Growing up, the month of May used to look a lot like April: gray, wet, and dreary. If we were lucky, Memorial Day weekend might have decent enough weather for a barbecue outside. This year though, and the last few before that, have been unseasonably warm, and we’ve been seeing weather in the seventies and eighties and a lot of sunshine (and just about no rain).
Thanks to this warm weather, we spent a ton of time outside and in the garden this past week. As a Mother’s Day gift, my husband and son helped me build two more raised beds to expand my garden a bit more. No matter how much my garden grows though, I easily find ways to fill it and can always see how I could use even more room.
And then there’s the downside to all this warm weather. It’s only early May and we’ve already had lowland wildfires and they’re predicting yet again another bad summer for wildfires, which will mean smoky months around here again (and early snow melt). We are in a good place here in the Pacific Northwest in terms of climate change, but we are in no way immune to its affects.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Another side effect of this dry, warm weather is that I’ve been able to hang dry our laundry outside for the past couple of weeks. Even on days when it doesn’t warm up past sixty degrees it has been dry enough that I can just leave them outside longer until they’re eventually dry.
We also turned off our furnace this week, perhaps for the season. It may still cool down enough later this And next month to need the heat on at night, but as long as it’s reasonably comfortable our furnace should be off until well into September now. Until it gets so hot we need to use the air conditioning, this time of year sees the lowest utility bills and energy use.
2. After thinking through and writing my post about my focus on no spend days, I considered allowing myself more lunches out on work days. I know this is a weakness of mine though, so I needed to have some parameters in place in order to never have to go back to weaning myself off of them in the future.
So for balance, I’ve decided to give myself a limit of one lunch out per week, which will likely total around forty or fifty dollars a month. At this point in my life, that kind of money isn’t going to make or break me financially in a month, and it makes me happy, so it seems well worth it, within moderation. Of course, it won’t do good things for our overall food expenses, but I’m coming to accept that is okay.
3. We had our neighbors who are moving soon over for dinner one night this week. We are going to miss them so much when they’re in another state and we can no longer have impromptu weeknight dinners with them. I do expect we will continue to travel with them like we have in the past, but we’ll just be doing it less frequently and starting from different locations.
That said, I passed him on my way up to my house earlier this week and asked if they just wanted to come up later that evening for dinner, and they did. We already had plans to cook a Costco freezer meal of Indian curry and some naan (store bought this time), so I simply added extra vegetables and cooked a larger pot of rice to make sure there was enough for the five of us.
They also had a salmon fillet that they brought over and we grilled that up as well. An eclectic meal perhaps, but there was plenty to go around and even enough for me to take leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Not a fancy evening, but a good one. Good neighbors are the very best thing about where we live.
4. We’ve gotten into a routine most weeks now where I’m able to leave my car at home one weekday. My husband drops the two of us off early at the coffee shop near my son’s preschool, where he and I grab a doughnut and then drink our hot chocolate and coffee and read a couple of the books there before I drop him off for the day.
From there, I walk the three miles to work along a pedestrian and cyclist only trail, now that the days are long enough and I’m not walking in the dark. In the afternoon I then either run back to preschool and my husband meets us or I drive with him there. While it may not be the days of getting to run all six miles to work, it’s definite improvement over needing to drive my car separately.
5. The motor for the fan in our main bathroom burned out this week, which isn’t all that surprising because it was very old (and our roommate never remembers to turn it off after he showers and leaves the house – though I prefer that to him not turning it on in the first place).
Once realizing the motor was dead, my husband hopped right on Amazon and ordered a replacement motor. The day it arrived, he got right on it as soon as he got home and swapped out the motor and the fan works again (and much better than before). I so appreciate the degree to which my husband is capable and willing to fix small – and larger – things at our house, and that I don’t have to be involved in any of the emotional labor needed to make sure it gets done.
Beyond that, the entire fix cost us forty five dollars for the replacement motor and very little time. If we were to pay someone else to do the same job, we would have had to research companies, find one with availability, schedule the appointment and wait for them to arrive, and then pay what I’m guessing would be at least a couple hundred dollars to do the work.
Much like the reason why I have my mother cut my hair and my son’s hair and my husband cuts his own, the time and scheduling part of the endeavor is worth perhaps even more to me than the pure dollar savings.
Friday was another one of those days where I had all of five minutes to hop on the elliptical before leaving work for the day. Saturday was a beautiful day though, and I ended up with just over 23,000 steps for the day thanks to walking around downtown Redmond in the morning and then gardening all afternoon as we built those raised beds. Monday I decided to skip the elliptical and go for a longer walk instead because the weather was just too nice to stay inside but I didn’t have any running gear with me.
Tuesday was this week’s day to leave my car at home so I walked to work after dropping my son at preschool and then went for a run in the afternoon. Thursday was a long walk out in the sunshine. Sunny, dry, not yet too hot weather makes it so easy to be outside.
Speaking of outside, I’m currently at 25 hours through the first nine days of the month. I’m going to have to step it up and be outside a lot again this weekend in order to hit that goal of 100 hours outside in May, but it seems completely reasonable at this point, especially with more good weather on the horizon.
How much time do you spend outside on a typical week (when the weather is good)?