|Back patio of happiness|
When we visualized our life on Vancouver Island back when it was in the planning stages five years ago it went something like this:
-mortgage free cozy home within a short drive to the beach
-self-employed and make enough income to live the kind of life we want which includes taking time off when we want
-truck (to cart boat and dog to the beach)
-have enough money to travel somewhere new at least once per year
That vision changed slightly over the years. Our home in Alberta had been paid off but was way too big and felt more like a boat anchor than a cozy home. Plus, we had far too much money tied up in one asset.
When we sold that home we bought our small cozy island pad which was half the size with a manageable back yard and a patio where we could grill to our hearts content. We banked the difference and most went into our retirement fund. We set aside some funds to do some minor house renovations as we ended up buying a home way cheaper than initially expected. Those renovations will likely occur later this year although I tend to want to hold off on them as love peace and quiet versus a home in chaos of renovations.
We tried to buy things used where we could although it is much tougher to find decent used goods here than in Alberta as incomes are lower here and there are more people competing for used goods. As a result when we arrived we ended up buying a brand new patio set that perfectly suited both our lifestyle and our small covered patio size. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent on this patio reading, drinking cider, and grilling up dinner. The cushions are put away now as it is still rainy season here but in a month or two they will get pulled out and used again - in virtually like new condition except a small fixit job I did on one of the cushions when it split on the underside. There is a bird feeder in this picture (upper right) which hubby gave me for Christmas two years ago. I love birds and get to sit at the dining room table watching them. I bought hubby that BBQ last year for his birthday when the old one rusted out on the bottom. For my birthday last year I really wanted for nothing so asked for a Costco card thinking I would use it for something that caught my eye. Well, yesterday something caught my eye.
We are the proud owners of two brand new kayaks partly paid for with that gift certificate. There is only one in the picture but another is resting on top right now until we clean out and reorganize the garage so we can fit two vehicles and the kayaks in it. We had just been looking at really expensive fiberglass ones on the weekend. These were 1/4 of the price. We are not trying to keep up with the Joneses in terms of kayaks, and yes, we know the difference between really great kayaks and mediocre ones. These are definitely mediocre ones - but we can now go kayaking any time we please, they are 10 footers so can be stacked in the back of the truck with no additional expense of a trailer, and we paid cash for them. Our way of thinking is that we will use these these for at least two years. If at that time we wish to upgrade to fibreglass ones we will sell these and have gotten our moneys worth plus some money back out of them as it was $70-80 every time we rented two kayaks for a couple of hours. The entire goal was a way to get out on the water closer to nature and wildlife. Before we learned how to kayak we thought that was with a boat - something that costs way more than these in cash outlay, insurance, and ongoing maintenance.
I don't often talk about it on this blog but I actually have a hard time spending money on myself. Groceries and bills are mandatory but I very seldom spend money - except on travel. A few years ago I took the plunge and bought an expensive digital camera that has given me thousands of great pictures and hours of joy. When I look at this kayak I feel the same way - like a little kid with a brand new bike - hours of happiness ahead. Yes, I purposefully browse the fliers to keep our grocery bill low, don't go to first run movies, scrimp and save on big and little items every day, rarely eat out, and wear a great wardrobe which 99% comes from the thrift store - just so once in a while we can splurge on the things that make us happy. Those include the island house, traveling, my camera, our new dog Buddy, this backyard patio, and these new kayaks which in a month or two we will be paddling away in.