We have had an interesting May and early June in Southwest Colorado. With very little spring snow, there was real worry about drought conditions. Without snow, you can almost stump a toe and start a forest fire later in the summer. Some of our anxiety was relieved when we got an unheard of 6+ inches of rain last month with more in the forecast. We will never complain about too much water, but it did present some unusual challenges that could have used some outside help, but I’m afraid hiring help might ruin us forever.
Grass Grows Really Fast When It’s Watered
Our property is a little over three acres. I wouldn’t have the same house if we were to do it all again, but hindsight is 20/20. We have some grass around our house, but the majority of the land is undeveloped and not irrigated. When spring rolls around, prairie grasses, more commonly known as weeds, grow on the non-yard portion of our property. Jim mows it a couple of times, but unless we get lots of rain, it doesn’t grow that much and usually turns brown by fall. Our riding mower works fine for taking care of it.
With our recent deluge of rain, the weeds were out of control, about waist high. Every time I turned into the driveway, my head started playing,”A-weem-a-wop-a-weem-a-wop, in the jungle, the mighty jungle……”
It has been so rainy that there was no chance to mow. Then, when we finally got a few days of sun, we realized the mower would not start. After a new battery and exhausting all Jim’s mower fixing skills, we had to take it into the only lawn mower repair shop in town, where we were told it would be at least a two week wait.
We Could Hire Someone To Mow
We seriously considered hiring someone with a tractor to come out and mow. At this point, the weeds were too tall for our riding mower and the HOA was probably going to start sending notices if we don’t get rid of our weeds. I was also concerned that there might be a family of trolls hiding in there somewhere.
In the end we decided to rent a tractor and do it ourselves. (Ourselves meaning Jim would mow and I would watch from the kitchen window). DIY landscaping saved about $100.
Time Lost To DIY
We were really proud of our DIY plan. Jim was going to have the tractor delivered at 9AM, do the mowing and be at work by noon. His schedule is more flexible when there are no kids in school.
That was all well and good until the tractor people didn’t show up until 10. Then, the mower attachment broke about a fourth of the way into the job. Jim had to wait for the rental people to come fix it, which took hours. In the end, he wasn’t able to go to work at all.
That meant either having to make up lost work time over the weekend or by working later the following week. He doesn’t really side hustle like I do, but he gets so little free time these days that it sucks to waste a day when we could have paid $100 and been done with it.
So Why Don’t We Hire More Work Out?
After this and many other examples where it’s better to pay someone because of the time saved, why don’t we hire people more often? Lord knows the last thing I want to do at the end of most days is clean house, and I’m sure Jim doesn’t relish getting home from a business trip to hop on the lawn mower.
The real reason is that I’m afraid of where it might end. If we hire someone to mow, then we’ll probably want someone to clean as well. That will be so nice, I’ll probably feel like we should take work clothes to the dry cleaner for pressing. Might as well get someone to wash our cars too. Before you know it, we have a whole staff of people that seem necessary to keep our household running. It might give us more time, but are we really going to spend every minute of it earning money? Probably not.
I’m afraid hiring help would ruin us or at least send us back to being Joneses when we’ve fought so hard to just be the Parrs.
What routine maintenance do you hire out? Does hiring help lead to lifestyle inflation?