Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hmm, maybe I do understand why my electric bill is so high.

I prided myself on keeping my average electric bill under $100.  Which is a miracle in Phoenix, Arizona.

Then they changed out my meter.

Turns out, the meter was under-reporting my usage.  The charges are re-evaluated quarterly.  First it went up to $112, then $133. And this was before I even turned on the air conditioner.

I thought to myself, what the heck could be using all that electricity?  Nothing is running.

Well, let's define nothing. These items are on all-day, every day.

4 cordless telephones and an answering machine.
The clock on the stove.
The clock on the microwave.
The refrigerator.
An instant-on television.
A Chromecast.
An Amazon Fire Stick.
A Wi-Fi Extender
7 smoke alarms
A computer hosting my doggy cams
7 doggy cams
A modem/router
2 computer monitors I let sleep, but never turn off.
An electric water heater
A water recirc pump
An electric toothbrush charger
3 tool chargers

Plus items that are on daily, but not all day:
2 cellphone chargers
2 floor fans
3 ceiling fans

I think I'm lucky my bill isn't even higher.

And maybe I need a few less electronics.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hoarding - the good kind

I grew up with a hoarder.  My dad had an office where he wrote that had stacks and stacks of books, magazines, and newspaper piled everywhere.  One summer I was even paid to go through a couple newspaper stacks and cut out articles on para-phenomena and throw the newspaper away.

At home, the clutter was restricted to the basement, and his home office.  So I really didn't realize how bad the problem was.

Until he and my mom divorced.

Without my mom's constant attendance, the clutter expanded.  When my brother came back from New York for a family reunion, he was so appalled that he paid to have my dad's place cleaned up.

But it didn't last.

When my dad died, every room in the house, the garage, and the basement, was full of stuff.  There was a path from the front door to the kitchen and to the bedroom.  He ate at a tiny corner of the dining room table.  The rest of it was piled high with papers.

So I was reluctant to admit that I am a bit of a hoarder myself.

I have gotten tired of finding a piece of clothing I like, have it wear out, and never, ever find it again.

So when I find the perfect bra, I buy several and store them away.  Socks that fit and are comfortable.  Buy a bunch of those.

The perfect jeans?  Well, those are kind of expensive, so I don't stockpile those.  But I'll buy one more pair than I need.

My biggest fear was that this behavior was leading me onto the path of the hoarder.

Then I discovered that my sister does this, too.  Now she comes from the same shaky family tree so that was only sort of comforting.

But when my best friend said that she does it too, I felt such a relief.

I'm not a hoarder.

I'm being proactive.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The 20-minute toy

My sister came over the other day so I could do her taxes.  She brought a toy for each of the dogs.  As I did the taxes, she watched Bogie destroy the hedge hog.  She was laughing and I think he was showing off.

She did help clean up the stuffing. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Attitude is all (or most)

So after my really bad day, the next day turned out to be even worse.

Let me just say I found myself car-less, after the rental car places were closed, and after a half mile walk, my sister didn't answer her door.

I had a mini-meltdown. Turns out she was home after all, but the doorbell doesn't work. She was able to give me a ride home.

During the drive, she wondered why all this was happening to me now. I off-handedly replied, "17-year-old car, 17-year-old house, 8-year-old dog."

But I wondered if maybe it was more involved than that?

I firmly believe that you get from the universe what you put into it. And I realized I have been floating a boatload of negativity towards the universe. Mostly because of my job.

It’s only reasonable that it would come back to me. And I resolved to stop looking at the negative in all the situations.

And almost immediately, problems became more manageable. I was able to sleep better. And I returned to my cheerful, former self.

And I swear my luck changed for the better.

The car was fixed and ready to be picked up the next day. Although I ended up taking it back twice more, they didn't charge me any additional money. I did have to rent a car for one more night, but I got that one from Hertz and they treated me much better.

The smoke alarms will take a little bit of work to replace, but that’s the cost of owning a home. Things need to be fixed or replaced periodically. Alarms are supposed to last 10 years. These were installed when the house was new, seventeen years ago.

And a co-worker had already done the research on good replacements. I have them now, waiting for me to get around to replacing them. Supposedly, they are easy to replace.

And Angel will get better with time. She is in a good humor, so not in a lot of pain.

And work bothers me less.  I even got an unexpected day off, with pay.

My attitude change has made it easier to deal with work and the various travails that life throws at me.

And I daresay, I'm more pleasant to be around now.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Today has to be better ...

Yesterday kind of sucked.  I surprised myself by being resigned instead of getting upset.  
My 17 year old car needs a new air conditioner compressor.  People think, well, just don't use the air conditioner.  It's not that simple.  This compressor is part of the serpentine belt that runs the car.  If the compressor stops, so does the car. 
I left work early to get to the garage at one in the hopes that they could fix it in one day.  My mechanic was confident that they could.  I sat in the waiting room for 3 hours, reading Scientific American and playing games on my phone. 
At 4, he came out and said they have to keep it.  The supplier sent the wrong compressor.
I called Enterprise rentals and arranged a car.  Yikes! Twice as expensive as the last time I rented one.  $85 a day – economy or compact car. Damn Cactus League. 
I arranged for them to pick me up.  They said it would be between 5 and 5:30.  An hour or more from when I called.  I considered walking, but the location was just far enough that I wouldn’t get there any sooner if they made the early pickup time. 
I had finished my magazine and the battery was very low on my phone.  I sat and waited, trying to meditate,and  keep my mind blank.  It worked.  For two minutes at a time.  
Enterprise closes at 6.  At 5:25, I called them again.  I got the distinct impression they had forgotten me, since he said someone would be on the way right away.  They were just over two miles from me.  It still took them 15 minutes to get me.  
The rental office is in a temporary location about ½ mile closer than the original one.  Had I known that, I would definitely have walked. 
It was 6 pm before I left the lot. I pulled into my home garage at 6:30.  Kept hearing beeping.  Thought something was wrong with the car.  
Opened up the door to the house.  Every smoke alarm I have, all 6, was screeching.  I don’t know how long the dogs had to put up with it.  Pulling the batteries from each would have meant listening to the cacophony for longer than I could stand. 
I went outside, hoping the circuit was clearly marked, and shut off the circuit breaker to the smoke alarms.  Blessed quiet.  Interrupted by sporadic beeps.  I pulled the batteries out of the beeping alarms.  Now there was truly quiet. 
And then I noticed that Angel was limping, badly.  She is on pain medication for inflammation.  I wonder if the medication made her feel better and she over did it.  Or did the smoke alarms startle her into escaping too quickly?


Friday, March 18, 2016

Not good customer service ...

I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon and I generally have good luck with them  
But I bought a birthday tie for Bogie from one of their third party vendors and didn't get it.  
Honestly, I'm not sure who is responsible if the Post Office says it was delivered, but the recipient didn't get it. 
I do know that a careless and condescending email is not the correct response. 
Their email infuriated me.
"Since the tracking information suggests the package was delivered, we would suggest one of the following based on our past experience -
- Check with your local post office
- Check with your neighbors if the package was delivered to the next door by mistake
- Check on your front porch, patio, or outside garage where the package may have been delivered"
Let's take these "suggestions" one at a time. 
1) I don’t think I should be the one contacting the post office.  I wasn’t the one that shipped it.  Besides, the post office said they put it in my box in the cluster mailboxes.   I assumed that for $4.95 to mail the tie, the shipper would have had insurance.  Which they have to claim. 

2) Yes, let me ask my neighbors if they got my mail by mistake and decided to keep it.  Might as well accuse them of thievery.  Good advice. 

3) The tracking slip said it was delivered to my mailbox.  Sure, let me check my front porch, patio, garage entry, and anywhere else it wasn't delivered to.  

The tie did end up on my front porch about 9 days later. 

But the communication left a lasting, sour aftertaste. 

P.S. I had never seen a cluster mailbox until we moved to Arizona.  This is what I mean, although ours has more cubicles;