Archive for August, 2008

The Element of Surprise

It’s often the case when I venture forth to the CRV that I have some idea in mind of how events will unfold. In practice, I’ve found that my notion of the schedule lasts for a good, solid day. And over time, I’ve learned that if I have some specific agenda item to accomplish it’s a good idea to squeeze it tightly and securely into that solid first day. Because after that all bets are off.

This morning, the dawning of the second day, seemed like it was going to be a very reasonable and relaxing day. The DP had to be off very early to do an ACA site visit. I rose with her, briefly, made some eggs and then went back to sleep. I dozed until nearly nine, got up, made some coffee and appreciated the morning from the back terrace at the lake cottage. I nibbled some breakfast and hung out until around 10am. My plan was to cruise into town and use the wi-fi access at the public library, get some lunch, do some laundry, pick up a few things at the grocery. I had pesto in mind for dinner. And that was my plan.

I got to the library around 10:20 (it opened at 10am) but couldn’t find a convenient spot with access to an electrical outlet. So, right off the bat my time at the library was limited to about two hours. I worked in a desulatory sort of way until about 11:45. Then I decided the day was just too beautiful to regard from behind a pane of glass at the library. I packed up, stopped off at the grocery to pick up lunch and dinner items and was on my way back to the cottage for the afternoon.

That is when the DP called. It seems the College Kid is having some sort of emergency that necessitates our presence at her camp in Vermont. So, the DP asked me to meet her at the CRV house from whence we’ll proceed north together later in the day. I made an about-face without quite tagging the cottage and turned my steering wheel North and East.

I arrived at the CRV house well in advance of the DP who had to complete the site visit before she could join me here. So, I took the opportunity to cut the grass and grab a shower. I’m mourning a bit the perfect day lost at the lake. I was looking forward to an afternoon swim. But the prospect of traveling north to Vermont is appealing and, of course, we need to support the College Kid in whatever emergency has befallen her.

As they say…never a dull moment.


August 5, 2008 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

The Nudge of Necessity

Earlier this summer, I signed on for Crunchy Chicken’s Keep yer Cool challenge. I publicly vowed to keep the a/c off until the temps in my house reached 85°F. Umm. I backslid. For a few days I worked on figuring out strategies for keeping the house cooler. But when the temps rose into the high 90s around here, I admit that I forgot my obligation to my mythical future grandchildren and cranked up the a/c. Over time, my commitment to this particular challenge fell off the steep incline of my to-do list and I forgot about it.

The Piedmont house has the advantage of having two complete and self-contained heating systems. A heat pump (heater and a/c) servicing the original ranch-style portion of the house and a second heat pump dedicated solely to the add-on 600 sq. ft. great room. The last time the heat pump on the great room side failed, we were told that it would have to be replaced. Not having anything put aside for this project we practically begged the service people for another solution. They scratched their heads, dug around in the truck, and came up with a jerry-rigged solution that got the fan turning again. They made no warrant on the repair. It might give us another few weeks, they reckoned, or go out the next day. They told us that the repair would occasionally trip the breaker and showed us where it was and how to re-set it if that happened. That was 1997.

Over the years when I would crawl under the house two or three times a summer to flip the breaker, I would silently thank those repairmen and feel explicitly grateful for the extra time they had added on to the life of that heat pump. We ended up getting 11 years out of that little bit of wire and ingenuity. But yesterday, the sands of time ran out. I flipped the breaker and the fan unit hummed but the blades of the fan did not turn. I went under the house to try the time honored turn-it-off-and-back-on technique. That time, the motor didn’t even hum. Ah well.

We have about six weeks of seriously hot weather left here in the Piedmont and I will be gone for half of that time. So, I’m going to try to wing it with open windows at night and the remaining heat pump. In the meantime, I have the opportunity to research energy saving models and tax rebates….and to get a bit more serious about the Keep Yer Cool Challenge.

August 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment