My first project goal on returning was to have a solar water heater installed, so I spent a couple of afternoons visiting different dealers and researching on the Internet. There are basically two types: a passive system which has no cycling pump and has it's own insulated storage tank, and an active system which uses the house water heater for storage and has a cycling pump that comes on when the water temperature reaches a certain level in the solar panels. I elected to go with the passive system, less electric use and it freed up storage space where the old tank set. There are state and federal tax incentives that recoup about 65% of the cost and the electricity savings pay back the rest in 2 years or less. We are anxiously waiting to see what our first full months electric bill will be, although it may not show us our full savings since we have Jeri's sister and brother-in-law, Judie and Tom, visiting with us for almost a month. What we have noticed is there has not been any lack of hot water for showers for four people, and that has got to be saving us a ton of money. We have also been running the dish washer more since they've been here, and the washing machine which all takes hot water, so while we won't be able to compare apples to apples, we will still be able to compare bills to months when it was just the two of us here.
You may ask why solar heating is so attractive here. The yearly use estimate on the old water heater was 4692 kw hours per year. It was a 10 year old unit and the annual estimate at 8 cents per kWh was $375, a joke in this state. Here, where the cost is 45 cents or more per kWh, and the annual cost jumps to an eye popping $2,111 per year. Took me about a nano second to make that decision.
With Tom and Judie arriving about three weeks after our return, we started looking at the guest bedroom double bed that came with the house that had very little use by the former owners. Our bed was a queen but we(well, I) wanted a king with a memory foam mattress. I looked on Craig's list and there were a LOT of mattress' for sale but I decided that was probably not the direction we wanted to go. But I did put the double bed on there thinking we would give it a try. Besides, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sold it the very next day, could have sold it four or five times. Go figure!
So we then spent an afternoon looking at beds and found a nice memory foam mattress that we both liked. While I was on Craig's list before, I discovered a guy in Hilo that made wood bed frames that were not elaborate and at a reasonable price so I ordered one of those. I knew the Camaro was going to be arriving in Hilo any day so I asked if they could have it ready in a couple of days. That was on a Wednesday. Thursday Matson Shipping Lines calls and says the car is here, got three days to pick it up before storage fees start kicking in, and oh, by the way, we are closed Saturday and Sunday. I call the frame maker and he said he would try and have it done by Friday afternoon so we would not have to make a second trip. Thursday was an all day affair with the solar heater guy and his crew installing the new system. And I mean all day, like until 7 that evening which is dark here.
|Ah, yes, no more gravel roads. sigh|
After lunch, a late lunch, we went to Matson and picked up the car, which took all of 15 minutes, if that. Car was as clean as I had left it in Seattle, not a scratch on it, could not tell that it had been on a boat for 14 days. I will highly recommend Matson to anyone contemplating shipping a car. Their check-in and check-out procedures are quick and to the point, no hassles, very efficient, very nice people to work with.
Unfortunately the bed frame wasn't ready until 5:30, so that meant we would be driving two cars home in the dark, which is difficult for Jeri. But being the trooper that she is, she made it but was exhausted by the time we arrived back home.
I spent the next two days priming and painting the bed frame, Sunday they came and picked up the double bed, Monday we moved the queen bed into the guest bedroom, assembled the king bed frame and Tuesday they delivered the king mattress. And yes it is very comfy. Then went out and bought a workbench and another set of storage shelves and assembled all of that.
By then I was getting behind on bill paying and book work and spent two or three days getting caught up on that. In between I managed to get in about two rounds of golf a week. Hey, lighten up. There are priorities you know. Besides, every day here is a gorgeous day for golf and I start having withdrawals if I don't play every few days.
I am sure you are all curious about the church situation here. Well, I am happy to report that it is improving, we are two weeks into a four week discovery/membership class with the pastor and 5 other people and that is going well. We are meeting new people every week, even had lunch with two other couples two Sunday's ago and that went well. As soon as the membership class is over we will start looking into a care group and get plugged into that. In the mean time we are encouraged and are thankful for all that have been praying about that situation.
Jeri heard about a volunteer program to be an after school homework helper to kids at the Ulu Wini Community Center. The church had made an announcement seeking people to volunteer an afternoon or so each week to help kids with their homework. She called the director to make an appointment to check it out and have him answer any questions. So she pulls into the parking lot in the Camero and is immediately swamped by 15 kids who are going ballistic over the "Bumble bee". To say she was an instant hit is an understatement. One girl said she had 11 cents and asked if she could have a ride. Jeri said yes but refused the 11 cents. Three days later, Tom was getting into the passenger seat and noticed 11cents in the door tray. We both got a laugh out of that.
For all you bug lovers, we spotted a new one the other day and have no idea what it is. It has six legs, wings, and is at least six inches long. If any one can identify this creature we would be grateful. Unfortunately we can't find him now and that makes us just a tad uncomfortable.
All in all, we are thankful for all the blessings that God has given us, we are in good health, feel good, staying active and trying to get involved. Looking forward to family and friends that will be visiting over the next few months, and the return of my sister and brother-in-law to their house in January. Miss their company and the time we spend together. We will continue to pray for all of you and welcome your prayers for us.
Mahalo and Aloha.