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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Michigan
Member since: Sun Feb 24, 2008, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 34,016

Journal Archives


The monthly water bill came in and it stated I used 500 gallons this billing period. Which is half of what I had used in August. For about a week now I've been shutting off the water when taking a shower and just have it on long enough to wet down and then turn it back on again to rinse off. Before, the water I got out of the tub after taking a shower came close to filling a 13 gallon container but now it's half that amount. Not enough now for flushing the toilet so I make up the difference by lugging up from the basement saved wash water from washing clothes. It will be interesting to see if the November water bill shows a further drop in water consumption.

The temp in the house stabilizes about 15 degrees higher then what the temperature outside is. It was 55 in the house when I got up this morning and the thermometer outside showed just under 40. We had a few days of relatively warm weather (in the 50's) and the same was true then. The temp inside was in the mid to high 60's.

The task of raking and buzzing up the leaves with my mulching mower is done. Finished it this morning. The compost bin is full and everywhere I wanted mulched is so. I had even went to my ex wife's home and raked up her big yard and mulched the leaves and spread it out evenly over her large garden. She had the best of intentions with her garden but didn't have the time to keep up with it. I have the time and interest so we talked about combining our efforts next year on both our gardens and splitting the produce. I already know I'll be doing the bulk of the work but that's no biggey as I do have the time.

I have lots of apples and later this week, my ex and I are going to make applesauce and out of some of that, apple butter. She has the bottles and equipment and I have the apples.

Was told early this month by my former sister-in-law that I ought to be eligible for a reduced phone charge. I called the phone company the next day and the lady said I needed to come in and fill out an application. When I got to the phone company, the lady (who is a neighbor of my ex's) said she looked over my account to see if there were also other ways for me to save money and said that if I sign a 1 year contract for internet which I get thru the phone company, they'll reduce my internet bill by $15 a month for the first 6 months and then after that, it'll go back to what I was paying. I signed that and filled out the application for the reduced phone bill. Later in the month, I got a letter from the state of Michigan saying I was approved for the reduced rate and when my phone bill arrived this past Saturday, it dropped from the usual $87 a month to $43. That savings includes the $15 reduction on internet fees. This comes at a good time as my gas bill will be going up for winter heating.

The compost pile continues to cook nicely. When I removed the blanket that I had made from the fabric I salvaged from the two bed box spring mattresses I had taken apart earlier, I could feel the heat coming from the pile and the pile is moist. I have a sheet of plywood that I place over the bin so the blanket itself doesn't get soaked from the rain. I think the makeshift blanket helps a great deal in retaining the heat and thus aid in the decomposition.

The price of fuel oil for home heating has gone way up and my ex was worried she wouldn't be able to afford to heat the house with using the fuel oil furnace so she asked me if it was feasible to switch to an LP gas furnace. LP gas being much cheaper then fuel oil. I told her that it was and altough I no longer work, my accounts with my suppliers are still active so I was able to get what was needed at contractor prices and the total cost was just under $1500 to remove the fuel oil furnace and replace it with a 95% efficient, two stage LP gas furnace. She later told me that other people has said that job would cost about 3 grand or more and I told her that was my ball park figure had she hired someone to do it. So I saved her about $1500 minus the cost of the sub sandwich and chips she fed me one day. Before, this would have taken me one very long day or a day and a half doing it myself but it took me 5 days to do the job as I could only work so long before the body gave out.

New update

Still haven't run out of hot water yet with the gas valve on the water heater set to "pilot". Was a little disappointed that I had only reduced my water consumption by 300 gallons with my water saving efforts but it's a step in the right direction. I had used 1000 gallons in August and 700 gallons in September.

My gas bill for September was the same as it was in August and that was $17.31. Looking at the long range forecast for the rest of this month, I don't expect my gas bill for October to be much higher as I've adjusted to living in the house with temps in the low to mid 50's. Occasionally, I'll turn on the furnace in the evening and run the temp up to 63 and when it hits that, I'll shut the furnace off again and turn on the electric space heater in the living room at low to maintain temp till I go to bed when i shut that off too.

There's an old metal filing cabinet in the garage which I'm slowly filling up with small pieces of scrap metals such as screws, bent nails and what not. As for the cans, I keep them in a plastic bag in the sink cabinet and when I have a several, I'll put them in the sink basin after washing dishes and let them soak for an hour or two. The paper then peels right off the soup, sauce, tuna and whatever can and I wash them out, rinse them and then bring them down to the basement to dry out. Then I crush them flat and put them in the filing cabinet in the garage. I know some people who collect scrap to sell for extra cash and when the filing cabinet is full, I'll call them and tell them they can have it for noting.

I continue to cut up papers and cardboard to add to the compost pile. I'm on my 7th big box now. I add my urine to the pile every night and it's cooking along nicely.

There were two old bed box springs in the garage left by the relative of my ex-wife's. I cut off the fabric as neatly as I could, took apart the wood frames to set aside for various projects and then realized the box springs themselves will be perfect as trellis's for vine tomatoes, sugar snap peas and pole beans. As they are 5' wide and 80" long, layed on their side, I couldn't ask for a better trellis. The felt pads I cut to appropriate widths and made draft stops for my outside doors, my walk in closet door in my bedroom and for the door of the unused and now unheated bedroom which I rolled and then tied with old, thin wire that I found here in the house and garage. The rest of the box spring covering I folded into a 3' x 4' shape and tied together with short pieces of 14 gauge wire and layed that over the compost pile to help retain the heat during these cold days. There was very little of the two box springs that was put in the garbage. I was very pleased with myself for finding multiple uses of those two old box springs.

There are 7 big maple trees in my lot and the two adjoining lots and the leaves have been coming off of them steady. I rake about every other day and chop up the leaves with my mulching lawn mower and now have a nice layer of mulched leaves on my flower beds, next years garden and around the the small ceders in my front yard. The rest of the mulched leaves I'm putting in my compost pile.

I made about 10 gallons of sauerkraut out of the 5 big heads of cabbage my former in-laws gave me. My attempt at pickling tomatoes turned into a high school science experiment gone bad and I ended up pouring the brine down the sink and tossing those tomatoes into the compost bin. I have lots of apples, enough to last me much of the winter, and with the cores, I'm making apple cider vinegar.

This is the 2nd month in a row where I've had some money left in my account by the time my SSDI came in. I pay my bills on time, have plenty of food, and am paying down debts. By next August, I should be debt free and I can then use the extra money for improvements on the house such as new windows, doors and such. Altough I do plan on buying a new scooter next spring for which I ought to be able to make $100 to $150 a month payments on but even with that, I should have an extra $200 a month spending money by next August. I'll feel like a rich guy! It took some adjusting but I'm doing quite fine on $1071 a month plus $16 in food stamps (which is actually a debit card).

People have been commenting on how much weight I've lost. Some have said it looks like I've lost about 30 pounds. A big factor in this is that as I have to walk to the grocery store, I sure as shit am not going to carry anything more then the absolute essentials the 1 1/2 mile hike back home. So I haven't had much of any so-called junk foods to eat since about the middle of August when I got a flat tire on my scooter and thus began walking everywhere I needed to go in town. Being active most every day doing projects around the home and doing the walking has also played a big part in the loss of weight. This past Wednesday after my SSDI came in, I spent about 2 hours walking taking care of business, paying local bills, going to the post office to send out other payments on bills and did some grocery shopping. I was in a great deal of pain by the time I got back home and couldn't do much of anything for the rest of the day and I'm still limping from that effort.

A few months ago I was paying $107 a month for a $125k life insurance policy. As I was no longer married, I didn't see the point of having so much and I called around for a basic $10-15 burial policy but am considered too high of a risk and no insurance company would accept me. I cancelled my policy anyways as all my siblings make over a $100 grand a year and they can afford to spend a few bucks to plant me in the ground when the time comes. Even though I may have just a few years left in me, I still think my best years are yet to come and I'm enjoying doing what I'm doing each and every day. I may be piss poor money-wise but quality of life wise, I feel like a wealthy man.

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