Sometimes it's just better to pay someone
Photo by: skuds
This is more of a story than a financial lesson, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it. It does come to a personal finance topic at the end, so hang in there.
Our house is about 15 years old now. Things are beginning to fail, the roof is getting old, and it seems like there is something constantly requiring repair. This is particularly true of the siding and trim, since our house doesn’t have vinyl siding. Replacing the rotten or bowed wood is a constant battle but one I generally don’t mind doing. I’m fairly good with my hands and enjoy the labor and satisfaction of doing the repairs myself.
The weekend fiasco with the rotten trim
While walking out to my car last week, I looked up and noticed that a corner trim piece was bowed and had pull loose from house. I sighed realizing I now had another weekend project. We visited Lowe’s on Saturday morning and picked up the necessary wood and caulk and headed home to begin the work.
Now, the particular piece that required repair started at the roof and came down the corner of the house to our front porch. This of course required me to use the ladder and climb up about 15 – 20 feet. Before I continue, let me make you aware of something. I am not afraid of much but I am afraid of heights, when I can’t see (adult way of saying I’m afraid of the dark), and one more I’ll get into in a minute. Other than that, I generally have no fears. So you see where I am going with this right? Trim piece, ladder, 20 foot up…not a good combination.
Being frugal though, I was determined to do this repair myself. I climbed up the ladder, tool belt around my waist, hammer and pry bar nestled in the appropriate tool belt holders and began to pry the board off the house. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. As I got to the top, I realized the board went up behind some various trim pieces. Ok, minor complication, but I can handle this. I pulled out my hammer and began tapping away at the trim pieces to remove them to get to the underlying board. About that time, 5 rather large wasps decided they didn’t like me wrapping loudly with a hammer on their little home and thought they would let me know about it. Enter fear #3…bees.
I HATE bees. I’m not really sure why, but I have this incredible fear of bees, and in particular wasps. They just creep me out. So here I am 20 foot up on a ladder already somewhat freaked by the fact I’m 20 foot up and now I’m presented with probably my worst fear times 5, wasps.
Well, needless to say my reaction wasn’t a calm, slow and steady progression down the ladder. As I matter of fact, I would suspect you probably haven’t ever seen someone come down a ladder as fast I did. Honestly, it was more of a controlled fall. I didn’t get hurt other than scrapping my knee and stomach a little bit. As opposed to getting stung 5 or more times I thought this was a pretty decent trade-off. It would seem in the process, I must have let out of a few yells or screams as I came down. I say this as most of my neighbors that were outside were all notably staring at me as I looked up. What? Normal men don’t generally scream as they perform a controlled fall down a ladder?
My wife also heard me and of course came outside to see what was going on. I very quickly explained that while I was up the ladder at about 100-200 feet, 50 3 foot long killer wasps attacked me. I killed them all of course and only the babies survived, which are now the one’s flying around the corner of the house. The screams? Oh, that was the killer wasps dieing their horrible death. She along with my neighbors and kids all cheered at my heroics…
Some things are just worth paying for
Ok, ok…back to reality. My wife of course didn’t believe me, and assumed her normal role of being the official bee killer. She climbed the ladder and killed the ones remaining. Myself and the kids all cheered! I climbed back up the ladder to resume the wood removal. While climbing up, I looked over at my wife and said “You know when I sometimes say some things are just worth paying for? Well, I think this just might be one of those times.” At this point, I should have climbed down, called someone and be done with it, but I didn’t.
To make a long story short, I did finally get the wood removed, but the whole time the wasps that got away continued to try and get back to their little home. Needless to say, they weren’t very happy with me being up there. As a result, the next hour or so was me working for a few minutes, seeing a wasp, and fleeing down the ladder. I probably looked pretty silly with my tool belt container a hammer, pry bar, screw driver, and two cans of wasp spray.
To be honest, I am really surprised I didn’t fall and get hurt. Like I said, I freak when I see a bee, especially when it’s 4 inches from my face and dead intent on stinging me. As I type this, I have goose bumps and chills. Later than evening I thought through the impact of be getting hurt on my income. It would have kept me from working and from writing here on Gather Little by Little for most likely weeks. My full time job would have been fine as we have short term disability but not being able to write here would have had an impact. Also factor in the health care costs had I broken my arm, leg, ribs, or worse. That in and of itself with co-pays would have been in the hundreds alone.
Weighing that against the couple hundred I probably would have been charged to fix the wood, it was really rather stupid of me to try to do myself.
I haven’t put the new replacement wood back up yet and frankly I probably won’t. I’m just going to call someone. To be real honest, I’m afraid to death to go back up there and that alone is reason enough for me.
There you have it, I’m afraid of bees, heights, and the dark.
What are you afraid of? Have you ever had to balance your fears against your frugality? Ever been in a situation like this? How do you weigh the cost of paying someone to do something vs. doing it yourself?