Category Archives: A Day In The Life…

Utility Expenses: Power

Jen and I have been moved into our new home for 8 months now and I couldn’t be happier with the setup. It’s open, homey, and secluded enough to offer a pleasant release from the sounds of traffic. Unfortunately, we are secluded enough to be too far away from natural gas pricing to have that option available to use for heating; I’m expecting a high heating bill for the winter. In preparation for increased expenditure I figured I’d take some time to try and minimize our utility usage. First place to look? electricity.

Lightbulbs:

Our home is overabundantly lit. I suspected a surplus when I noticed there were three bulbs in a single fixture. Three bulbs in one fixture? Extravagance!

This past weekend I went to each fixture and reduced the quantity of bulbs down to one per fixture. The surplus? 17 BULBS!

Holy cow!

Holy cow!

SEVENTEEN! After the extraction the only obvious area where we noticed a dimmer atmosphere was in our mud room closet. Hardly worth the extra bulbage.

We also found the half dozen most used areas in our home and replaced those with LED bulbs. Now we’re talking! There are a lot of data websites out there that provide analysis on whether or not LEDs are worth the investment. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to come to their own conclusion. Still… lighting is small peanuts compared to the larger power consumers like appliances.

I touched base with our electric company. Fun fact! I thought that all houses were on variable pricing (with on and off peak hours). This is not the case. The default for residential is a fixed rate plan. You can switch if you want but the advantages are mixed at best.

For Connecticut Light and Power the fixed rate is ~$0.10/kwHr. Switching to variable rates drops the off-peak rate (8pm-noon) to 9 cents a kwhr… BUT! the on-peak rate skyrockets to $0.12/kwHr. Yikes! Making the decision even harder, I’m told you have to switch for a year resulting in risk of high monthly bills due to AC usage in the summertime. I’m going to take a look at energy analysis tools to see if I can determine what our usage rate is across various hours of each day and for each appliance.

Business Travel and an Unexpected Guest

Business Travel:
This week I’m in Atlanta on business. Just a quick jaunt, I expect to be back on Friday.

An Unexpected Guest:
This past weekend in chatting with the neighbors we learned that there are some river otters living in the pond in our backyard. Sure enough, this morning as we ate our cereal (JIf cereal – surprisingly tasty) some splashing caught our eye and a little river otter could be seen swimming along the shore.

What a treat!

Phoebe

State Birds

My newfound appreciation for bird watching has been a fascinating walk down a feathered path of fun. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with my bird appreciation came bird judgement.

I can’t help it! Some birds are beautiful rare sights, others are everywhere and not exciting. The Mourning Dove is the perfect example. While I will forever love their sorrowful call, we’ve nicknamed them pig-birds. Mom D is famous for describing them as being so fat they have no option but to squeak every time their feathers squeeze their bodies in flight.

So it was with trepidation that I looked up the state bird of Connecticut. I secretly hoped for the feisty American Kestrel or the predatory Northern Harrier. Perhaps the shimmering ruby-throated hummingbird or the adorable Eastern Phoebe (a scraggly little Phoebe is shown as the feature image to this post)!

Nope. It’s the American Robin.

Okay okay, American Robin. Not the worst choice. We didn’t choose the Mourning Dove. Now let me see what other state birds are out there…

(note: to view chart below you’ll have to ‘read more’ of this post)

StateBirds

WHOA REPETITION! WHAT?!

Two other states have the American Robin! 29 of the 50 states have shared birds! 26% of all states are either the Northern Cardinal or the Western Meadowlark.

HOW CAN THIS BE?!? There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of birds to choose from. Why would any state ever duplicate a choice?! I agree that most people are drawn to the popular birds but what a travesty that so many states lose a chance for distinction. I think it would be far better to choose a bird that personifies the state than to choose an obvious name that all will immediately recognize.

American Robin? At first it was a weak choice. But knowing that it’s a duplicated choice makes it worse. Come on Connecticut! You can do better!

What is your news source?

I use Flipboard on my phone for quick access to basic news. I’m subscribed to the following:

News, 99%, Business, Fast Company, The New York Times, Art, AlJazeera, Business Insider, In the Boardroom, Leadership Unstruck, Apartment Therapy, Food52, and Sports.

When I’m in front of my computer I tend to use AlJazeera and CNN (so sensationalized!)

I’m always looking for better news sources, anyone care to share their favorites?

Procrastination Nation

Hello Internets!

I have been a horrible poster! I have been procrastinating the Italy picture posts for AN ENTIRE MONTH. Horrible.

In the mean time plenty of exciting things have happened that warrant sharing:

A trip to Gillette Castle!
Beautiful hikes!
A visit to Essex!
Garage painting!
New guitar efforts!
New exercise efforts!
A weekend at Cape Cod!

And a wealth of cooking adventures that all warrant a few words on this faithful site.

Yet here I sit, procrastinating these as well.

Excuses and rationalization pour through my head, but honestly I think it comes down to the fact that writing posts is a lot harder than watching the newest episodes of Sherlock on Netflix.

Luna di Miele!

Jen and I are headed off on our belated Luna di Miele!
Our trip includes: Milan, Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre. It’s going to be a whirlwind tour!

There may be a brief pause in posting, but make sure to come back for pictures and adventure recaps!

Ciao!

Binoculars

My in-laws, in support of my growing bird watching fascination, graciously purchased for me a set of binoculars for my birthday.

I have never owned binoculars.

All of my historic magnification viewing has been through telescopes or camera lenses. When I first tried out my new binoculars I was stunned! Depth! There was depth!

I agree that this is really obvious and something I probably should have anticipated. Still, this fascination got me wanting to learn a bit more about the history of Binoculars.

Without looking, take a guess as to when Binoculars were invented! Once you make your guess, proceed to the comments where the rest of this post pans out.

Language Play

Singular masculine Italian words often end in the letter ‘o’. When you pluralize those words the ‘o’ is switched to an ‘i’.

For example, Concerti would be the Italian pluralization of a Concerto.
Nonno (grandfather) becomes Nonni (grandfathers, or grandparents).

Presumably then I am a DiDonato but together my family are DiDonati

Extra credit: Feminine words end in ‘a’ and their plural end in ‘e’. That means you might have a pizza tonight, or you might have four pizze tonight.

Double extra credit: Why is the word ‘beer’ feminine and the word ‘wine’ masculine in the romance languages? This seems backwards to stereotypical beverage choice.

Italian:
Birra
Vino

Spanish:
Cerveza
Vino

French:
Biere
Vin

Other language varieties don’t contain the same gender choices, for example I think Irish languages have both beverages as masculine.

There’s a pretty good wikipedia article on grammatical gender that explains some forms of gender origination, but as to how these particular words claimed their gender? I haven’t a clue.