crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In the Garden

I'm not convinced that home-ownership is the thing for me. Before you own a home, people make it seem so great: decorate how you want, make money on the value of your home, pay toward a retirement fund, do what you want with your garden...

It's not really what it's cracked up to be. Decorating how you want translates to w-o-r-k. Peeling off someone else's tacky choices to put up your own (most likely equally tacky) choices. Finding gaping holes in your walls, uneven flooring, nooks and crannies that where it's impossible to fit a paint-brush, having un-decorated rooms that previously looked decent look like shanty-rooms compared to the newly decorated ones - these are all more joys of the process. Making money on your home only works when you don't buy immediately before a major economic crisis: not something we were lucky enough to do. What they don't mention when they talk about how paying a mortgage is an investment is that your monthly payments are likely much larger than they would be if you were renting, and that most of that money goes toward interest. Finally, there's the garden...

Gardening is the bane. What I hate is that it just has to be done. All of the time. You can't leave it for a couple extra weeks because by the time you get back to it you have a jungle on your hands. Trust me: we learned that one the hard way. We only have a small garden, but it encompasses pretty much all of our free time. Between rainfalls, painting the rotting fences in our garden sucked up nearly all of my free time over the summer, and we're still not finished. One section left!

Plus, every time we go into the yard we notice another job that needs doing. Like yesterday, we we painting a section of fence along the side of our house when we noticed that the previous owners had a load of paving tiles they hadn't put down to complete the paving in that area. We decided to do it. This involved pulling out miles of the much-loathed creeper that is quickly taking over our garden, scraping away millions of snails and slugs, moving the composter, digging up a huge pile of earth and relocating it elsewhere so that we had flat ground to work with, placing the tiles and making sure they weren't too wobbly, and painting the fence behind the composter's new home. Four hours later we were nearly half done the job, and too tired and sore to continue. This is in addition to the 20-25 meters of 6ft fence we painted, and the lawn that was finally dry enough to mow.

We meant to finish the paving project and painting today, but dear Riccardo's injured his back and so we're having a day of rest. Poor boy. I'm definitely not disappointed that I don't have to drag my ass back outside today.

We are hoping to list our house for sale next Spring. By then we have to get our 40 meters of hedge under control, nurture the grass we planted, dig up the flower beds that surround our back garden so that we can replace the gardening tarp, re-define the parameters of these flower beds (since the little post-fence thingy has rotted out), trim our overgrown perrenial bushes, plant actual flowers and, of course, keep the lawn mowed and whipper-snippered on a weekly rotation.

Ah, and because our trashy neighbours are incapable of taking care of their garden (not to mention that they apparently pawned the lawn mower and hedge trimmer provided by the city), we'll have to do all of that in their front yard as well, otherwise potential buyers will notice that we live next to social deviants.

If I have my say, our next house purchase is very likely to be a townhouse. No yard.


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