Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

The Endless Dollar Drain

Today’s dollar drain courtesy of the City of Phoenix: the new greased-gravel “paving” they’ve installed in the alley pretty clearly is not going to stand up to the force of water flowing out of a backwash hose. In theory, it’s against the law to backwash into an alley: if they catch you, it’s a $2,500 fine. This law is most honored in the breach. Presumably if you drained an entire pool into the alley — upwards of 10,000 gallons — someone would notice and the city would show up at your door. But most of the time, no one pays any attention.

However, you can be sure the Trash Cops certainly will notice if the fine new fake blacktop is dug up. Besides which, even if no one complains, the damn stuff is almost impermeable to water…and of course, they didn’t build drains alongside the crud. So that means every time it rains and every time someone backwashes onto it, we are going to have fine mosquito ponds.

For quite some time, I’ve been figuring that when the DE filter on the pool gives up the ghost, I’ll replace it with a cartridge filter, which doesn’t have to be backwashed. In theory, you only have to take it apart twice a year and clean out the cartridges. (We’ll believe that when we see it…) If this is so, it will represent a considerable savings both in terms of hassle and of service calls. The present filter has to be cleaned out three or four times a year…and the $1,250 tab for the thing is less than half the cost of a fine.

So the pool guy is out there. The difference in how efficiently this device runs, as compared to the ancient one, will make up $1,250 in my time — and in annoyance factor — within just a few months. Think of it: NEVER HAVING TO BACKWASH AGAIN!  Wooo hooo! And when you change out the pump pot basket, you don’t have to bleed off the air, another source of hassle and mess.

It does mean I will run out of money before next September, when I have to take the annual required minimum drawdown from savings. Fortunately the stock market is up, and fortunately I can charge this on a credit card, thereby deferring payment into 2018. That means I can move the tax hit into a year in which our tax bill supposedly will drop (har har hardy-har har!!!!). If the usual set of politicians’ lies turns out, for a change, not to be outrageously false, then maybe I can at least keep the tax hit down some.

Plus I expect the economy to tank after 2018 — probably in 2019 or 2020 — and I’d like to cover as many of these expensive house maintenance jobs as possible while the market is up and my investments will recover the losses in a month or two.

But my God, the backwash valve on the Money Bin has been running out of control now for months!

Paying off the car drained both personal and corporate bank accounts. I’ve had a thousand bucks worth of dental work so far and at the least am still looking at replacing two crowns. This predicament, naturally, developed after I took it into my pretty little noggin to paint the house, which probably wasn’t immediately necessary, but certainly will be if I decide to put the place on the market and move away from Bum Central and Meth, Inc.’s headquarters. I do love my house and my neighbors, but realistically, there are some drawbacks to living here. 😀

Among them, one could argue, is the cost of maintaining the Funny Farm…

Author: funny

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  1. Have you considered selling your home and moving to Ecuador? I know you have family and life in AZ, but there are a lot of American expats retiring in Cuenca, Ecuador because they use the US Dollar in Ecuador for currency and the cost of living is cheap. It might be an option for you, especially since your extra income is remote based via the web.

    Perhaps when the stock market tanks, it might be worth the jump.

    • I’ve considered that kind of thing. But you know, I grew up overseas. There are a lot of trade-offs when you decamp from your home country (wherever it is) anbd take up life as an expat.

      Those trade-offs are navigable — even sometimes a grand adventure — when you’re a young thing. I’m not so sure, though, that I’d want to uproot myself again, not in my mid-70s. That could be quite a challenge.

  2. It always seems like it’s something….Ya see you’re getting a little “ahead” and then a car repair or replacement is needed….OR….a medical dilemma presents itself OR a home repair becomes needed. Thank goodness the stock market has taken off this year …. Hopefully this will take the “sting” out of the surprise expenses…

    • Well, it’s serendipitous that this is happening right now. But what goes up must come down. The market isn’t going to stay up forever, and chances are that the next crash will make the Bush recession look like child’s play.

      With this upgrade, the house itself is in pretty good shape. The roof will need to be redone in another six or eight years; the AC/heater, which is a piece of junk, probably will last at least that long because I only use it in the summer — it’s useless when the weather is really cold. The only real expenses will be unpredictable ones: plumbing springs a leak, aluminum wiring causes a fire.

      My neighbor’s tree is heaving the wall, which peeves me: I think she should have to pay for it, since we had this issue before. The last time one of her trees did that, I ended up paying half the cost to rebuild the wall. This time, I’m making her pay it, even if I have to take her to small claims court. She doesn’t seem to have a nickel or a dime, though: had to have the dry-rotted eaves and facing on the house replaced and has never bothered to paint the new, raw wood. Obviously, she would do that if she could afford a painter. If she doesn’t want my dogs in her yard, though, she’ll have to come up with some cash to fix the wall.

  3. Occasionally I think it may be nice to have a small pool in my backyard. I just have to pop over here to read how much of PITA it is to maintain one, though, and decide I’m better off without one. 😁

    • Well, it’s not THAT big a PITA, but at some times of year it requires more care than others. With this new filter…NO BACKWASHING….zowie! That gets rid of the most time-consuming and most hassle-filled task. Right now — in the winter, while the water’s too cold for things to grow in it and while the wind rarely blows much into the drink, total pool work is about 3 minutes per day (yes, I did time it, and yup, I am OCD!).

      In the summer, if we get a monsoon, a LOT of dirt and leaves will blow in. This will require about 15 minutes of manual vacuuming: running the pump for an hour or two will skim all the floating debris into a basket and also will push all the stuff on the bottom into one or two piles. Thus it’s pretty easy to schlep up that stuff: the only real annoyance there is that it requires attaching the schlep-up bonnet to the garden hose and turning on the water, which can be messy. However, by then the weather is hotter than a bygod and you don’t really mind getting wet — you’ll probably be getting into the pool anyway.

      I find it MUCH less hassle than caring for a lawn or cleaning house.

  4. I have a “Dear Friend” who describes boat ownership and pool ownership in the same way…The two best days are … one….when you buy the boat/pool….and two….when you sell the boat/fill the pool in with stone. In this neck of the woods, liability with pools is off the charts. With some insurance companies not interested in providing coverage at any price….

    • LOLOLOL!!! Yes, a boat… “A hole in the water into which you pour money.”

      Since just about everyone in the Valley has a pool, insurance companies seem not to be about to deny coverage. If you have a block house (as opposed to styrofoam-and-stick), property casualty risk here is overall very low: no tornadoes, no floods, no brushfires (in the city, that is). And yeah, an occasional kid falls in the drink and drowns or is permanently injured…that is not good. But apparently it’s not happening so often that insurors want out of the business.

      Also, newer homes are required to have fencing around pools. You can take it out, but if you sell the house you have to have special locks on all the doors and sliding doors that are up out of reach of the brats, or else re-install the fencing when you go to sell.