Musings from an old codger...

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Rocky

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I guess you could call this a "for what it's worth" posting and that may not be much. May 31 will mark my 82 trip around the Sun and I think I have learned some things that I wish someone had passed on to me. Depending on where you are in your life's journey, you may want to consider some of them.

1. I wish when we moved into our home in 2000 I would have never purchased mulch. I spend about $1000-1500 per year year on mulch and another $500-1000 for labor to spread it (in the years that I did not do it myself). I should have purchased ground covers like ivy, vinca minor, myrtle and pachysandra all those years. I would have had to do it for only a few years and never had to again.

2. I don't remember how it occurred to me but I have been searching garage sales of late for garden tools. I am able to find good American made items at a fraction of the price of the crap being imported today. A recent example is a US made, brass hose nozzle I bought for $.50 after spending $10+ on nozzles that lasted slightly longer than a teenager's foreplay.

3. I also bought a 10" x 10"tamper for $2 (Home Depot sells them for $50+), a garden rake for $1, a shovel for $1 and a grass rake for $.50. No, they are not brand new but they tamp, rake and shovel just like a new one.

Let me say, I am not destitute but I don't like paying more than necessary. Something to consider if you like to save money. I would like to hear others' experiences. I am sure we can learn from one another.
 
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Many of us like new shiny things. This mentality is everywhere. I have a co- committee member at church who was asking what brand of weed eater. My first answer was we have an EGO 56 volt, whatever we do it has to be the same battery.
She: but does the weed eater work?
Me: this spring it looked like it had a month of use ant the battery was on the charger.
She: but does it work?
Me: motors last for decades, batteries last five years, string about two weeks and the weed eater is two years old.
She: but does it work?

After three more rounds I got it plugged on the battery and it spins, , , maybe she was correct to want a new one , ,,, it was out of string. It won’t work till someone gets new string.
So many don’t want to repair or don’t know how.
 
If you use something hard, don't buy cheap junk and expect it to hold up.

Even good stuff needs care for extended use. Service it!!

If it has an engine and it's not used for extended periods, put a fuel shut off and let the carb run out of fuel before putting it away. It will always start right up, even after years. My 56 JD crawler some times sits 9 or more months. Starts ŕight up.
 
I guess you could call the a "for what it's worth" posting and that may not be much. May 31 will mark my 82 trip around the Sun and I think I have learned some things that I wish someone had passed on to me. Depending on where you are in your life's journey, you may want to consider some of them.

1. I wish when we moved into our home in 2000 I would have never purchased mulch. I spend about $1000-1500 per year year on mulch and another $500-1000 for labor to spread it (in the years that I did not do it myself). I should have purchased ground covers like ivy, vinca minor, myrtle and pachysandra all those years. I would have had to do it for only a few years and never had to again.

2. I don't remember how it occurred to me but I have been searching garage sales of late for garden tools. I am able to find good American made items at a fraction of the price of the crap being imported today. A recent example is a US made, brass hose nozzle I bought for $.50 after spending $10+ on nozzles that lasted slightly longer than a teenager's foreplay.

3. I also bought a 10" x 10"tamper for $2 (Home Depot sells them for $50+), a garden rake for $1, a shovel for $1 and a grass rake for $.50. No, they are not brand new but they tamp, rake and shovel just like a new one.

Let me say, I am not destitute but I don't like paying more than necessary. Something to consider if you like to save money. I would like to hear others' experiences. I am sure we can learn from one another.
I'm only one year behind you. I have tools that my father bought in the 40's that are still going strong. I also learned early on to buy quality stuff. As a result, all of my tools are old, strong and a lot better than the crap you can buy today. I once had an old. heavy Troy-Bilt 3"wood chipper that I had to use a winch to move in the woods. MTD bought the rights to the Troy-Bilt name, and they now manufacture a 3" chipper that's sold at Lowes that I could probably carry with one hand!
 
You've got a little more than a decade on me so I remember. Give me old American made anything anytime!

I mow with a 1986 International Harvester Cub Cadet 782 manufactured in Louisville, Ky. People look askance at me all the time becasuie I keep my stuff until it wears out. But my motto is on this bumper sticker pinned up next to my desk...

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 8.54.24 AM.png
 
My advise the about fuel shutoff paid today, almost.......

Got the Troy tiller uncovered, hasn't run since last spring. Checked fuel tank, empty. Got some fresh gas in and barely a pull and it was running. Slight warm up to let some lube get in. Went to speed it up.......fuel running down the front of the engine. New PLASTIC tank ordered. I can't even see the Crack but the gas could.
 
Can I rant about zoning?

I'm gonna. They changed zoning rules in my neighborhood of 1950s 1 story homes with footprints of about 850sf. Previous rules allowed accessory structures up to 12' max and footprints up to 50% of the main house. Now, if you call it an "adu" you can almost whatever you want. A house 2 doors down got flipped and now the owner is adding a 2 story "adu" (accessory dwelling unit) in the backyard that is 50% bigger than the main house, will be over 14' tall at the lot line, be 8' higher than the main house, will eliminate my view of the mountains...

1 house wins, 6 to 8 lose. Mostly because of greed.

I can't decide if the owner fully comprehends the impacts on others or does but just doesn't care.

Thanks for letting me rant.
 
So the whole "ADU" accessory dwelling unit was initially started about 8 years ago and described as mother in law apartments, basement apartments, small separate structures in yards. The roll out was limited and required community board approval etc. Then last year they made it way more permissive and eliminated community board approval. Below was a quick skectch to show my city councilman why I am annoyed. In reality it is worse than I'm showing. The proposed structure will probably extend out of the frame on both sides (about a 50' by 26' footprint, main house is 25' x 35'). Plus I didn't want to overexaggerate the height so I erred on the low side. I still can't get past an "accessory" building that has a footprint 50% larger than the main house and a height 40% higher than the main house. It's makes even less sense because they wouldn't allow you to build the proposed structure as the main house because it is too big.

The owner said to me "it could be bigger". When did people stop being embarrassed about screwing the neighbors? Like my wife said, "he'll probably move in 2 years". No need to worry when you are just going to leave. I think when the structure is finished it will reduce my property vale by $50k.

At least my grapes are looking great. PXL_20240516_000430910-EFFECTS.jpg

rant.png
 
So the whole "ADU" accessory dwelling unit was initially started about 8 years ago and described as mother in law apartments, basement apartments, small separate structures in yards. The roll out was limited and required community board approval etc. Then last year they made it way more permissive and eliminated community board approval. Below was a quick skectch to show my city councilman why I am annoyed. In reality it is worse than I'm showing. The proposed structure will probably extend out of the frame on both sides (about a 50' by 26' footprint, main house is 25' x 35'). Plus I didn't want to overexaggerate the height so I erred on the low side. I still can't get past an "accessory" building that has a footprint 50% larger than the main house and a height 40% higher than the main house. It's makes even less sense because they wouldn't allow you to build the proposed structure as the main house because it is too big.

The owner said to me "it could be bigger". When did people stop being embarrassed about screwing the neighbors? Like my wife said, "he'll probably move in 2 years". No need to worry when you are just going to leave. I think when the structure is finished it will reduce my property vale by $50k.

At least my grapes are looking great. View attachment 112788

View attachment 112787

BIL is Canadian. Values soared in his upper middle-class neighborhood as richie-richs snap up the upscale ranch style houses and demolish them to build McMansions that take up the entire lot. What a waste, on every level. Now, it's a neighborhood of gargantuan homes shadowing smaller ones.

In Nashville, they have figured a way to squeeze two houses onto what once was a single lot.

Situations like yours demand that you reach out to your mayor and officials for answers about how this is fair, how it happened and what can be done. The squeaky wheel very often gets the grease. If you can unite some of your neighbors with you in opposition, the more the better. It's inequities like this that led me to get involved in local politics for several years.
 
It's the same all over the World, I'm afraid. Mine is bigger than yours, so it must be better.
I used to work with a chap to bragged that he had a better home than me. What a load of old bollocks.
He used to work all the overtime hours he could get. I said to him, 'When I leave work, I go home. When you leave work, you go back to your house. You're never there long enough to call it home.'.
I don't know why? :slp He didn't speak to me for about a month. :D
 
It's the same all over the World, I'm afraid. Mine is bigger than yours, so it must be better.
I used to work with a chap to bragged that he had a better home than me. What a load of old bollocks.
He used to work all the overtime hours he could get. I said to him, 'When I leave work, I go home. When you leave work, you go back to your house. You're never there long enough to call it home.'.
I don't know why? :slp He didn't speak to me for about a month. :D

:D When we lived in Williamsburg, Va., there was a golf course community where people had these amazing huge houses on manicured lawns. Very impressive from curbside, until I was invited into a few of them. They were nearly bare inside. The owners were mortgaged to the hilt to keep that external image.

Along the same lines, a friend of my very rich BIL and sister once said to me, "Why do you drive such a little car? I mean, that's a little car!" She was driving a big Buick, and I was in a Nissan Versa hatchback.

"Well, does yours have four tires?"

"Yes."

"And when you press on the gas pedal, do they take you where you want to go?"

"Yup."

"Gee – Mine does, too! Is yours paid for?"

She wouldn't answer that. But mine was, with cash, on the day I bought it! 😄

It's a fact: The more you owe, the more you're owned.
 
BIL is Canadian. Values soared in his upper middle-class neighborhood as richie-richs snap up the upscale ranch style houses and demolish them to build McMansions that take up the entire lot. What a waste, on every level. Now, it's a neighborhood of gargantuan homes shadowing smaller ones.

In Nashville, they have figured a way to squeeze two houses onto what once was a single lot.

Situations like yours demand that you reach out to your mayor and officials for answers about how this is fair, how it happened and what can be done. The squeaky wheel very often gets the grease. If you can unite some of your neighbors with you in opposition, the more the better. It's inequities like this that led me to get involved in local politics for several years.
My case is like Nashville, basically 2 houses on one lot. I've been trying to work with the owner but haven't gotten anywhere. Also talked to the building department, my council man etc. basically it is currently legal and will not be changed this year.

The sad part is that there is a way to build the exact same sf he wants, at a reduced height, that would probably increase the value of what he builds but would minimize impacts to everyone else.

I'm feeling pretty demoralized today and kicking myself for not buying the house 3 years ago. I could have swung it but I just didn't forsee the possibility that it would be possible to build an entire house bigger than what is allowed for the main house behind the main house.

I've hardly slept all week. The more I think about it the sadder I get. One of my problems is that I am a structural engineer and am really good at visualizing how it will look. I can already see it. Most people hear 22' and think that's not much, but 22' vertical feet is far higher than most people realize.

I'm just so sad. On the plus side, I've been a little concerned about how much wine I drink, usually one 375ml bottle a night, and at least once a week 2 375 ml bottles. This week I haven't even wanted a drink. I'm thinking that's a good sign that I'm not alcohol dependent.
 
My case is like Nashville, basically 2 houses on one lot. I've been trying to work with the owner but haven't gotten anywhere. Also talked to the building department, my council man etc. basically it is currently legal and will not be changed this year.

The sad part is that there is a way to build the exact same sf he wants, at a reduced height, that would probably increase the value of what he builds but would minimize impacts to everyone else.

I'm feeling pretty demoralized today and kicking myself for not buying the house 3 years ago. I could have swung it but I just didn't forsee the possibility that it would be possible to build an entire house bigger than what is allowed for the main house behind the main house.

I've hardly slept all week. The more I think about it the sadder I get. One of my problems is that I am a structural engineer and am really good at visualizing how it will look. I can already see it. Most people hear 22' and think that's not much, but 22' vertical feet is far higher than most people realize.

I'm just so sad. On the plus side, I've been a little concerned about how much wine I drink, usually one 375ml bottle a night, and at least once a week 2 375 ml bottles. This week I haven't even wanted a drink. I'm thinking that's a good sign that I'm not alcohol dependent.

It is time to get active and replace the people who allowed this to happen in your community. You may not get even, but you can make a change to better your community if you work for it.

I know exactly what you mean about how you feel. There is an abandoned house right next door. I can see it out my kitchen window. I have won it twice at foreclosure auctions but then they would not accept my bid. Another guy slipped in and somehow bought it out from under me, and there it has sat for over a decade. Every time I see it, my teeth grind. My county has no rules about condemnation or upkeep, so the grass and weeds are 5 feet tall. I have offered to buy it from the current owner. No reply.

It's just part of life, I guess. I own 25 acres here, and yet this eyesore is right next to me, all because someone who owned my place 45 years ago sold off that one acre as a lot. Ya can't control everything.
 
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It's the same all over the World, I'm afraid. Mine is bigger than yours, so it must be better.
I used to work with a chap to bragged that he had a better home than me. What a load of old bollocks.
He used to work all the overtime hours he could get. I said to him, 'When I leave work, I go home. When you leave work, you go back to your house. You're never there long enough to call it home.'.
I don't know why? :slp He didn't speak to me for about a month. :D
The bigger is better still baffles me. One of my favorite houses was a tiny 800 sf cape cod in Media Pa. 40' wide lots, shared driveway between houses. Of course the shared driveway could have been awful but we had a great neighbor.

I may have to start looking at houses, not to buy, but to see that I've still got a nice setup.

Plus it's better it's done now before I did some landscaping that would have been rendered worthless.
 
It is time to get active and replace the people who allowed this to happen in your community. You may not get even, but you can make a change to better your community if you work for it.

I know exactly what you mean about how you feel. There is an abandoned house right next door. I can see it out my kitchen window. I have won it twice at foreclosure auctions but then they would not accept my bid. Another guy slipped in and somehow bought it out from under me, and there it has sat for over a decade. Every time I see it, my teeth grind. My county has no rules about condemnation or upkeep, so the grass and weeds are 5 feet tall. I have offered to buy it from the current owner. No reply.

It's just part of life, I guess. I own 25 acres here, and yet this eyesore is right next to me, all because someone who owned my place 45 years ago sold off that one acre as a lot. Ya can't control everything.
Your comment, triggerred a thought, why don't I offer to buy it? I really think the owner has no intention of making it his permanent home. He could make a huge gain on his investment and we could work a deal so he stays in the house while he finds/builds his next project. It's a bad short term investment for me but ok when the kids inherit it in 20 to 30 years.

Plus, I'll have the best garden spot this side of the Pecos. ; )

Hopefully he'll seriously consider it. I just don't see how he could lose. Real estate market here is down/stagnant. So there are deals to be had.

The only downside is I don't want to be a landlord.
 
It is time to get active and replace the people who allowed this to happen in your community. You may not get even, but you can make a change to better your community if you work for it.

I know exactly what you mean about how you feel. There is an abandoned house right next door. I can see it out my kitchen window. I have won it twice at foreclosure auctions but then they would not accept my bid. Another guy slipped in and somehow bought it out from under me, and there it has sat for over a decade. Every time I see it, my teeth grind. My county has no rules about condemnation or upkeep, so the grass and weeds are 5 feet tall. I have offered to buy it from the current owner. No reply.

It's just part of life, I guess. I own 25 acres here, and yet this eyesore is right next to me, all because someone who owned my place 45 years ago sold off that one acre as a lot. Ya can't control everything.
Your comment, triggerred a thought, why don't I offer to buy it? I really think the owner has no intention of making it his permanent home. He could make a huge gain on his investment and I could just rent it back to him at market rate while he finds his next project. I got lucky on some stock that has almost quadrupled but is at a price I think is unsustainable. The real estate losses could offset other capital gains, I'll maintain my property value. In the grand scheme it probably isn't the best investment but won't be terrible either.

And I'll have the best garden spot this side of the Pecos. ; )

I'll going to have to punch some numbers tomorrow.

The owner did text me tonight and said they were going to change the plans to reduce the height.
 
We purchased our home on 2.1 acres 24 years ago. Neighbors on either side had 1.7 acres. Township zoning ordinance required 1+acres to build a new home with septic We felt safe from development. 3 years later neighbor sold his property to a developer who also purchased the next property with 4 acres. They subdivided into 4 1+ acre lots for new homes, and kept both original houses, now both with less than 7/10 of an acre. We protested to the township referencing the 1 acre septic rule. Their response was those properties were grandfathered in. I protested and the reply was but otherwise the developer couldn't build 4 houses on the property. Never mind that the zoning law was in place when he purchased it. We were able to negotiate an evergreen screen and then we diligently planted additional landscape .Actually, only 3 houses were built as one buyer purchased 2 lots. Now, 20 years later, and the privacy and view from our patio has returned.
Zoning ordinances can be changed or altered for good or bad, or just ignored for more tax revenue. I feel very lucky compared to the horror stories I have read on this thread.



backyard2024.jpeg
 
It is time to get active and replace the people who allowed this to happen in your community. You may not get even, but you can make a change to better your community if you work for it.

I know exactly what you mean about how you feel. There is an abandoned house right next door. I can see it out my kitchen window. I have won it twice at foreclosure auctions but then they would not accept my bid. Another guy slipped in and somehow bought it out from under me, and there it has sat for over a decade. Every time I see it, my teeth grind. My county has no rules about condemnation or upkeep, so the grass and weeds are 5 feet tall. I have offered to buy it from the current owner. No reply.

It's just part of life, I guess. I own 25 acres here, and yet this eyesore is right next to me, all because someone who owned my place 45 years ago sold off that one acre as a lot. Ya can't control everything.

I just met the new owner of the bombed out place next door, and he has stars in his eyes about making a big killing on it just like that last owner. Offered to buy it. I think he wants 10 times what it is worth. I was just about to contact the last owner yet again to see if I could buy it. Oh well, I can control building a privacy fence.
 
Your comment, triggerred a thought, why don't I offer to buy it? I really think the owner has no intention of making it his permanent home. He could make a huge gain on his investment and we could work a deal so he stays in the house while he finds/builds his next project. It's a bad short term investment for me but ok when the kids inherit it in 20 to 30 years.

Plus, I'll have the best garden spot this side of the Pecos. ; )

Hopefully he'll seriously consider it. I just don't see how he could lose. Real estate market here is down/stagnant. So there are deals to be had.

The only downside is I don't want to be a landlord.

Buy it, add the extra piece of land where he was going to build onto your existing lot plat, then sell the house on the remaining lot that's now too small for another one to be built. :cool:
 

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