The Money Itch

I told you this would happen. Our budget has been working for a while now and money is starting to accumulate in secret, yet not-so-secret, places….and now the itching has started.

For some reason today is the day that I decided we should really dig in and landscape the front yard. We’ve been in the house for 5 years now and have done shit-all to the yard….okay well I have added a total of 6 raised garden beds, but shit-all besides that.


This was the latest addition – reusing the pallets from our stone and buffalo grass. See what’s growing around the garden boxes though?…yeah those are weeds, so basically the yard looks like shit!

But today I started dreaming..mostly because I needed a brief escape from this project that never ends. Dreaming involves sketching. What started out as most likely a multiple-thousand dollar project then had to be revised down to a dirt-cheap version.

Colorado flagstone retaining walls were replaced by manufacturered block walls (we scalped some block off our neighbors before they foreclosed….sketchy? why yes. yes it was). Fancy stone edging was value-engineered to metal landscape edging. But in the end I still saw a plan I could work with. One that would be a right fit for our house.

Here’s the thing: we live in a fairly modest area of Denver. The houses aren’t the cheapest you will find, but they are a nice “starter home” price for young families and what not. So the fear with any project I visualize is “will it over-develop our house?”.

Believe me, tempering my own imagination is no easy task. When we first moved in I came up with about $200,000 worth of things we could have done if the money had been sitting in bags and that was just a first pass. I modeled the house in sketch-up and realized with minimal excavation off our bedroom we could have a pair of french doors out to a small patio….I know, I am my own worst enemy.

But the reality is still there. If we put $200,000 or more into our house, the house across the street will still only sell for so much, so at that point you are risking a huge loss….to be clear, we’re not set on selling or anything, so part of me wants to say ‘well fuck it! I’ll do what I want’. Then the rational part of me knows that we most likely will sell at some point (maybe soon, maybe years from now) and I sure as hell want my money back….and then some.

So I’ve learned the absolute best thing to do is nothing. Wait and think and wait and rethink. So here I am, eeking up on 3 1/2 months pregnant and what do I start thinking about? Why landscaping of course. Moving blocks and dirt and digging and most critically – spending money that I shouldn’t be touching.

The good news is I have a plan for my plans. Phases! Something we do all the time for architectural projects. You can’t build those 4 buildings, but you can build 2 and design the other 2 for the future.

So what can I do now for supa supa cheap or free? That is where I will start…..or actually probably what will happen is I will go home, lay on the couch, fall asleep and not do anything. Which in reality is even better! Because that will be completely free! Win-Win. I do believe the nesting has begun…..Andy is going to be so excited.


One thought on “The Money Itch

  1. This made me laugh so much! Especially the part about falling asleep on the couch part!! That’s me all the way! I make grand, GRAND plans but then never actually execute…mostly because I don’t have the money to execute anything involving the word “grand.”

    Best of luck on your phases! 🙂

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