While my neighborhood gets together on a small scale quite regularly, we do a larger block party just once or twice a year. In previous years, another neighbor has hosted in front of their house, but she ended up being out of town this time so we hosted instead.
We live at the end of a cul de sac, so it’s a good spot to spill out into the road and a safe place for the kids to play. Another neighbor rolled his smoker over next to our driveway, and we grilled in the front yard. Over the course of the afternoon, we had maybe three or four dozen people up to hang out, eat, and get to know each other better.
Of the people who showed up, we knew a good handful of them well, knew some more by face and name, and quite a few others we had never met. Our “block party” covers about five streets and quite a few houses, so while we know most of the people closer to us, there are still plenty we have yet to really meet.
The first couple of years we lived in our house, we knew very few people at these events, but as the years have gone on, we’ve gotten to know many more and have much closer relationships than simply waving as we pass them on the street. If your neighborhood doesn’t do at least an annual block party, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to initially say hello and get to know your neighbors, and it can turn into so much more.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the past few months, our dog has needed surgery to amputate two of her toes due to some growths under her nails. The first quote I received was for $4,000 – $5,300, which was more than a bit shocking.
We had to take her in for some other cardiology appointments in the meantime, which gave me time to think through the situation (and toss a little bit of money aside for the future surgery). I then made a few inquiries to other local places, and I received either a similar quote or the answer that they just don’t do surgeries beyond spay and neutering.
I then decided to reach out to places a bit further away from where we live and eventually landed on Renton Veterinary Hospital. They are housed in a small, older building, but have been around for 75 years. Best of all, they are just a “regular” veterinary that also does surgeries, so they don’t have the cost of the overhead of the big surgical centers. And they gave me a quote of $1,600.
A week post op, and our dog is doing even better than I could have hoped at this point. They did a fabulous job, and I really don’t feel like we skimped on care to save on cost. I did had to drive a ways on Friday for the surgery and back again on Monday (and once more next week) for bandage changes, but that is a small inconvenience for a savings of thousands of dollars.
If you’re anywhere in the Seattle area and have a pricey procedure needed for your pet, I would highly recommend them at this point. Dr. Singh is great, and I am so grateful they were able to take such good care of our dog (at a much more reasonable price).
Update: bandage change Thursday afternoon showed infection in her front paw so she’s back to the vet today to get it cleaned out.
2. To make up for the extra cost and extra driving on Friday, Sunday was a no spend, car free day. We had a quiet morning at home and then packed up a lunch and went for a hike through the woods around our house.
We had some leftover hot dogs and cheese and other snacks from the block party over the weekend, so we took those for our picnic lunch. We would really like to take the kiddo on a backpacking trip soon, so we are using these trail days to practice for a longer trip.
3. I’ve made it to the gym five out of the last six weeks. I’m grandfathered in to an extremely cheap rate thanks to sticking with the same gym through two ownership changes, and I only pay $17.84/month. There are seasons where I don’t get there as often as I would like, but even once a week means I pay less than five dollars a trip.
I realize that I could save a little bit of money by ditching the membership and just running outside or working out at home (or at the small work gym), but I really love getting to an actual gym when I can manage it, so an annual cost of under $250 feels well worth it to me.
4. We are getting to the end of snap pea season, so I’m picking and eating as many of them as I can for now. In their place are now blueberries, and the very first of the tomatoes. I don’t often eat a meal entirely out of the garden, but I do supplement quite a few meals and we buy a whole lot less produce this time of year.
5. Right after I broke my pair of sunglasses and then my husband subsequently repaired them for me, I finally found one of my other pairs! They had gotten wedged in the very bottom of the seat back of my husband’s truck under a large map, and I just missed them the last few times I looked.
While I’m not certain if sunglasses really count as clothing or accessories in terms of my shopping ban, I’m finding that I am much more aware of buying any new physical item these days. Once you start paying close attention to the things you own and working toward living what you already have, it becomes much more apparent when you go to bring in something new.
I spent the day down in Renton Friday while my dog was in surgery so I didn’t have to make the drive down twice in one day. I spent much of the day at the community center and some of it taking phone calls while walking down by the river. It was a free way to get my work done out of the office, and I got a bit of exercise in at the same time.
Sunday was that hike through the woods near our house. Monday was another long walk while on the phone, and then I was back running to the gym to go lift on Tuesday. Wednesday was a run on the treadmill while the kiddo napped.
If you garden, what are you harvesting this week?