Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yard Work . . .

. . . Profitable Hobby !

Owning a rental property brings on certain benefits. The landlord, me, must care for the property by necessity if a tenant will not. If things go right and one is very good at spotting coins in the dirt, one can make a mint!

If things don't go right, it costs - believe me it costs. I'm talking finances here. And while I've spotlighted yard work, interior work figures in also.

But let's talk about benefits first. That place up north that Laby B and I have renovating, cleaning, repairing and worrying over for months has provided benefits - not the financial kind.

Think about exercise and fresh air. Both of us have enjoyed BEST those benefits but they came, just the same, with drawbacks. Each day of painting for instance provided us with the satisfaction of seeing a renewed color on a place where the paint has worn for 10 years or so - - -

AND backaches, shoulder pain, stiffness in the wrists from wielding brushes, aching knees, legs and feet. Yes, some sunburn too.

Tenant neglect of the cookstove resulted in at least four hours of scrubbing, scraping, de-odorizing and polishing - - -

AND at the conclusion, at the re-hooking of the gas supply, the finding that the stove DOES NOT WORK!

The interior work on this old house did have some benefits however, in that our BEST neighbor, our lovely daughter-in-law Barbara, brought on her many talents to beautify the place.

Once a person who actually worked in younger years at cleaning and restoring mobile homes, this lady expertly installed a new carpet, made and hung pretty curtains, sealed linoleum and tile floors and helped Lady B and me with many other little things. She's the BEST.

Now back to the outside and the yard work I started to talk about up above. There's an acre on which the house sits with plenty of Afganistan cypress trees, dozens, on all sides.

Those trees, planted by both of us about 15or 16 years ago have grown tall but at the same time sprouted lower limbs that touched the ground and
trapped every bit of trash and tumbleweeds that our Lea County winds collect every day.

During several weeks, nearly daily, these low hangers were sawed off and piled for disposal and the grime raked from underneath and bagged for the landfill.

Here's where it gets into the financial benefit I've alluded to in the headline. You see, in the process of cleaning, the oft-dropping of coins by several tenants over the years has meant to my once-sharp eyes a bonanza.

Of course there's a drawback there also. The cutting of tree limbs and bagging of trash was overwhelming and one or two trips to the (fortunately free) landfill convenience center convinced me to hire a handyman who agreed to minimum wage, in order to take away the junk. He also was the BEST.

So instead of collecting a REAL bonanza, there was the out-go over a couple of months of about $150 which I compare to my bonanza as fine for him, pitiful for me.

Over the months, watching for the sun to shine on dropped coins, I have managed to find quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies amounting to about ten percent of what my handyman has banked. I once found a half dollar.

Now that (most) of the yard cleaning and bonanza gathering is done , I relaxed at my downtown home today, for the morning anyway.

About noon I took a sack of household trash to the waste dumpster in the back alley and noticed what a crappy looking alley it was.

So I benefited again in fresh air and satisfaction as I raked, shoveled and bagged, into two dumpsters, dead grass, rotted leaves, pine needles, tree trimmings and assorted other trash.

Two dumpsters? Yes, one was my neighbor's. For the heck of it, to keep trash from his side of the alley blowing to mine, I cleaned BOTH sides of the alley. Had to use half his dumpster.

Just a little payback to my neighbor for his help in moving furniture in our house now and then. He'll notice the job tomorrow.

Oh, my aching back.

- 30 -

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