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Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Ad absurdum

This is an experiment: creeping up the carpeted stairs past the newly installed motion-detector led fixture on the wall—keeping electrical usage to an almost dangerous level since our solar inverter crapped out on us apparently November 8th, according to the utility.

I hadn't noticed anything but the usual steady little green light; no 'ground fault interruption' nor 'failure error', just steady green. Except the readout was at 0.0.

That ain't right: 28,684.4 kWh day after day, no change. Calling the utility to ask if they had any more information—other than the website which kindly gives month-old readouts to match the current bill—revealed that November date. Surprise! Who knew? Certainly not us. No alarms. Nothing but the curious 0.0.

So, yeah. Several hundred bucks of end-of-year 'true-up'. Quite a departure from our typical December bill. I don't want to get into the whole Time-of-Usage Meter story & all the past 13 years of wrangling & low emission vehicle rate schedules. We don't have an electric car any more; in fact we are among the car-less & it's working out okay.

When you have enough juice to waste, it's hard not to, but I do very much want to screw the purveyors of wiring & circuits & infrastructure by using as little juice as possible—without falling in the dark. It's actually been our mild-mannered mission for years.  Now that I know my panels are currently generating & I'm not getting credit for it? This is war.

I'll outfit myself for the duration.

A tiny led over the bed that works by touch; a single led lamp above the laptop so I can see to type. This is a warm room, facing West during the day. Right now it's still warm & when the furnace kicks on again, it will stay cozy.

It always was that way, even when son #2 lived in this room, unlike son #3's room, (the TV room or Jake's room as it now is called) which for some unreasonable technical explanation was never warm even with the gravity heat register going full blast, & still isn't, high-efficiency forced air gas furnace be damned.  #3, Jake's dad, told me a while back that he always froze in there. Always. That's embarrassing. 

He survived, though, & spent this week-end skiing in record California snow with wife & son.  I saw the video of Jake on FB, looking almost debonair. At the end of the run, he shakes snow off his shoulders hey, wanna go again?

Son #1, still couch-surfing chez maman, has assured me that running a laptop is no worse than a light bulb. I asked him what he thought of the concept of linking our real-time usage to the utility & of course he 'lit' up (little joke—he loves gadgets). Now we have an AzTech thingy which at this moment [gets up and goes to check in workroom] reads exactly 1.905 kW on the display in the dark & has a kind of cool green light on top that goes back & forth like Robbie the Robot.

After three weeks however, not streaming us the other data as advertised, like $/kW. #1 huffs it's not working.  He's not happy with this; wants me to call & tell them it's not configured correctly. Unless he wants to make the call, I am of the opinion that when they hear a woman's voice, they 'dumb' down the conversation.  We can wait another week; after all, as the utility says it takes time.

Took pity on the hens when the cold snap arrived & clamped the little ole chickie heat-lamp on to the outside of the coop, 24/7; it's only the one & they seem so happy. Not that I'd know; recently I've skipped going out to look for eggs every day. First they decided to molt; then stopped production. That's been, what? Three months, anyway.

This Saturday between rainstorms I went out to check the feed bucket & made a mental note to get another 50lb bag of pellets. Stupid girls, get used to your new digs & start laying again already. Imagine my surprise: out of the corner of my eye, there in the busted fake-barrel planter-box full of straw, right by the hinged plywood with the anti-critter throw-bolts so I can just reach in & gather 'em up...eleven eggs. Right there. I kid you not.

So that electricity paid off,  the Piki Chix going like clockwork again: EggsSabot-crgot a dozen & a half sitting in the kitchen basket as of today.

R has a reading light on in his office, where he is ensconced with a book, waiting for me to be done writing so we can go stream something. #2 just made his dinner, so after that he'll be out back outside the laundry room, having a smoke & reading or streaming on his laptop. Every other appliance or light is off, so that leaves maybe ½ kW of refrigerator & random things like the phones plugged in & charging in four different rooms. I've unplugged everything I can reach what I want to unplug, so I'm done.

Waiting on that new inverter.

Called the same fellows who installed it in back around 5/05; hadn't spoken to them since, so that's a pretty darn good record. They're busy so it took some doing to get them to respond—no, I didn't fake-cry I just said on the machine really need some help here; left two messages & haven't heard back & I talked to Ernesto, though, & he said blah blah & haven't heard back, so I guess I'll call every day till I get someone, cause this is costing me every day I don't get any credit for generation. Thanks. They came out & got everything sorted; twenty-one hundred spondoolicks including installation.

Waiting on that Sunnyboy.

Then we'll be back in business.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Claudine Jones
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine




February 2017

Volume 17 Issue 9

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