I apologize to those for whom this is really, really old news. But i just got an energy audit from the Energy Trust of Oregon, and i want to make sure everyone knows about it. It could save you a ton of money in energy costs year-round.
You call up this awesome non-profit and they come out to your house to check how well your heating system works, how much insulation you have, how well your windows are sealed and whether your faucets are leaking, among other things. They replace your showerhead with a lower-flow one and put in new faucet heads on your sinks and replace all your old incandescent bulbs with compact florescent ones. They also leave you with a booklet on tax credits and incentives you can get from the state and the federal government, to improve efficiency in your home. And the whole consultation is free!
I got my landlord to agree to do this, after the outrageous numbers on last year's gas bills. With another four to five months of cold weather ahead, and me paying the bills on my own, i figured i should try to spare myself the aggravation and expense of literally feeling the heat sucked out of the windows that lack sealant and the walls that lack insulation. Hopefully the landlord will make some of the improvements, since in the end they'll get the money back in tax credits.
If you are a homeowner and you live in this state, you've got to do this, to save yourself some cash. At the Green Cities conference earlier this year, Mayor Sam Adams talked with mayors from other parts of the country about how Portland has become a leader in sustainability. He said the issue of sustainability was important, but the way that city leaders could convince their constituents that it was needed -- beyond the more altruistic idea of environmental stewardship -- was because of money. Sealing up your house saves you money. Sealing up a government building or school saves us all money. It also just happens to conserve our natural resources too.
If you don't live in Oregon, you can find some of the same tax credits and incentives for energy efficiency in other states too. They might not come to your house and do the work for you, but the programs are out there to be found.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Out here in pale sun
kicking maple leaves around
walking it off,
walking it all off.
It's the night that will envelop me;
blinded by the wet black dark
for what you've done this time.
On these long nights i start thinking
There is so much he doesn't see, this father of this child of mine.
He doesn't see a little girl on a purple bike, splashing through a puddle and slamming on the brakes. She's wobbled a little and is clearly frustrated, though normally this puddle would not be such a big deal. But this time, i call out "are you ok?" and she answers with less than the usual rebelangel pluck.
"I don't have a dad anymore," she sniffs, kicking at the wet pavement.
This is not true, per se. She's been catching snippets of my conversations with friends, which were supposed to be hushed, and behind my bedroom door. But she always knows the score, more or less.
She knows i've resolved not to let her be at her father's house for a while, on account of the string of sketchy people with missing teeth, the girlfriend with the stripper vibe, the phone that's cut off again, the reports of unreliable parenting, and a feeling i get in the pit of my stomach when i think about his spiraling life of late. I don't even want to invite the rage that would come should i ponder what danger he's possibly put her in, while she's been in his care.
Still, i am feeling the usual pangs of sorrow for my daughter's self-esteem, for the statistics about daughters and absent fathers, and for her feeling that my decision means she 'doesn't have a dad anymore.'
I tell her that she will always have a dad who loves her, no matter what. I shore up some kind of reassurance for her, because that is the only thing i can do -- reassure, and pray that it comes true. But i hate that i have to be the one to tell her that her father loves her.
Truth be told, sometimes i wish he weren't around at all. He brings so much sorrow to the people who love him -- his mother whom he ignores until he needs something, his two daughters with whom he oversleeps and overyells, their respective mothers who he's emotionally manipulated one by one, and even at the same time. He continually makes promises and breaks them, yet here i am reassuring her that he loves my daughter, because anything else would be an even bigger blow to her psyche.
At what point is it all right to give it to a kid straight that their parent is fucked up?
Is this just a bitter realization that they must come to on their own, since all other meddling will be seen as such? And does this non-meddling mean we as the other parent are supposed to defend the fucked-up parent's love for their child, when the conversation comes up?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
listening to the music
'this is a pretty good tune,'
til one comes on that makes you go
and you leap up
to dance and trip-step and
get spun on that song.
So like a melody,
love is this way.
You know it all in the first few notes.
These days i suppose i'm like the characters in Seinfeld, who i once derided for being so picky. They'd drop their love interests for minor infractions, and i just didn't get it. Now i do, and i do it. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Is it that i am getting older, and more able to see what i want? Or is it that mixed with the fact that i have extremely high standards for the rebelangel's male influences?
Way back when, when episodes of Seinfeld were part of my purple-Bugaboo-jacket, 1990's consciousness, i suppose i found it hard to believe that someone knew themselves that well, because i suppose i didn't know my own self so well. Rejecting someone for the way they ate just seemed ridiculous.
It's not that i come up with quite such petty reasons to turn people down, but they are more particular than they used to be. Like the man i decided i couldn't date because i didn't like his teeth. Or the Leo man who seemed a bit too into himself -- a cardinal sin for the Leo woman who wanted that attention pointed my way. (I didn't say my requirements were rational...)
So i guess i'm just like Seinfeld in this way. And no, there shouldn't be anything wrong with that...
It's a song that grabs you
and you want to sing it over and over and over and over and over and
* Related article: Why I'm Not Waiting for Mr. Right *
* Related song: Jolie Holland's Damn Shame *