One of the hats I wear as “The Super” of the household, is Landscaper/Groundskeeper (are they the same thing?). This is an ongoing enterprise that includes mowing and edging the lawn, trimming trees and bushes, weeding, composting, all things relative to “the garden”, and of course leaf control in the fall. I don’t know anyone else in my neighborhood and possibly, in my life, who does this themselves (my apologies if I am wrong about that). Hence, the neverending presence of Landscaping Crews in most neighborhoods on Long Island. These crews, with their industrial grade mowers and blowers and the incessant noise they create, can be annoying, to say the least.
When we first moved into our house (I cannot believe it is nearly 26 years ago, now), we had less time, and before long, two small children. We also had less money, and did not want to spend any of that money, to purchase landscaping tools. So, like almost all of our neighbors, we hired a Landscaping Crew. For a few years everything was fine. The work was satisfactory and the cost was around $22/week! I would bring lunch from home, to offset that. Then the owner of the company got sick and sold it to his cousin. The quality of the work quickly deteriorated, to the point where I began, having to spend a half hour every week (an estimate, of course) cleaning up, and sometimes fixing or replacing things. So, we began to buy the tools (battery powered or electric – gotta be green) to take care of the property, ourselves. A lawnmower, pruning snippers (not sure that is the proper term), hedge clippers, a small chain saw, a blower (mine is quiet) and several different trimming tools, have all been acquired over the years. Then we needed space to store all of these things, first in one shed, then in two (pool stuff and bicycles and sports gear, also helped fill them).
Before we do a cost analysis to see how much money I have saved over the past 17 years or so, we must consider a few additional things. I have had to replace a number of tools and/or their batteries. I have over done it on a number of occasions, to the extent that I have had to visit a Chiropractor. And while I have improved my skills (is it really skill?) over time and I think the place looks, at least decent, I have sliced one garden hose, allowed ice to ruin a rain barrel, severed an extension cord (that could have been bad), and last week, I severed the rope I was using in the process of trimming the ever growing Ornamental Grasses in the backyard. Not to mention the numerous dings, scuffs and cracks to the fence, sheds, and house siding.
I am not one of those people, who enjoys any of this stuff (maybe the Garden, but only the fun part – harvesting). So, last week as I wrestled with those grasses (and Oh Yes, they are sharp!), and pushed my back to the brink, once again, I asked myself “how much longer are you going to do this yourself”? Actually the better question is, “how many more years will you BE ABLE to do this yourself”? I am not going to do that cost analysis, but let’s just concede that I have saved us some money, by doing the yard work myself. Was it worth it? Who knows, but of course, it is done now and there is no going back, even if I wanted to. But, going forward, is it time to join the ranks of the rest of Suburbia? I wonder what the weekly cost is now.