Monday, July 21, 2008

The Money Pit

We've lived in our house for three years now. We've seen it change in value from $280k to $380k and back down to $280k. In three years, I've managed to avoid having to hire a professional to do anything to our house. I've handled all the repairs myself, so far.

Lately, the list of things that I need to fix in our house has been piling up. To the point of seriously considering hiring someone to do something. Anything.

  • I still need to fix the roof leak that started on July 4, 2007. I've "fixed it" three times already, but I think I may need to hire a professional finally.
  • I still need to install the section of fence that my neighbor ripped out last December.
  • I need to replace our washer, which is now hemorrhaging water onto the floor every time we do a load of laundry.
  • I need to fix the drainage on our back porch which doesn't drain properly during a hard rain - which happens every afternoon in South Florida during the summer.
  • I need to fix a couple of broken tiles in our kitchen.

This month, we gave in and hired a professional on two separate occasions:

  • Hired a guy to come and fix the broken pool pump at a hefty $200. A reminder of why I do everything myself.
  • My wife hired a lawn maintenance company to trim our 12 foot hedges as an anniversary present to me this month. $60 saved me from 3 hours of blood, sweat, and tears.

I suppose, through all of this, I am building character. Or at least following in my dad's footsteps. Last year, when he passed away, we discovered that he had been replacing the support beams in the crawlspace of his house. My 52 year old 6'5" father had been spending his weekends by himself in the crawlspace jacking up the house and replacing the 8 foot long support beams. A last testament to my father's willingness to work hard and save money. Something that I had learned long ago while working on the car and fixing up the house with him.

I am trying hard not to give in and pay someone else to do something that I myself am fully capable of doing or at least capable of learning to do. I call it my Michigan work ethic. Because I live in a culture in South Florida where people pay other people to clean their house, wash their car, do their yard work, their laundry, and just about anything else they can think of.

1 Comment:

Candlelight Girl said...

Stick with your work ethic and don't give in. You'll most likely do a better job than anyone you can pay down here and if not, you'll learn something trying. Dave has the same ethic and it seems like we're the only ones in the neighborhood with it. There's even a few that give big grins as if laughing whenever they see him mowing the lawn, working on the sprinklers or up on the roof. I didn't realize how funny it is to see someone actually doing their own work until we moved down here.

And about the back porch draining - we had the same issue until Dave made a small hole in the concrete at the lowest corner to let the water out. Works like a charm.

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