Marriage 101: Never hire landscapers

Advice, Marriage Add comments
Disclaimer: I love my wife and kids.

One of the key ingredients to a successful marriage is spending as little time with your wife and kids as possible. By staying out of the house, you can avoid all sorts of potentially nasty things like talking to your wife, spending time with the kids, and pretending to be interested in their lives.

Far and away the best way I have found to avoid my family is to spend time working in the yard. While you may not think the prospect of sweating behind a lawnmower is all that attractive, trust me, it beats the alternative. Here’s a quick overview of the benefits you’ll enjoy by foregoing the landscaper, and doing the yard work yourself.

Benefits to doing your own yard work

    • It’s good for about 2-3 hours of “away from the family” time, not counting prep, cleanup, and shower time (you’ve wasted 4 hours already!) and you can almost always find something more to do if you are creative.

    • You can always kill even more time by taking a trip to the hardware store/Home Depot looking for something, be it mulch, gasoline, fertilizer, seed, weed killer, etc. You can even go see a movie and just claim the store was out of whatever you went looking for.

    • It can save you money. Not nearly as much as you would think, but it does save a little, and your wife can’t argue with saving money.

    • You’ll feel manly.

    • You’ll get a little exercise/sun, and not be such a pale/fat mess

    • If you’re not a complete spaz, you can actually end up making your house look nicer (from the outside, at least). Yard work takes the least amount of actual skill to achieve decent results of any home improvement tasks I’ve attempted. It’s much easier to create a walled in flower bed with some shrubs than to do an interior job like re-doing a kitchen or something. Plus, your wife is inside, and will have comments on interior jobs.

    • NO ONE will want to help you… wife, kids, no one. Yard work guarantees you alone time with your iPod. If they are young enough, your kids may pretend to want to help you, but they get bored about 3 minutes in, maybe 5 if your project involves a giant pile of dirt.

    • You’ll have something else manly to talk to other men with at social events you weren’t able to get out of.

    • You get to buy a bunch of cool tools too!

If you’ve watched a lot of TV in your day, you may be surprised to see I did not include “Your wife won’t have an affair with the landscapers” in my list. Well, it has been my experience that the “hot male landscaper” is a Hollywood invention. The landscapers (in our town at least) are about 5 feet tall, unwashed, and need serious dental work – hardly an erotic threat, although I could add “You don’t want them near your house or family” to the list.

Of course, as with all great plans, there are a couple potential caveats. Occasionally you will be waylaid by the weather, or have to handle yard work duties when you are legitimately busy or feeling sick. But in general the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Like most of my marriage tips, doing your own landscaping is something I would recommend doing from day one. It’s a lot easier to change your mind down the road and decide to hire landscapers than to convince your wife you need to fire the landscapers you’ve had for years, buy a bunch of equipment , and spend hours of weekend “family” time working outside once you she’s stuck in the house with the kids all week.

Conclusion

I by no means have a green thumb, but thanks to my quest to avoid my family, we now have 5 relatively nice, walled-in flower beds, and a yard that may not win awards, but looks a hell of a lot better than when I started. I’d say just in 3 years of landscaping projects and fertilizing, I’ve increased our home’s value by $20,000, half of which goes to my wife after the divorce but hey, that’s still ten grand profit!


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