Up, up, up goes the house and gas prices
TOWNER, N.D. -- The best line I heard from a guy trying to sell me something this year was, "It's expensive, but everything is." It was an honest admission given in a matter-of-fact, better-get-used-to-it kind of way. I appreciated the sincerity,...
TOWNER, N.D. -- The best line I heard from a guy trying to sell me something this year was, "It's expensive, but everything is." It was an honest admission given in a matter-of-fact, better-get-used-to-it kind of way. I appreciated the sincerity, but I still didn't buy what he was selling.
He was right, of course. Everything is expensive, and it's getting higher every day it seems.
We're in the middle of the biggest building project on the ranch since 1927, when our barn was moved out from town where it was the city livery stable.
With baby No. 3 on the way, we've well outgrown the one-bedroom, one-closet, high-efficiency home built for my bachelorhood.
We're adding four bedrooms, numerous closets, a couple bathrooms and enough floor space to keep three kids under the age of 5 pretty well tuckered out if they run circles in the house for an hour straight.
It's been exhausting, and I'm not even swinging a hammer. We actually hired a real carpenter for that work. Just paying the bills and making decisions, or at least agreeing with my wife's decisions, has me worn down to the nub.
There are about 300 styles of faucets from which to pick. They all turn the water on and off. There're some 400 styles of lighting fixtures to choose between. Basically, they all make dark places brighter.
There must be 50 shades of white paint and another 500 other colors of interior paint to consider.
The differences in all these things are subtle. After looking at catalogs an inch thick, stacks of pamphlets and reams of color swatches, my eyes begin to cross and I don't see any difference at all.
But you have to pick, or, at the very least, smile and say, "Oh, that looks nice," and "Yes, dear," once your wife has made up her mind.
Time is money
The best part about paying for a project like this is that you pay today and not a month from now. Anything that comes on a truck or takes some energy to create, which is pretty much everything, is going up on a regular basis.
I feel pretty smart that we poured our concrete two years ago, bought our shingles last year and got the copper wire and anything steel priced several months ago. Unfortunately, there's a lot of expensive stuff left to go.
My wife doesn't seem to notice the prices when she's paging through the catalogs with the thousands of decisions to be made. Whether it's doors, carpets or kitchen cupboards, she'll look and look to find something she likes. I'll quickly look for the dollar sign and inform her, "You should like it, it's the most expensive one they have!"
"That just proves I have good taste," she counters.
"Well I can pick out the high-selling bulls at every bull sale, but it doesn't mean I buy them and bring them home," I tell her.
I'm sure a $10,000 bull would do the ranch good, but if the budget says $3,000 or less, that's where the bidding stops. Of course, anything selling today for $3,000 might cost $10,000 next year the way things are going.
With that line of thinking, we should get the higher-priced options today because next year, the crappy stuff probably will cost the same as today's premium.
I hope we finish this house soon, I hear there's another round of price increases at the end of the month.