Sunday, August 5, 2012

I guess we're doing OK

We bought our home from millionnaires in 2005.  I didn't realize they were millionnaires until the sale closing and that's when it hit me: Uh, Russ, you and the Mrs. are not millionnaires so WTF are you doing here?  I signed anyway.

Of course we had done all of the math before we bought the house (the millionaires "moved on up" to the biggest piece of property in town) and we are working professionals here in Chicagoland but I have always harbored a secret doubt that people might think that our house and yard looked better "before."

We are on a main street and when we tell people which house is ours we often get the "I know that house it's [something very nice]" so it is safe to say people do pay attention to our home.

The previous homeowner had put in a tremendous amount of landscaping and had it professionally maintained.  I used the previous owner's landscape company to maintain our yard for one season.  They charged us $1200 just to trim our bushes and shrubs.  Once.

Yeah that was the end of that.  I found a much, much cheaper lawn service toot suite.  We didn't do mulch this year because literally everyone raised their mulch prices 50% this year.  Too bad because we needed mulch but $3K for mulch this year was just not gonna' happen.  Yeah, it takes a lot of money to live here in Chicagoland.

Every year at Memorial Day we dutifully go to the gardening centers in the area and buy a lot of things that we plant ourselves.  My wife plants Geraniums all along the front walks, I replace the Roses that did not survive my "tender care" from last year, she plants her raised garden in the back, plants more Geraniums around the back patio, she hangs a few plants, pots the plants for the front porch, creates two large planters of flowers for the deck, and we add or replace other bushes as we go to try to fill in the spots the way we think it should be done.

After six years the yard definitely has our stamp on it and this summer we have made an especially consistent effort to make sure everything has been watered daily and that flowers and shrubs get attended to regularly which is easier when you're watering every day.

The bottom line is we pay people to mow, trim bushes, do cleanups and fertilize but we are also out there in our yard almost every day twice a day to water, snip, tug and pluck.  It's a team effort.

Ah, yes, so back to the secret doubt...I work at a computer and can see out the window to the street and the sidewalk so I can see if people walk by.  When we are doing the planting people will often tell us "...keep up the good work" or "It's all worth it because your house looks great." That is always appreciated and motivating and we do the same for others as opportunities present themselves.

I have seen people walk by our house and stop and examine the yard before over the years but this morning was especially rewarding.  This morning a couple on the sidewalk out front stopped, faced the house, looked, talked, took a few more steps, stopped, faced the house, looked some more, pointed at flower beds, looked more around the yard, talked more, pointed more and then both of them nodded in agreement about something before finally walking on.  They could have been talking about anything but it appeared to me that they liked what we had done here and were thinking about how their yard could be improved and look nicer like ours.  That was really nice to see.

No doubt.  I guess we're doing OK.

This year.