If there’s one thing I really didn’t want to get into down here, it’s “fixing up the house.” I’m so over that. Ever since we purchased our first house back in New York, I’ve been dumping loads of time and money into making things look and feel nicer. Well, one can only be duped so many time before they realize they’re having the wool pulled over their eyes. The American dream of home ownership and renovation projects sometimes feels just like that – a dream.
Man, I’m negative, aren’t I?
Laura just walked by and as she did, I blurted out, “I used to do so many projects around the house and write about them. I think people really liked it. As a matter of fact, one of my all time most visited blog posts was about how we re-did the kitchen in New York. Tons of people are interested in those types of things.” She continued walking. I’m sure she finds me overwhelmingly attractive and witty, but I have a feeling she’s getting a little tired of listening to the words that come out of my mouth. I suppose genius is in the eye of the beholder.
But seriously, if you look at my early posts of 2005, you’ll see that they were pretty much all about building things – porches, kitchens, driveways and more. For three years, all I did was spend and repair, spend and upgrade, spend and work. Unfortunately, we lost $50,000 when we sold that little dream of ours and the whole ordeal left a bad taste in my mouth. And the next five years weren’t much better. Although I learned not to spend so much money on household projects, I did put tile in the entire basement and paint a few rooms upstairs. Most of the work on that house was outside the four walls – landscaping and that sort of stuff. Hey, we only lost $55,000 on that one when we sold. Relatively speaking, I feel much better. But please, please, please don’t mention interest and taxes. I’ll probably walk off a cliff if we get into that conversation.
I keep wondering when someone is going to say to me, “Jay, why not stop spending money on these types of things? Why not just live in a house that’s already built? Why not just enjoy? Stay small.”
Unfortunately, I had to figure that one out myself. And that’s why I currently sit where I sit, defying the world. Every time someone says that I should do something, I do the opposite twice as hard. If someone says to enjoy, I frown and if someone says to stay put, I move. I’ve been receiving bad advice for much of my adult life and it’s high time I stopped taking it. And if you look at the grand scheme of things, I’m willing to say that it’s working. A small hiccup here and there, but overall, I’ve completely and utterly ceased dumping money into projects that will make me look back with only admiration. Honestly, they just aren’t worth it. Today’s labor is strictly about maintenance and investment.
With that in mind, I began a small project yesterday that had to do with pulling up a whole lot of cement landscape edging. I’m not sure that’s what these things are officially termed, but that’s what we’ll call them in this post. And on this small piece of property, there are probably one hundred of them.
Back in November of 2012, when we first set eyes on this house, we told ourselves that we’re going to pull these things up. They’re extremely outdated, but beyond that, they’re not installed correctly. They were dug in too deep and in turn, the creeping grass of the south has made its way over the pieces and into whatever was intended to be edged. And what’s worse, the previous inhabitants of this house decided to put that weird, red landscape mulch all over the place. You’ll see what I’m talking about in the pictures below.
Yesterday, as soon as the sun started falling, I made my way outside to start pulling up each and every piece of edging. So far, I’ve finished the curved pieces that were placed around the little palm trees in the front as well as where the driveway and sidewalk meet. I also pulled up the straight pieces that formed what we liked to call, “the coffin.” It was a rectangle box right in the middle of the front lawn. No plants or flowers. No trees. Just a box sitting there. Filled with red mulch that never seems to decay.
My goal with this project is to clean up what looks messy on the property. If I can get rid of anything that looks out of place and that’s in disrepair, I’ll have achieved my goal. It’ll be easier to mow the grass in the future and the maintenance will be kept to a minimum. The only problem is, I have many more pieces to pull up. They’re everywhere and basically outline the front and sides of the entire house. And when it comes to what I’m going to do with all these things, I haven’t got a clue. Perhaps list them for free on Craigslist of just move them to the bottom of the driveway, accompanied by a “free” sign. I’m sure someone will stop by to pick them up.