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Archive for February, 2017

The foolish cashier

February 27th, 2017 at 06:05 am

You would think that when using a cash register, mistakes are not possible, but they are, surprisingly.

I was at the grocery store the other day and I bought some Sabra hummus. A few months back some Sabra hummus I had purchased was subject to a recall, so the company mailed me 2 coupons for more hummus.

The coupon was good for up to $4.99, so after rummaging around in the refrigerated bin, I found the larger tubs of hummus that sold for $5.

At checkout, I expected to pay one penny, since there is no sales tax on groceries. The cashier insisted I pay her one penny and then she gave me $1. She was very firm this was correct, so I shrugged my shoulders and took the money. There was a line behind me, so I just left.

In other news...
I did my February expenses early and was really proud that my efforts to minimize expenses during under-employment paid off: I only spent $1,674 in February. (That includes nearly $500 in pro-rated property taxes, which I actually only pay twice a year. Minus that, my monthly expenses would only be $1,182!)

Amazingly, I wound up in the black this month with $1,467,but I'm worried about March and beyond.

I was helped out quite a bit this month with my $1234 IRS refund, plus I got another $1,040 for the final 2 unemployment checks.

I made far less in freelance income than I'd hoped for, at $645; there are gaps of 3 or 4 days between assignments, and they seem to operate at their own speed.

I netted $87 for a small art sale, sold the final mohair/roving of my mother's for $46 and made $88 in class action suits.

My monthly grocery spending was still stubbornly high at $244, even though I'm shopping every week at Aldi's, but supplementing elsewhere becus they don't have a lot of stuff.

In other news...

It was a great month for the stock market. My portfolio is up by over $15,000 and if we have another good month, it's possible I will exceed $900K in total investable assets. Unbelievable.

Importantly, with just another $734, I will exceed my "Countdown to Retirement" goal (see bottom of my profile at left) I wanted to reach in November of this year. Now all I have to do is hold onto it!

Baaa.....

February 26th, 2017 at 04:54 am

I'm sitting here sipping my morning tea. Neighbor is coming over in less than hour to discuss having his sheep graze on my property.

He would need to put up some wire fencing. I would welcome having the sheep graze to hopefully get rid of a lot of overgrowth and brambles that makes for attractive deer habitat. Just yesterday there were 4 deer munching my rhododendrons during daylight hours.

My neighbor has 7 acres, but much of it is wooded and while he has cleared some, he still has a shortage of pasture.

The sheep (about 10 in all) would be rotated to avoid overgrazing (he also has a mobile chicken house), as the property we're talking about is actually a fairly steep slope. My only concern would be possible erosion issues if all the vegetation was mowed down close that could degrade that slope and cause more water coming down the hill. The neighbor did, at his own expense, install some drainage pipes to divert water coming into my yard when he paved his driveway a few years ago. So he's been a pretty good neighbor, and I'd like to try out this arrangement and see how it goes. I'm just not familiar with how closely sheep will eat vegetation, or even what they'll eat or not eat. He said he wants to plant some ground covers for them to eat.

These are hairless sheep which don't require sheering. He said there's no money in the wool and that's why he got this variety.

I think it would be quite lovely to see sheep peacefully grazing in my backyard. Smile

In return for this favor, and for my writing up the statement of mission document to form his nonprofit foundation, which by the way he sent to the governor), I had asked him to take down a tree but it appears he's not comfortable doing that, which I understand.

He may be bringing his tree guy this morning, who does take down trees. I'm now thinking of just asking them to do some pruning of fairly large limbs of an apple tree that were brought down in a storm a couple years ago but are still hanging on the tree.

He had offered to give me lamb meat in exchange for letting them graze here, but I am really trying to be vegan and already my sister has started giving me eggs from her chickens, which I haven't been able to pass up. We have not spoken since my mother's funeral except for once or twice saying hello when I was picking my dad up. So while I do love lamb, I don't think I'd want to cook it. My dad and sister would probably love fresh lamb though. Maybe I could ask for some for him. Smile

I brought my dad up there yesterday so he could meet my neighbor and to show him the neighbor's animals in the barn, which includes cows and chickens as well as the sheep. One of his sheep is due to have a baby any day now. His sheep seemed a little skittish. One of them was stomping its foot on the ground when i reached toward it; I think it was nervous.

Dad needed birdseed so I took him to Agway and then we had Chinese for lunch. He also needs new shoes so Monday I'll take him to a shoe store....maybe DSW?

I see Great Clips is having an $8 haircut sale; maybe I can squeeze that in today.

Happy Friday!

February 24th, 2017 at 03:58 pm

Even though I'm home all week, I love the surge of happiness I feel on a Friday. Smile

Today I had a phone "pre-screening interview" with a recruiter about a perm job a half hour from home. It's a fairly large French company but there were a lot of comments on Glassdoor that they don't pay well, although the benefits are good and they pay 50% match of 401k up to 8%, which is higher than usual.

She told me the salary range was $55 to $70, which is on the low side, but since I know I would still take a job if offered, I adjusted my desired range down to $65 to $75; that way, part of my range is within their range, but it leaves some upside potential too.

The recruiter, from Texas, did an unusual thing: she emailed me her summary of me as a candidate that she was giving the hiring manager, and she told me I could make changes if I liked. I did make lots of changes and basically rewrite it becus otherwise it was a very poor summary of our conversation and she got some things wrong. She said she thinks I will get an interview and that everything about me sounds greatt except that I'm lacking in certain technological areas. They want someone who knows Adobe Photoshop (how hard can that be?) and HTML stuff. Actually, they said they preferred an MBA as well

I brought my butterfly aquarium from outside the toolshed to under my front door overhang. That way, I can keep an eye on the pupae in case they hatch early but they are somewhat protected from rain.

I also did one of my favorite chores, blowing leaves off the driveway with my blower. Went for a walk around the block (25 minutes around and back). It was so balmy today. Actually started clipping some old dried-up blooms on my sedums but didn't feel like finishing the task.

Looks like I will have grossed $840 for the month of February from my 2 freelance jobs. Less than I hoped for, but it's a start. If I end up not getting the perm job mentioned above, I should be able to ramp up the writing a bit. I'm going to have to start making quarterly estimated IRS payments again. Frown

If I got that job (or ANY perm job) I would immediately contribute the max allowed to the 401k.

I found the most delicious thing at Trader Joe's this past week. They are selling dried orange slices which are really, REALLY GOOD. I like dried fruit in general, with dried California (NOT Turkish) apricots and apple rings being my favorites, but the orange was heavenly.

Living and learning

February 23rd, 2017 at 11:24 am

Today is warm, sunny and in the 60s!

I've been applying for a lot of jobs lately, including those not near me but where I'm hoping they may be open to making the position remote for the right candidate.

I just scheduled a pre-screening interview with a recruiter for a job I could drive to. It's for a content writer and it includes lots of long-from writing, which is what I prefer, for doing white papers, case studies, etc, all targeted to a B2B small business audience. The product, though, seems very boring to me: the mailing and shipping market.

It also involves some skills sets i really don't have, like knowing HTML and having direct sales experience. So we'll have to see.

After never hearing from the other recruiter who scheduled a meeting with me for 1.5 hours after she sent me the meeting invite but was a no-show and didn't return my calls/emails, I decided to call her home office and I explained in detail to a very nice person who put me on hold and then came back and told me the woman would call me back after her meeting.

Instead, I got an email from her saying she'd decided I wasn't the right fit. I knew she didn't want to talk to me because she failed to inform me of that and so I spent a lot of time prepping for the call and then waiting around for it. So I wrote back a rather pointed email, copying some other person whose name was also on the email.....I'm living and learning....upward and onward.

Bought a bunch of catfood at Walmart today and then about $40 well spent at Aldi's. I was proud of myself, looking at all my purchases at the checkout. There was no packaged or processed food at all, just fruits and veggies, and once again, got some pretty decent deals.

Last night i went to another MS talk/dinner; only 5 people showed up although there were place settings for about 20. (People RSVP for these things.) The (free) meal was excellent. They served us 3 different appetizers (colamari, eggplant rollatinis and my favorite, a garlicky wilted greens salad with sausage.

Since there were 3 appetizers and there seemed to be no other food coming, we all filled up on those appetizers while the slide presentation began. Toward the end of the slide show, the waiters came out with the main course (!), lamb shanks, oh my! Cooked to perfection. Dessert was Italian pastries and we all took a lot of food home as leftovers.

What a treat!

I walked 50 minutes yesterday and plan to go out today in a little bit.

Two days ago I picked about 7 small pieces of art from a gallery gift shop where nothing had sold in a while. She mentioned if i had anything else I thought might work to let her know. I wasn't going to bother, but I decided to send her a photo of one of my mother's Ghiordes knot wall hangings. These ancient knots were used by Turkish rugmakers.





What you see are small rectangular strips of painted canvas interspersed with a variety of other fibers and netting. It's a totally abstract and one of a kind look. The piece is way above her price point at the store, but this could be a show stopper on her walls that could attract attention. It only takes one interested buyer.

Unfortunately, I didn't store these right and I found when I retrieved them from basement that a lot of those little strips were all bent out of shape, so I was using unopened cans of catfood to press down on all the little strips on my dining room table. I need to work a bit more on the top part of the weaving just under the wood frame because they all should lie mostly flat.

Spring thaw doings

February 18th, 2017 at 10:27 am

It feels positively GREAT, sunny and in the warm 40s. Tomorrow will be in the 50s!

I accomplished the following:

1. Washed my car (badly needed)
2. Vacuumed my car
3. Swept out the garage

I had 4 large pots of daffodils in the back of the garage and they are all coming up, about a month-and-a-half too early. Some are about 4 inches high already.

I thought about putting them in a protected corner that gets full morning sun in my driveway, but it will still get down to upper 30s overnight and this unusual warmth will not last forever, so I put them in front of a large sunny window in garage instead. They will probably end up blooming in the garage where I can't enjoy them.

I had a salmon burger for lunch (still using up non-vegan foods).

Because it will be warm for all of next week, I also released a bunch of ladybugss which hatched in my sunny bathroom. I don't know how they get in there, but they do.

Can't believe we only have another week-and-a-half to go in February, and then it will be March.

I have slightly less than a half tank of heating oil left, which should last at least 2 weeks, maybe a bit more. Meteorologist said we're in for a snowy start to March.

Wasted my whole day....waiting

February 17th, 2017 at 12:22 pm

I applied for a copywriter job through an agency in Texas. It is for a contract job with a digital bank. I'm well qualified for the job.

It didn't say anything about the job being remote or not, but I figured I'd submit my resume anyway.

The recruiter emailed me this morning, wanting to schedule a time to talk today, so we agreed on 10 am. Shortly after that she called me and said she needed to move things around and could we do it at 1:15 pm EST, and I agreed.

After that, she never called me back or responded to my email or phone message, but I mean, really? How unprofessional. It only takes a minute to send an email to let someone know you won't make it.

Strangely, the recruiter sent me their 25-page info book on their benefits for contract workers. We haven't even discussed the job yet, so I thought this was strange, but I must admit that the benefits look very good and I would love to take advantage of them, namely the health insurance. The recruiting company chips in a fair amount of the premium, provided you are working 40 hours, so I'd be paying about $165 a month for a Cigna plan (3 choices, this one's the cheapest), plus the dental looks very affordable as well. They use a sliding scale so if you work less 40 hours, the recruiter still kicks in something for your health premiums, but it's less. The insurance will lapse if you work less than 20 hours a week.

They also have a flex spending account and a 401k thru Fidelity. I would skip the dental benefit becus while it's cheap while you're working, once i went on COBRA it would be rather pricey at $45/month, and I usually only get 2 annual cleanings. I would also skip the FSA account becus their minimum contribution is $1,000 a year, and I don't even spend that much on co-payments.

I WOULD definitely go for the 401k since I'd want to sock away oodles of money in a Roth 401k if they have one.

The booklet she sent is for 2015 benefits; I assume rates have risen since then; i don't have any idea why she didn't send me 2017 booklet.

I'd like to get on the plan because not only would it save me $200+ a month on health insurance, but it would allow me to re-start the clock on COBRA whenever I left that job. So I'd have another 18 months of coverage compared to the 11 I have left now with my last employer.

However, I'm left to wonder if this woman noticed I live in CT. She read my resume so I guess she knows. But we haven't even talked about the job yet. Kind of mixed up. Cart before horse.

So I've wasted my whole day waiting around. I wanted to go food shopping today but I won't be anymore and will have to wait til Tuesday since i like to avoid the weekend crowds and Monday may be a holiday for some.

I'll be working this weekend on the 2nd story for the personal finance website. Want to finish it before I get the next school assignment. Perhaps it would be possible to juggle both jobs; I'm not sure I'll stick with the personal finance one yet. Not enough $$. Subject of this one, which I've committed to: Growing trend of HR of larger companies offering financial education as an employee benefit. Not just 401k/retirement advice, but everything: paying for college tuition, everyday money management and so on. This one will be easy compared to the first one.

Writing adventures

February 14th, 2017 at 05:04 pm

It's been an interesting couple of days...

My neighbors invited me up for dinner last night but since I hadn't had time to shovel the bottom end of my driveway, I decided to walk thru my backyard and up their driveway. But neighbor said no, it's too icy, I'll come and get you so that's what the husband did.

His wife very kindly made a vegetarian dinner though I told them not to worry about it.

The purpose of the dinner invite, other than to catch up mid-winter, which is always nice, was that neighbor husband has cooked up a scheme and needed help writing a statement of purpose which would be used to register a nonprofit he wants to create.

The nonprofit would seek out and acquire donated farm or fallow land for farming and rely on various community groups that work with at-risk teens or troubled youth to raise the crops and learn sustainable production methods to raise sheep, cattle, chickens and so on.

The food generated by the farm(s) would be made available to low-income families for sale at deeply discounted prices, to provide fresh, wholesome food to counter what you mostly see at food pantries: low quality canned, processed and packaged foods.

It all sounds great except I don't think it would be easy to obtain donated land, especially when conservation easements confer upon the landowner the ability to get tax benefits.

Husband's wife was mostly rolling her eyes, indulgingly, becus husband tends to come up with lots of great ideas that never quite take off.

Anyway, we had an interesting evening talking about that and this morning I dedicated 3 or 4 hours to writing up the document he wanted, which would also be used to introduce his idea to the local farm bureau and enlist their support.

He was very happy with what I wrote, as I was, and as a kind of barter arrangement, he agreed to chainsaw a tree or two here I wouldn't mind taking down.

So yesterday, mid-way thru my higher education writing assignment, I had to stop and ask my manager whether I should proceed with something. She still hasn't gotten back to me, so in the meantime, I decided to start researching and writing a story for the 2nd website that needs a copywriter that I've connected with.

They told me to go ahead and start but I didn't have anything in writing about what they would pay me, so i told them i couldn't work without a contract. She said she'd have a contract to me by end of day but i decided not to wait and to forge ahead with the writing since they want it in a few days and it's a very complicated story: the DOL fiduciary rule, its history and the recent Texas court ruling in its favor and the Trump directive to DOL to revisit it (with the aim, most likely, of dismantling it).

So I was JUST wrapping up the tail end of the story, congratulating myself on my work, when I get another email from this outfit saying, ok, scratch that story, here are 2 different ones.

I immediately wrote back and said I'd just finished that story, and could they still use it.

They wrote back and said yes, tho they thought I wasn't going to write anything until i got the contract, and I replied that once i got the woman's response saying i'd have the contract by end of day, i felt comfortable in starting the job.

I sent my signed copy back to them and as soon as they send me a copy THEY'VE signed, I will send them the draft story. I will be curious to get their feedback.

Truth be told, I'm having second thoughts about writing a relatively large number of stories for them at the rate of pay they quoted me. I've already invested more time and effort into this 1st story than the money they've said they'll pay me. I'm feeling inclined now to wait and see if they like my story, which I'm hoping they will, becus I would then tell them the money promised is not really enough given the time and effort i put into it, and if their rate of pay is cast in stone, I may have to reconsider working with them.

Are you experiencing bugs here?

February 11th, 2017 at 07:23 am

The good news is the administrators of this site fixed the kink that wouldn't allow you to insert and/or change images in your profile.

If you are still experiencing problems when you write up a post and then click "Publish," when your post disappears, please indicate that here.

I mentioned this to them and they say when they tried it, it worked fine. I know that personally for me, this problem has existed for years.

Please indicate if you have experienced this.

thanks.

Shoveling out

February 11th, 2017 at 05:30 am

We got a foot of snow here on Thursday. Now I know how long it takes one small but determined woman to shovel a foot off my 90-foot driveway: 2.5 hours.

It may not sound like much time but it was pretty intense "hard labor" and I had to break it up into 3 separate times: first on Thursday morning, then again Thursday afternoon and finally once more yesterday.

The car's still in the garage, but I have to get out today for some groceries as there will be a few more inches and very messy weather tomorrow, and then again Sunday into Monday.

I got a new assignment for the higher education website: the best schools in Utah. Brigham Young University has quite impressive facilities. I've already done the best online schools in Alabama, Montana and Indiana.

I also had a talk with another website, one that needs a personal finance writer to write 10 to 20 short stories a month. I will likely do a test writing assignment next week. They pay better than the education website but still not great.

I don't think I could do both jobs, but I am feeling cautious about dropping the education job til I'm sure I'll be comfortable with the personal finance job. So I was the one to suggest I do one or two writing assignments to see how it feels, and make sure they're happy with my work.

If I wrote the 10 or 20 a month, the income would mostly or wholly cover all my monthly expenses. I'd only be grossing $36K a year, compared to a similar job I had back in 2008-2009 where I was writing 3 stories a week and 2 blog posts, roughly comparable to what this job calls for (5 stories a week max).

In 2009 I was grossing $70K with benefits, so you can clearly see how desirable it is for me to find a perm job with benefits. This job would just help tide me by.

This new job for a NYC content generation firm, would actually require a lot more brainpower than the education job. The stories would be along the lines of what you see in Money or Kiplingers, and the 1st story they suggested was on the recent TX court ruling on the fiduciary DOL rule. They would provide some talking points but I think I would still need to do independent research.

The education job is pretty straightforward and just requires hunting for specific types of information on a given school's website, making sure to hit on certain things and insert various keywords, etc. But given what they pay, it's quite a bit of work. I DO appreciate they pay fairly quickly, in about 5 days time after you hand in the assignment.

PS The little image you can insert in your profile is now working! I've been in touch with Nate and James. It took a few tries but I see they've fixed it as I have one of my mother's weavings in my profile.

Blizzard

February 9th, 2017 at 10:52 am

We're in the middle of a major snow event. They've forecast 18 to 20 inches by the time it's done toward end of day.

It looks deep. Shovel time is coming.

Luther is bored, and slamming the kitchen cabinets. He's figured out how to pry open the doors (and drawers), but not all the way, so they slam shut again if his paw isn't there.

Ah, Luther, you're so clever, and handsome, too. The perfect catch for any feline except for the fact you're shooting blanks, if you know what I mean.

I got a response back on one of the freelance writing jobs I applied for yesterday. It's in NYC and she asked me for my rate, a question I REALLY hate, becus of course it puts you in an impossible situation, not wanting to lose the job by quoting too high a price, but not wanting to shortchange yourself, either. So I avoided answering and said in as friendly a way as possible that since I was relatively new to freelancing (not true), I found rates to be all over the place (true), and then flipped her question back by asking if she could tell me what they typically would pay for a story like such and such.

This is personal finance writing and includes interviews, so should pay higher. I'll keep the $1 per word rate in back of my mind, which someone here mentioned, but even tho it's NYC, I kind of doubt they'd pay $500-$750 for a 500- to 750-word story when they want 10 to 20 a month.

I spent all morning trying to get Waldo to eat his food, which contains his 2 meds. I finally succeeded by 12:30 pm. If I were working outside the home, doing this would not be possible.

He's on steroids for his asthma, 1 pill every other day. He does ok on the days he gets that pill, but on the alternate day he's usually completely stuffed up, can't breath and can't smell his food so he won't eat, which means he also isn't getting his thyroid medication.

I try using the pill pockets first, as this is easiest and ensures he's getting the whole pill, but about half the time he turns his nose up at the pill pockets and especially so when he's stuffed up cus they have no smell. So that's when I crush the pills and mix it in a small amount of food, maybe a teaspoon, but still, if you know cats, he will eat one or two tiny bites, and then walk away. I have to keep coaxing him.

The only other option my vet had offered for the asthma was an inhaler-like mask I'd have to put on him daily, and I ruled that out since Waldo would freak and probably hide from me after a few times of doing that.

I have an air purifier running in the bedroom, and I bought a new vacuum with HEPA filter, and changed to a no-dust cat litter, but none of those things seems to have helped at all.

So I have one remaining option which I'm going to call the vet about tomorrow: giving him the steroids once daily, instead of once every other day. He had told me that over time the steroids can cause him to develop diabetes, and this is why I resisted doing this since seeing the vet 2 months ago. Becus that would pretty much be the end of the road for Waldo. Injections on top of 2 meds neither one of us could handle.

I am hoping that with the daily steroids he will do better and continue eating. He is 16 now so am hoping he will live out his natural lifespan more comfortably, before he develops diabetes. The vet said he'd never had that happen to a cat but it would be very upsetting to know I brought that on if it happens.

Productive day at home

February 7th, 2017 at 05:06 pm

I knew today was going to be a freezing rain, sleety kind of day, so I planned to hunker indoors, not go anywhere and focus on my current freelance assignment. I'm glad I was able to gt in an hour long walk yesterday.

I was able to finish my assignment today, 2 days ahead of schedule and turn it in. I should have at least a few days before she gives me the next one, and now this frees me for tomorrow, when I'll be heading to one of my galleries, 35 minutes south, to bring new art, to pick up some jpgs from a photo shop created from my mother's old wedding slides (can't wait to see them, just 18 slides encased in plastic that went with a viewer), to BJs and Shop Rite. And then the dump, if there's time.

I applied for at least 5 jobs today, many found on Craig's List, believe it or not. Most are more freelance/contract jobs. While the gig I have going on right now is good (low pay but reliable), I will only gross $800 monthly at best, so I need another similar ongoing thing writing for some other website. If I find it, the 2 jobs could be enough to cover most of my monthly expenses.

Today I noticed (happily) that the IRS had deposited $1234 refund in my checking account. I was in a little too much of a hurry when I filed and wound up having to file an amended return becus I overlooked 2 things, one of which will result in an additional $45 refund.

With that and my last full unemployment check, my checking balance stands at $6800, the most I'm going to have for a long time or until I find another f/t job. It's going to start slowly shrinking, I'm afraid, as bills I have to pay dwarf the dwindling incoming income. Long sigh.

I was planning on going to see that new movie with Meryl Streep, just $3 here in town, but I only remembered it a half hour after it started. Darn. It's one of the few little treats I allow myself being under-employed.

Waldo and I enjoyed some sockeye salmon for dinner tonight.

I scheduled installation of my new Lennox central air unit for March 31. I'm happy this is in the works. I've already started dreaming about a longed for wall of shelves in my dining room. My carpenter did not return my call, an indication he's too busy to do it. He's really cheap. Somebody finally caught onto that, a company that manages several properties, and now they're keeping him busy nonstop, which he really needed so I'm happy for him.

Sunday stuff

February 5th, 2017 at 04:14 pm

Let's see, here's what I did today:

1. I walked 85 minutes...excellent! It was fairly mild out, for February, at about 37 degrees.


I walked in an area that has one main trail going straight but then there are multiple side trails you can take into and around open meadows, like this one.


It really wasn't as desolate as this barn photo makes it seem. There were a fair number of dog walkers and hikers about.


I tend to seek out out-of-the-way trails; this one was new to me and meandered along a river until I decided to turn around due to mud.

2. I continued working on my newest higher education assignment (online schools in Montana).

That's about it!

In other news, I was very disappointed at what I got from Safeco for spending 3 long months driving like a granny.

I earned a 17% discount, which I thought was off the entire premium of $900, or $150. No, I got just $57. I have to call them tomorrow to see how they calculated that. I think I'll just drop my collision at the same time to achieve an instant $211 savings, especially since, not working, I'm also driving very little. The discount is for every year, moving forward, so that's something. I hope that my dropping the collision that doesn't affect my discount.

More AC details...help me decide

February 3rd, 2017 at 01:59 pm

I now have quotes from 2 guys to install the central air, and I'm unsure whom to hire. I don't think I need more quotes as the 2 I got are solid.

#1 guy is with what appears to be a well-established company with 3 locations. They have an average A rating on Angie's List.

He's recommending a Carrier Model 24ABC636AON3, which is a 3 ton model, not budget model but not top of the line either.

Comes with a new Honeywell programmable thermostat, 1 year labor warranty and 10 year manufacturer warranty on compressor and covered parts.

SEER (energy efficiency) rating is 16, which is again not the most energy efficient, which would mean a higher price tag, but not the very lowest, either. I decided I didn't need the best here because I don't plan to use it nonstop, just enough to dehumidify the rooms and keep it comfortable.

They would also include the 1st year's maintenance, which would cost me about $175 for every year thereafter.

He told me the unit would not be eligible for any state or federal rebates/credits becus I'm pairing it with an existing oil furnace, which compared to natural gas, is not very energy efficient.

Price: $5400. If I pay in cash or check, the price would be $5200. (Note to self: ALWAYS ask for this discount.) They also had a $300 coupon on their website for new AC installs; I forgot to ask him about that, but if I applied that coupon and paid cash, total cost would be $4900.

He wants 50% down with 50% upon completion.

#2 guy: He recommends installing a Lennox Xc14, also a 3 ton unit. SEER rating is also 16.

Warranties are manufacturer 10 years and he told me if anything went wrong with the unit the 1st year, he would take care of it, so i guess that sounds like a 1-year labor warranty.

He did not offer the 1st year free maintenance but did offer $200 off for cash only (not checks), so with the cash discount, his price would be $4650, or $250 less than #1 guy. Also, he said their annual maintenance costs about $118, quite a bit less than #1 guy.

#2 guy is a young guy who bought the business with a partner 5 years ago when the former owner wanted to retire.

He wants 1/3 down and 2/3 upon completion. He also got an average A rating on Angie's List.

What do you think? I'm honestly feeling like I don't want to say no to either one of them becus they both were very nice. Typical girl reaction, I guess.

At this point, I'm thinking of going with #2 becus I have faith either one could do the job, so #2 is not only $250 cheaper but his annual maintenance is, at least now, substantially cheaper than the larger, more established company. #2 guy also even offered to cut down a partly dead foundation shrub that would need to go to make way for the outdoor compressor, which #1 guy didn't offer to do. #2 guy also said he'd throw in the cover for the outdoor unit. They both will give me a new thermostat.

I hope that some of you who commented on my earlier post on this will weigh in again. Any feelings about whether either Carrier or Lennox makes a better AC? Any other thoughts?

I'm thinking maybe I'll approach #2, tell them that the 2 quotes are very close in price, and that if he threw in the first year free maintenance like #1 guy did that I would give him the job.

What do you think?

Cooling thoughts...

February 2nd, 2017 at 11:20 am

I was very pleasantly surprised by the first estimate I got on central air. It wasn't nearly as much as the single quote I got over a decade ago which scared me off from seriously considering it...until now.

The extreme humidity is not good for my mother's art, and that's what truly spurred me to move forward with central air, even though I'm not working much.

So he spent over an hour here, answering my questions, measuring and looking outside to determine where the compressor would go.

I ruled out the new ductless units because while they are more energy efficient, it would require more wiring to all go to the single outdoor unit, and my ceilings are not at all high so the units would kind of dominate the rooms and be more noticeable, I think. I would need 4 of them, 2 on each floor.

So going with a conventional Carrier system and 16 SEER, which I think is pretty good efficiency, it would cost just $5,200 and they throw in the first year's maintenance, which runs about $175, for free.

I would feel confident they could do a good job but I do have one other place coming out tomorrow, so I can compare at least the two. I might also like to get a third estimate.

I'm excited. The thought of living in air conditioned comfort and not sweltering during the worst parts of July/August. It gets so humid in this house that i have gotten mildew on wood and leather furniture. I would not run it often as I dislike super cold indoor temps anyway, but I would run it just enough to dry out the indoor air and be comfortable.

The one remaining issue would be how to deal with my family room, which was a later addition over the garage that is not served by the existing oil furnace duct work.

So I might have to keep using my current portable AC just for that room, I guess. He said while it's really hard to say how much the AC would add to my electric bills, he said it would be at least $100 a month if I ran the system continuously (which I wouldn't). Maybe it would be more, who knows. But if it was an extra $200 for the months of July and August, I think that would be decent and cover most of the bad summer heat.