Saturday, September 22, 2018

Friday Update

Friday, I woke up when cousin P called at 9:00 a.m.with news that one of the aunts was in hospital undergoing some tests.   After she rang off, I slept for another hour or so, and then, got up.  I spent a quiet morning and did my blog post about cooking cauliflower.  For brunch, I had some of the leftover cassava with beef curry.

Neighbor T called in the afternoon.  She was upset because she had been talked into agreeing to a free estimate on her roof, by a telemarketer!   These people are very good at catching people off guard!  I remember that another of my neighbors, who has since passed away (she was my gardener friend M's aunt), getting caught to one such roofing offer and paying something like $20,000 to repair a roof that didn't need repairs!  Anyway, T said she had second thoughts about it and tried to call back to cancel the appointment, only to be told that the number they had given her was a disconnected number!  So, she called me all upset and worried about it.  I tried calling the number, myself (just in case she had made a mistake when dialing), but I got the same message about the number being disconnected.  A little further research online led to a different phone number that a reviewer (all the reviews were bad!) had posted, although I didn't try to call that number, myself.  I know that I get calls from this same company, quite frequently; the next time they call, I will try to make a note of the number they are calling from!

I asked T if she gave out any credit card information, and she said no, which is a good thing!  We had a lot of calls, back and forth (some today, as well), about this situation.  She has decided that she will not answer the door when the people come over on Wednesday.  She sounded so worried that I offered to come and stay with her on Wednesday morning, so she won't be alone when they come.  In the meantime, I called our local police station and described the situation and asked them what we should do and was told that the best thing would be to tell these people that she has changed her mind.  So, as of this afternoon, that is what we are going to do!  

I asked T if she told her daughter about it (that would be the first thing I would do), but she said, no.  She doesn't want to tell her daughter anything about it, because she says her daughter has a terrible temper and will yell at her!  I can't imagine being afraid to tell my daughter about anything I've done!  I know she will be concerned and worried, and might even despair, but she will not get angry and yell at me!  In fact, this morning, I told her she's not allowed to yell at me!  LOL!  She asked me when has she ever yelled at me!   She never did, even as a teenager.  I used to worry about what to expect during those teenage years and braced myself for rebellion and to be told she hated me, etc., but we never went through any of it!  She is truly a blessing.

While I was typing this, T called and apologized for getting me involved and said maybe I shouldn't come over, that she will keep her doors closed, but will tell the people she has changed her mind.  I told her that I didn't mind coming over, but, if she didn't want me to, then, I won't.  But, she said she did want me to come over, just that she didn't want to impose on me.  I assured her that it was OK, I don't mind it at all, we will pretend I came over for a coffee morning!  I think my presence will help T; these situations are always more stressful when one is on her own.

Later, on Friday afternoon, M came over and I had him take down the window a/c unit in my room, as I don't think I will need to use it any more (I haven't used it all month and rarely used it, even in August) and clean the family room fan, for me, before doing the garden. 

I received two bills in the mail, on Friday.  My natural gas bill, which was $20.26, which is what it tends to be in the summer months, when I don't use the heater, and my utility bill (water, power, trash removal and sewer service, combined) which was $375.57!  The utility bill is actually for two months (7/18 - 9/17), because that is their billing cycle.  But, still, Yikes!  All those loads of laundry I did during the flea infestation and the watering I did to keep the garden alive during the hottest months of the year, caught up with me!  I went well over my Tier 1 allotment of 16 HCF (hundred cubic feet); billed at the rate of $6.31/HCF and used 11 HCF of the allotted 14 HCF of Tier 2 water, which is billed at the rate of $8.31/HCF.  The water portion of my bill came to $192.46.  Friend M, who was here when I opened the bill, told me he waters his garden every day and I don't want to know what his bill is!  LOL.  One of my cousins told me her bill came to $1,200 for the same billing period, but that's because she has central air and she had to use her a/c all summer!  The electric portion of my bill was $68.31.  I had used 355 kWh (kiloWatthours), which was well within my Tier 1 electric allotment of 1,000 kWh.  The trash removal charges were $72.84 (set rate according to type of residence, not amount of trash generated and collected) and the sewer service charges (based on average winter water usage) were $72.84.  My utility bill averages $300 per bill (for 2 months), so I budget $150 per month for it.  This billing cycle, my bill is $75.57 over the budgeted amount!  However, my prior bills for this year have all been under budget ($243.05; $197.37; $205.19; $269.65), and, since I carry over any remainders from month to month, I have a cushion of almost $435 to cover the overage on this bill.  So, I am not too worried about the higher than normal bill, although I do try, in general, to keep to my Tier 1 water allotment.  My next bill should be lower.  By the way, I just continue to carry over any extra amounts in the budget, at the end of the year.  Sometimes, however, I use that to offset the higher natural gas bills in the winter.

Later, Friday evening, I called friend R to make sure she wasn't going to the temple.  She had called me, earlier in the week to say she'd like to go with me, if I was going, and then, had called me on Thursday, to say she had to work till 6:30 p.m. on Friday.  But, she was going to call me if she was able to get off earlier.  She hadn't called by 6:40 p.m., but I didn't want to leave for temple, without making sure she wasn't planning to go.  I had a cup of tea and a sandwich before I went to the temple.

The meditation session was very well attended, with about 20 people, participating.  I stayed for the duration of the discussion, afterwards, which went on till 9:00 p.m.  It was quite interesting, to me (about the pros and cons of the breathing meditation we do - sometimes, also known as "mindful breathing" - where we focus on our breathing; the other meditation we do is the metta or "loving-kindness" meditation).  The breathing meditation is one I do quite often, when I am in doctors' offices, etc. and I used to do it during chemo and radiation, too.  It gave me something else to focus on, other than the treatments I was undergoing, and, it helped me to keep calm.  It's not deep breathing to calm yourself when stressed, but rather, just being aware of ones breathing and focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else.

Afterwards, I came home, had dinner (a slice of leftover pizza, cucumber salad, and grapes), and chatted with my daughter.  

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- Being able to offer help to neighbor T
- My daughter
- The internet and all the helpful information it provides
- Knowing I can afford to pay the higher than normal utility bill
- An enjoyable evening at the meditation session

How was your Friday?  How do you budget for your utility bills?  


  1. Sorry that happened to your neighbour. I think it would be great to have someone there with her when they come just so they won't intimidate her. Hopefully they won't show up at all. I like to think that it's just that her daughter worries about her that she'd yell, but perhaps not.

    The meditation session sounds really interesting. I'm glad you got to go and enjoy it! Have a good weekend

    1. Sharon, her daughter seems like a very nice person, but I don't know her all that well. I do hope my neighbor is exaggerating. I know her daughter does a lot for her. It might be that she's overwhelmed and perhaps gets exasperated, at times.

      Thank you. Hope you, too, are having a good weekend.

  2. I'm so glad your utility bill was not as high as your cousin's! You must be doing something right there to keep yours as it is! And your daughter is such a blessing to you, and you to her! I would suggest your neighbor not answering the door when the salesman comes, but posting a note on her door explaining she changed her mind or whatever she wants to write bowing out of this roof estimate! I hear robo calls will increase in the near future even more! Andrea

    1. Well, unlike my cousin, I don't have central air and the room air conditioner isn't on all the time (I only turn it on when it is 100+ inside the house, which means it is 110+, outside). The rest of the time, even when it is 98 inside the house, I just have the fans on and complain it is hot! LOL! So not a lot of electricity is consumed.

      Oh, the note on the door is a very good idea! Thank you! I will suggest it to her and see what she thinks. These callers are a nuisance; it doesn't seem to matter that you have requested to be on a no-call list!

  3. Like Andrea suggested, post a note on the door. It's good that you are going to be there with the neighbor, that will make a feel better.

    I don't have a landline anymore. I don't know how they get my cellphone number, I sometimes receive calls from unknown numbers. I never answer those. If several calls come from the same number, I block it.

    1. Yes, I am going to suggest the note on the door to her. Even with a note on the door, they might still knock, but it will be like an advance notice to them. These telemarketers are very persistent.

  4. I have caller identification on my phone, so since living alone, I no longer answer my phone unless I know who it is. If their name does not come up, or I do not recognize the number, I let it ring. If it is someone who really knows me and needs to get a hold of me, they can leave a message. None of them ever do. Ha.

    It is bad enough that we have to be wary of door-to-door solicitors and email scammers. I am glad that you will be with her for support because they can be very persistent. It is the reason why she agreed to the inspection in the first place. She needs to be able to say "No, I have changed my mind." and have someone like you behind her. You are a great friend, Bless.

    1. Caller ID is a great feature; I don't think my neighbor has it, though. I have to rely on recognizing the numbers, which I do for the most part, and I let the unknown numbers go to the answering machine. But with various doctors' offices calling to set up appointments and such, I sometimes pick up the phone even when I don't recognize the number and more often than not, it is a telemarketer! Now, on the news, they are saying that the latest scam is to call and ask if you can hear them and one should never say, "Yes" in answer, because they record you as saying yes to one of their offers and the next thing you know is you are getting billed for something! And if you say you never agreed to whatever it is that you are being billed for, they produce the recording with you saying, "Yes"! Except, they've changed the recording so that you are saying yes to their offer and not to them asking if you can hear them! So, these days, when someone calls and asks if I can hear them, I usually ask back, who is calling!

      My neighbor is in her early 70s and not in the best of health. I think she used to depend on her husband for a lot of things but since his death, she's a bit lost. I am glad I can be of help to her.

  5. How sweet of you to be there for your neighbor. Telemarketers are relentless and prey on the elderly. It’s good that you will be present if they do show up ... your poor neighbor would likely be overwhelmed with their hard sale tactics. Bless you, Bless!

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. I am glad I am able to be there for her. Hopefully, it will be a non-event and we'll just enjoy a nice chat. :)


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