30 March, 2017

A remodel gone awry, book club postings, and bills, bills, bills!

30 March 2017

R. Linda:

I have been watching our electric bill climb to astounding heights and many a sleepless night have I encountered as a result. Add to that the tax assessor decided I had space not used over my garage (I have a finished in-law suite over my garage) and me house grew 1000 feet! I called the assessor because they already had the finished in-law suite in the assessment along with the unfinished space which made me wonder if that was part of what they were accounting as additional footage. I rang the tax assessor up and told her the problem. She told me the unfinished was a mistake and the new property tax amount stays. This threw me into stuttering and asking her to come back out when I was home so I could show her me house has not changed from the last assessment. She said she'd been out and it has changed and that's that.

"You can't fight city hall," said the Dragon who was sitting in the other room listening. Odd it is she can hear me in another room, but when you are right next to hear she is deaf as a post. Just this morning me Mam was telling the youngest boyo he had 'dirty ears' and Dragon is chiming in asking her what he has coming in 'thirty years.' It is stuff like that drives me up a pole very quickly.

Anyway that aside, I received me latest electric bill and was overcome with dollar signs to the extent I called four solar companies. One wanted me to lease the panels for 25 years. The other three wanted me to buy them and see a profit in 25 years. The first one I decided against because they had a contract for just coming out and another different one for when you sign up. I think I was one of the rare persons who actually read the entire contract through and rang them to question some of the obvious discrepancies. That surprised the person I was speaking with so I guess a lot of people just sign on the dotted line and then find when things don't quite work out the way they thought, they can't get out of the contract. Well, as it was they could only supply me 40% solar power which means I'd still be paying the electric company many rubles in ADDITION to lease payments.

The next three companies could guarantee 100% solar energy but the cost would be $59,000 from company 1, $79,000 if I went Canadian solar or $96,000 if I went American from company 2 and company 3 was a whooping $100,000 if I went with them. I'd get a tax write off but I'd still be on the grid paying me electric a little less, but still paying them, and I'd be paying a loan for the solar panels as well. I'd see a big difference by year 25. So thanks, but no thanks.

What to do huh? Well, Tonya had said the chicken heat lamps were a huge drain, but the kiddos don't want to part with the chickens and we do get enough eggs they sell them and it pays for the feed. Not being a Simon Legree I didn't have the heart to take the kiddo's egg business away. Tonya said, the kitchen appliances were drainers and we should start there because that would be less expensive than solar. Sounds good doesn't it? Uh huh.

So the first thing we did was get rid of the large microwave 1200 watts and replaced it with a smaller 400 watt version because we don't cook in our microwave, mostly reheat so really it was not necessary to have the huge oven. Next we got rid of the large toaster oven, not because it was old, it wasn't it was stainless steel and well Tonya wants black appliances. So that went for a smaller one with energy saving attributes.

I thought we were done. No, said she that refrigerator the former owners left us is missing the butter dish, a shelf and both chillers! They had the fridge so packed with food we didn't see all that until we moved. The thing is white which in a house full of boys doesn't stay so white and food falls out because there is not enough shelving and no chiller bins. There is a crack in the casement in the back and I think the thing is old. We should have bought ours it was two years old but it was too big so we opted to leave it. Stupid us.

Tonya informed me she wanted a bottom freezer, french door BLACK fridge no more of this side by side stuff. Well, okay there were March Madness sales so off we went. The idea was the black refrigerator would make the granite countertop (which is a very busy pattern) look more "refined." I didn't mind replacing it because we definitely needed to anyway and the energy saver we did find was so much nicer than we had. That would be delivered mid April. So home we went and we stood in the kitchen picturing the new purchase, looking at the two smaller ones on the counter when Tonya decided we need to replace the stove/ovens. We have two ovens, the house was billed as a double oven house, but not the typical double oven one thinks of, no we have two ranges. These are old too and white. And with the large black refrigerator, they were going to look like a zebra kitchen Tonya pointed out. I knew where we were going.

"It takes forever to get those two dinosaurs to heat up so you can bake," she said. "They must be original to the house."

I am thinking they work fine, wasteful spending here, but she is right, they both take a dogs age to heat up and I had to wonder if that isn't where a lot of the electricity is going. Sigh. I needed a break from appliances and have been following another blog that is a private book club of sorts. The blog master or in this case mistress, puts a book title out, the followers read it and then discuss it. This month the book is the English classic The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. I've never read it but our Fionnula and Wolfie were reading it and I check the back and forth between these two in particular because it makes for some very amusing reading thanks to Wolfie who has the most astute comments -- always a bright spot in me day, great way of phrasing things. Here's a sample:

Fiona: "I really should get myself back to going to church to see what the "preachers" are sermonising. I finished reading this philosophy last night, and find this guy sorting through things the way he did not my forte'. I understand the nuances of different philosophies when I read them but they do not stick in my head."

Wolf: "Philosophy -- such a fun subject. Um and I would find how to become a plumber just as fun. This is not philosophy my dear. Speaking of philosophy as you see it, reading this tome is like reading the rantings of a crazy person. I am sometimes amused, often times wishing to put my hands around his neck and squeezing hard. Talk about philosophical ideas mixed with comedy, and sprinkled with lots of crazy its like too much salt on an egg. I am halfway through and determined to find something of value in the stupid book. So far the dissertation on noses, did nothing for me but the small romance of Julia and Fernando kept my attention until it got totally weird. Going for Machiavelli next. Nothing like a little politics to get ones mind off noses."

Ha ha! These two can go at it at times and I simply love it. Takes me mind off electricity and appliances. But back to the appliances because Tonya took it a step further, PAINT. But since we were replacing the ovens (this was news to me) we should go back and pick up the black range hoods that were on sale, this being the last day. HUH? I didn't move quick enough she ordered them online over on her phone. I was sent to go get them and put them up. I did, I don't know why I didn't argue the point.

I install them (easy job that) and she says, "those look wonderful, we need to replace the dishwasher."

"Oh no we don't. It isn't that old that I can see, and its like the one we had only it's white."

"I looked on line and they are on sale too, I think we should go look."

I was all for a full out argument why not we should go look, when the visiting Dragon came drifting in and said she'd go too. UGH! I told them both to go ahead and let me know what they find.

"Give me your check book or card and then we'll go." Tonya said as I moved back from her outstretched hand. Really? We were doing this? We were replacing ALL the appliances in the kitchen like I be Prince Phillip with unlimited resources. I didn't think so and said as much, but the Dragon took charge, and threw me jacket at me and said she'd drive which is a no no. She can't hear AND she can't see.

The bottom line was I, me, found a dishwasher that was a reasonable price. The thing Dragon liked was it has a wine glass holder. Rarely do we drink wine and when we do, we hand wash because the glasses are a fine crystal (a wedding present) and we don't want to take the chance of chipping in a dishwasher. But Tonya liked it and I liked the price so everyone was happy. That arrives in mid April too, probably the same day as the refrigerator.

I started walking to the store exit when I realised I was by me lonesome. The ladies were on their way to the paint department. Oi! So I catch up to them just as they have picked out paint for the kitchen.

"Why paint it when you want to eventually get a new backsplash?" I asked Tonya.

"To freshen it up a bit."

She held up a sage green that I could live with. We got the paint, of course we did. That afternoon, she painted the walls and we realised the colour was off. It was baby blue, it wasn't mixed correctly. It was bloody awful! She decided it was more a sea foam blue and she'd paint the laundry room with it. Okay that's fine, not a total waste.

The next day I come home to not a sea foam blue kitchen but a cranberry kitchen. She got more paint and well, if she had told me what she had in mind I might have said no way, but to be honest it looks spiffy. I rather like it and we all (the entire family including Dragon) agree we don't need to replace the partial backsplash the cranberry looks great!

Here take a look:

Not bad considering it saves me money, LOL
Not only did she repaint the kitchen, she painted the mudroom this time with sage green. Yup she got more paint. She also got paint samples for the hallway and living room. If she wants to paint, I say go for it.

Here's the mudroom:

Sage green better than the white and why anyone would paint white in a mudroom I have notta clue
Meanwhile back at the book club:

Fiona: "I thought this book would be more like The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman. I  thoroughly enjoyed that."

Wolf: That's a problem, you shouldn't surmise one author's work to another. Maybe you should reread that one, it was at least a fun read. A note on Tristam since that's what we should be discussing but after reading it going off point seems to be the way of it, the author purposely left one chapter of blank pages. There are six pages of nothing. He thinks it funny. I don't because he goes into a dissertation on what he might have wrote in the following chapter. What a nutcase. Further he goes off point so much its like talking to a mutual friend of ours and at the end of it wondering what the conversation was about in the first place."

I have to laugh, I can "surmise" the mutual friend's identity as can you. Back to the paint and appliances.

Me Mam discussed the miracle of a door without an ice maker in it. We had one at the old house and clean up was constant. She also reminded us the non-joys of stainless steel and fingerprints. I was starting to feel better.

"Noo floods, no fingerprints, noo flyin' across the floor on a piece of errant ice. An' why would ya need a convection oven here when ya got gas dat kooks evenly? An' luck yer gettin' a grill on da stoovetop ya are, sumthin' ya had and dunt now. Wit black appliances ya dunt see da dirt!"

She had a point something it seems Tristam Shandy doesn't.

"An' Gabe, by Tonya not paintin' da kitchen green ya won't loose yer kookies."

Eeeyah, there be that. I lose it when I see a certain shade of green. It makes me violently ill. Every spring I couldn't go out at the sight of that kelly green new grass because I'd be throwing up at the sight of it. I can tolerate hunter green, forest green, but any light green and I'm worshipping the porcelain bowl. Any light green room I have to wear sunglasses. That be an unknown truth about me you didn't know. If that first 'sage' had been lighter I'd be on a perpetual diet by not being able to go into the kitchen. Anyway, I be lighter in the pockets, me electric bill stays the same for now, there is no kelly green, Tonya is redecorating and happy, Dragon be supervising and Mam be reminding me how I be making the new abode OURS instead of theirs. Okay then, but I be still not sleeping well. I be thinking it be the lighting that's causing the spike in electricity. I don't dare mention that for obvious reasons.

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  1. LMAO I've been on the hunt for a black fridge myself. One wirh the bottom drawer freezer. My search for obvious reasons the top freezer is too high for me and nothing fits! It WAS white bit I can't keep it clean. Anyway good luck trying to save money. Mission impossible!

  2. What is it with women? I bought my betrothed a deep fryer that she asked for and it is stainless steel. Now she wants to change over the other countertop appliances to stainless. I share your pain! As to my Da, LOL that's him, he has a good feel for the written word and I think he delights in yanking Fiona's chain. I know I do and I never met her. And if she's "listening" she should change that salad picture before it starts wilting.

    1. Tom I changed everything to stainless steel after buying the fridge. I regret the cooker top it's really a pain in the butt and scratches easily plus is hard to keep clean if you cook a lot. I would never buy again.

    2. I can't believe you did that! You just lumped all women together! Smooth move. NOT

    3. I apologise I was not thinking I was associating the redo with my significant other. Who also isn't happy with me. :---(

  3. Replies
    1. On which, the women comment or the wilted salad? If it is the first my apologies, if it is the second, I meant every word.

    2. The women comment. I only think about appliances when they're 5 minutes from crapping out.

  4. Gabe. What a nice big kitchen don't I wish. Can't swing a cat in mine :-(

    1. Thank you. That be the second reason we bought the house. Sure helps with a big family.