So- yep, thanks to all our peeps and friends and friends of friends we won the essay contest for $5K!
Sorry for the delayed post - I waited to say anything for fear of jinxing it.
The first big thing was- and this just proves things happen for a reason (or the power of coincidence)- our fridge went out. I took this photo for March’s 12 on the 12th (you can see T’s bamboo painting and a coin one of the kids earned!) and then a month later on the 12th I was taking photos of the new fridge (a great find from craigslist - $750!). It was a *bear* to
move- we had to take the front door off the seller’s house! And get it in our house. It was a crazy long day but well worth it. We *LOVE* all the space. And the bottom freezer glides so nicely. And- get this!- it has a built in open door alarm!!
The second thing we did was some dirt work in the yard (about $3K). Our house has flooded twice in the past 10 years - once just the sunken living room and garage and three years later the whole house (ankle deep to calf deep)- from what is called "urban flooding"- rainwater runoff that gets diverted by houses and sheds and does not flow where it should.
In our case our septic field and my neighbor's create two giant humps and the rainwater from the entire neighborhood funnels straight into our backyard instead of down the easement and into the drainage ditch one house over. This first photo is our backyard and the neighbor’s backyard where our septic fields make the humps. The fence was removed and later put back at the higher elevation. The second photo, I was trying to get the drop out our back gate into the easement. We hired a really good contractor and he graded the front side yard and dug out the back easement and moved some dirt around in our almost half-acre sized back yard. Basically, he merged the two septic field hills into one long berm or hill, effectively, blocking the water flow into our yard. The third photo is from the back gate down the easement (some call it an alleyway). You can see the drop and the now lower-level of the easement
And, yes, we bought the Mosquito Magnet. I wanted the biggest fanciest cordless one but found one on clearance that is last year's corded model. It is up and running in the backyard. We are still getting one or two bites a night. We need to find the perfect spot to put it. The manual is woefully unclear on that. But it is way better than the bazillion bites were were getting.
We also put in a small vegetable garden - tomatoes, peppers and some herbs. This photo was taken the day the plants went in- they are a little bigger and in tomato cages now. And we are using the fresh dill already!
We did not get the sprinkler system. Money started to dwindle and we were already in a drought. We knew we were not going to be able to use the system if we put it in, and keeping new grass alive was out of the question. So with the remainder of the money, we paid bills- boring but useful.
It sure came in handy when the almost 2 yr old had to go to the ER (scary! bad cold, breathing issues- but she's fine now) and everyone in the house caught the plague – pretty sure it was the plague!- and there were sooo many doctors’ visits and prescriptions- I literally was at my friendly CVS each day of the week picking up prescriptions that week- every . . single . . day!
So, there ya go- thanks to anyone and everyone who voted!! <hug hug!>