Adjusting angles, Annual haggle, Sticker shock, 21, Popped

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.




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