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Homeowner Chronicles

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Homeowner Chronicles

What a morning I have had.

After I reviewed my lawn a few weeks back, I realized that it needed some clean-up and new mulch. A few years ago, it took about 15 bags of mulch to get it together.

I went around to different home stores, hardware stores and landscaping places to price out mulch.

Shopping at those types of stores used to be intimidating until I learned a few tricks. Sometimes I go after work with my heels and skirts. It is fun. Some contractor always wants to be helpful. Offers his services to me. Once while looking at toilet seats a guy told me that he could install a new toilet for me. Whatever….. I told him that I would rather he "Mow my lawn"

But going to those DIY stores in heels takes some energy. Especially after work. I have to pretend that my feet do not hurt and that I am on a mission. The determined career girl.

On the weekends, I used to just get up and go to the DIY store. I didn’t enjoy that either. I had to know exactly what I wanted because it was difficult to find anyone to help me. I was one of many. On the other hand, I could take my time because my feet did not hurt.

Today, I like to go lawncare shopping wearing fun clothes and cleaned up (i.e. hair curled and maybe some makeup) and well rested. No more rolling out of the bed or going after work. Last week, I figured my new attitude was the reason why so many people kept smiling at me. Then I remembered that I was wearing my Thundercats t-shirt. I enjoyed myself so much that I think I will always wear a funny shirt.

I like going to the local hardware store where the sales people help me right away and I can get my tools sharpened. That was a new task for me. I have never gotten knives or tools sharpened before. I felt like a tourist going into the hardware store and asking him to sharpen my tools. Now I have to figure out how to get my lawnmower blades off to get them sharpened. Luckily for me I have neighbors that will help me with stuff like that.

Comparison shopping for mulch isn’t easy. I could have purchased the bags and loaded up my car then unloaded it at home. But the cost seemed too high. I looked into having it delivered. The costs ranged from $45 to $140 for one cubic yard. That seemed too high. A cubic yard is about 14 2-cubic feet bags of mulch. If I had bought that out right it would have cost me about $42 bucks. I figured that 2 cubic yards of bulk mulch was a better choice because I could split the cost with my neighbor Linda who needed to landscape her yard after cutting down her pine tree. Delivery was the problem. I priced delivery costs and had settled on $65 split between the two of us. When I went to the landscape office it was closed on the day that I had set aside to order the mulch. My neighbor was out of town for a week and I had to come up with a alternate plan.

Another friend got 2 yards of mulch (about 27 2-cubic feet bags) for $36 bucks from the City forestry department. I thought that was the ticket. I would do it his way. He agreed to help. I would arrive at about 7:30 am and he would dump the mulch in the driveway and I would transport it to the back of my house. He assured me that it would take just a few minutes to unload the mulch.

Do you have any idea what two cubic yards of mulch looks like? I didn’t. I figured that he would pull his trailer up and I could easily use the wheelbarrow to deliver ½ the mulch to my neighbor and ½ to me. Of course my friend lives on a larger lot and he was able to pull the trailer onto his lawn and dump the mulch out into his backyard. My lot is tiny and my driveway is narrow. We should have considered this but neither of us are engineers – indeed, we are educators..

I had no idea that it would take almost an hour to unload the freaking trailer of mulch. Or that doing so would be so tiring. We pulled the trailer into the driveway thinking that would shorten the wheelbarrow trip. It did but that still wasn’t what I had expected. He wanted to be helpful and I thought I would take advantage of his offer. I had asked a few neighbors to assist but they to leave because my friend didn’t arrive until after 8 am. When he arrived he admitted that he was able to get me more than 2 yards. It was more like three. I am thinking THANKS.

Linda’s father passed away this weekend and she was not able to help unload the mulch so I put it all in my yard and she will have to wheelbarrow her half out ALL BY HERSELF.

After we unloaded ¾ of the mulch I said “enough” and asked my friend to take the extra mulch back to his house. He was so agreeable and felt bad about the whole thing that he agreed to come back after it was cleaned out and load up the bed that had been sitting in my garage to take to my Great Aunt. I have been trying to deliver this bed to my Great Aunt for two months. She is in her 70’s and is sleeping on her old mother’s bed that is at least 50 years old. That was nice. I will pay him later this week. Since I am also his supervisor I told him he could take the day off.

All I have to do now is make amends with my roommate. Had I known we were going to be in the driveway so long I would have made afternoon arrangements for the mulch delivery. I probably woke the poor dear up a second time. I work out most mornings but this morning the tv was louder than usual. I was watching Underworld Evolution last night and had turned on the surround sound. Even turned down it was BOOMING. My poor2nd shift employee had to drag herself out of bed to ask me to turn it down. That was at 7 am. Maybe I will get her a Thundercats logo t-shirt to make her smile.

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