For the first time in 14 days, I am enjoying some time off of work. We had planned to go to the lake this weekend but with the wind-chill (yes, I just said wind-chill in April), it was going to be â€“15 degrees Celsius out last night which didnâ€™t sound like a lot of fun. When I walked outside to go to work on Friday, I noticed a bird sitting on the edge on our bird bath which I filled on Thursday. The bird bath was frozen solid and the bird was trying to figure out why it had come north so soon.
Instead we chilled out around town and took in the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Book Sale and am getting some yard work done around here. We have two or three days worth of work to do at the cabin and then we are done for a couple of months.
Of course our schedule was altered a couple of weeks ago when we hit a pot hole and did a lot of damage to the front of the Honda Accord. We cracked a couple of CV joints and then did some damage to the axle and front end in general. The total bill is about $800 and then I had a little of engine work to be done as well. The garage questioned if we wanted to keep it or if we should auction it off so we donâ€™t have to look the buyer in the eyes but we decided to fix it. On top of that I decided to add some new tires to the van and the car which is another $800 but that is part of owning vehicles. One of the women I work with, her son owns a tire shop in Saskatoon that everyone I work with goes to. Instead of dipping into savings, we decided to pay for it out of our operational cash which means less of everything for a couple of months. The vehicles have been good to us and we havenâ€™t put any money into it at all so itâ€™s time.
Of course it means that we have to cut back in some areas which means that we are cutting back on the cabin. We had hoped to buy a new gazebo for the cabin this spring but I think that is being pushed back into June when Wendy starts back to work. Our other big capital project at the cabin is a front deck but it will be under $200. The plan was to paint, put up the gazebo and the deck by the end of May. It isn’t going to happen and will be September before it is all said and done which is fine. Itâ€™s 3/4 of a tank of gas every time we go out. Right now that is a lot cheaper than it was last year but every little bit helps.
When the talk of the long recession started (see The Great Recession blog for a lot of links) I started getting a little obsessive about protecting our savings. It took some long discussions with Wendy but she bought into the plan as well. Being in Chicago and not seeing a single HELP WANTED ad reminded me how isolated we are in Saskatoon from the bad times but that can change. I am not sure how long it will be until we are on the other side of it but until we get there, I will be working at keeping my costs down and debt at zero. It will mean a few less shorter trips to the lake and a few more longer ones.