Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Summer Splurge

by Julie Hyzy

We have a pretty big backyard. Don't get me wrong, it's not like acres-big. In fact, it isn't even a full acre, but it's close. While parts of the lot are taken up by the house, the patio, and garden areas, most of it is just plain grass. Looks wonderful most of the time, but it has this nasty need to be maintained. When we first moved into this house fourteen years ago, we were required to cut the grass every Saturday. Took four hours. Every. Weekend. 

Fun, fun. 

We eventually managed to convince our daughters to take on this job as they aged into it. We even paid them for this because it was clearly an above-and-beyond their regular around-the-house responsibilities. Daughter #3 was in the middle of her stint when my husband and I realized that soon - just like her sisters - she'd be too busy during the summer with a "real" job or other responsibilities to keep up with the lawn. We'd have to take this on ourselves again. 

We really didn't want to buy a riding lawnmower -- both because they're so expensive and because we'd have to store the thing, so we resigned ourselves to delaying Saturday plans *every week* until the lawn was in shape.

It was then I noticed that our next door neighbors had a service taking care of their grass. Their yard is almost as big as ours and every Thursday a team of three or four men would come in and -- zip -- the lawn was cut, edged, trimmed, and swept in a matter of about 45 minutes.

The proverbial light bulb flashed on.

I checked into the costs for getting our lawn maintained by our neighbor's service and guess what? The price per week was reasonable.

This, to me, was the definition of a no-brainer. My husband took a bit more convincing. He's not thrilled with the idea of paying people to do things we're capable of doing ourselves. The fact that the cost per week would be pretty close to what we'd been paying our daughters and that we would have a lot more free time on the weekends (that's huge for me) finally brought him around to my way of thinking.

Now, every summer Thursday at about 8:30 AM, the team shows up here. In less than an hour my yard looks neat, clean, and beautifully maintained. I love this service so much. Every week I sigh with a little bit of contentedness. It's a splurge, for sure, but totally worth every penny.

I'll bet there are lots of interesting splurges out there. What's yours?


PS - We all know that books aren't splurges - they're NECESSITIES!! Lucky for us there are two brand new titles coming out next week from two wonderful Cozy Chicks: Jennifer Stanley a/k/a Ellery Adams, and Lorraine Bartlett a/k/a Lorna Barrett. 

Ellery could sure use some good news right now, and Lorna is making her first foray into the world of hardcovers. I know they'd appreciate any cozy love you can offer!




Katreader said...

I, too, have a large-but not huge yard .67 acre. I love my John Deere riding mower, which is definitely a necessity. My parents had been helping me, but at ages 73 & 71, it's a bit much. It's also a bit much for me. I don't want a yard service to do everything every week...but I talked to the guy I had trim my bushes-who owns a landscaping service company. We're going to make a plan where his team will come by once a month and do a cut, edge, etc. They'll also do some other yard work (getting rid of grass so I can do more stuff, trim hedges etc). Like your husband, I hate the idea of paying for something I can do-but I'm running out of time-2 days off work a week isn't enough and as my mom told me, "You need help".

Unknown said...

Hi, Julie. Thanks so much for mentioning Ellery's and my books.

As we've gotten older, Mr. L and I have been shedding outdoor and indoor work whenever we can John cuts the grass every week. Josh plows the driveway in the winter. The Maids come every other week to attack the bathroom and kitchen and vacuum everything in between. Scott's landscaping was just here yesterday to work on the yard (yet again), and Mouse Man arrives tomorrow (There are drawbacks to living behind a farm.)

While these people are doing their thing, we're able to work (at home) to pay them. Sometimes I feel guilty, but as my friend Jan said, "You're keeping people in jobs."

Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Dru said...

My splurges are the many, many books I buy and the trips I take.

Julie Hyzy said...

Katreader - it's always a good idea to listen to Mom! Sounds like you're in the same situation we are. With our girls out of the house (mostly) it all falls to us and we can't keep up - not if we want to get our work done and have time to ourselves...

Lorraine - I love that mindset! Keeping people in jobs. Yes, exactly! Giving me more time to do mine! I love the idea of having someone plow the driveway in winter, but that will be an extremely hard sell here. Maybe I ought to start lobbying now ... heh heh

Dru - now those are FUN splurges! The best!

Aurian said...

Today I received an email from Bookdepository that Ellery Adams new book is on its way to me, yeah! Looking forward to reading it. And of course the next Lorna Barret is more than welcome as well!

My splurges? Perfume and going out for dinner. As you stated that books don't count ...

Meg in Tennessee said...

My splurge is having someone come and clean energy two weeks.

Julie Hyzy said...

Hi, Aurian - Thanks for picking up Ellery's newest! I know she appreciates it! And I can't wait to read Lorraine's (Lorna's). Both books should be on their way here soon.
I'm with you on dinner out! Love that. I haven't found a new perfume for myself. I had one I loved but I feel like I need a change. So tough to choose!

Meg - That's a wonderful splurge!! Enjoy!

Jody said...

My splurge - & my gift to myself - is my every other week manicure. My manicurist gives amazing hand &arm massages. She had to cancel this week due to illness (shingles in her eye!!)
My husband & I eat out almost ever Friday night. It's our date night.

Julie Hyzy said...

Jody - I could definitely use a manicure! I can't remember the last time I had one. So pampering! Most of the time, however, my nails are too short and stubby to bother. I'm with you on eating out, though! The more often the better!