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Archive for September, 2018: Monkey Mama*s Monkey Money Blog
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Archive for September, 2018

Fast Charger Installed

October 1st, 2018 at 12:13 am

I think the fast charger arrived Tuesday night. We were able to get it installed today.





One nice thing is that it's not hard wired at all. We had to have the 240 volt outlet installed, to plug it into. But the charger itself, we can just plug it in. We can easily just unplug and take the charger with us if we move.

Total cost of charger:

$420 Charger (includes sales tax; 20% off at Costco)
+$325 Electrician/Installation
------
$745 TOTAL

Original estimate was $1,000, so I am more than happy with this. Chargers easily go for $500-$600. We also saved $50-ish because there was already some work done in our garage (by builder) for electric cars. It wasn't actually wired at all, but the hole was already cut in the wall.

I am roughly estimating fuel savings of $1,500 per year. So my hope would be to recoup the cost of the charger in just 6 months, or approximately $750 saved in 6 months.

One thing I'd look to do is buy a nice bracket/hook of some sort (& mount on wall) so the cord isn't draped over boxes on the ground. I was just thinking I didn't like that; when googling saw some pictures of some nice hooks. I will check with MH before I order anything, but might bring our total cost up $10 or $15. We can install a bracket or a hook.

The car was mostly charged already, so will see how long it takes to charge once I bring it home tomorrow. I will probably just plug it in when I get home and see how long it actually takes. After that, I need to get in the habit of setting the delay so that it charges after midnight (much cheaper electricity rates). There's just a button to push on the charger.

I can also set that up (delayed charging) in the car, but then I need to remember to set it back to "immediate charging" if we ever use a public charger. So it seems to make more sense just to get into the habit of setting the delayed charging on the home charger.

I don't see that we would ever use the slow charger again. The only exception was maybe if we could charge at our parents' homes, but they both told us pretty much, "Hell no," because of their high electricity rates. We kept hearing those charging cords get stolen out of cars and are $200-ish to replace, so we will store the slow charger inside our house where it can stay dry and clean.

It's unbelievable that is it October tomorrow! It's been like 100F degrees here. We haven't even turned off the A/C. Ugh.

Anyway, my plan for October is to start tracking (car) fuel costs in earnest.

P.S. We also did a little decluttering today. Our neighbor had told us recently that our garage was "immaculate". Ha! That is a bit of an exaggeration. He just means we can fit our cars in our garage and don't have lots of crap. But anyway, we threw away some trash today and found some stuff to freecycle. A lot of it I am just going to throw in the donation pile. If anyone wants it, great. If not, they can toss it. I've got an old skateboard, an old elmo sprinkler and a couple of water guns. & a scooter. It's all very old and junky.

Free Car Charging

September 28th, 2018 at 03:58 am

It was crazy stupid how easy the "free car charge" was in the end. But admittedly, MH downloaded the app and set up the account. I told him just to put his login on my phone, since I was just going to be trying it out (later this week). For the long run, I should probably get my own account. Though maybe the one account is fine with the one car. If only one of us will be charging the phone at any given time.

I think the difficult part of it all is finding good information. We thought for some reason there may be 1 or 2 chargers (per the app?), but in the end there were 6 chargers that were compatible with our car. This was in the cheapie garage we just happened to be parking at last night for the film festival we went to. (We'd park there regardless). We saw some other chargers on the way out but not sure what kind they were.

So we were happy to find that there were plenty of chargers.

Literally all I had to do was wave my phone in front of the charger. That's it. Didn't have to log into the app or do anything. I guess my phone had to be "on".

You wave your phone in front of the charger and it unlocks the charger for you:


So we plugged it in and went on our way:


These were the screen shots I took of the app (you can monitor progress from your phone).

Took this screen shot once we got settled in the theater, about 30 minutes later:


Took this screenshot at the end:


I suppose we are still paying (old) summer rates, so we are paying 13 cents per kWh, at home. 14.50 kWh x $0.13 = $1.89. So the free charge saved us $1.89.

Today was the first day I didn't stop anywhere on the way to/from work. (Not entirely true because I felt so terrible this morning, with the late night and maybe feeling a bit under the weather, I stopped for a soda. & I had no idea where to stop, so I may have driven 0.50-1.0 miles out of the way). But other than that, it was a pretty typical commute day for me. I dropped off MM(15) at school at 7am and then drove 22 miles to work. I suppose I can try again next week. I am not sure why it says 49.2 miles driven today. But this was the most true capture I've gotten of my commute, so will go with this for now.

These were the car stats once I returned home:


My drive to work today was totally free! The fuel part of it, anyway. I'd say we also had enough free charge to drive home last night.

It would be more electricity efficient if I drove in more traffic (because the brakes generate more electricity). This is an open freeway drive (all freeway/reverse commute).

I have about 2 gallons of gas in the gas tank. I don't think I have anything planned the next few days and so we probably don't have to rely at all on gas before we get our fast charger (at home). Will cross my fingers. Will probably just stick with the 2 gallons until we plan to drive out of town. We really plan to never really use gas around town once we have the benefit of the fast charger. Will charge about 5 times as fast. So we will have more time to re-fuel the electricity between drives.

It will be interesting to see how October shakes out. We will have fast charger + cheap winter electricity rates ($0.08 per kWh). Not only are the winter rates much cheaper, but we also get a discount on our overnight electricity usage because we notified our utility company that we are charging an electric car.

Checking In

September 27th, 2018 at 12:53 pm

New job is going *great* so far.

Life is still a whirlwind. I am really hoping things settle down next week.

MH had to go in 2 days for jury duty (UGH) but was excused. Was going to be a long-ish trial and the judge's schedule was crazy (off Fridays and leaving early half the week?) Which would have probably made everything more doable, BUT between this judge's schedule and DL's schedule (gets off school a different time every day) it would have driven me batty! I am glad I don't have to figure all that out. Phew!

Fast car charger finally showed up, so we will try to get it installed this weekend.

Tuesday I went by the old office. Ran into *awesome admin* who volunteered her time *all day*! (LONG STORY)

I need a new nickname for the three of us (awesome admin, twin, and I). The old work gang. I met them for dinner that night and we hung out for almost 4 hours. I am guessing we should try to make this a monthly thing until things settle down. We had discussed making sure to get together quarterly for girls' nights out.

Awesome Admin's new job is BAD! In the end, she quit yesterday. Another "layoff" for all intents and purposes. Her employer is clearly an idiot. (You would be hard pressed to find a better employee).

I am really trying to maintain *amazing* friendships from old job, but it is a lot. I just went with it the past three weeks, but not sure how it will all sort out in the end. I can't do all this "crazy busy" indefinitely.

Last night MH and I went to a movie festival. Had a blast. Fell asleep towards the end and not sure MH was thrilled I didn't want to stay until the bitter end. But WAY past my bed time and we have literally been leaving our kids every night to go out. Old work gang thought I Was being hard on myself, but to go from "parents present most of the time" to "out late every night"... It's been a lot.

Anyway, yesterday was crazy (like every day) and I decided to text "awesome admin" about her day (and if she still had a job) when I had a few minutes before movies started. She was actually freaking out a bit, so I told her I'd call her during intermission. Could barely hear her, but was probably fine because she just wanted to vent. I am going to call her today. She may want to meet up.

Oh, and the government job I applied for called me yesterday. I will call back to see what's up. Hoping I can just stay in eligibility pool for the future. For now, definitely hoping I already found my next long-term job.

We were downtown last night for the film festival. We found a garage with free electric charging. They actually had about 6 chargers? Saved us $2 in electricity. My commute today will be free. (It was the cheap garage we'd park at regardless). I will blog more about this later. I know saving $1 or $2 might not sound like much, but I got enough charge to drive my 44 mile roundtrip commute today (and to get home last night, and then some). I am saving about $7.50 per day (fuel for commute), having switched from a minivan to an electric car.

I want to post more about job and car logistics. Maybe this weekend I will have some time.

Back to Work

September 24th, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Well, the last two weeks were a complete whirlwind.

I think I’ve got everything reset (paperwork/house/emails) to where it’s not crazy overwhelming. But could definitely use some more time to organize and to do a better reset. I really only put a few hours into that. Bare minimum. But I tend to be organized and on top of things. So though it felt very overwhelming to get behind, it wasn’t as bad as I envisioned.

Best I can tell, the only thing that slipped through the cracks all year was I forgot to pay auto insurance due 9/1. I usually pay when I get the bill, but sometimes delay for a credit card reward or something like that. I must have delayed and forgotten. Or just forgot? & I did also have a reminder in Quicken, but I was too busy and didn’t pay any attention to that. There was no consequence. I got a reminder after it was due and paid it without any late fees. They had a 2 or 3 week grace period.

I was confusing weeks. Thankfully, jury duty and kids appointments are *this* week. I was thinking *everything* was last week; that would have been way too crazy.

I am not really superstitious, but I can see why people believe in curses and jinks. I swear my life has been entirely sunshine and roses since my last day of work. To the point I didn’t even end up going by this past week. I did get my final paycheck mailed to me (two weeks late). I had planned an errand near the office Friday and thought I would also pick up my paycheck and see if “workaholic” needed help with anything (he does). But in the end my errand was far enough away I just couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t want to even go near that place. Was for the best. “Twin” later texted me that she was at the old office helping “workaholic” with stuff I usually did. I was so happy and relieved to hear that. Everyone always relies on me for everything, and it was nice to be off the hook.

"Twin" also told me some big wigs showed up this past week to discuss hiring people, etc. I am skeptical because I don’t see a single job posting. So I was briefly buoyed by the news, but not for too long before I decided it was total BS. I hope at the least they transfer “workaholic” to another office or something. I really and truly worry about him. More than anyone. My old employer’s life is total and complete hell at the moment, but they seem to be handling it better. They have a backup plan. It’s “workaholic” that is totally screwed by this situation. & don’t get me wrong, maybe he could downsize his home or decrease his lifestyle somewhat. This is clearly a hell of his own making.

My life was sunshine and roses, until Friday at 5pm. That is when MH learned he is being called to jury duty Monday. At my first day of new job. Of course! DL gets out of school at like 11am. I had an appointment in the afternoon but the library is closed (where MM would wait for me if I needed some time). So that’s my total Monday from hell. New employer seems super flexible and I did warn them about the jury duty and is some of why they agreed to let me start part-time this week. Phew! The rest of the week, I will be running around like crazy, but should not affect my part-time work schedule. If MH does get tied up with jury duty. Though he *wants* jury duty, generally, his employer is actually totally freaking out because a long-term employee just quit (last day Friday). So I do think MH will try to get out of it. Between the two of us *freaking out*. I’d be a little less panicky if we didn’t have to find out Friday night. More time to plan and prep for these things, I can better deal with. (In the end, DL is going to a friend's house after school so that I can work more than 2 hours on my first day. I do have to go in later than planned).

Our car charger (ordered from Costco) seems to be lost in space, so that’s on hold.

The car electric range adapts to your driving habits. It started charging faster and going up to a 57 mile range. (It’s rated 53 miles, and I was concerned it only went up to “50” on first charge. So imagine my surprise when it said “57” when I got into the car Saturday). I am hearing that 75 range is not uncommon. I am guessing that 57 is probably about as good as it gets for us, because we generally don’t drive in traffic.

I think we were able to keep our driving 100% electric since my drive to San Francisco mid-week. Today I will track the actual costs of my commute and start getting a feel for that. In addition, we will be getting free charges twice this week.

P.S. See last post for an Indian recipe.

Indian Recipe

September 24th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

When MH was at the Indian grocery store the other day, the clerk gave him this recipe. MM(15) wanted to make it for lunch. I only had a bite, but *wow*, I don't know if we have ever made such an authentic Indian recipe before. (Beware: It's spicey!)

Egg Bhurgi Recipe

3 Eggs
2 Tbs Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
1 Serrano Pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Garlic
1 tsp Garam Masala
3/4 tsp Cayenne Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro, divided

Beat eggs in a bowl.

Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add onions & serrano peppers and fry until golden.

Add ginger and garlic. Fry till you get a nice aroma.

Pour in the eggs and scramble lightly. Stir constantly to prevent burning.

Add garam masala, chili powder and half of cilantro. Stir well, salt as needed.

Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Serve with rice or bread (or tortillas?)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other randomness, my 13yo randomly asked me for help making eggs "sunny side up", on Saturday? He made them, but was asking me if I thought they were done. HA! I had no idea. I know how to scramble eggs? I think DL(13) was pleased with his cooking skills. As the younger child, I think usually he just lets everyone do things for him. MM would plan and prepare a 5-course meal. In contrast, DL would whine if I told him he could make his own mac and cheese. So it was nice to see him being so adventurous in the kitchen.

He's on an egg kick, so I taught him how to hard boil yesterday. So that the shell comes off very easily.

New Car Fuel Updates

September 18th, 2018 at 04:29 pm

This week is shaping up to be pretty quiet. I had a few social things I was trying to plan, but everyone is being super flakey. Working folk!

Today my plan is to nap in the morning and then will start hitting chores. I think just one or two days of that (chores) and I will start to feel a lot better. If I can feel like I am starting to move more forward than backwards...

Still figuring out new car and probably will make October 1 more of a starting point for really tracking costs.

Our electric company is in the process of shifting to different rates for peak times. We get to jump ahead to this new schedule with the electric car purchase (and will also get a discount for overnight electricity use). So of course I signed up the day we got the car.

In the end, we looked more carefully at the schedule. Winter prices are mostly going down. We will have to change our habits a little bit though and avoid 5pm - 8pm during the week. Off the top of my head, that maybe went up a cent or two (per Kwh) during winter.

Summer? Ugh. Electric rates more than doubled for 5pm-8pm. MH was just asking me if we were paying that now. Kind of told him, don't know, don't care. Have to power the car. It's just one more week until we can switch that to quick overnight charging? But he's kind of, "It's more than just the car. Laundry? Dishes?" Fair enough. So while he was asking me and I was looking something or other up on electric bill, I just decided to call. In the end, just more good luck on our part. We get to keep old/cheap summer rates through the end of this month. We switch to winter rates AND cheaper overnight rates starting when our bill closes, around October 1st.

Anyway, I put the new electricity schedule up on the fridge. Will have to be more mindful of peak times. I think that is easy enough for us to work around.

In the meantime, everything is just kind of chaos. We already drove new car 520 miles. Since Thursday 8pm. What in the heck!? We did drive 280-ish miles to/from the Bay Area. It was a 60 mile drive from the dealership. Everything else was more than usual. We probably both have mostly been driving new car. I did drive to my new work city and took MM to the animal shelter (both around 21 miles each way).

I'd say this week should be way more calm, but MH has stuff going on every night. Will see how that ends up.

Today I used 3 miles electric range to take MM to school. (It's 5 miles?) MH will be driving one round trip 6 miles, unless he gets off work early (probably) and has to go back to get kids later. He told me his free movie tonight is the movie theater in our neighborhood, so that may be another 6-ish miles. All electric for today.

Tomorrow we might be able to squeeze out all electric. We are going to the movies a little further away, but might be able to start with a full battery if we don't drain it more today.

Thursday is chaos. MH has a bit of a drive for paid medical study. I *just* got an e-mail from SF bff and I guess I never got back to her. Oops! Our plans are Thursday. She was waiting for me to reply. I will probably go visit her and then spend some time with my parents. Lots of driving. (Driving to the Bay Area twice in one week is not unusual at all for us, and where we hope to see some real fuel savings).

After Thursday, I think we might be able to keep it all electric? Through the weekend?

We have 60-ish miles of gas left in the car. I will try to remember to take note of mileage when we fill up. Dealership gave us a full tank of gas, to start.

How did weekend driving go?

Didn't get so much fuel efficiency on the long drive. MH was being such a backseat driver. Gah. It was the first time we had long enough to fully charge between trips. So we started with a full 53 mile electric range. I believe the car said 50 miles, and I wondered if we had been dumb to not see the full charge before we bought it. I kept it in electric mode during all the traffic we hit, and whenever we were on city streets. Not a lot of traffic or lights, but the range just kept going up more and more. I later read that 75 miles is pretty common/easy. I think in the end we ended up getting 57 miles, adding 7 miles for passing through a few bottlenecks on the freeway. (The braking generates more electricity).

I guess the car does easily get 50mpg (on gas) on the open freeway, but we had never particularly seen this advertised. They advertise the combined freeway/city rating of 43mpg. We did go over some hills. That was when MH was driving me nuts with his backseat driving.

I had it on gas mode on the hills (which was maybe a mistake) but it was *amazing*. It gets a little electric boost and that was actually pretty awesome. I usually drive pretty slow on the big hills, not wanting to gun the engine too much.

I think that trip ended up being closer to 42mpg on the fuel side. I think we can survive with that.



This display shows our trip stats. I finally looked up what MPGe was. Wasn't entirely sure. In the end, the way it works is that 33.7 Kwh is considered to be equivalent to one gallon of gas. So it figures the electric mpg and the fuel mpg, and combines it together (combined MPGe is on the left). This is by far *not* the most fuel efficient the car has been, but that's just how it worked out on our big trip. We did try to conserve all the electric charge for the traffic and city driving.

For reference, I believe our winter rates will be around $3 for 33.7 Kwh, or the equivalent of purchasing a gallon of gas. So the MPGe figures can be converted to fuel prices for a rough idea of what we are paying/saving. I am really going to track energy savings closely starting October 1 when it will be easier and more logical to track all of this.

Edited to add: I looked at winter (overnight) rate and it was cheaper than I remembered. $0.0819 per Kwh. That means it (will) cost us $1.12 to drive 53.2 miles, starting October 1 (winter rates). & again, we can improve on that electric mile range if we drive very efficiently and driving conditions are favorable to the electric engine. It will be interesting to see how my commute shakes out (real world MPGe). I am starting to think that we can quickly recoup the cost of installing a charger in our garage. If my "twice as long commute" only costs $1 per day. Maybe just 6 months to recoup the charger install in our garage?

Here is the beauty:

The Worm Has Turned (& Sold Van)

September 18th, 2018 at 04:47 am

I don't know that I did much Monday, but I did get the van sold. Yay! (Thanks to a tip from SA! But I will get to that at the end of my post).

The weekend went really well. I feel like my luck did a complete 180 over the weekend (if not a little sooner).

The Beach Boys concert was a blast. My dad wanted to go (and probably no one else really wanted to) so MH sat it out. I told my dad if he drove, the ticket was his. Really neat venue called the Mountain Winery. Thankfully, the kids enjoyed it. In fact, they were upset we left early. As is, we got home at 1:00 am. I decided it was prudent to beat the crowd on the way out.





My sorta-niece is getting married! I am excited about that. (More happy news!)

I won a $25 Ting credit today. Woohoo!

On Sunday we met up with MH's parents for lunch and then my parents for dinner. In the end, we just winged it at my parent's house. They had some hamburger and we said we would go to the corner store to get hamburger buns. No luck, so we went to Safeway aka the grocery store from hell. As we waited in some crazy insane line to checkout, I told MH, "I would say that I don't miss the Bay Area at all..." It would be easy to presume that this was the result of crazy dense population. But, the truth is our Safeway is the same way. I have no idea why anyone shops there. We stopped shopping there several years ago because it got to be too expensive. We sometimes, once in a blue moon, went there to pick up something or other, but stopped doing that once the lines got totally insane.

Anyway, we chose a line with people who mostly just had a few items. Some employee from the Floral department pulled us out of line and checked us out. I have *no idea* why. We basically ended up cutting ahead of like 100 people (or so it feels like!) It was at this point I feel like I was experiencing some cosmic shift with the universe.

Monday I cleaned out the van. I was out in the front of the house vacuuming it and taking stuff out of it, when MH came out and ended up talking to the neighbors for like 1/2 hour or more. So MH tells me, "Um, neighbor said every home in this development is wired for electric cars." What in the heck!? We bought new construction in 2001. Though I remember a lot of the sales pitch/sales material, I am pretty sure I never heard this. Ever. In fact, we already had an electrician come out and give us a quote. But our big old giant recycle bin was blocking the receptacle and we had no freaking clue!

I have no idea what that means. We tracked it down, but not sure how forward thinking home builder was in 2001. It does look like the wiring is there, but that's about it. (For a minute, we thought maybe there'd already be an outlet! No such luck).

We have another electrician coming out eventually, so maybe we can get a more accurate quote from this one. You know, with the whole, "This wiring was already done and there is a receptacle of some sort already there" thing. It's right by where we were going to put the charger (because it's right by the breaker box and made the most logical sense; probably why the home builder put it there).

Vehicle Sale:

We always keep our vehicles until they are completely run into the ground and/or they are just worthless because they are old and have so many miles. The only exception is when I sold my sports car when I had kids. It was an older model, but immaculate and very low miles. I remember calling around to some of the used car dealer and being offered pennies for it. NO WAY! We sold that car private party for $3,000. The rest of our cars, we donated when they stopped running altogether, or we just traded-in because $500 from dealer was close enough to what we'd get with the hassle of private party selling. KBB is usually around $500 when we sell.

The van? Ugh. We had originally planned to private sale for around $2,000. I mean, depends when we got around to selling it, but private party sale seemed to be the best route in this case, if we did sell it now. Which is what we did (sell it now), but it needs a $800 repair and probably $2,000-ish of body work. We may be able to easily private sale as like a mechanic's special, because overall it is still a nice vehicle. But I just have no idea what we can get for it, and I'd have to get an inspection first, etc. There is also a lot of hassle involved with that and I have a million other things to do. (If I knew I could get $2k, worth the hassle. If I am not sure I can get more than $500? Meh).

If we had bought a local car we may have just traded it in, but didn't really want to drive it 60 miles for a car purchase that was most likely not going to happen.

Then I found the magic solution. I saw on SA the tip to get your car appraised at CarMax and then some(?) dealerships have guaranteed to match that? I decided that we could probably get about $300 scrap for the van and probably could have gotten $500 from the dealer trade-in. So I figured, it wouldn't hurt to try Carmax. If they came back at $250 or something like that, would rather just scrap it. If they came in at $500 I'd be happy with that. If they came in higher, then holy cow why have I not heard of this before?

When googling more about Carmax (wasn't sure initially if they bought such old vehicles) I saw the tip to negotiate on the appraisal value. So, we made an appointment at 7:30pm Monday.

We showed up at 7:30pm and they did a once over. Actually, they called me in the a.m. to confirm appointment and asked some questions. I was very clear about body damage because just want to be as up front as possible. They really could care less about that, which made this so ideal for selling this vehicle. So then you get there and they do a quick once over to be sure they even want to bother with you. I spent about 1-2 hours cleaning the car today because they said in confirmation e-mail and on their website they would pay more if it is in nicer/cleaner condition. I wasn't going to waste any money getting it detailed, and I wasn't going to spend all day on it. But I did clean it up a wee bit.

So anyway, they do the once over. They are interested in the car, so then they take it for a test drive and do a 1/2 hour inspection.

After that they offered us $1,000. NO WAY! I am so grateful for the tip because I highly doubt any used car lot was going to offer us much of anything if we weren't going to buy a car from them. Thinking to my last experience.

This probably means we could have done better selling private party, but I am happy that it's done and I have crossed the biggest chore off of my list.

We tried to negotiate a little more and honestly they seemed open to it. But they pulled up KBB and were kind of like, "Yeah, we are offering double trade-in value. That's all we can really do." Fair enough. Just sharing for one of those, "It never hurts to ask" reminders.

One hour after we got there, we walked out with $1,000 check. So happy to cross that chore off my list!

I am going to apply these funds to the electric car charger. MH ordered one for $420 from Costco (20% off). We should get it in about a week. We have one electrician quote for $350. & I am now thinking we might be able to get that cost down significantly? Anything left over I will put back into savings.

Car Updates

September 16th, 2018 at 01:55 pm

I've personally never had a pristine vehicle. When I bought the minivan (1-year-new/excellent condition) it was hit the day after I bought it (hit and run, while parked). The damage was cosmetic only and so we chose to never repair it. My first car had been hit more times than I remember. Anyway, over time, I just embraced it. It's hard to feel much motivation towards something really pretty and nice (and expensive), when it's out in the world getting beat up anyway. Kind of funny now that I think about it. The van came into my life and went out with a bang. In contrast, MH's cars are never in accidents and have never had so much as a scratch.

To say I am a little nervous, is an under-statement. This vehicle replaces "my" car, even if it's all been very 50/50 since we have had kids.

In the end, when I asked for some pre-buying insurance quotes, insurance agent sent over some quotes with really low deductibles. Not sure why, because we have the largest deductible possible on everything. But in the end, it was so cheap that I decided to just go with it. I don't want to be worrying about spending another $1,000+ on a cosmetic repair if someone slams into my new car tomorrow. Was something like $150/$250 deductibles. I will just go with that for a while and then we can re-evaluate in 6-12 months.

I actually drove our older car to "new employer city" Friday to drop off my employment paperwork. Met "twin" briefly but she was slammed with her job. I had made more plans to have a very long/late lunch with her, and then kill some time before an afternoon meeting. Instead, I drove home in between. Car was making such bad noises that I took the Volt for trip #2. (Didn't really want to drive it in Friday traffic, but it ended up being okay). It's very counter-intuitive because the more city driving you do and the more you brake the more fuel efficiency you get (both gas and electric). I had enough electric charge to get there, but drove gas on the way home. I was dumbfounded that we still seem to be getting 50mpg. We really thought we would buy this car for shorter trips and then use the other one for longer trips. I am now thinking this is the car for any trip.

We have a long trip today! So, will see how that goes. It will be a good test, because we do drive out of town so much to see our family.

Oh, and that 50mpg was with, "No idea what we are doing" driving. After Friday? I had to drive MM(15) to the animal shelter yesterday (volunteer shift). Had enough electricity just to get there. I realized I should hold some electric charge for the few traffic lights between the freeway in our house (return trip). So I did do that. I guess that's the strategy at this point. I am sure we still have much to learn.

We did take out "electric car buff" friend for dinner last night, to pick his brain a bit. We knew he'd want to see it too. One of the most useful tips he told us was to only buy a gallon or two of gas at a time, unless you know you are going out of town. Otherwise the gas can get stale.

Oh, and we can save $250-ish buying a fast charger at Costco. We may do that today (with one of our parent's memberships). We are probably going to be moving quick on that (versus my initial presumption that there would be no rush). The reason is we will get much lower electric rates if we can limit charging between midnight and 6am. Also, the slow charge is supposed to be 12 hours but we are finding it is more like 20 hours (to full charge). It may be we can increase it a bit, but my dad (who has a lot of electrical knowledge) was away and unreachable. We have such a new home (modern wiring) I didn't think it would really matter, but he told me yesterday he would not increase the charging speed without consulting an electrician. It's a question we will ask tomorrow, we have one coming out for a quote. It may just be my dad is being cautious, since everyone is kind of, "It should only take 12 hours". There is a setting we didn't change in the car, for faster charging with a regular outlet, because it had a scary warning.

As to electric car buff, I think he is a lot of the reason we ended up going the "electric car" route. My visceral reaction was more definitely, "No way." But the more he talked about it, the more he swayed us. He initially had a lease for an all electric car that cost pennies. At that time it was his only car, but he had free parking at his job downtown, in turn. Which entirely paid for the lease (which was heavily subsidized with tax credits and so on). Then he also didn't have fuel expenses. He was just kind of, "You have two cars? Do you REALLY need two cars that can drive 300 miles?" Honestly and truly? No. So I think at that point in time there was some realization that an electric car would be very practical for MH's mostly 6-mile round trips, all city driving. If he could have convinced us sooner, honestly we probably could have leased for $100/month (where we live). It took me too long (years) to decide that was kind of "almost too good to be true." But by then, those deals were long gone. Other than that, I'd say we are very range picky, because we do spend so much time driving to see family/friends around 120 miles away. But I do also realize that we never in a million years would need two cars to do that. (& in the rare instance it does happen, it's not like there aren't any other options).

I think one thing I also like is this whole idea of skipping the chore of getting gas. I really try to limit how much time I spend on errands and the such. & that was also another thing that really appealed about going electric (if you can just charge mostly at home; maybe also wherever you happen to be).

Anyway, this is one reason I want to share so much of the process as we dive in. If anyone can get anything at all out of me sharing information they maybe never considered.

In other randomness, MH fount out yesterday he can play movies in the car, like on the main display. He was totally freaking out with excitement. It's actually kind of funny because I told him I just left the car on the entire time I waited for MM at the animal shelter yesterday (2 hours) and MH was completely horrified. Not sure the thought would have occurred to me otherwise, but was thought to TABS and his car-living experience. I will say that will be *so nice* during our hot summers when I can just sit in the car with the A/C. It just hit me that it's not the same as idling a regular car for two hours. Absolutely nothing like that! Best I can tell, I lost one mile of driving charge. Anyway, in the end, I think MH Will follow my lead. You can't watch the movies while the car is out of park, but point is that we sit around a lot waiting for kids. So yeah, I think MH changed his tune already on that front.

We haven't done very well finding free or very low cost places to charge the car. It will take some research. But MH found a free charger right by the animal shelter. WOW! Before I took new job, that was our "big" drive. Is about 21 miles each way, and feels crazy far away. We believe we can get free electricity one way, every trip, if I can just sit and charge at this charger for 2 hours. The vast majority of the time, I just sit in the car and wait for anyway. Is just hard to do that in the middle of summer. Then I end up running errands (for the A/C!) and usually spending more money. So I am guessing this is money saved in multiple ways. We are going to check it out next time.

I don't remember how or why this even came up, but I am probably going to get the windows tinted next week. Maybe saw some car post online or something. It sounds like it will be $150-ish to do the back windows (which is all we can do legally) at a place near my old job with all 5-star reviews. I may just go over there Friday morning and then pick up my paycheck on the way home. (It's payday and is when I expect to get my final check). This car would look so nice with tinted windows, but is also would be very practical in our very hot summers. I think MH thinks I have lost my mind, but he is sensitive to the sun and I think that he will thank me when all is said and done. I just think it would be a really nice and affordable finishing touch.

Oh, and I may have found a $500 rebate for car purchase. I added that to my list of things to do when we get the plates and registration.

I will definitely be tracking and blogging about actual fuel/electricity costs. The bar to beat is set pretty low at this point because we replaced a gas guzzling minivan. The goal is to lower our fuel costs (gas & electricity) with the doubling of my work commute.

Gift Card Spending

September 16th, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Saturday was the first quiet day I have had in what feels like "forever". I am did some house chores, but very minimal. Made a salmon dinner. Did Laundry. Cleaned one toilet bowl and vacuumed the bathroom floor upstairs (hair everywhere). Our house looks like a pig sty and I mostly don't know where anything is (or so it feels like), but I am hoping I have time next week to sort things out.

I think I am finally over this virus. Hence, the energy for chores.

Next week: Car #2 to mechanic, sell van, consult lawyer (or make appointment to). Trying to make plans with SF friend and one client/friend. MH has jury duty and so I may end up covering kids. Kids have all sorts of appointments, in addition school. I am sure I am forgetting things. MM(15) is going back for next phase of medical study. He will be paid $200-ish, but we both have lots of paperwork to fill out.

I was just thinking today, we have some prep to do for Finland trip. Need to do notarized permission to leave country without us (to be on the safe side). Guess I will pencil that in for next week too. *sigh*

I do not foresee much relaxing during this short time off, but I am guessing I should just be grateful that I should have time to deal with all of the above. We always try so hard to lead more calm and peaceful lives, I know that is a lot of why I feel so overwhelmed this year. I am failing spectacularly this year, but am hopeful that things will calm down in the next couple of weeks.

I really thought I had been paranoid or imagining it, but I drove car #2 about 45 miles on Friday and the engine was making some bad sounds. This means that literally Monday both our cars broke, on my first day of unemployment. Crazy Murphy! With two cars, don't remember that ever happening before? But admittedly, both are drive-able; it could be much worse.

Knock on wood, but it's been a few days since I have gotten horrible horrible news. So that is really nice.

I was so happy to see Banker Gurl's news! It's not just my real life world... It's just been very heavy this year on SA, hasn't it? It's nice to hear such amazing happy news!

We are getting through some of our (credit card reward) gift cards. MH decided to pick up a ladder today. I had picked up $200 in Home Depot gift cards to that end, but he just hadn't gotten around to it. We really needed a taller ladder. He wanted to pick up while we still had the van. In the end, it was folded up so much I'd say it didn't matter. But, I am happy to have another chore crossed off the honey do list.

I also asked MH at some point how much a copier/scanner would cost. I was just curious re: side work I might pick up. Fast forward to now, and I know they are cheap enough that I think it's good to have one for personal use. It's one thing to know your *forever employer* doesn't care that you use all their stuff for personal use. It's another thing to start new somewhere else. We actually went to Home Depot a few days ago but the ladders weren't stocked on the shelves and we didn't have time to track down help. But we had a little while before we had to pick up a kid. So we walked over to Staples just to see what they had. A lot of stuff in the $50 - $100 range. We have $100 gift cards, so even better. Was earmarking those for school supplies in case I was unemployed this summer.

That, we have to research and pick up still. I think I will just set that aside for my first part-time week at work. I have picked up some very small side jobs, and we will get some use out of it. I will be replacing a small copier I bought from Costco in 1995. (I actually used it yesterday to make copies for new employer). The crazy thing still works! But I need a scanner and something that can feed multiple pages.

Other randomness:

"Twin" tried to blow me off because she was slammed at work. Someone else had already told her my news. I hadn't thought much beyond, "The honeymoon is over," re: her new job. But in the end, she agreed to meet with me briefly Friday. She was telling me that they were so desperate for help but they just can't find anyone to hire. This market is just so crazy! (Mental note: Not budging on salary if I do ever end up going to this firm).

Of course, it's not quite that simple. We went out to dinner with a friend Friday night and he started ranting and raving about how employers are all struggling to find talent but that they refuse to increase salaries. So there is some crazy supply and demand problem right now. I know, right?! I have been completely dumbfounded with the entire, "We are so desperate for help, can you start yesterday? You have to take a 40% pay cut though." Why aren't more employers increasing salaries to fill the gap? Since I decided to quit my job I have been willing to accept a 25% pay cut. Because that's still a heck of a lot better than unemployment (and is the point we can at least pay all of our bills). It's only at the "25% pay cut" point that employers will talk to me. I've seen too many jobs posted with ridiculously low salaries. I really thought this was the reality of our lower-cost move. But, friend was telling us that is just true across the entire U.S. right now. (I do think it is exaggerated by our lower-cost move because wages were so high and unemployment was so low in our old city, but it had never occurred to me that this was more of a widespread economic reality).

In the end, I have (had) a lot of good clients who pay very well and don't have staffing problems. I knew if I had the time and patience that I would find a good employer. Fingers crossed, but I think I pulled it off. -25% would have been really a temp stepping stone to learn new skills and maybe widen my network. Not the best long-term solution for my household. In the end, I accepted this offer so readily because it was an offer I think will be okay for the long run. Will share more re: numbers later. My total compensation is decreasing 15% from "forever employer". But I am also dropping all the OT so not taking much of a hit on a per hour basis. I think I calculated that I am getting paid 1% less per hour, compare to "fake employer" (who was not paying me for my OT). & if that hadn't gone entirely to hell, I was feeling like that was about as good as it was going to get. So I am really pleased I found such a well paying job, especially since I am taking such a big step down as to responsibilities and hours.

Edited to add: I deleted some delirious/overly tired post from a few days ago. I suppose I should share again (for anyone who missed it or is lost) that next week is my last week off. New employer was too desperate for me to start. We compromised and my first week there (the following week) will be part-time.

I will do a separate car post.