Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The New Porch Light is Up!

Ta da!

Did you know I can call up City Hall and ask for a CFC lightbulb for my porch fixture? Free!

I found out today looking up energy rebates. They were very careful to mention that a volunteer would bring me one. Of all the nutty things.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So, Guess Who Is Buying A New Furnace?

It could be the motor.
It could be the drive shafts and ball bearings.

But it doesn't matter because the welds on the 30 year old monster are starting to "go."

I've been doing some research--and lo and behold, the Federal government has an EcoEnergy program designed to encourage homeowners to make upgrades to their homes in the name of energy efficiency. Depending on the kind of furnace we purchase we could be eligible for $300 to $500.


In order to qualify, you have to enroll in the program. In order to enroll in the program you have to have an "energy assessment" completed. (We had one done in 2002 --it's too "old" to qualify. We paid $100.00 for it.)

I have called three companies and was only able to get a quote from one of them: $275.00 for the initial assessment and $99.00 for the follow up. (AND they are unable to even come do the assessment until Oct 23. (brrrr.))


The city we live in has chosen to match one of the federal grants. If we

Replace [our] furnace with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace (that has a 92.0% annual fuel utilization efficiency or better, with a DC variable-speed motor

then the city will match the $500 federal grant. So, we may come out ahead by $600.00 ($1000 minus the inspection/program fees.)

So, the next thing to do is find out how much more a furnace like the above costs vs. the other furnaces listed as eligible for the federal rebate (but not the municipal rebate, though come to think of it, given the fees, it isn't worth it) vs. the medium grade clunker required by building code.

The husband is of the opinion that rebates tend to artificially inflate the cost of the item in question, and he's likely right.

I never once imagined that I would ever turn away from a "free" $1,000.00.

Nonetheless, the rebate program also covers things like replacing hot water heaters and installing insulation in the attic and basement (and other stuff). Total possible eligibilty is $5,000. But, you can only apply once--which means if we want to maximize the rebates available to us, we have to all the work within an 18 month period.

So, guess who shouldn't have taken an expensive family vacation this year?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bubble Bursts

I usually live with my head under a rock.

I like it that way, most of the time. I was a journalist for a few years in my life before marriage (and kids) and I got my fill. More than my fill. So, except for brief blips, and reading my Atlantic Monthly, I don't pay much attention to anything going on in the world.


There is a blip on my radar screen at the moment. It's pretty big and hard to miss! And so I'm scrambling to do my best to catch up and understand the whole Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco. (One thing puzzles me, though, didn't I read about this, oh, say a year ago? The housing bubble was about to burst and folks knew there would be a financial crises when it did. I knew that--me--who doesn't pay attention! I guess I thought it had already happened. Seems I was wrong. But, goodness, why all the scrabbling and "last minute frantic bail out meetings"? Anyway, let's not go there. I've been under my rock too long to start wondering out loud at the lack off proactive foresight in government, or indeed, anywhere.)

Anyway, that unnecessarily long pre-amble is simply an introduction to two things which has helped me sort this out, if you too are wondering what happened.

The first is an article by the Boston Globe.

The second is a You-tube video which is well worth watching, even if it is a tad, oh, shall we say, listing to one side of the spectrum in American political candidate endorsement.

I'm just sorry that real people have to suffer through all of this. Truly sorry.

(And Wende, you are hereby granted full permission not to comment though I'd love to be a fly on your brain right now.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Know Winter's Coming When....

In spite of fuzzy sweatpants and sweaters and sunshine, I have been chilled all day.

It is currently 8 degrees Celcius outside. (46F). The low tonight is supposed to be 4C (39F).

The forecast?

Tomorrow's high 6C (42) and rain.
low: 2C (35F).

After supper, I had the husband clean the furnace filter.

Just before bed, I turned on the furnace for the first time since May...

...and it seems the fan is broken.

(Thank goodness I didn't wait until it was really cold!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Disfunctional Time

Dear Friends,

It has been preying on me that I seem to have abandoned all life outside school. We are five weeks into our studies and I'm struggling with staying on schedule, motivating the kids to stay on task and, at this point in time, a bit of boredom.

But I am afraid to engage in the world I've created with this blog. It's very silly--but I feel both like hibernating in our school cocoon and breaking out of it and resuming "my life"--whatever that is!

But I'm not really ready to leave it, even though it is beginning to chafe, for I am afraid that if I do, school will fall through the cracks and it will be shoved to the back burner yet again. And I have promised myself that won't ever happen again. There is no more time to lose!

School truly is taking a lot of energy and time. Preparing each week takes about a full day--I don't quite understand why. I'm hoping that as I keep working at it, it will get more streamlined, but I doubt it, somehow. This week is pretty straight forward, for example, but I do have to teach "ing" endings...and figuring that out will take at least an hour.

What energy I do have over and above the daily grind and weekend planning is being spent on long term plans for our next history period which begins at Christmas. I'm trying to correlate Canadian History, artists, composers and scientists with our next major period of study--the 1600s to about 1849. It's rather daunting at the moment.

And I really should be cleaning the house!

This state of affairs can't continue forever, of course. Eventually I'll have my research done and I'll figure out how to get the house clean and keep it that way on a daily basis. That's my next goal.

But I wanted you all to know, I think of you often, even though I can't quite give myself to click over and comment on your blogs. Maybe that will change soon, too.
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