All home improvement projects have pros and cons. In fact, sometimes I feel like Aaron and I spend more time and effort thinking about projects than actually completing them. We research, weigh the options, and estimate budgets. Information gathering trips to home improvement stores seem to add complexity and confusion more often than they provide clear solutions. This process holds true for all projects, even the small ones. The upside is that most of our project results are well thought out and turn out as we intended (or close).
Since losing my job, I’ve got more time to do work around the house (pro) but we haven’t got much of a budget (con) so we’ve had to either get creative or scale back our expectations.
The long stone walkway coming up to our front steps had sunken stones and grass tufting up between them, creating a trip hazard.
However, unlike our usual projects I didn’t think through the process before started my attack on the sloping, overgrown mess.
Pro: Removing the walkway was simple and I completed it in an afternoon.
Con: When I removed the current stones, I promised myself they would not go back in place. Unfortunately, replacing the walkway with tightly fit stones would cost $400-500, so I had back track.
Compromise: After fighting a war against tracked-in dirt for a couple of weeks, I gave in and put 4 stones back down. They are snugged up tightly to the stairs and provide just enough protection to put the vacuuming schedule back to normal. We don’t have a final solution yet, but the time invested in the temporary solution is minimal and we have not spent any money on the project.
We love preparing meals on the grill. We’d also planned to host family and friends this summer at our “party” house. The weather has finally warmed up and we were eager to use our 24′ x 12′ deck.
Pro: We could afford to buy a grill.
Con: The massive grill we had hoped to buy for parties was expensive. We didn’t want to buy a poorly made grill that we’d only replace next season.
Compromise: We decided to look for a portable grill with a stand, so that we’d still have a use for it when we bought our “dream” grill. Aaron did a quick bit of online research and found that Weber made a line of well-made portable grills. We chose a grill that was large enough to cook a meal for a small group, but still small enough to carry comfortably. So far, it has served us well.
Our original plan was to save up and install a chain link fence to give the dogs a generous space to play with in our new yard.
Pro: We already had ~100′ wire weld fence from the temporary space we made for the dogs at my parents’ house and the fence is the most expensive part. It cost us less than $100 to buy the remaining supplies needed to put up the fence.
Con: My parents’ house had a corner we used to make the space larger. Our house is straight across, to the space we could create going from deck to house would be long but narrow.
Compromise: Rather than bringing the fence back to the house on one side, we decided to end the fence against both ends of our deck and move corners further into the yard. This gave the dogs a 40′ x 20′ space. It isn’t a lot, but it is enough for them to get burn some energy and wrestle without cumbersome leashes.
Meanwhile, Aaron and I are slowly working towards the conclusion of a drywall/paint project in the master bathroom that Aaron started back in January. Just like my walkway project, he skipped our usual process and dove in. What he didn’t consider is that it kicked us out of our master bathroom – getting new drywall steamy is not a good idea. Primer is up and we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One coat of ceiling paint, two coats of paint on the walls and we’ll be back in business.