In for a penny, in for a pound - Denny Scott editorial
In recent months, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been living quite as healthily as I did at the same time last year.
The primary reason for that, I guess is that we had a bit of a domestic argument at our house several months back between my daughter Mary Jane and our dog Mikayla.
Mikayla, an older dog who is a little set in her ways (probably why we get along so well), didn’t take kindly to Mary Jane trying to play with her paws – she growled and snapped and that was the end of her tenure at my house for the forseeable future.
You can’t take a chance with safety, so Mikayla found a new home with a relative and my wife and I are very grateful for that because it means Mikayla still gets to be in our lives. It also means that, some day, when Mary Jane’s lexicon grows beyond “Hi”, “Bye-bye”, “Oh-oh”, “Mommy”, “Daddy”, and “Kitty”, we might be able to bring Mikayla back.
Unfortunately, when Mikayla wasn’t there, harness in her mouth waiting for me to walk her, it became really easy to stop getting that twice-daily physical activity.
It wasn’t that I made a decision not to be active, it was just that I had other things to take care of first thing in the morning (diapers, bottles, baby food, sleep, etc.), and so, my physical fitness level began to decline.
Anything worth doing isn’t easy, or so I’m told, so it’s tempting to stop doing it and without Mikayla, the walks stopped.
Lately, I decided I wanted to try and remedy that. I pulled out some fitness equipment and started following some exercise routines.
Every night, instead of queuing up some television show, I would start doing some quiet exercise so I won’t wake Mary Jane.
I’d only been at it for three days when my stomach decided I should take a night off.
I sat there, upset stomach gnawing at me, and had to make a tough decision: I know if I don’t keep on with the physical fitness routine this early into it, I’m doomed to fail in the long run so, grunting, groaning and complaining to myself, I started to warm up.
As I sat there, considering the impact of missing that session, I realized that you have to make the big efforts and the small efforts if you want to succeed.
Take, for example, saving money. Acquiring savings isn’t just saving money on big ticket purchases like new houses, vehicles or renovations, it requires small savings as well.
At the end of a year, saving a few grand on a house could pale in comparison to the savings from switching to no-name products (except for coffee and toilet paper – some things you just don’t cheap out on).
Cutting big expenses is only a part of the equation – small savings also need to be realized to really drive home the idea of trying to grow savings.
It would seem that North Huron Council should be reminded of such endeavours.
Take, for example, a recent meeting at which North Huron Council approved the purchase of flowers and trees for its ratepayers.
Both purchases were hotly contested by the same few members of council, though they swapped sides for the two issues.
The flowers, and accompanying hanging baskets, cost $5,700 while the trees cost $1,840. Both purchases were approved.
Deputy-Reeve James Campbell and Councillor Ray Hallahan fought for the tree program and against the flowers while Councillor Trevor Seip fought to suspend the tree-planting program, but, for the $5,700, going so far as to say that more money should be spent to beautify other urban areas in the municipality.
Hallahan and Campbell said that the flowers and hanging planters should be bought by the host communities, similar to how the Auburn Horticultural Society single-handedly beautifies that community.
Seip said if savings could be found by suspending the tree program for a year, it was worth pursuing. He also said that denying the flower purchase wasn’t as grand a service as he had originally envisioned when suggesting council consider services to save money.
From my seat in the den, however, I can say all three of them are wrong ... or right.
The approximately $7,500 for the two projects should not be spent if council is truly committed to saving money.
This isn’t like council’s ill-advised attempt to cut garbage collection in urban centres, this is a service that could be matched by community groups that are constantly looking for ways to help out.
Trees, flowers and planters are the perfect projects for a Business Improvement Area (BIA) or service club to tackle because they focus on improving their community instead of the municipality as a whole.
I applaud council trying to reduce costs, but finding savings needs to be a commitment. Whether it’s $5,700 or $57,000 or $570,000, every chance to save should be reviewed. The only caveat to that statement is if a majority of the people disagree (see the garbage collection idea) you aren’t cutting where you should be.