I own a medium sized office building that is located in the downtown part of our city. The building has 12 different offices, and 10 of them are currently rented. Our clients pay a set rate for rent every single month. The rent that they pay includes utilities, water, and leasing fees. Since many of the businesses use different amounts of electricity, I decided to come up with a way to save us money on our utilities. I had a brand new HVAC system installed throughout the building, that has a new smart thermostat feature. The smart thermostat can control all 12 of the individual thermostats for the offices. I have complete control over the thermostat, and therefore, I can set each office individually. I allow my residence to choose the temperature in the office most of the offices are set to 72 degrees in the summertime, and 68 degrees in the winter time. This works out very well, and allows the energy bills to remain reasonable. Ever since I installed the smart thermostat feature, I have been able to shut down the HVAC system at 8 at night. None of the offices are open past 6 p.m., so everyone is usually gone by 8. At 805 precisely, the HVAC system is set to turn off completely. There is no heat or A/C in the building, from 8 at night until 6 in the morning. I can’t believe how much money I have managed to save over the past two months, just by simply shutting off the heat and A/C overnight.
A few weeks ago, I passed out a questionnaire to my students, asking them to list some things that they were thankful for, and to write a paragraph about those things. I got some very interesting contributions, but one of the ones that intrigued me the most was from a shy, serious students who does not speak very often in class. He stated in his paragraph that he was thankful for air conditioning this year. The paragraph explained, in perfectly-expressed, grammatically-correct terms, that he had been without air conditioning for a few months because his parents’ air conditioning unit had died, and they had to save up for the money to replace it. After watching his parents work so hard for the air conditioning unit, and seeing how happy they were, and how he was, to finally get a new air conditioning unit installed, he realized how much he had taken air conditioning for granted in the past. He said that now, he prays to give thanks for his air conditioning everyday, and he is always appreciative of it in the car, in stores, and at school. I was very impressed with his paragraph, but more than that, I was impressed with his character. How many kids his age would have just complained about being without air conditioning and criticized their parents for not getting it back soon enough? Instead, he was just grateful for the hard work and sacrifice that his parents had made to get an air conditioning unit again. I decided to be a little more thankful for air conditioning too!
Rather spontaneously last weekend, my husband and I decided to take a short trip out of town. We had been saving up some money to go on a cruise in December, but we found out that my husband will not be able to take any time off of work in December, not even for Christmas! To console ourselves, we drove to a beach town a few hours away on Friday. We used some of our cruise fund for this trip, although we still have plenty left for whenever we do get to go on our cruise! The mini vacation was just wonderful. We slept in Saturday and Sunday, took long, slow walks everyday, and ate some truly delicious food, including the most amazing deviled crab that I have ever had in my life! On Sunday night, though, the realization sunk in that we were three hours away from home, and we both had to be at work at seven in the morning! The drive back home was so depressing! My husband was so tired that he kept the A/C blasting so that the cold kept him alert! I, of course, had not brought a jacket or blanket with me, so I just had to adjust the vents as far away from me as I could and hope to avoid as much air conditioning as possible. The car ride seemed to take forever. The air conditioning was making me miserable, but I was even more tired than my husband, and I did not want to let him fall asleep at the wheel! We made it home after what seemed like forever, and I was so glad to get out of the air conditioning and into bed!
Yesterday, I was really rushed before I left for work. I had been off for vacation the previous week, so I was out of my routine, and I accidentally slept in several minutes later than normal. I threw everything together: my lunch, my gym bag, and my school bag, then threw my hair in a ponytail, put on foundation and mascara, a simple blouse, pencil skirt, and pointed toe flats, then jumped in my car and left. My normal hour and fifteen minute routine had been crammed into thirty-five minutes, and I knew that I had forgotten something. Ten minutes down the road, I realized that I had not brought my coffee, and that I had not adjusted my thermostat. I like my bedroom to be really cold while I sleep, so I leave my air conditioning blasting at night. I typically set my thermostat to 64 degrees. To compensate for the excessive air conditioning at night, I try to turn my air conditioning up to 80 degrees when I leave for work. Instead, during the hottest portions of the day, my air conditioning would be running constantly. I was very angry with myself, both for forgetting to adjust my thermostat and for not buying the smart thermostat that I saw for sale just last week! If I had a smart thermostat, I could have adjusted my thermostat remotely. Instead, I sat all day at work, knowing that I was basically flushing money down the drain. Yesterday, on my way home, I stopped by a department store and bought a smart thermostat.
Working from home definitely has its pros and cons. I think most people envision working from home as lounging in pajamas all day, eating ice cream and watching television while working on a laptop. While I definitely have been guilty of doing work in my pajamas, working from home is not all that it is cracked up to be. This week, I have had a major issue with working at home: my air conditioning unit died. A few years back, when my air conditioning unit died, it was not a big deal because I had air conditioning at work, and in my gym, and in my car. Now that I am at home for the majority of my day, being without air conditioning is miserable, and trying to focus when there is no air conditioning is even worse. I called my HVAC company right away and asked them to come look at my A/C unit and do an A/C repair or an A/C replacement, but they were unable to come out that day. My appointment with them is set for Friday, so I have to make it one more day. My first plan of attack was to go to a coffee shop for the day to work there, but this was not a good idea for my budget. I spent way too much money everyday on expensive coffee, and it was hard to focus with all of the noise. Yesterday and today, I went to a nearby library to work. This works perfectly! I have air conditioning and solitude, and I think I will make it until tomorrow’s appointment!
Last week, I went to visit our parents. I like to get over to their home once or twice a month just to catch up & have Dunkin Donuts Coffee with them. All of us usually sit on the porch or at the kitchen table. It is so nice to take an hour of our afternoon to simply relax & chat with our parents. However, when I was there last week, I was suddenly interrupted by a immense noise followed by a ton of water dripping from the ceiling. I looked up & instantly thought that the toilet was going to end up in the kitchen if all of us didn’t get the leak fixed. One of our parents’ plumbing pipes burst in the powder room that is right above the kitchen area. All of us scrambled upstairs hoping that the toilet wasn’t going to fall through the ceiling. Luckily, the plumbing business was only a ways down the road & our Mom grew up with the owner, otherwise all of us would have had an immense mess to clear up. The plumbing business showed up & explained to us that the piping had burst for a variety of reasons. They were able to diagnose the issue, get the necessary materials to work on it, & repaired the leak in the toilet piping. I was anxious our parent’s would have to pay a fortune not only for the plumbing work but also for the disfigure. Within no time, though. the water stopped dripping in the kitchen & the plumbing was repaired at no cost to our parents! Now, all of us make sure our parents get their entire plumbing system cleaned & inspected every few months.
In our area, both of us have a ton of options, there are over several grocery stores, a million shopping centers, plus a good deal of steakhouses. Both of us tend to compare pricing everywhere plus try to find the cheapest sites to stay in our budget. Luckily, both of us have been living here long enough to know the good sites plus the best bang for our buck. However, there is one corporation that both of us were unsure of until both of us encountered recent plumbing problems, where our toilets plus sinks seemed to run even when the handles were completely shut off. Our water bills were becoming more extravagant as both of us ignored the plumbing issue, so I decided it was time to do something about it. Many of our friends commanded getting our plumbing system cleaned because it could be a build up causing our water to run! Since our lake house was rather new, both of us never had to call a plumbing supplier to do work before. So, when I started calling around to get quotes, I was shocked at how much it cost to simply get our plumbing units cleaned! The local plumbers were nearly impossible to get a hold of plus the brand name companies were ridiculously pricey! I was panicked that I would never get our plumbing fixed plus would have to pay those water bills forever! Luckily, my fiance talked to a woman she works with who knows of a great freelance plumber that would be able to repair our plan for a good price. Hopefully they never move away, otherwise both of us will be paying a fortune in plumbing services!
I am planning to open up a bakery in town. A few months ago, I found the perfect building. I got it for a great price. The building needed to be a whole bunch of updates and work. I had to tear up the carpets and varnish the floors, replace walls and install new windows. I got just about everything done in mainly hardwood and stainless steel. I have vaulted ceilings with big hanging ceiling fans, and a long wood counter for people to order and sit. I spent a small fortune on all the most sophisticated baking technology. I have purchased commercial stoves, coolers, blenders and mixing bowls. I even bought a couple of antique glass display cases to show off the treats I will bake. I got just about everything all set, when I then realized I overlooked an important detail. I totally paid no attention to the bathroom. I needed to make some improvements to the employee lavatory. I also needed to install an additional one for the customers. Handling plumbing requirements was well beyond my capabilities so I called in a licensed plumber for this project. The plumber was not happy that I had waited so long to hire him. It certainly would have been easier to set up all the pipes, drains, and fixtures when the walls were all torn down. Now he wants to tear out up my brand new flooring and walls. He wants to locate the lavatory facility where I planned to a seating arrangement. Apparently it is a more efficient location for the toilet and pipes, but that’s not going to work for me.
I decided to open up a local bakery on Main Street. I found the ideal building and I got it really cheap. The reason for this is that the building was in need of a lot of renovations. I had to refinish the floors, put up walls and even replace windows. I got the whole building totally redone and outfitted in mainly hardwood. I have vaulted ceilings with modern hanging lights and a big wood counter for people to order and pay. Next I invested in all the baking equipment I needed. I bought the stoves, toasters, blenders and mixers. I even invested in for a big glass display case for the treats I planned to make. I got just about everything completed and I then realized I neglected something major. I totally overlooked the bathroom. I needed to make some major upgrades to the employee washroom. I also wanted to add a bathroom for the customers. Installing a plumbing system was well beyond my knowledge. I had to hire a licensed plumber to take on the project. The plumber was totally disgusted that I had not called him sooner, because it would have been easier to set up all the piping, septic and water when I was tearing out the walls. Now he is planning to rip up my brand new flooring. Also the plumber wants to locate the new bathroom right where I was going to have my coolers. Apparently it is a superior location for the toilet, piping and septic tank to go in. I can’t have a bathroom for customers located behind the counter. The plumber will need to make some adjustments.
It is really fascinating to me to hear how much people don’t really know about their own houses and regular maintenance. Here, they live in these really fancy homes, with every appliance known to man at their fingertips. But, half the time, they don’t even know the proper maintenance or care for those appliances. If something breaks, they often will just replace it with a brand new one, rather than spend any time to find a repairman. It is such a wasted amount of money, but more so a waste of resources when they just toss out the old HVAC unit that can’t even be recycled. Recently, the heating and cooling industry has seen an increase in deaths among the elderly due to carbon monoxide. So many people don’t realize how dangerous these older gas heaters can be. They really do require more regular maintenance than your typical HVAC unit. These older gas heaters are very hard to detect problems or leaks until it is too late. The elderly do not have the awareness that we younger folks have when it comes to understanding our bodies and illness. They already have so many things that ail them, so a sick stomach, an added headache or even feeling lightheaded and dizzy is nothing surprising to them. The HVAC companies have decided to manufacture an entire educational campaign around carbon monoxide and gas heaters in hopes of bringing more awareness to save lives. But, wouldn’t it be nice if we could also figure out a way to refurbish these HVAC units the wealthy are disposing of and regift them to the elderly?