Another day, another crisis . . . but what's new? ;)
I returned home late last night from an after-work meeting with clients (but they provided another WONDERFUL homemade meal, so the only inconvenience was the cook's!) to NO power. The generator was running, and the garage and battery room SMELLED
I wrote the following yesterday morning before work. Now it's Sunday morning as I continue.
My off-grid systems guru just left (and, yes, an early morning Sunday service call was MUCH appreciated!!!), and the news is grim: the inverter has died. Deader than a doornail. I'd had a gut feeling that this was coming as I've been having problems with the system for quite a while, but I just didn't want to think that such an integral portion (THE integral portion) of the system would fail so "quickly". "Quickly" being relative, of course: I want to say it was installed in 2005 or so. Only 7 years of life for such a fancy, big piece of equipment? Granted, when I began researching the perceived problems with it last fall, I found out that this model is no longer manufactured BECAUSE OF its inherent problems. Luck of the draw, I guess: they didn't expect it to have these issues when it was new / built. Ooooh, I just thought of something: I wonder if insurance will cover any of this????? Isn't that what all my premiums have been for?? Will have an e-mail into my agent this afternoon!! THAT would give me SOME relief . . . because the cost for the new inverter plus labor to install it will run me between $3,600 and $4,800. HA, right?! It's only money. That I, ahem, do NOT have.
So, what does this mean for the practical, day-to-day running of Swamp River Ridge? Well, I can't use the batteries or ANY solar-gain without an inverter. So, the only source of electricity I have is the generator - which I hooked up night before last to circumvent the inverter / battery system and run power for the house. Most specifically, power for the in-floor heat pumps. Because, if those freeze (being a water-based system vs. an anti-freeze solution), I'm REALLY sunk. Of course, with no electrical system, there is no way to automatically turn the generator on when I'm away, i.e. at work. So, in cold weather, I have to be away from home for the most limited of hours. I'll run the generator in the morning before work which will activate the in-floor heat pumps. Then, it will be off during the day, and the lines will grow colder and colder. As soon as I can get myself home after work, I'll run the generator again to re-activate the electricity and heat pumps.
And, so it will go until the Money Fairy drops the ~$4,000 in my lap.
The GOOD news is that the LP company put me back on a payment plan and delivered 500 gallons of propane earlier this past week. And, as soon as I have a couple more monthly payments under my belt, they'll fill it. So, thank GAWD, I have propane to run the generator. Without that, I really would be S.O.L.
The other good news is that I can use ALL the electricity I want when the generator is running: may as well take advantage of it! So, last night, I put a movie into the DVD player which plays on my nice, large flat-screen (which I haven't used in WEEKS due to my low-power situation) and settled down with my heating pad on its highest setting (also not used in weeks for the same reason). Fortunately, Mama Pea loaned me an old-fashioned hot water bottle, so I haven't had to go to bed freezing. :)
When I got home last night, the house was a balmy 53 degrees. But, I'm augmenting the lack of heat during the day with fires in all three of the house's wood stoves. I don't feel comfortable leaving them stoked when I'm gone (since I live so far away from anyone), but I can fire 'em all up the minute I get home to a chilly house at night.
AND, even tho it doesn't pay all the bills, at least I DO have a full-time job now. Finally.
So, I can still enjoy the sunshine today (even tho it's not "doing anything" for my electrical system) and the sound of the homemade dog food bubbling away on the electric hot plate I pulled out (no sense using the stove's LP when the generator is running).
During the days when I'm home, I'll shut the generator off during the "warmth" of mid-day and do all the computer work I can on my laptop (using its battery). Then, in the evening when the generator will need to go on again, I'll transfer the day's work to the main desktop computer and printer and get THAT work done! It's a good thing I love a good challenge, eh? ;)
So, on the docket today, now that the service dude's visit is done, is wood cutting and computer work: web & graphic design and more prep to get Chicken Mama Designs fully online. Oh, and a run out and back in with the plow nearer the end of the day: the snowmobilers always make SUCH a mess of the banks, smashing them down and into the driving lane. WHAT is up with that????
Okay, on with it then. As dear, sweet My Girl said yesterday, when I went up to her little house to complain during my lunch hour, "You know, you always hear of people who do really amazing things in this world . . . who first had to go through a huge amount of really horrible stuff, first. That will be you! And, besides, it gives you a lot of content for the book you'll write one day!" No wonder I love that girl. ;)