay-as-I-go until the mowing ends next fall and then start paying the monthly amount then????

We haven't discussed how much he will want for helping me finish painting.  Most of me simply doesn't care about the cost. I am not standing on any more ladders to paint.  Period.

Going out to Taco Bell and then going out to Menard's and then planting the rose bush (using my headlamp since it was dark), I kept passing by all my mulched beds.  And the giddiness returned in spades.  Firewood Man is the second greatest blessing (after Amos) that I have received since moving to this place.  Yes, the smell of mulch always gives me a bit of a high.  However, I am staggered by the immense weight off my shoulders not having to mulch has been to me, now that the mulching actually happened.  Plus, I am so very happy over how simple and economical and cheerful and un-laborious and beautifully laid the mulching was/is.

Tim also hauled away the four yard waste bags of leaves that I forgot to put out for the city last fall so they would not spend the time until next October in my garage.  He also hauled off the evergreen branch that was torn from my tree during a storm (after I snipped off all the evergreen bits to cover the ground near my bench).  And ... and ... he pointed out a bit of MOSS that is growing in a crack of my sidewalk so that I could move it to a safer place where the wheelbarrow he uses wouldn't damage it.  Tim hates moss, but he knows that I adore it.

Mercy is saving moss for someone else even though you think that is a stupid thing to do.

Hey, I just wondered: Is it possible to make a potpourri of mulch??????????

Also, will this whole budgeting learning process ever end????????????????????????????

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