Thursday, January 1, 2015

Daily Doin's, Cold, Inside and Out

I haven't written a Daily Doin's post in awhile, and I guess it's time.  Grab your cup and we'll talk.  Chime in, any time.

We are cold here this morning.  The low was 14º yesterday. I got up in the wee hours of the morning.  Hubs came down a little bit before 6am and started a fire in the fireplace insert.  He had a lot of trouble getting it going.  This morning it was more of the same except that Hubs got up at 1am and started the fire.  It's a good thing we didn't stay up to ring in the New Year or we would not have slept at all.

We aren't faring very well inside, there's something wrong with our heating system.  We are all- electric out here, which is normally just fine with me, as I've found utility costs at this house to be quite a bit less per month than they were at our house in town, which had a gas furnace and water heater.  It's nice to have gas when the electric goes out, you can still cook, at least, and if it's cold you can run your oven.  A lot of the experts say not to do that, that it's dangerous, but if you keep the oven door closed, I don't see how it can be any different than if you're baking something.  All that said, I was always smelling gas at that house, and turned out we had a gas leak in the crawlspace, and the cost of fixing that was huge.

But anyway, last summer we had some problems being able to keep the house cool enough, and we had a fellow out who had all kinds of fancy computerized gauges and such, and he told us we actually needed a new unit.  He added several pounds of Freon into our condenser and billed us a little over $500.  When we told our neighbor and good friend, Joe, about it, he said that just didn't sound right and he called the guy who installed the unit here, some seven years ago, who came out and looked everything over and talked to us about our situation.  First off, it seems the first guy charged up our compressor with more Freon than it was even supposed to hold, TOPS.  Secondly, the first guy made off with the lid to the port, which would allow the Freon to just leak right back out, but the second guy was able to fish around in his bag of stuff and find another that would fit.  He told us our system was showing some signs of age but that we should keep it going as long as it will go.  He added that he would come out quickly if we had a problem.

Well, last Saturday Hubs said it seemed like the fan had been running constantly for most of that day.  It ran non-stop all night and the next morning the temperature reading on the thermostat began to go down, not up.  He called Joe's guy and he did come out by that afternoon.  He found us to be low on Freon and said we have a leak somewhere, he thought it was in the A-coil, and he said he would call around and find a replacement for it, then would call us back.  We were warm again and he thought the leak was slow and we'd be good for awhile.  But one day later we were right back in the same situation.  I could not get Hubs to call the guy and tell him what our situation was, I don't know why.  Instead, he built a fire in the fireplace insert and we were warm during the day and part of the night.  This morning at 2:30 am, we were at 65º in the house.  I told Hubs yesterday morning that as soon as it was late enough for people to be up and answering their phones, I would call the guy and just tell him what our situation is and inquire as to how much longer he thinks it might be before he gets something in he can install, and he said he thought that was a good idea.  Well, yeah, it would've been a good idea THE DAY BEFORE, too.  You know, I just hate to do this.  I think stuff like this is for the man of the house to handle and I just hate it when Hubs just stalls out and doesn't do anything that will result in resolution of the problem.  I WAIT for him to do it.  And I don't know why, because nine chances out of ten, I'm the one that has to dig in there and do it.  I mean, I can tell him what he needs to do and what he needs to say, and he will take a wild stab at it and not say any of the things I told him to say, and end up saying things in a way that makes the person he calls think he's being hateful.  I mean, wouldn't you think a man would be able to make himself understood BY ANOTHER MAN?  What's so hard about this??????  So after 8am I called the guy and asked him if he'd found a coil that would fit our unit, and he said, yes, he'd found one that would work and that will still work when the day comes that we have to replace other parts of the system, but that it's real expensive.  I asked him HOW expensive and he said, "Oh, about 7 or 800 dollars."  Now, here is something that I don't understand about men.  Why would he not call me and tell me that right away and get the go-ahead to order it?  Does he think our situation will go away if it's ignored?  I mean, we've ALREADY spent this much money and we STILL don't have heat.  He thinks he might be able to get it here by Friday, maybe later because of the holiday.   But at least he knows our situation.  We will be OK as long as we can run the fireplace insert.  That thing has saved our bacon more than once since we had it installed, plus it closed up a MAJOR leakage of our inside air.
  
Before......       And After.......
  
 
Hubs keeps trying to run the compressor, like suddenly it will magically work, I guess, and I keep hearing it running and telling him to please fix it so the fan on the part of the unit that's inside will just run, so it will circulate the warm air that the fireplace insert makes, and he claims that he thought that was what he was doing, which he obviously wasn't since the compressor keeps trying to run.  I know this situation will get worked out in one way or another and there's no point in my gnashing my teeth over it, I'll just end up breaking a tooth and THEN having to pay the dentist a big chunk of money.  So I'm trying to stay calm.  I know, in my heart of hearts, that if my picture is ever in the paper because I have turned violent and slapped my poor old *innocent* husband right out of his La-Z-Boy, at least those of you who have read my blog will understand.  Maybe.

I just told Jane, in an e-mail, about how we sometimes watch those old Red Green Shows and they have a thing where they mention Those Three Little Words Men Can Never Say, and then everybody yells out, "I.     DON'T.     KNOWWWWWWWW."  And I told Jane that in our house, it's that and " I.     WAS.      WRONGGGGGGG." and " I.      AM.      LOSSSSST."

This situation is complicated by the fact that I just got over being sick with something Hubs caught FIRST and then gave to ME, and frankly, I went to bed not feeling very good night before last and I didn't feel a whole lot better the rest of the day.

I like to burn a nice candle on the windowsill while I'm working on the computer in my office.  It's normally a little cooler down here than in the rest of the house, under the best of conditions, and maybe it's just the power of suggestion, I don't know, but it makes me feel a degree or two warmer.  So I'd burned my current one down to the nothing and I was digging around in the cabinet over the dryer looking for another one that might've been partially used, and I found seven 3-packs of Ivory bar soap.  Now why, I ask you, did I ever buy THAT?  Seems like I remember getting them a long time ago when I started making my own low-suds laundry soap and I was having trouble finding Fels Naptha bar soap.  I had read somewhere that you could substitute Ivory Soap.  But then all the stores around here started responding to requests for Fels Naptha, it became a pretty hot topic around here for awhile.  So I piled those bars of soap on one of the steps going to the top level, I'll unwrap them and put them in my big jar where I keep the soap I've made, and I'll use them up, eventually, and that will make more space in my laundry cabinet.  I did find a candle that had been lit but not burned much.  I buy candles at garage sales, they are so dang expensive even at The Dollar Store, for no longer than they last.  I prefer to let somebody else pay full price for them and then I buy candles from them when they clean our their cabinets and price them at between a quarter and a dollar apiece, depending on things like how big or how fragrant they are, and whether they've been lit.  I don't know why people don't like to buy a candle that's been used a little bit, I mean, after you first light it, isn't that what you have, anyway?  I try to use up the lit ones first, simply because that way there are always some unused ones in the cabinet for if I want to tuck one in a gift basket or stuff one in someone's pocket.  Candle wax just does not ever break down in the landfill, and so I save all the ends once the wick's burned down and when I have enough accumulated I make a new candle in a Pringle's can or a quart cardboard buttermilk box.  All it costs me is some wicking that can be bought at WMT.  I keep a cleaned-out tomato juice can that I put the chunks of wax in, and that sits down into a pan of boiling water.  In that way I can melt the candle wax without ruining my good pans.  Frugal, useful, environmentally friendly.  Plus an additional use for Pringles cans and buttermilk cartons before they go in the trash.  We're singin' my song. 

If the general public ever gets smart about not impulse buying and then using up stuff they have rather than selling it for pennies on the dollar at their garage sales so they can go out and buy more, I'm in trouble.

Hubs and I have not taken that pile of stuff that I have gathered up to donate anywhere yet.  We could take it to GoodWill but I don't think our satellite here takes furniture and I've now added a smallish, over-stuffed chair and a beauty shop dryer chair and our old Magnavox camcorder to the mix.  Plus two big boxes of quilting magazines, and a toaster oven.  We were going to try to get it all donated yesterday but we decided we didn't feel like getting out into the cold.  So it's all out there in the garage, close to the door so it'll be easy to load, and it looks like a Hoarder's garage, for sure.  I just now called the local disability Thrift Shop and they'll send the truck out on Friday.  That should be good enough.  I still may throw a garage sale, especially if I end up having extra plants to sell this spring, I just haven't made up my mind yet.  But none of these things I'm donating sell well at garage sales here.  I've been trying to sell that hair-dryer chair for years and I'm sick and tired of having it in my way.  I don't know why no one wants it.  It works.  Maybe it is that hardly anyone sits under a hair dryer anymore. 

I saw on A Home Grown Journal (a link is on my sidebar) where Mama and Papa Pea are sorting through things and donating them, too.  I guess it's that time of year.  They took their stuff to the thrift shop and ended up buying a few things to bring back home with them.  And that's ok if it's something you can use and not as much, in volume, as you took in, don't you think?  I mean, I'm not gonna stop going to Garage and Estate Sales.  Hubs and I don't get out much, we don't go to the movies or to bars and we don't go out to eat very often.  Going to sales gets us out of the house, we can quit when we get tired and don't have to make any excuses.  We get to visit with people we might not've met otherwise, sometimes we get to see what their house looks like inside.  I get to admire their plantings and sometimes I come away with a start of something for my garden.  I do promise to be more careful about what I buy, however.  This stuff I'm donating is, actually, stuff I've had for years.  Most of it was bought at a garage sale to begin with, and they've fulfilled their purpose for me.  There's not one thing in the pile that I have never used.  Considering that there ARE people out there in The World who have closets full of clothing they bought at stores that still have the price tag on them, I don't think I've pushed the envelope out too far.  

I have an update on the subject of letting gourds dry on the vine.  I must admit that I have brought in one or two gourds that have dried successfully on the vine.  The seeds within rattle when the gourd is shaken.  So maybe those who say they dry their gourds this way are not giving the rest of us 100% bad information.  Maybe they ought to say that the immature gourds will shrivel and be ruined, however.   For sure they must have a longer growing season than I do.  But as long as I have ONE that has good seed, at least I can grow them again next year.

One of the seed packets that I ordered is for Malabar "spinach".  I did not realize that it makes berries, and as I look at the pictures of the plant and the berries, it just reminds me so much of Pokeweed, except that Pokeweed is "tree-like" and Malabar "spinach" is a vine.  Of course, there's a lot about Pokeweed that is poisonous.  Malabar "spinach" IS edible, and I saw where some people are making jam out of the berries.  I'm thinking maybe I'll just leave my Malabar berries for the birds, though.  Maybe they'll stay off my other stuff.  If my other stuff will bear -- the gooseberries, currants, grapes, wild plums, strawberries and elderberries, I should have more than enough jam to meet our needs.

I also have a tip I saw......   somewhere...... about how rubbing alcohol cleans up dust-coated greasy kitchen surfaces.  I can tell you it works great.  My range hood gets absolutely gummy so that's what I tested it on.  Just a little on a paper towel, hardly any rubbing required (no pun intended).  I even tried it on the refrigerator door handle and it cleaned that up, too.  But it dries quick and so it's a little harder to use because of that.  Don't inhale it, either.  Men are the worst at leaving their greasy paw-prints everywhere.  I don't know why men don't like to wash their hands, it's like they think they'll shrink or something.

I found a good Pinterest board to look at HERE  .   I haven't gotten to look at everything because it's cold down here where my computer is and I will be going back upstairs soon, where it's warmer.  Even though that means I have to watch TV, and those Humane Society people are running their heart-wrenching, graphic pleas for donations every half hour now.  Today being New Year's Day, maybe some of that will settle down.  You can tell what time of year it is by the commercials that run, ever notice that?  Me, I'm just glad to have those Big Lots Christmas commercials off the air now.  Not so much that they're annoying, although they ARE, it's just that they aired the same commercial so often, we would just groan every time they'd come on. 

And also, it being New Year's Day, I will probably spend some time in the kitchen.  We always have black-eyed peas and ham for dinner, with fried potatoes and corn muffins.  It's an old southern tradition, supposed to bring good luck for the new year.  We've had what I feel like is a good year for 2014, and I hope these last few days haven't been an ominous sign of stuff to come.  Still, this thing with the heating system is just a little glitch in the grand scheme of things.  Our pioneer ancestors made it through terribly hard winters with just a fireplace for heat, and THEY weren't as well-insulated as we and had no electricity!  I think about that, and I count my blessings. 

Hope you are counting YOUR blessings, too, whatever your situation, and may you have a good start to 2015.  Hugs XOXOXO

1 comment:

  1. Nothing worse than heating problems in the middle of winter! I would get a small and safe portable heater for downstairs near the computer. I have one of those Delonghi oil filled things that I use in the kitchen for when I am just sitting reading.

    I do hope they get your system fixed and running soon. We know our old furnace is on its last legs but have been advised to just use it until it dies....then the big expense of replacement!

    Think how nice it will be with heat on and all the give-aways picked up......

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