I suppose if you are paying someone to do it, that counts as doing it, right?
Yes, Terry and I are finally among the outsourcers of the world. For someone in his income category, I would say that we are in the minority here. In fact, most people I know who make less than he does employs at least one of the above workers, but it's taken us some gradual turns to get here.
We've never had any problem with the "one-off" contracting. Terry is a little bit
Yard care was the first place we caved. Back in 1995 when we bought our first house, we did everything ourselves, because we had more time on our hands than money. In fact, the backyard in our new-construction home wasn't landscaped or even carpeted with grass, so my dear old dad helped Terry and me sod the backyard. I still remember hauling those heavy squares of St. Augustine's grass squares in the wheelbarrow.
In Connecticut we helped the local economy by paying the high school boy next door to mow, and Terry really learned to appreciate that. In fact, when he went away to college, we wondered what we'd do. Fortunately, in Connecticut you really only mow from May - September, and the neighbor came home from college ready and willing to make some pocket cash.
But living here in Houston (Bizarro** paycheck world as Terry is calling it), it just seems to make sense to us. We never felt like we got pool maintenance down when we had a pool here before, so Terry was definitely interested in that. He called around and found one guy whose price was right, so that was the first. The yard contract was the second (and again,
I had housecleaners come the last two times we sold our house to do that deep down cleaning before we put it on the market, and boy did it sparkle! When I was working a bit more last year (thus earning more "fun money"), I considered using some of it to pay for a housecleaner, but I could just never do it. While I will readily admit that I don't love cleaning house, I don't mind the time it takes to vacuum and dust and even to clean the bathrooms (which Terry cheerfully helps with on the weekends), but in the end, I realize that they do it better than I do -- much, much better.
The housekeepers were supposed to come last Friday, and of course I straightened up for them. When they had to postpone due to the flu (it's everywhere!), I decided to just put it off a week, and then Spring Break wouldn't hinder the every-other-week schedule.
I had begun to second guess my decision. The house looked pretty darn good with my little efforts to clean up. I did a quick vacuum and sweep, cleaned the powder room, and I was all set.
But they did come today, and my gut was correct. It's SO clean when it's tackled by the professionals. Spotless, even. Sparkling. And it smells so good.
** Seinfeld Superman reference anyone? It's Bizarro world because everything costs much much less, and with Terry's new job he's actually gotten a raise, not to mention reduced taxes coming out and a much lower transportation commuting cost. So the combination of a bigger net has finally pushed us over the brink, although as you can see by this long explanation, I am still a little conflicted about it.
Terry is too. He said, "We could either spend this extra money on things like this that would make our lives easier, or find something else more useful to do with it. I honestly think that it's okay.
So what about you? Are there items that you cheerfully outsource? If so, why? Is it a skill issue, or time, or a loathing of a specific task?