In March Miss D. and I were finally paid a long-outstanding debt, which helped clear our credit cards and put some money in the bank. Rather than leave it there in our present high-inflation environment, we decided to use it to upgrade various aspects of our home that we’ve been wanting to do for some time, but couldn’t afford.
Over the past six weeks we’ve:
- Installed a patio outside the back door;
- Installed a new electrical circuit board and fixed two long-standing problems that were overdue for attention;
- Ordered an insulated garage door, which will hopefully lead to a cooler garage in our 100-degree Texas summer temperatures;
- Installed a new and more powerful HVAC system, including a single vent in the garage – not enough to properly cool or heat it, but enough to take the edge off whatever Mother Nature is doing;
- Doubled the width of the gate in our rear fence, and moved it to the western side;
- Cast a slab for a new and much larger utility building in the back yard.
- Fit a regular entry door and a single garage door;
- Lead electricity from the house to the utility building (by way of the patio, which gets its own light circuit and an external power plug), and install a secondary circuit board there, along with lights, plugs, etc.;
- Install a 12,000-BTU mini-split HVAC system (already here and waiting);
- Put down a 1″ layer of spray-in closed-cell foam insulation;
- Erect new metal shelving in part of the building, so I can begin to transfer stuff over to it from other rooms.
It’s been a very expensive process – much more so than when I priced it in January, and again in March. Inflation is wreaking havoc with building supply costs, and I reckon we’ll be over budget by at least a third. That’s largely due to finding unanticipated electrical faults that had to be fixed, but also to increases in the cost of components. For example, this morning I bought a standard-size metal door (in a metal frame) for the utility building. Prices quoted were in the $300-$500 range in January-February this year. Today, I paid $550 plus tax; and another supplier quoted me $750 for an equivalent unit. I had no choice but to grit my teeth and pay up. Having begun the project, one can’t very well abandon it halfway through! I guess one credit card is going to have to carry a balance for a few months until I can pay it off in full.
Still, I have no regrets. All our improvements will be very useful. The new HVAC system in particular is already proving a major blessing. Our old, too-small system could never keep pace with our 100-degree-plus Texas summers, but the new one is more than capable of holding its own, to our great physical relief. The patio is proving its worth, too; sitting out there in the evening twilight, even in the heat, is very pleasant. The new utility building will allow us to move most of our stored bits and pieces out there, as well as a certain amount of administrative work with books, etc. That’ll free up house space for more domestic needs. Last but not least, we’ve dealt with two previously undetected electrical defects that might have had very nasty consequences, so our home is a lot safer!
So far, so good. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.