Utility Notes

Electricity

I called the electric company (Med Ed) and have scheduled service to start up on October 1st. There is a $12 connection charge for this. I’m curious to see how expensive electricity is in PA. I really wish I could have gotten the co-op company, but they service on the other side of 15, not my side. I’m -right- out of range.

Still, I’ll probably consider alternative energy at some point. I don’t know if it’ll be at this house or the next one.

Trash/Recycle

I called a trash company that was recommended, but they have weird restrictions that I’m not used to down here in Maryland. They offer recycling at $4.xx a month, not bad and worth the price probably. And then they have two waste options.

1. 5 32 gallon bag limit at $49.98/quarter
2. They supply their own trashcan and that’s all you can use for trash at $58.98/quarter. (I shoulda asked how big their trash can was, bigger than 5 32 gallon bags?)

In MD we just put out whatever trash we had and the only limit was on content, not amount. I may call around and see what other trash companies are around, but I think my choices are fairly limited. I definitely want to do more composting at the new house. Dad and I have already been experimenting with reducing our waste (like removing paper towels in August 2007), so I consider it a fun challenge to continue to do so. Kinda like when I was reducing my monthly bills and how much of a fun challenge that was. Now I get to play the same game with our weekly waste.

Phone/Cable/Internet

I am getting the triple play with Comcast because it saves me around $400/year. I have to call and reschedule my appointment though because when I set up the installation, they couldn’t schedule past September 30th. I’m trying to get it set up for October 1st in the afternoon (though I may schedule it for October 2nd so I have time to figure out where I want the tv and my computer).

Changing my Way of Life

When we move into the new house and get settled, I am switching to a macrobiotic diet. I am still going to eat chicken (in moderation) and fish as allowed. I will probably sneak a piece of chocolate and maybe even cheese now and then (lets be realistic). But on the whole, I want to try my hand at eating whole unprocessed foods. Brown rice, fruits and veggies, nuts and grains, tuna, etc. Nothing from a can or in a pre-packaged box.

It’s more or less an experiment, but it’s something I want to try. I don’t plan to be 100% macrobiotic because I do think some other foods are essential as well for certain vitamins I’ll need, like calcium.

I’m actually happy with how much I’ve changed my diet over the last 7 years already. When I moved back in with my father in 2001 I stopped drinking soda almost completely (I’ve snuck MAYBE a dozen in the last 7 years), I stopped eating white bread entirely, stopped adding any salt to anything. Stopped eating processed sugar (for a long time I used Splenda and now am using Stevia or Honey, though Honey is frowned on in a macrobiotic diet because it’s overstimulating), and almost completely stopped eating sugar entirely except for what I’d eat on my own. We stopped carrying sugar in the house when dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

But I’ve been paying attention lately to how my body reacts to certain foods. It may be beneficial for me to even start keeping a food journal just to see how things change over time.

I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I watch the type of food that my Aunt keeps in the house here, and am left wanting the food that I used to eat before we were evicted. I mean I’m not complaining about being fed, and we do donate $200/month to the grocery bill, but there’s just so much bad food here.

They eat a lot of weight watchers food, and they keep a snack drawer filled with sickly sweet “100 calorie snacks”. When my Aunt cooks dinner, she cooks a main dish and at least 3 side dishes. So much food is left to rot in the fridge, and when it’s not it’s just being thrown away. They seem to sacrifice “flavor” for “fat free but still bad for you” chips and butter and sour cream. Instead I’d rather eat full fat sour cream, and just not eat it as often or as much. Or I’d make my own chips out of sweet potatoes and oil and herbs if you want a semi-healthy alternative.

I can feel the affects it’s having on me and I’m very anxious to get back into my regular routine, and slowly adjust to a more healthy diet.

At home I’d make a lot of dishes with brown rice, we’d eat a lot of fruit, I’d cook ONE dish and we were used to eating smaller portions. I’d make green and nettle tea (not all this diet aspartame infused poison that’s here), and our fridge was often-times empty because we’d always eat everything in it and never overload it with food. We wouldn’t eat completely healthy, dad would still eat his cheez-its and goldfish, he’d still buy sugar-free icecream and fix sausage and eggs for breakfast. But we ate a lot healthier than we do here.

Maybe that’s why I am so tired lately.

Annual Review and Work Jamboree

Today was my annual review at work. It went well and I got a raise, but for some reason I get ridiculously nervous before these things. Fear of losing my job I think. People keep telling me that I shouldn’t be worried about that, but I look at all the responsibilities I have now and the thought of being unemployed just scares me to death. It’s a crappy pessimistic attitude, and I’m quite aware of that. If I were just supporting myself, I wouldn’t be so worried. But because I’m taking care of my father, my emotions are so strongly attached to anything that has to do with me being the supporter.

I guess to try and put it into perspective, here is a guy who for 40 years has worked a blue-collar job, had so many people screw him over financially (especially my mother), all because he’s just a nice guy. That’s all. I feel the need to protect him because -he- feels like he’s let me down as a father because he’s on disability, couldn’t afford to send me to school, and now has to ask me for an allowance.

I can only imagine how he feels. I’m certain he feels blessed to have a daughter so determined to take care of him, but at the same time I know he feels ashamed at himself. If he didn’t have me he wouldn’t have anything. He wouldn’t have his animals, he wouldn’t have anyone relying on him, he’d just be the third wheel.

My passion is to make sure that my father never feels stupid, unneeded, alone, scared, or abandoned. And I’d cut off my right arm to make sure he never did.

I actually got into this conversation with someone not too long ago when I told them I’d never put my father in a nursing home. Even if I had to stay home and take care of him while my “supposed” future husband worked. They argued that it would be too much for me and would burn me out, drive me nuts whatever. But I honestly don’t think it would. I don’t think I would personally allow myself to have a choice.

I just respect this man above all else, even myself. If I had to put my roles as a person in order (as in, spiritual leader, co-worker, daughter, pagan, woman, mother, sister, etc), daughter would be at the top of that list always. The world is a better place because -he- is in it.

So. When someone asks me……why do you upset yourself so much and worry about losing your job so much, that’s why. All of that is what rushes through my brain anytime it’s brought up. It’s not all the time, I don’t really think about it because I’m always focusing on the task at hand. I just want my dad to feel secure and to be proud of me.

Another thing I want to work on is diversifying my “skillset” as far as my job is concerned. Expanding into jquery, javascript, php, and a few other things. I think if I felt more comfortable with those that I’d feel more comfortable at my job.

In other news, work had their annual jamboree tonight, and my father went with me. I think he was tickled to see me up there playing and singing music with folks on a microphone. My fingers are blistered but I had a really good time. Another thing I want to do is to learn to read music. I still never have and I can’t keep putting it off as something I’m gonna do eventually.

My boss told me that if I ever do a duet with someone that he absolutely wants to be up there playing with us. I thought that was kinda cool. He said I should start playing music around locally, just for fun. But not to expect to make a lot of money doing it. I don’t really want to make a lot of money doing it, nor do I want to be on some big record label. I just want to play my own music, and have people that enjoy listening to it.

When I’m up there singing and my eyes are closed (usually to remember the words) I ignore everything around me and all the people listening in. It’s a pretty magical feeling to shut out the world and just enjoy the music. That’s what I’d like to do.

Handyman Special, Detached Garage!

Dad was down in the old neighborhood again since he still does tasks for some of the old ladies that live there. They had realtor brochures up for grabs, so dad decided to grab one.

“Handyman Special, Detached Garage, Beautiful Lot!”

I can give you a guess of which one of those is true, and it ain’t the first two.

Our neighbor (who is also my dads cousin) said a few people have stopped by to look at it. Most don’t get out of their car. One was an excavator and said it would cost him at last $40,000 just to tear down everything and haul it away. THEN he could start spending the money to build a house on it. The $180,000 is not worth that. He talked to one of our other neighbors on the other side and they told him that we had offered $150,000 to buy it and the guy responded “And the dumbasses didn’t take it?”.

This is my amused face. Is it wrong that I hope it sits for a couple years?

In addition, the detached garage is not a garage. You might be able to fit a miata in it, but it was built narrow for a buggy, not for automobiles. It has a dirt floor, spaced wooden walls (meaning you can see through them) and a leaky rusty tin roof.

They also have not cleared out -any- of the trash that was left there. It looks a shambles.

The realtor asked our neighbor cousin where the well and septic were. She told them it doesn’t have a septic and the well is buried underneath the sidewalk. She’s sorta right. The septic is supposed to be under the hill with the walnut tree on it, but it hasn’t been checked in over 29 years. I imagine it’s a steel tank, probably leaking heavily, and I’m sure the tree’s roots have pierced through it by now and are the only thing keeping it from collapsing. I wouldn’t want to be the one to dig that up.

They are also advertising it as two bedroom. It’s not two bedroom, it’s one bedroom. My father just happened to sleep in what was supposed to be a 6×9 closet all these years.

Home Owner’s Insurance

I signed up for homeowner’s insurance with USAA this morning. The originally quote they gave me of $628/year was for a $500 deductible. I decided that since my father and I have had renter’s insurance for years and never used it, and we can do most repairs ourselves, I’d opt for the higher deductible. If I didn’t have a healthy emergency savings, then I wouldn’t have done this. Fortunately since I do, I can handle the higher deductible.

At $1000 deductible it brings the yearly premium to $546.44, so a slightly lower monthly payment and about $80 less a year. USAA even offered to set up the transfer of my account to my new address and the cancellation of my renter’s insurance automatically on October 1st.

This was the last step that I needed to do myself, since I got copies of my 401k and Roth IRA statements this morning as well. Now it’s all in the hands of the settlement lawyers and lender. Though I do still need to get a certified check for the remaining balance of the down payment, but I am still waiting to hear from the lawyer about that.

As far as the closing process goes, #1, #3, and #4 are complete. Now it looks like the lawyers need to complete their title search, the lender needs to have the property appraised (and I assume some sort of FHA inspection), the lender needs to approve the loan, settlement lawyer needs to demand pay-off of the original mortgage (I kinda doubt there is one), and I need to get a cashier’s check for the lawyer, then we have our settlement appointment on September 30th and I get my damn keys! đŸ™‚

Reminder: Buy new locks.

In the mean time I will be looking at paint colors and setting up appointments for electric hook-up, etc.