As mentioned yesterday I worked at a branch last night bringing them online with our cloud based customer queuing solution. This was the fourth branch that we have migrated and it showed. Everything went pretty much without a hitch and we were all wrapped up by 6:15. I love it when a plan comes together without a hiccup, it doesn’t happen very often.
We have had three days of more or less steady rain due to a tropical depression. It looks like the precipitation has finally cleared out. The grass is now in it’s summer growth pattern. I want to try to knock out mowing the grass after work to knock it off the must do list for the weekend.
Today we have the roofers showing up. Ever since the roof was installed, the panels on the west side of the house have appeared mismatched, especially once the sun hits them later in the day. I pointed this out to my project manager shortly after the install. At the time he said that the panels should weather quickly and the difference should fade away. Well 8 months later and they looked exactly the same. After spending 20k on the roof I wasn’t willing to just shoulder shrug it away.
I contacted the company and sent them a new picture which looked just like the old picture. They said they had to contact the metal manufacturer to authorize new panels. I had to keep contacting them to nudge the process along over several months but finally replacement panels were delivered on Monday which are supposed to be installed today. I can only hope the end result is worth the wait.
Last night after work I was buzzing around tending to things until almost 9PM. We had our second gray and rain filled day in a row, a rarity in SW Florida. Rainy season has definitely commenced, I am just hoping we can minimize the amount of days where we have large areas of standing water on the property this year. I was working on 3d printed stuff, video production, sale of one of my electric unicycles, podcast publishing and a few other odds and ends. I did manage to jam in a half hour or so of WoW at the end of it all.
I had my dental check up this morning. As is usually the case, no problems were found. My visits to the dentist are now so care free and uneventful. For the first 20 or so years of my life the trip to the dentist was something I feared intensely. As the date approached on the calendar I remember significant feelings of anxiety as I recalled past trips where the creepy dentist inflicted massive amounts of pain to my mouth. Of course it was all due to poor mouth hygiene, something I eventually realized was easier to correct than to suffer in the chair twice a year.
Tonight I have another round of after hours work at a branch. I am hoping it goes smoothly. After we get this behind us there should not be much off hours work required in the near future.
I made up my mind that I wanted to try to get back out on the track and run on Friday evening, something I have not done for several months due to on and off fatigue issues. I still didn’t feel particularly great but I got it stuck in my head I needed to go out there and try, despite very hot and humid conditions, something that makes running even when I feel normal, feel miserable.
So as expected the first two laps were really unfun. It was almost like I could hear my body crying out. “wtf are you doing…” Despite a slow pace, every stride felt uncomfortable. To make things shittier, there were swarms of gnats at various points of the track that required me to look down or even close my eyes to pass through them. So once I got past the first couple laps things got slightly less terrible but I never felt anything much above mildly shitty.
I walked onto the track with the intent of running the same 13 laps that I had been doing in the past. As the run progressed and I felt progressively more exhausted that target started moving backwards, first to 12 laps, but then I gave up after 10 laps, something normally my inner taskmaster would absolutely forbid but I just had no gas in the tank, I needed to stop.
When I have been doing my weekly rowing sessions I am winded but after 15 minutes or so I am pretty much fully recovered. Well this running session absolutely wiped me out the rest of the night. I was lethargic and was ready for bed by 9PM. So despite the miserable experience and the consequences afterward, I really want to try to do it again this week to see if I can build myself back up. Running, just like lower body weight training punishes you if you don’t do it consistently.
Saturday morning, despite still feeling beat up from the run I got out to do my normal chores. When I was doing the chicken stuff I noticed that Kristen, our sweet white hen was not acting normal. She was separating herself more than normal from the other birds and not eating normally. She also was shaking her head a lot. I looked up the symptoms online and one of the first things suggested is de-worming the bird so Cindy and I manually gave her a dose of Valbazen. It is tough to make sure she actually gets it all down her throat. As of yesterday she still was not eating regular food much but she at least showed high interest in some watermelon slices we put out there. We are hoping she bounces back soon.
Saturday afternoon Cindy and I did something we had not done in ages, a road bike ride. Cindy’s bike had been sitting so long that the tube in the rear tire had gone bad. So after a tube change we were ready to go. My Trek which actually has sat even longer appeared to be 100% good to go, despite the long layoff.
It was warm and humid but luckily the sun was mostly behind clouds for most of the ride. Since we had not ridden in so long we wanted to be conservative, we rode up to Everglades Blvd and back which is almost exactly 10 miles. Cindy lead the entire ride although I offered to pull up front so she could draft me. She did well and our speed actually was better on the second half of the ride, carrying around 18 mph. Despite my overall apathy about road biking it felt good to get on the road together. I am hoping we continue to work it into our weekend routine.
Saturday afternoon we did something else out of the ordinary, went to the Miromar Outlets. We had not been there in at least a year, maybe longer. We pulled up to the outlets in the midst of pretty heavy rain. I dropped Cindy off at the curb and then parked the Tesla in the back row. I’ll sacrifice wet clothes for less Tesla door dinger risk.
I wanted to go to the Oakley outlet to get some decent sunglasses. I have been rocking shitty $20 sunglasses got awhile that dont’ fit or don’t last. I also was looking for another pair of Oakley flip flops. We wound up scoring a pretty good deal as the glasses I got were on clearance already and we got another 50% off by buying Cindy a pair of glasses as well. We also grabbed me some new undergarments from the Jockey store and wound up our visit splitting some soft serve ice cream. We had a fun Saturday including things into the day that are not part of the normal same old same old.
For Father’s Day I had hoped to drive down to Marco Island with Cindy to ride around. Despite foreboding skies at home and a weather radar that showed rain over Marco, we pushed out with my hope being the line of rain would pass by the time we got there. Well it never passed, the area of rain just expanded in size. The trip just wound up being an extended coffee run, which I briefly documented on video.
When I got home I was a bit bummed out, the rain was forecast to last all day. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, if I sat around and worked on nothing I would feel like shit. I sat down and called my dad first. I was interested in how they are doing adjusting to life after the move across state, something I hope I don’t have to do in my 70’s. It seems like they are making steady progress but I could tell dad is already getting the project itch as he told me about various things he wanted to improve or fix. Hopefully it doesn’t become the black hole of projects as most of his previous properties did.
After hanging up with dad I decided to tackle a Tesla project I initially was not going to do on Father’s Day because of it’s frustration potential, applying a wrap to the center console. From the factory the console surface is a bright glossy black finish that shows fingerprints the moment you touch it. Unless you feel like cleaning the surface daily, it always looks dirty. A common solution to this is applying a vinyl wrap to the surface, in my case I chose a matte black finish.
When I watched the install video from the wrap company and saw it was 45 minutes long I knew I was going to have a fight on my hands, hence why I was unsure if I wanted to wrap up my weekend taking it on. I decided to jump in and get it done. I did the most tedious and troublesome section mostly myself, the cup holder area. Cindy, who unlike me really likes tedious, detail oriented stuff like this, came and helped me do the rest of the work which was much appreciated. I really like the end result and it felt good to have the project out of the way.
I followed up with a quick video about the autonomous summon feature my Model 3 has, specifically how it can be a bit quirky at times. I was doing the tests into an empty garage with Cindy’s car pulled out in the driveway. Even with a lack of obstacles summon was acting odd. Ironically at the end of the video I did one more test with Cindy’s car occupying half of the garage. With less space available the Tesla actually performed better, cleanly pulling all the way into the garage, centering itself between Cindy’s car and the wall.
Sunday night I had another live stream and it will likely be the last one. Despite more efforts by me to promote the broadcast ahead of time the real time attendance was low. With the single person format, if I don’t have enough real time audience participation it makes it difficult to fill the time once I get through the notes I have for the show. The broadcast was only an hour, about half as long as what had become normal. Afterward I just felt like I was sort of wasting my time putting the effort into making content that not enough people were viewing. So as I closed the mic I had already made up my mind that I was done with regularly scheduled live streams. Sure I will pop one open now and then if I feel like it.
It’s a bit odd to me that the live stream numbers kept going down since overall the channel numbers have been getting progressively stronger. I would be lying if I didn’t say the decline in numbers was disappointing. I have put a considerable amount of time, money and effort into putting the show together. Shutting it down is without a doubt an admission of failure, and failure of any type never sits well with me. On the bright side, it will be nice to not have to worry about doing the production on a Sunday night which was always an awkward time and somewhat inconvenient anyway.
Since I have owned the Tesla I have tried several times to get it to back itself out of the garage, unsuccessfully. Last night I went a step further, I had it try to park itself instead. Before doing so I moved our parking assist balls out of the way. I theorized that the Tesla was seeing them as obstacles and was part of the reason my tests failed before.
So it took several tries but the car did eventually park itself nicely. One issue is the entrance to the garage is not clean, there is a small ledge that the car was stopping on, thinking it was an obstacle. I may have to devise some way to smooth out the garage entrance at some point. This morning I was able to back it out on it’s own as well. This is kind of a useful thing for me as the room to get out of the car when parked is pretty tight. Being able to unload/load and let the car park and back out on it’s own is a cool perk if the Tesla can do it consistently.
Yesterday Katie got exciting news that they were approved on the mortgage for a house. To be quite honest the news was surprising to me as conventional income to mortgage formulas evidently seem to no longer apply. It makes me worry that predatory banking practices are now back in full force where people are getting slammed into mortgages that they realistically can not afford and then it’s their burden to bear. Hopefully I am wrong. If things go as planned they sign the papers in a couple weeks.
Father’s day is this weekend. Cindy always tries to do something for me on Father’s Day even though I am technically not a father. Of course I assume that role with the animals but I really don’t expect any special dispensation. I plan to work this weekend as always, it’s what helps me keep ticking.
So although I discovered that my high electric bill was not primarily due to the Tesla, I still wanted to go ahead with my plan of supercharging after work at the very close Bayfront Supercharger since I had never been there. I was pleased to find out that the 8 chargers are under cover on the first floor of the parking garage. I juiced my car from 48% to 81% in less than a half hour. I killed the time shooting video talking about my first month of charging.
So in my quest to sort out why my electric bill jumped 50% in the last month I had to first run some numbers on the most obvious culprit, the Tesla. Thanks to a site I use, Teslafi.com, I am able to figure this sort of stuff out very easily. All you do is configure what your electricity per kwh cost is and it does the rest for you since it talks with the car and knows exactly how much juice goes in every charge.
My electric company, LCEC, doesn’t offer off-peak rates like a lot of other utilities do. Instead they have a tiered pricing structure where the first 1000 kwh are at a lower rate and then anything above that is at a higher rate. The idea is the tiered plan promotes conservation. The reality is overall, the pricing is good, probably even better than FPL, the dominant utility company in the state.
So for my calculation I entered the highest kwh rate which is actually more than what I pay in reality since the first 1000kwh are at 10-15% discount. After entering my date range the site quickly spit out my total cost for electricity used for charging, $28.11 Wow, I was really happy with that number but at the same time frustrated because that meant that the lion share of the increase came from elsewhere in the household. For comparison sake, even the gas sipping Prius would cost me at least $60 a month to fuel, if gas prices keep creeping up that gap keeps increasing. If I were driving the Tacoma that number more than doubles.
Finding out just how low the electricity cost to charge at home makes my plan of going to the nearby supercharger today unnecessary but I still plan to do it anyway. I brought the GoPro to do a video regarding my charging findings while I juice up. I have never visited the Naples Supercharger so it will be a good experience anyway.
Yesterday after work after doing the chicken chores I got out my tools to adjust the angle of the solar panels, something that ideally is done every month. The idea is that as the months pass the angle of the sun in the sky shifts. In order to maximize efficiency the panels need to be adjusted as well. June is the most direct sun of the year so ideally in my zip code I would have the panels nearly flat with only a 2 degree up tilt.
This was my first time adjusting the panels so it was a bit of a struggle. I managed to cut my hands up a couple times and managed to snap off the head of one bolt that somehow got cross threaded, luckily I have a ton of spare mounting hardware. The best I could do was a 4 degree angle but it’s close enough. After this month I start increasing the angle every month until Christmas.
Yesterday I had my annual call with Sirius XM to tell them I am going to cancel my service unless I get the same promotional rate as I did the prior year. This year I dealt with a rep with a very strong Indian accent named “Tony”. I told him I could not afford the $305 renewal and I was going to have to cancel. As soon as you say that you are willing to cancel you magically qualify for basically 50% off. My annual renewal was cut to $153. I hung up and will be ready to repeat the process next year, something I will do until Stern retires, then I will likely drop the subscription for real.
So speaking of big bills, I got my electric bill yesterday. It was significant because it was the first bill after a full month of Tesla ownership. It is also the first bill after a new pool pump was installed which was configured to run more time than the old one. Finally it was the first bill after five human beings started living in the house. The bill had gone up 50% over the prior month’s bill, ouch.
When I first got separated I went into extreme conservation mode, cutting expenses left and right as I never had supported the household on a single income. I had my electric bill down to the $120-$130 range routinely and never crossed the $200 line. Well of course when Cindy moved in the bills creeped up some but not a ton. The first big jump I noticed was after the whole house reverse osmosis was installed a couple years ago. It produces great quality water throughout the entire house but it is EXPENSIVE to do so since it requires running the 220 volt well pump so much. To produce one gallon of RO water it requires something like 6 gallons of waste water which is dumped back into the ground. My PEV and 3D printing hobbies of course require a good amount of electricity as well, both of which were added to my sphere of activities in the last 3 years or so.
Of course the addition of three more people to the house adds to the usage but then to round it all off you have the Tesla which gets it’s “gas” from the wall every night. It usually only requires two hour of charging a day but over 30 days that adds up to a big chunk of electrons. So anyway the question is how to mitigate the usage?
Last night I took the first step reducing the run time of the pool pump from 8 hours a day down to 5. The new pump is variable speed so with it running five hours it shouldn’t consume much more power than the old unit which ran roughly three. I also am thinking about not charging my car everyday at home which by itself would not really save any money. What would save money is utilizing some of my free supercharging that I have earned which would replenish my spent energy quickly at a cost of zero dollars. The downside of this plan is it costs time instead, although there is a supercharger only a few miles from the office so it is pretty convenient to get there.
It’s funny how a $100 one month increase in an electric bill bothers me as much as it does. It must be hereditary because a high electric bill annoyed my dad so much that he plopped down $45k for a solar system. The reality is if you kept paying the electric bill as is, the minimum time to break even on the expense of solar is at least one decade and more likely, two. Instead of paying that extra money to the utility company you are just redirecting it to the bank that financed your system.
The other reality is the $100 is chump change compared to the other budget busting things that have been going on lately. Regardless I will be trying to implement some changes to help bring that number down at least somewhat. Having that first number start with a 3 was enough to shock my system into action. Next thing I need to target is the cable/internet bill which has gotten just gross thanks to Comcast’s unexplained but consistent parasitic increases every single month.
So I got a call from the doctor’s office that ordered the coronary CT. The call was from one of his staff, they said that the scan showed the plaque build up was only in the right coronary artery and my score was 21. Well I had no reference as to how good or bad 21 was and when I asked the woman she didn’t seem to know either. She started reading and said the plaque build up was “moderate” and the only thing advised was to treat with diet and exercise. I told her that is what I have been doing all along and after an awkward pause she said “ok good, keep doing that” Needless to say the call didn’t give me a reassuring feeling, she tried to explain further saying that my risk was right down the middle, half have more risk, half have less. Great, thanks……
This doctor for some reason is extremely low tech, something you wouldn’t expect of a guy that takes two months to get an appointment with. He only deals in paper forms and during my visit his only notes were via long sessions on a dictation device. When I asked this woman if they could email me the results so I had a copy of them she said that wasn’t an option, she could only send it via fax or mail. Huh??? Oh geezus, ok fax it then…
I just checked the score breakdown and it shows my 21 score is not awful.
11-100: Some plaque. You have mild heart disease and a moderate chance of heart attack. Your doctor may recommend other treatment in addition to lifestyle changes.
This morning Cindy informed me there was a blowout in the guest room overnight. Evidently the queen inflatable mattress in there sprung a leak. I guess it’s not surprising with as much use as it has seen, especially since the baby was born. Katie and Daniel spend 90% of their waking hours in the house in that room, on the bed. I suppose it wasn’t designed to be a permanent platform. There is still a conventional twin bed in the room that Katie switched to. Daniel drove back to his dad and step moms place to sleep. I’m not sure what the sleeping plan is going forward.
Saturday morning Cindy and I set the alarm to get up early. I was out at the chicken coop by 6:15 AM cleaning it since we had to head out to go help at the Naples Wear Orange event. When we got to Lowdermilk Park we went to the same pavilion as last year, someone else was already setting up. When it got to be 8:15 and we didn’t see anyone else I got suspicious. I walked up towards the north side pavilion and saw everyone else was there. Whoops, I guess we made a poor assumption. We lugged all of the stuff we unpacked to the other side of the park, including a fully erected pop up tent.
We helped setting up in the rapidly increasing temperatures. It did not take long for me to sweat through my shirt. They did things differently this year, doing the presentations and speakers BEFORE the beach exercise that I was supposed to film. I was a bit worried that doing so would have caused issues with space since the longer you wait, the more crowded the beach would become.
Luckily the other change they made this year help alleviate that problem as much less beach real estate was needed. Instead of drawing out HUGE letters in the sand that people tried to stand on, this year they made poster board signs with letters on them which was much more manageable. The drone filming went ok although I use it so infrequently nowadays I forget what does what at times. After I was done I thought I was flying the drone towards me but I could not see it when I looked up in the sky. We finally spotted it about 300 yards down the beach.
After the event we stuck around to help with clean up. The event went well and it felt good to get some volunteerism in the books.
Saturday afternoon Katies dad and his family came over for more baby visitation. Katie’s little sister enjoyed seeing the baby but her real fun was interacting with Sadie, who we had this weekend. Pinky love’s dogs but unfortunately for her, Elsa does not love strangers. However Sadie is the opposite, she loves everyone. Pinky spent the vast majority of her time there sitting/laying with Sadie, it was very cute.
I talked to Mike, Cindy’s ex-husband quite a bit, we get along well. It’s funny that he is also a long time MMO player, he has played WoW but his big game has always been City of Heroes, which was just revived a short time ago. He also told me some stuff about his time when he was deployed to Iraq in the early 2000’s. Man some crazy shit went down over there.
After they left it was almost 7PM but I still had a chore that I deemed needed to get done before the end of the day, weed whacking. So despite the time I headed out there and fired up my Poulan Pro. The one advantage of doing the task so late was the oppressive heat was ratcheted down. The disadvantage is darkness. When I finished up around 8:30 daylight had expired.
Sunday and the weekend in total featured absolutely no PEV riding. It was a by product of Saturday being consumed by other things and a lot of rain on Sunday. The rain started as I was mowing the yard, lightly at first, then torrential at times. At this point I am an experienced deluge mower so I just continued mowing, the canopy keeping only my neck and head somewhat dry, everything else was absolutely soaked. If you haven’t noticed, when I have a task in mind, it is difficult to shake me loose until it is completed.
Part of the reason I was so determined to finish was that we had 1PM tickets to go see Dark Phoenix, the last X-men movie under Fox direction. That may be a good thing. The movie just didn’t do anything for me and the way it totally contradicts plot lines from some of the older movies bugged me.
What bugged me more was I read somewhere that there was a post-credit scene. Despite everyone else exiting the theater I stuck it out, alone waiting for the payoff. When the credits ended and the projector turned off unceremoniously Cindy laughed out loud and captured the moments on film. I’d give the movie a B, you can just rent it.
I only made one video this weekend and it was pretty funny one where I answer some of the questions I have gotten regarding my Tesla. It’s only roughly 6 minutes long, which is a miracle in my video library.
Last night I worked late at one of the branches installing a new customer queuing system. This is the third system we have installed but this branch had a different set up so there were some new issues to address. I did a lot of prep leading up to last night so the issues were minimal and we got out of there by 6:45.
Tomorrow Cindy and I are once again helping with the Naples Wear Orange event. It is a movement to support common sense gun laws intended to help curb the rampant gun violence in the US. One of the event organizers is a friend of mine from the running club. Last year I was asked to film the event, which includes spelling out mission statements with human being letters on the beach, with my drone. That will be my role once again as well as helping out wherever else is needed.
Tomorrow afternoon Cindy’s ex-husband and his family will once again be coming across state to visit the baby. They had visited two weeks ago but I guess they are anxious to see Daniel again as babies only stay babies for so long. Cindy and I also hope to get out to see the new X-men movie as well at some point. I’ll be jamming in work, chores, and projects along the way.
I have really been enjoying driving my Tesla around on a daily basis. I have a history of buying nice vehicles and then being hesitant to want to drive them much because of a desire to keep the odometer low and the condition like new. My 2005 Chevy SSR was the most egregious example of this, it would sit unused in the garage for weeks and weeks. When I got my new 2016 Tacoma I daily drove it for maybe the first year but then I took ownership of Cindy’s Prius and that became my reliable if unexciting daily driver until the Tesla purchase. Again I wanted to keep the truck as nice as possible.
So with the Tesla I again feel the desire to keep it pristine but I fully intend to drive the hell out of it. The dramatically reduced maintenance requirements on an EV make the penalty for stacking up the miles less severe. It feels nice to be able to enjoy the end result of many years of labor during each commute instead of having it just looking pretty sitting in the garage more or less full time.