Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Good day

There are days when I feel like we're drowning and there are days when I feel like we're just surviving and it's like we're just doing enough to get by. My/Our todo-list has a backlog a mile long and there just aren't enough (free) days for all of them.

However, I am pleased to note that I had a good day today and got some of the big ones done.

(1) Solar panels were installed on our roof 2 weekends ago but they didn't finish the electrical work. I tried to get them to schedule the work on a weekend again but the next available weekend date is not till late July. I decided to just schedule it for today and work from home to get it over with. Even though we're allowed to, I try not to abuse the "work from home" privilege.

The electrical work is now done, it took 6 men in 3 trucks 5 hours to complete the work. Ang dameh! 

The next step is to get the city inspector to come over and approve their work, will have to work from home again on that day too.

(2) Check out the hedges in front of our window in the picture above and see how overgrown they are. That picture was taken 2 weeks ago and today, the hedges are even taller. Parang jungle na! The landscaper we called for spring cleaning last March was a no-show and is not returning calls (now that I think about it, baka undocumented alien sila tapos na-deport ???).

Then we have these trees in the side yard that we want to remove, I just found out today that they're fig trees. They go dormant in the winter and become active again when spring rolls around. Unfortunately, leaves and other debris collect near the roots and it's hard to clean. Last season, we didn't dare try to touch it because some animal made its nest near the roots - we hope it was a rabbit but it could've also been a raccoon. Scary!

We also have hedges in the backyard that need to be pruned and vines from our neighbor's yards are growing into our yard too. I've called 6 other landscapers to date and none have called me back. They're probably all booked up and busy these days.

This morning, since I was home, I saw our neighbor's landscaper mowing the neighbor's yard (it was their weekly maintenance) so I went over and ambushed the guy. We now have an agreement and he's coming over next Monday to remove the trees, prune hedges and will do the clean up. He'll just bill me for the work afterwards. Ayos! We may ask him to set up a plant bed in the side yard, but we'll think about it after the trees have been removed.

I also got a quote for regular weekly or bi-weekly lawn care, we'll think about this in the meantime kasi regular expense na ito if we go for it. I'm sure that once hubby gets a taste of having professional lawn care, it'll be hard to convince him to mow the lawn again. I don't think we're ready for this at this stage since hubby also wants to get a new car this year.

(3) There's this balikbayan box that I've been meaning to pack up & send out. The stuff I needed to pack have been sitting in our library for weeks, we look like a warehouse already. My goal was to get this picked up by the forwarder on or before the weekend of June 12 but I wasn't able to do it because I've been swamped.

So this afternoon, during my lunch break, work was relatively light so I figured I'd pack it already so I can have it picked up this weekend. It didn't take long because I've already prepared the stuff I'm sending long ago. When done, I called the forwarder - whose owner, by the way, happens to live nearby - to set up a pickup schedule. Since they live in the area, they've been very accommodating and oftentimes would even come by at 7p/8p on a Saturday. So while the guy on the phone was checking their calendar to see if they can squeeze me in for Saturday, the owner comes by and hears my name and asks "is she home now ?". When I said yes, he offered to come pick up the box right away.

Again, ayos!

Work-wise, I've had to deal with a few reported defects today and all issues turned out to be non-issues for us (well, they are still defects, but they weren't caused by our side). How great is that ?

At this point, our to-do list is still substantial.

We are still behind on laundry but our pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded/hung/or ironed is bigger than the dirty pile so I will chalk this as a win.

The magnetic board that we bought more than 3 months ago is still waiting to be hung (it needs special mounting hardware/techniques) but since we got the power (reciprocating) saw last week, we're one step closer to getting it done so I will chalk this as a half-win.

We still have not painted our MBR, this admittedly fell off our radar so am targeting the 4th of July weekend for this. How I wish I was still young enough again to feel okay luring friends over with a bbq/painting party.

There's still a lot on our plate so you can see how I really needed today's victories. Thank you, Lord, for this amazing day and as always, You have great timing.


Didi said...

Solar Panels!! I've been very curious about those. My Panget says that the panels itself if cheap, it's the batter that will kill you daw kasi its so expensive. I'm curious on the benefits - if it's really worth it long term. Pero paano if like it rains for days? Walang electricity?

Thanks for passing by my blog!! :)

Now, I have a new one to read!! :) Hihi..

Love, Didi

popcorn said...

Hi Didi,

I really don't know about the cost of the materials because here in NJ, there are at least 3 other programs that we've heard of:

a) outright purchase (there are government grants available to help with the costs pero expensive pa rin syempre)

b) lease - you lease it from a solar company for 20 years, they have a commitment to you to produce a certain amount of electricity within the year and you pay a set amount per month. At the end of the year, if hindi nila naabot yung quota nila, they refund you the equivalent amount. the solar company owns the panels and all equipment.

c) lease-to-own - not sure kung pano ito, but the downside to this is that the cost of the panels go on your credit so lalabas na malaki utang mo (big deal yan dito sa US). and since you own the panels, you are also responsible for the insurance and upkeep.

In our case, we have $0 cash out, we don't own the panels. The solar company owns, installs, maintains and insures the panels and our contribution is that we let them use our roof space for the next 20 yrs and we buy their output. It's impt to note that the company did check our house position (google earth yata) and had a team come over to evaluate our roof angles / positioning to make sure that enough sun will be captured. Only 2 houses in our street met this requirement.

Our advantages:
- no cash out, this whole system did not cost us anything.
- we get to pay lower rates for the power produced. If we don't get enough sun for power, we just pull power from the utility company (seamless connection).
- At our current rate of consumption, this will average us $25-$30 savings per month

- 20 year contract, parang ang tagal diba ? If we sell the house, we'll have to make sure that the buyer agrees to continue the contract to completion.

- should we have to replace or need to have our roof fixed, we'll have to pay them a small fee to take down the panels, store it and then later, put them back up. This is really a disadvantage kasi now, kelangan mo bawiin yung fee na yun with your savings. But I am putting it in a "neutral" category because the company agreed to pay us this fee upfront just to get us to say yes. parang na-advance na sa amin yung refund of the fee.
- we don't mind the look of solar panels (some don't kasi and baka hindi bagay sa look ng house).

And your question about brownouts - this was the most disappointing thing of all for me. Nilinaw ko rin yan with the agent and was so sad to learn that the grid needs electricity to function. Kung brownout, wala pa ring power ang house. Yung meter nya is electric and relies on wi-fi for billing purposes. There is no battery to store power and all power generated goes into the utility company's power grid. Nung pina explain ko, ang labas pala is that power generated from solar panels go back into the power grid (and our meter runs backwards, negative yun) and then when we use power, the meter runs forward again.

Nag research ako about batteries and found out about TESLA wall (check mo yun, baka pwede sa inyo!). I got really excited about it but when I asked the electrician installing the panels, hindi raw pwede because their system wasn't designed to work with a battery and it could overload the circuits.


Didi said...

Thanks Popcorn Labs. I asked my Panget about this and he said mahabang usapan daw kasi nga like you may government chorva pa. The problem here is that walang *benefit* or*support* from the government. Diba diyan super uso ang Prius? Dito my golly jeez! Gamahal ang Prius and hindi worth it kasi nga parang walang support from the government. May term si Panget eh, it just escapes me now. Hahaha!! :)

There's this house in Philam village na solar powered. I looked at it nga eh and then naisip ko, pako kung like today - it's been raining for 3 days - walang araw. Paano sila? panget says they have an on and off switch. Parang pwedeng ibalik yung electricity sa linya. Gets mo ba? Hahahaha!!!



popcorn said...

Hi Didi,

Mahal rin ang Prius dito and if you do the math (I did some computations when the hybrids first came out, it's been a long time since that so baka time to do the math again), it's not economical in the long run because you save money on gas but maintenance could become expensive. Yung battery nya to store power is very expensive. Hybrids are really for people who are into being green and are willing to pay extra to be green. Wala pa ako sa stage na yan, mas mabigat sa akin ang savings.

about the house in Philam - napaka inconvenient naman if you have to flick a switch to get power. I wonder how often they have to do that ? Sabi sa akin nung electrician na nag kabit ng amin, even if there's snow, you'd be surprised raw because the panels still generate power - not a lot, but some.

A friend of mine who is based in Cebu told me that houses are getting solar panels there and the setup is like ours, they get connected to the utility grid so the connection is seamless pero mahirap raw mag pa approve because the utility company makes it difficult (syempre!)

Note pala that ours has a main switch too and you can use that to disconnect the panels from the main power grid. But under normal circumstances, there shouldn't be any need to flick switches, the connecting thingie know where to draw power.


Photo Cache said...

Nice read. I've scrolled down to read your archives too. You are funny. A fun read for sure.