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Old 11-20-2013, 06:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post
Hi, there, NW-Bound... Thanks for the rent-a-trencher idea. I wish I had at least thought about it! Not all is lost, though. I'm making a strong mental footnote to always think of the equipment rental option from now on. As far as comparing the ditch digging to leisure/hobby/self-improvement activities like working out, running and biking, that comparison won't work for me. After all, you do point out that people pay (and/or spend money on gear) to do these things. I would not pay to dig trenches. Neither would you, right? Thanks for the reply to my OP! Alex in Virginia
Luckily, I use a municipal rec center @ $11/mo, and biking and walking are basically free...

I hire out the weekly mowing, but do the weeding and mulching and fertilizing and bushwhacking, since that's only a few times a year v. every week.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:41 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post
Hi, there, NW-Bound...

As far as comparing the ditch digging to leisure/hobby/self-improvement activities like working out, running and biking, that comparison won't work for me. After all, you do point out that people pay (and/or spend money on gear) to do these things. I would not pay to dig trenches. Neither would you, right?
You dug this trench without a shovel, boots or gloves? VERY impressive
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:00 AM   #23
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If I can do it I do. I've been known to buy tools that I would not likely use but once just to do it myself. Painted house this summer but did hire dudes to do the high parts. Always did my own yard work (figured if you are paying with taxed dollars it pays me about $75 an hour!) but this year during leaf season I'm recovering from broken collarbone so cannot heft the blower. Must admit I enjoy someone else doing it as leaf collection is one thing I don't care for. Not long ago had a cattywumpass window caused by a water rotting support column, got under the house, 20 ton hydraulic jack, all SORTS of fun.

Do this stuff because I enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing a tangible task, something unlike a LOT of what I was paid to do for all those years. When I painted the house, one neighbor lady admired me that I was saving my family a few thousand dollars. Tempted to tell her what we were worth in rough terms and it wasn't why I was doing it; I just shrugged. This LBYM makes me wonder sometime; ya can't take it with you. However, it's hard to spend $ on things that just don't seem worth it. Got all I need, all we want.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:00 AM   #24
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The Red Green show is an acquired taste, but hilarious if you like slap stick.
Thanks for pointing this out. I knew of this phrase for a while, but only now learned of the origin.

Searched youtube, found and watched a couple of episodes. Surely Mr. Green said that in each one. He is like McGyver, but funnier. And who says Canadians can't be funny?

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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post
As far as comparing the ditch digging to leisure/hobby/self-improvement activities like working out, running and biking, that comparison won't work for me. After all, you do point out that people pay (and/or spend money on gear) to do these things. I would not pay to dig trenches. Neither would you, right?
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But my gym is climate controlled, and features some occasional scenery unlikely to be found at a digging site...
You've got a point that I would not pay to do this, but I never paid to participate in any event because I prefer to do any physical exercise by myself. So, I would not extrapolate what I do or do not to the public at large.

Your comment made me think though. People pay to participate in bike or running events. They do that for camaraderie, for team spirit, or whatever. But they do seem to have fun, and perhaps that's why they pay.

We need to bring those elements to trench digging if we want them to pay. I can see competition in 10m trench digging race, a 30m endurance one, or a man-woman team race like you and DW were doing. We will have televised events, with corporate sponsorship from companies making pick axes and shovels. For people who like to have some nice scenery for the event (those who go to the gym for that), we can get some young good-looking cheerleaders. Climate controlled environment? Hmmm... We can do this indoor, can't we?

There are already competition events for occupation-related activities such as for lumberjacks, so why not for trench diggers is all I am suggesting.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:24 AM   #25
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There are already competition events for occupation-related activities such as for lumberjacks, so why not for trench diggers is all I am suggesting.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:38 AM   #26
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My grandfather, the handyman

My grandfather was very handy at fixing things. He discovered lonely little old ladies were breaking things around the house SO THAT HE WOULD COME AND FIX THEM! Most days, it got him a free lunch.

I'm not sure who was smarter, Grandpa or the ladies!
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:41 AM   #27
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Uh Oh. Being quite handy myself, I need to watch out for this, if and when my DW is not around.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:41 PM   #28
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I put in a french drain, but I used a gasoline powered trencher, and between the roots and rocks, the job still almost killed me. I can't imagine doing it with a pick and shovel.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:50 PM   #29
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Twelve years ago my DW, son and I dug a complete 26x40' foundation for our lakehouse. The contractors could not guarantee results as the 2' depth was close to the watertable. So we broke out the picks and shovels and moved it all out by hand. It took a couple of weeks. Then after we poured the footers and laid blocks we back filled by hand with 60 tons of fill sand and ten tons of gravel.
Now twelve years later and at age 57 I don't see that happening again.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:35 PM   #30
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The most interesting part, to me, was your living arrangements with DW!
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #31
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When I was a kid, the chore of cutting the grass fell upon me, once I got old enough to operate the lawn mower safely. I did that all the way through college (I lived at home during college), until I graduated and moved out.

I grew to hate yardwork, and I swore to myself I would never again cut grass. Except for a couple times at a previous rental house where the landlord didn't employ a gardener, I've stuck to that. It only took a couple times of me doing it again before I hired a gardener myself.

There are some chores around the house I want to stand and point and say "do that!" and have somebody else do it. Yardwork is one of them. Same thing with electrical, plumbing, flooring, appliances...actually, most everything around a house.

The only thing I've done myself and got satisfaction out of it was converting one bedroom into a dedicated home theater. Black ceiling, plastic track on the walls, with fiberglass backing and acoustic fabric, 112" screen, front projector, etc.

But even then, I'm not sure I'd do it again myself as even for a 12 x 12 room, it was a hell of a lot of work putting that acoustic fabric up.

I think if I did it again, I'd design it, and stand there and point and tell somebody else to "go do that!"
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:48 PM   #32
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... No point, at my age, in potentially creating serious or just annoying injuries doing something I don't even enjoy. I have just enough chronic, fortunately minor, pains to remind me of the potential for injury. And those are from my youth, when I was in much better condition lol. ...
That's a really valid point, seraphim. I would have been SO SO p***d off if I had pulled my back swinging that pick ax!


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And you didn't do it for $20 an hour. SHE did it for $20 an hour. You did it for free.
You're right! I did do it for free (and for my wife, of course). Yikes!


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Old 11-21-2013, 10:22 AM   #33
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I do a lot of stuff myself, even though I can easily afford to have someone do it for me. Physical labor type jobs are my favorite. I see it as an alternative to going to the gym. I try to do it at my own pace.. but the days I'm doing stuff are the days I seem most fulfilled. One of my biggest projects was replacing my old wooden fence. Probably 20 sections. I did it almost all myself. Digging holes, hanging boards, etc.

Jetpack, I actually agree with you. I'm a big DIY guy. But the key (which I highlighted in your reply to my original post) is to do the stuff at a pace one is comfortable with -- both physically and attitude-wise. That's part of what I was getting at in the last paragraph or two of my original post.

Thanks again for commenting!

Alex in Virginia
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #34
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... As I age, time is the most precious thing. If I can "buy" more time for me, I won't hesitate to do it...

That's what I've come to think too, robnplunder, but I'm trying to apply it on a daily basis. To quote from the last paragraph in my original post:

"...The time I spend each day on obligatory tasks and non-fun projects will be limited so as to allow enough time each day for some enjoyable/fulfilling activity. I will not “tucker myself out” on the have-to-do’s. I will see to it that I have enough energy left for a want-to-do. Just like everyone else, I live life -- and use it up -- one day at a time. From now on, I’m making sure that each one of those days counts for me."

And, to reemphasize the question at the end of my post:

"How about you? Do you make sure that each one of your days counts for you?" (That's the discussion topic I was hoping to motivate with my original post.)

Thanks so much for commenting!

Alex in Virginia
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #35
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Having lived in NYC for many years, I had come to actually miss yard work and being with nature... Of course now, it's sorta actually work with all that I have to do.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:09 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post
"...The time I spend each day on obligatory tasks and non-fun projects will be limited so as to allow enough time each day for some enjoyable/fulfilling activity. I will not “tucker myself out” on the have-to-do’s. I will see to it that I have enough energy left for a want-to-do. Just like everyone else, I live life -- and use it up -- one day at a time. From now on, I’m making sure that each one of those days counts for me."

And, to reemphasize the question at the end of my post:

"How about you? Do you make sure that each one of your days counts for you?" (That's the discussion topic I was hoping to motivate with my original post.)
"Have to do" vs "want to do"?

Am I supposed to do anything? Oh yes, if my skylight dome has a crack and it leaks, just like it is doing today with the heavy rain (and they say it does not rain here in AZ), I have to get up under it with a ladder to put on some black electrical tape to temporarily stem the leak. And I did that. But anything else, I proceed at my leisure. It's what retirement is for, and that was even before I got a sudden health problem that I am recovering from.

About wanting to do something, if you want it too badly, it becomes "work". I have no bucket list. I have read some travel blogs where the writer talks about setting goals for his travel. Good grief! What if you cannot meet your goal? Bang your head against the wall for failing yourself?

There are many places in the world that I can go and have not been to, and in the past most of our travels were determined by whatever bargain my wife happened to spot on the Web. While we were both surfing the web on our respective PC or laptop, she would call out to me "Hey, there's cheap airfare to go to XXX for $YYY in 2 months. Are you interested?" And I would reply "Yeah, let me see what we can do when we get there. Looks like it might be worth a 2-week trip. But book to hold it for 24 hrs while I do my own quick research." Then, we went. I believe 90% of our travel has been mostly impromptu.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:20 PM   #37
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No point, at my age, in potentially creating serious or just annoying injuries doing something I don't even enjoy.
My thoughts exactly. I'd much rather pay someone a trivial amount than risk personal injury. Light yard work is fine, but heavy manual labour can be dangerous.

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The most interesting part, to me, was your living arrangements with DW!
+1. On the face of the (very brief) description provided, they sound more like casual boyfriend and girlfriend than spouses.

Personally I don't see much, indeed any, point to getting married if a couple doesn't want to spend much time together and prefers to keep their finances and other aspects of their lives separate. But then, there may well be more to the relationship that we don't know about; and in any case, 'different strokes for different folks'.
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