Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I've got the Power...bill

Our electricity/gas bill is ridiculous. That's the only way to explain the almost 300 dollar bill that we just paid. Ridiculous. No only is it ridiculous, but wasteful seeing how much of our electricity still comes from coal and not renewable resources.

My husband suffers from hypothyroidism, which is probably the reason that he's CONSTANTLY hot. He'd be happy in a t-shirt in 40 degree weather. The fact that he now has to wear a coat in winter (when I'm completely bundled up and chattering) or that he is capable of getting cold, is a new concept for him. I sympathize with his plight of hotness, but he keeps our AC at 72 (okay, I've managed to push it up to 74) all the time and I'm COLD. It is NOT right to be cold and wearing a sweatshirt when it's 100 degrees outside. I think it is training his body to never get used to adapting to heat, and making me more susceptible to getting ill.

We do try to save energy though. For example, when we moved into this house, the first thing that we did was change all of the bulbs to florescent bulbs. My hubs likes them, and I like the idea of saving money. The ones that they have now that are less 'white' and don't make my head hurt. Also, they don't take forever to warm up either. I used to have nightmares about walking into rooms, flicking the switch and having it be really dim. Something bad was in the room but I wasn't going to be able to see it until the freaking fluorescent light warmed the heck up! Yeah, wasn't a fan.

Moving on...I get that we pay a premium for having the AC on but what is that premium?
Let's check out my bill:

Customer charge: 7.50
EmPower MD charge 4.00
Distribution Charge 54.19
RSP(wtf?)/Misc. charges that I'm pretty sure they make up 9.42
wait...I'm paying 75.11 before we even get to the electricity that we used? Are you freaking kidding me? My parent's electric bill isn't even that much in total! Okay..then we move onto the actual electricity that we used, which is about $194. This includes me turning up the AC 3-4 degrees most days when my husband leaves for work. It also however reflects that the temperature was above 85 degrees for 195 hours this last month.

So what the heck am I going to do to lower this bill? We already closed off vents in rooms we aren't using, but it doens't seem to have made a difference (nor do those rooms even get hot). I turn up the AC when the hot one isn't home, and I think actually I'll buy him a fan and keep the AC up more. I can help him with cooling devices like our neck coolers, cool clothings and air flow. This is better than the AC being up super high anyways! We change our filter constantly, but we do need to check out cleaning the coils. We aren't going to sign up for electricity cycling--it's my husband's worst nightmare, so please don't suggest it. Once we take AC out of the equation, what is left?

I decided to check out the other electricty busting the dryer. This puppy uses 4400 watts vs the fridge which uses 57-160 watts. The dishwasher uses 1200 watts, but if you don't heat the water, only 200. So I decided to cut down on using both. When I was growing up, we always had a cloths line. We would take our stuff out, hope it didn't fall on the ground or get bugs on it, and hated using crunchy towels. Now, apparently in an attempt to see it's effect on my electricity bill, I am going back to crunchy towel town.

In the last year I stopped drying half of my clothing in the dryer anyways because I was sick of my shirts shrinking up (not getting too small, just too short!), and when I recently bought a bunch of new clothing realized that I'd been blast heat drying most of my stuff, most of my life. The 'normal' setting is medium...NOT high. Yeah, this explains the holes in clothing and why they never lasted long, right? My dad gave some suggestions on where and how to hang a line, and I put in a request that one be put up in the basement. We live next to misquito breeding ground, and it's so insanely muggy here lately that nothing would dry outside (not to mention the HOA probably could care less about the environmental impact of a cloths line and just see it as impacting the quality of their cookie-cutter houses. We need to buy better line, but the one thinner line he managed to hang between two bookcases across our basement worked well enough to dry about half of a load of towels. I did throw the rest of them into the dryer on 'air only' because they were SOAKED (I'm not sure our washer spins them enough) AND I had no where to hang them. My bedroom has been the defacto place to hang stuff lately, so I'll hang up the shirts on hangers, and put them spaced around the room (on doors etc) to dry, then lay flat other stuff on the drying rack, blanket rack, ironing board and elliptical (see I'm using the workout equiptment). I'm also running the dishwasher less, re-using/better about washing dishes between uses and reusing instead of grabbing new dishes and making my husband put a kill-o-watt thing on his computers to show how much power they are sucking while he's at work not using them. I'm also unplugging more stuff, and being better about turning off lights.

What is your power bill (will you share?) and what have you done that has been effective in lowering it? What do you keep your AC setting on? Am I working for the greater good of helping preserve resources, or simply making life more difficult?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rainy Day Musings

It's one of those type of days where Dylan playing Blowing in the Wind seems to just hit the spot in your contemplative mood.  

It's been rainy here, a blessing since the heirloom tomato plants that my lovely friend brought over are happily taking off, glad to stretch their roots down into a new pot of soil, rather than the cramped planter they were previously confined in.

I haven't written a lot lately, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I feel like I have to finish a 'story'...come to some conclusion or resolution in order to finish a blog post. I've begun a ton of posts--and for some reason just can't find the gumption to finish them.

My husband is off playing board games with his friends, and I decided that I wanted to stay home. I think I had some grandiose idea that I would cook and clean but that's only gone so far as making some potstickers, and waffles to freeze for breakfast. I've noticed an absence of enough vegetables in my life, and a predilection to only like cooking carbie foods and I really need to remedy that.  Last night, in an ill-fated 'adventure' I attempted to find my 'limit' on how much cake frosting I could eat before I'd get a headache. The answer was...far less than I'd like.  Did I stop? Not really. I managed to curb how much cake I consumed but continued to nibble on the frosting. I'm paying today with a headache, and hung over feeling most of the day.

Still, it's amazing to see how far I've come in the last 15 months.  When I went to the doctor and found out why I wasn't getting pregnant easily, she gave me this laundry list of things to do. A list that I didn't think I'd be able to complete, even as I nodded my head in mute agreement.  It seems now like I'm well on my way to making those things happen. It's encouraging and yet daily I question if I even want kids now.  If I want to deal with the lack of sleep, the noise, the stress.  Yet, I know if I found out that I was pregnant tomorrow, I would push these fears into the back of my head and be ecstatic.  When people ask why I don't have kids, and I attempt to explain, as quickly as possible about the PCOS, after the pitying noises, it seems like they more often than not immediately ask if we'd considered adoption.  This bothers me.  While I have nothing against the idea of adoption, we haven't been married THAT long, I'm not damned to infertility, and what do you know about adoption or our desire or ability to do so? Frankly, the idea of having my life and financials picked over by a stranger for them to decide if I would be a fit parent, while some 16 year old gets knocked up the first go around infuriates me.  I am constantly thanking an unseen deity for the time that my husband and I have together in blessful quiet, save for the cries of Henry being attacked by a playful catnip infused Newton.  Not having kids right now isn't the worst thing in the world, and I wonder how many of those pitious looking people are quietly wishing they could swap places.

I think I've figured out why I don't write much anymore. I used to love writing, love sharing and love having an attachment to this blog. Having it was part of my identity but lately, it seems like one more thing that I haven't caught up with.  It seems like one more way that I could say something out of place and piss someone else off because if nothing else, I'm damn good at accidentally pissing people off. It seems like one more way to remind me of my lack of close friends or direction in life.  I feel like I've been dropped in a pool and everyone else is swimming laps and I'm sorta messily treading water, maybe doggy paddling as Olympians breast stroke around me.  What the heck do I know about life, marriage, or parenthood?  One of the saddest things about becoming an adult is realizing that you don't wake up one day knowing everything you need to know, or having definitive direction in your life.  Childhood brings you up to see this idealized version of being an adult that exists only in a child's mind.

As I wrote above, I don't blog much about my experiences anymore because I don't want to offend anyone.  I'm contemplating starting a second blog where I can just write about all the crap that bothers me, but it seems like it would be all negative and nothing positive.  In the end, all I want is the negativity out of my life, and happiness, peace and positivity in.  I feel like I've entered a state of contemplation in my life.  I needed to find my passion again. What touches my soul? Before college my immediate answer would be music. Music was always that 'thing' for me, but when I left high school and weekly flute lessons that disappeared.  A few weeks ago I attended a Baha'i summer school and got to learn from this amazing musician JB Eckl. I listened and meditated on the music, the prayers and realized that that passion with music needed to be reignited in my life.  I listened to so much guitar music that weekend and decided I want to take up guitar.  I've always wanted to play a stringed instrument but hadn't really had an opportunity to until now.  Small hands and all, I will persevere.

I need consistency in my life. It has never been my strong point, or my husbands and that is becoming a serious issue.  Be it consistency in working out, taking medicine every day, eating correctly every day...I suck at it.  It is my goal to work on this consistency, and incorporate my playing guitar, eating well, writing in this blog etc. into that desire to have consistency.  Oh yes, and positivity...because my natural tendency is to gripe and complain (yes, I do acknowledge this) but by looking at the positive side of situations, you can usually be more productive and happy in the long run.