Posts Tagged With: Energy

I’m Walking on Sunshine: Going Solar (part 1)

BY JOEL PETT, Herald-Leader Cartoonist, used with permission.

BY JOEL PETT,
Herald-Leader Cartoonist, used with permission.

Sunshine.

It’s everywhere, especially here in Arizona,. The sun shines two hundred ninety-six days of the year. Yes, that’s 296.

By contrast, the Seattle area, where I lived a quarter of a century ago, gets a mere fifty-eight, yes only 58, sunny days a year. Shiver. 

You’d think, with so much sunshine we’d be completely solar friendly in our state. You’d be correct. Following close behind, surprisingly, is Hawaii. And not so surprisingly, Nevada.

Why do I bring this up?

We had solar panels installed recently. The whole back side of the roof full of the things. No, we didn’t win the lottery, or take out a home equity loan. Nor did we inherit money from some long-lost rich relative. (Sigh.) We’re leasing the panels for less than what we pay the Power Company.

Here’s what our roof looks like now…

photo 1-4 copy 19

8 a.m. and the sun is already tickling the panels which face WSW.

I’m not going to try to explain how it all works, because, frankly Scarlett, I don’t give my husband dealt with the business and science part of all this. I signed some paperwork, read a bit of fine print, and cleaned up the side yard enough so the installation guys wouldn’t trip over the mess.

All I know is the sun shines on our roof, those black panels turn it into electricity somehow, and we have all the juice we need to run our little household.

What I’m really interested in involves a reversal. Yup. A reversal.

Whatever we don’t use of our solar generated electricity gets sold to The Power Company.* Does that sound cool, or what?

I think so.

Instead of us receiving electricity from and paying out money to the Electric Company, in vast enough quantities to fund a small nation, they will start paying us with an annual check. Sounds like a great plan to me!

Whether or not it pans out gets me all excited and curious and a little giddy. Okay, maybe not giddy, but definitely curious. I’ll be watching those meters, reading the bills, comparing this year and last year. And instead of feeling forlorn at another in a long series of unending sun-swathed days I’ll feel happier than a pig in mud on a sunny day.

There’s an 85% chance this will work out in our favor. I like that. Those are good odds, don’t you think?

Saving Money? Yes, Please.

Saving money lights up my happy neurons. And yet we’ll still have enough electricity to keep the house cool in these desert nonsense temperatures, run the frillion computers MSH has amassed, keep the oven baking bread and keep the six-body** deep freeze icy cold. If the power goes out, the entire neighborhood can come on over and charge their phones to their heart’s delight.

We’re waiting for an inspection and paperwork and insurance stuff to happen in the next few days. And then, voilà. We’ll be cooking and cooling with solar.

Now I feel all green and tingly and earth friendly. Come September I’ll kick my desert gardening hiney into high gear and get every one of my raised beds planted with happy little vegetable seeds for an even greener sense of self-sustaining karma.

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. Good or not so good.

Here’s to the sunshine!

 ~~~~~

Here’s some info you can read if you want to:

Not a solar company –  Will Buying Solar Panels Really Save Money?

Also not a solar company – Do Solar Panels Really Save Money?

Or you can do your own research easily enough, right?

~~~

*Well, almost all. MSH tells me that The Powers That Be work a lot of fine print into the contract, but still… looks and sounds great to me. Like I said, I didn’t read the details and I don’t get the math or the science at all. Over a twenty-year span, we come out ahead.

**When MSH brought home the deep freeze (I thought we were buying a small one) it turned out to be this massive monstrosity nearly the same size as our Toyota truck. I like to say it’s big enough to hold six bodies. So really, we could have a bit of a sideline helping out the morgue if needed. Normally, though, we keep ice cream, roasts, a ham, a turkey and freezer jams in there.

Categories: good ideas, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Disturbance in the Force

Did you feel it?

I’m sure I did. My heart did this fluttery, skipping a beat, then a rushing to catch up weird sensation earlier this week. Like a balloon deflating there was suddenly no energy in the room.

My cousin, Darrin Olsen, almost thirty-three years old, passed away.

Darrin lights up a room when he walks in. He’s one of those people everyone is so happy to have show up. The vibe around him is upbeat and pulsing with life and excitement.

Whether he’s telling a joke, goofing off in front of a camera, or playing Ultimate Frisbee, he is all in, one hundred percent going for it. Talk about infectious laughter and smiles! Just saying the name Darrin puts a smile on the face of anyone who knows him.

Clearing skies over Morgan, Utah

(Photo credit: coty creighton)

I’d like to think he’s had a nice visit with Grandpa and Grandma Olsen and a couple of other cousins. Then, I envision him on a phenomenal hike in the heavens with a view unmatched here on earth.

I’m thinking he’s figuring out if he can do an ultimate bungee jump from there to here, just for the thrill of it. He’ll be able to talk whoever is in charge into it, no doubt, with that charming smile of his. I can here it now. “Sure, Gumpers, for you, I’ll bend the rules a bit. Here’s the bungee cord. Have fun!”

Ah, Darrin, you are already missed so much by so many.

Get a team together for a game of Ultimate for the rest of us when we get there. It’ll be epic!

In the meantime, feel the love we’re all sending your way.

Categories: Death, Hope, Memory Lane, People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Connect The Light Bulbs

Lately, I’m only partially aware, only half-awake, my eyes shaded to most of what’s going on around me. It’s like part of me in is the room and the other part of me got left somewhere else.

Is it intentional?  No.  It’s probably lack of quality sleep and being off my routine. Or, maybe it’s hormonal. Or not. Maybe I need more chocolate. Or less.  It could be I’m dehydrated most of the time, since I don’t think diet Pepsi and hot chocolate count towards daily water intact.  Or could they?  Maybe I’m lacking a specific mineral in my diet, so I’m taking a vitamin supplement.  Perhaps I need more exercise. (My daughter doesn’t need exercise. She chases an 18 month old energizer-bunny toddler around all day while her med school husband is off slaying dragons.)

I digress.  I digress a lot lately.  That thing you do when you go to get something but can’t remember why you are in the room you’re in, so you walk back to the spot where you had the thought that you needed something in order to help you remember what you were doing?  I do that far too often lately.  Like, hourly. Like, way too much.  Slows me down, ruins my groove.

I sit down with paper and pen in hand to create a menu for the week and from there a grocery list. I come up blank. The connection from point A in my brain to point B in my brain has a short.

English: Closeup of a string of decorative Chr...

Closeup of a string of decorative Christmas lights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually it’s probably more like those strings of Christmas lights my son helped me hang on the house yesterday.  One bulb missing or broken is okay.  The string still manages to stay lit.  Two bulbs out, half the lights won’t come on. Replace the missing or broken bulb and voilà a whole string is working again. It’s a little miracle to me, since I don’t understand electricity.

Now the house looks great and thanks to the stellar design of outside plugs under the eaves and indoor switches, all I need to do is flip a switch and the house is lit up all red and green and cheerful.

I need a “brain on” switch. My brain probably needs a loose bulb snugged into its socket a little tighter.  Or maybe one of my neurons cracked and needs replacing. Maybe a few mental bulbs are out along several different strings.

If only a brain fix were as easy as those lights from yesterday’s stringing exercise.

The energy required to make my brain work more effectively isn’t, unfortunately, something I can plug into with a wire and socket.  It’s something much more elusive than that.

When I let myself be in nature, breathing fresh air, that’s one of my electrical cords connecting me to the energy of the earth, to beauty, to life.  I try to plug into that often, but that’s slipped lately. I’ve been busy!

Magic in a Bookstore

Another power source for my brain is reading, usually.  Although lately, reading has been of the audio type and requires less brain power and perhaps less of the written word is absorbed. But  I don’t know.  I’m rambling now.  Rambling happens often lately too.

Maria

This is someone named Maria.  I don’t look this good in a fedora, or anything else for that matter. (Photo credit: tamara.craiu)

Recently I was in a bookstore as part of a treasure hunt.  Dressed in a fedora, sunglasses and a trench coat, I was to wait until being located by a gaggle of girls, then hand over a clue to each group that found me.  Very few people looked at me oddly, which I found strange, since I’m certain I looked questionable.  The best part of this was having an entire hour to peruse bookshelves filled with newly minted books. It was nirvana, bliss, heaven and grace all packed into one hour.

When my assignment was over, I ended up buying a book.

It was a real book, not an audio one. Hard cover, with a dust jacket.  I took it home and read it that night.  Yes, I concentrated long enough to read it in one sitting.  Short book. But packed to the brim with wisdom and insight that I’ve needed to learn.

It’s a keeper. It’s one of those books I’ll end up writing in, with exclamation points, underlining, commenting, question marks, maybe even cross-referencing. No, I won’t be lending out my copy.  Well, maybe, but you’d have to promise not to read all the margins or make any of your own notes.

The book is Anne Lamott’s “Help. Thanks. Wow.  The Three Essential Survival Prayers.”   This one sentence speaks to my current need for brain-power and clarity.

“In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness.”

Some of the energy I need is in the created world, not just the natural world.  And the energy in that is readily dispersed by my overly scheduled, multi-tasking, transmission-challenged but driven life.

Perhaps if I slow down, notice the beauty around me in the architecture of a wall, the care in the moulding of a door frame, or in the design of a freeway bridge,  I might touch some of that energy.  If I take time to hear the poetry in a song, or the music itself, or actually read a poem, I might connect a loose bulb in my head.  The lights may reignite mentally if I allow myself time to experience art in diverse places and ways.

String Light

String Light (Photo credit: felixtsao)

Energy is captured in the beauty and art in my life, just waiting for me to plug in to that brain enlightening power.

What better time of year than now to look for the light and energy that surrounds us, to gather it in instead of pushing it away. Maybe I can do that.  Maybe I’ll get all my mental light strings lined up and glowing again. I can try.

Categories: Books, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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