I have mentioned on this blog that my spouse and I worked for eight weeks to build a waterfall, pond, and patio in our back yard forest retreat this summer. This was a labor of love that I wanted to see happen for my spouse, who so enjoys sitting quietly in the forest while watching the birds, squirrels, rabbits, and now frogs… sing, scamper, jump, and swim/hop.
And in so doing, we saved at least US$7,000, I lost 16 pounds, and both of us achieved nirvana. Here’s how we did it.
By doing price comparison shopping, as well as doing all of the hauling and construction ourselves, we saved over US$7,000. That’s right. I had three companies bid on building the pond and patio for us so we would know what it would cost us if we contracted with professionals to build it. Subtracting the cost of materials, the labor costs on these bids were $7,000, $7,400, and a whopper of $10,100.
We are rich with love, but not rich with money to burn. We decided that we could do the work ourselves. I drew the design and made a plan, including schedule, and we stuck to it. We bought most of the materials we needed from a local supplier with whom I negotiated pricing of materials (a little bit; let’s say we got about a 10% discount compared with buying the materials without making such arrangements.)
My motto of, “you don’t ‘get’ unless you ask” paid off. I made a great arrangement with our supplier. I paid a deposit, and he held the materials for us at his business. We picked up what we needed for each week’s work. Each block of stone weighs 25 pounds (11.3kg), and we used 210 of them — literally, 2-5/8 TONS! (2.4 metric tons.) With additional rock, stone, pavers, gravel, and related materials, we probably carried more than three tons of materials to my truck, then from the truck (when I parked it on our driveway) to the back yard via regular old wheelbarrow. We had to plan to haul the required materials over time, as my ol’ truck is only rated to carry 1,200 pounds (544kg) at one time (without breaking the shocks or axels.)
The weather got very hot during some weeks of this work. Besides the weight-lifting we were doing, we were also subject to a sauna. However, the upside of this is that I lost 16 real pounds (7.2kg) — not water weight — which more than makes up for some weight-gain over the winter. My weight is now down to less than my goal for my weight-loss of a couple years ago. There is definitely a benefit of “D-I-Y Weight Loss”! It’s all good!
The results are:
- a paid project. We paid for everything we needed by using our household fund that we save for big projects (and unforeseen repairs). No loans, no carrying a balance on credit cards.
- my clothing (and leathers) fit better having shed 8% of my weight.
- a tranquil, quiet place that my spouse and I enjoy.
When I arrive home from work, I quickly change clothes (and boots, of course), and go outside to join my spouse on the patio. We catch up on each other’s days. Soon, all the troubles of the day are gone. My spirit is renewed and re-energized.
Life is short: execute your vision of happiness!