I’ve never done this before, just sit down and write about the week. But what the hell, it is my blog so I’m going to exercise my executive privilege and do it.
I always like to start with bad news first so let me start with my biggest disappointment for the week, comments. I will admit that I am frustrated by the lack of comments on posts. I can’t really figure out why they are so low. Maybe people don’t want to jump in and offer an alternate point of view or suggestion for fear of someone calling them wrong on it. I won’t.
What surprises me the most is that the primary audience that reads my site are people also suffering through financial problems themselves. How about a little compassion for others in the same boat, I often wonder? What is it that prevents people from leaving a comment of encouragement or support just to help a fellow human being through a tough time? I’ll be honest, I don’t know.
One answer is that people selfishly want an answer to their problem because they are in a moment of their life when all they can focus on is themselves. Understandable, but regrettable, since it is the exact time in their life when they need a community around them, supporting them, even with one big giant hug. When I was going through my financial problems in 1989 I don’t remember being all that outwardly focused. I was in a deep depression and panic.
I’ve always thought that comments help the question and answer to become better for all. Someone might have a different recommendation or experience that may send the person in trouble in a path that I didn’t suggest. Hey, I’m not perfect and I enjoy learning about new things as well. It is a problem I’ll just keep working on.
Anniversary Accidentally With Friends
Pam and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary this week. We got married exactly a year to the day of our first date so this actually marks our 28th year together. We’ve had some tough times, overcome a lot of adversity, dealt with the agony of the death of loved ones, and celebrated the birth and life of our daughter. But overall, it has been a tremendous life together and I’m still deeply in love with her even though people said we’d never make it.
We met at a medical practice we both worked at and broke the cardinal rule of dating people where you work. And to make matters worse, it was a small office.
One of the three doctors we worked for pulled me aside after he found out I was going to marry Pam and told me that if I didn’t marry Pam he’d give me an around the world trip anywhere I wanted to go. And even as I walked down the aisle in my wedding he leaned out to tell me it wasn’t to late for me to not get married. I’m glad I didn’t take the bribe and everyone was wrong that it wouldn’t last.
So to celebrate our anniversary we went to this great seafood restaurant in Raleigh, 42nd Street Oyster Bar. The place is packed on the weekends and we knew we’d need a reservation. The earliest we could get in was 8:15 last night. We arrived and had to park a few blocks away, it was packed. As we sat inside the door waiting for them to call our name for our table for two, in walked a couple that we are friends with, Charles and Lisa. They didn’t know we were there and they didn’t have a reservation. We bumped our table up to a table for four so they could sit with us.
I met Charles from the motorcycle side of my life. He and I ride the same type of bikes and we just hit it off. His wife Lisa is a corrections officer and always has some great stories to tell. You would think that there are so many economic and upbringing opposites between us all that it would be hard to be friends, but that’s just not true.
Charles says he’s going to take me to the barbershop that he goes to every week so I can sit and talk with the crowd that hangs out there. I can’t wait. It sounds like fun. He did take me to my first Duke basketball game and on the way he showed me the public housing where he was raised in an apartment without a father. We’ve grown up on such opposite sides of life.
Being friends with Charles and Lisa is a joy. They are happy, open and compassionate people with really great hearts and they love to laugh. You could not hope to meet any finer people. So the coincidence that they just happened to show up while we were waiting to be seated was a great present.
The investment in the whole house electricity monitor really paid off this week. The TED unit, The Energy Detective, (see I’m Saving $20,000 in Electricity Because I Don’t Want to Work to Pay the Bill) measures the total consumption of power the house is using. Yesterday we decided to switch off breaker by breaker to see which parts of the house were using the most amount of power. We got to the point where we switched off all the circuits and the house was still using 1,200 watts of power. WTF!
I called the electrical company that installed the meter for me and the owner answered the phone. He said it was a mystery and he’d stop by on his way home and take a look. Chuck showed up and I presented him with the problem, why is my house using 1,200 watts of power all the time when everything else is off? We eventually found the problem, the well pump is stuck on and constantly running. It probably has been ever since we moved in a year ago. At the current consumption the stuck pump is costing about $102 a month to run. I’ve already made some calls and that’s going to be fixed real soon.
But I’m grateful that I bought the TED unit because if I hadn’t, I never would have known about the pump problem and the money I was pouring down a big hole for nothing.
Once we solve the pump problem it will knock about 500 KWh off our monthly consumption. In combination with all the other changes we’ve made and the installation of the solar panels, I’m now hopeful that we’ll be able to eliminate our electric bill completely. It’s potentially possible.
And Chuck didn’t charge me for the visit, he ended up hanging around for another hour or so just chatting. What a nice guy. I’m sure I’ve made yet another new friend.