CAREGIVING: Sunday it rained like crazy. I watched the Patriot’s play Indianapolis later, but it was a “low biorhythm” day. For some reason a big weather change or passing front can give me a headache. It might be a change in the pressure that causes it. Beats me. I’m lucky it wasn’t snow. My snow blower is still sitting on the porch scaring the snow away.
I got up at three in the morning because I heard Kathy cough in the baby monitor. She was fine but her feeding tube had disconnected. Food was pooled on the floor. I suctioned up as much as I could with her suction machine. Then I soaked up as much as I could with small towels. I decided to let her sleep rather than wake her up to change everything.
Pat came at 9:30 and got her almost cleaned up before Kathy surprised her by going again. So, she had to redo everything. That happens to me a lot. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I think when she is lying on her side she relaxes. There are no no-go zones.
That afternoon I went down into the basement to shred a bunch of old checks and bank stuff. I keep the shredder next to the recycling. I bumped into a shelf and knocked a gallon of paint on the floor. Pat came back in the evening to get Kathy ready for bed. She asked, “So, you are painting the cellar floor white?”
“Not intentionally” I replied.
It was cold all week. Really cold.
My utility bills are still a big expense. We receive a discount because Kathy is on MassHealth. I keep her room really warm. While I am changing her I use a little electric heater to keep her from getting a chill. I try to remember to turn it down once she is under the covers. I’ve tried to block the heat going up to the bedrooms upstairs. I’ve closed the doors and blocked the one heat register. Heat still rises, so it is still bearable up there.
I get letters telling me I can select a cheaper electric supplier. The bill will still come from our utility, National Grid. The power will come from another company that is a little cheaper. Or I can choose a renewable energy supplier. If it seems confusing. It is. While I was on the computer, I set up budget payments with the gas and power companies. They should be consistent each month.
(This next part is a little geeky.) On the website there was a box that asked if I was interested in solar. I’ve always believed in solar. I checked the box. Our front roof faces south and is uphill from the house across the street. A few days later George, a rep from the company, Solar City tried to explain how I could have solar on my roof for zero down and save money on my electric bill. The guy was very nice and not really pushy, but it was a lot to understand at the time. He was trying to find our house on Google Earth, but it said we live in the middle of the road. (Not far from the truth). He found the house on Google Street View and on Zillow.com, so he had a better idea.I got his actual proposal a few days later during an “online meeting”. He had the proposal file open on his computer desktop. As he was talking he would point to different parts of it. There was a teenie weenie picture with a rectangle on my roof showing the panels. The lease is called a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement.) It is a 20 year lease in which I buy all the power that the panels produce from Solar City at 15¢/kiloWatt hour. They size the system so it produces 42% of the power I normally use. I would get the remaining power from the grid which is now around 17 to 18¢ / kWh. They size it smaller so you don’t end up paying for more power than you are using (I think). The way they had it figured out it would save about $3,500 in power costs ….over 20 years. I am not a math genius. By my calculations that works out to saving $14.50 a month. If I sell the house the buyer has to take over the lease; or I have to buy the system and work it into the selling price. If I die before the lease is up I could sell the unused surplus power to the crematorium to zap me into briquets. (kidding) Once I get an electric bill with the new supplier rate and the budget payments, I’ll give it more thought. Just blogging about this gave me a new headache. So, besides the weather, utility changes cause headaches too.
On Thursday I decided to drive down to the town hall and find out about burials. I wanted to check on green burials in Hampden to see if they did that yet. Or how much regular burial of ashes would be. Betsey was here getting Kathy ready.
I hopped in the car and …. Nothing happened.
The battery was dead.
Did I mention it was cold out for several days? I didn’t have anyplace to go, so I didn’t leave the house. The car didn’t get started for a couple of days.
My mind went into its’ Just what I frigging’ need… mood. When Betsey’s boyfriend came to pick her up I had him give me a jump-start. I let it run for a good 15 minutes before I turned it off. I could keep an eye on Kathy with my cell phone, but I didn’t want to go anywhere.
Betsey came back for her late afternoon shift. The car started on its’ own. I had looked up in Consumer Reports about batteries. They seemed to give a Best Buy review to some batteries at Walmart. As much as I hate to go there, I figured I needed a few groceries, too. What I didn’t realize is that they don’t have an auto repair service at our store. I drove all the way around and couldn’t figure out how to get in. I thought I remembered getting something fixed there many years ago. I decided to park and at least look at the batteries. I looked. I decided it would be a total pain in the butt to replace the battery in the cold weather. Then I would have to come back to exchange the old battery. While I was there I bought some health care stuff for Kathy and went to the grocery part and picked up a few bunches of bananas and some dog food for Marty. I went through the express checkout and because they use those stupid bagging carousels I forgot the bananas there. I didn’t notice until I got home.
Did I mention I hate Walmart.
I worried that the car would be dead again but it started right up. I was about to pull into Sears for a battery. Then I realized I could get my battery checked for free at the auto parts store n. The guy came out and said “Your battery is fine. You just needed to drive it more.” At least the day had a good ending.