Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2005-10-09
  Can't even get change without some kind of technical difficulty
So we now have several ways to heat our house, crossing the gaumut of cost and difficulty. My personal favorate is wood, as I can often get the wood for free (I only have to cut and split it--which I will do, when I have time). The worst is propane, which, while very easy (press a button), has gone from expensive to worse. Its one of those rules that whenever there's a cheap fuel sitting around, they'll figure out how to run cars on it and pretty soon its just as expensive as anything else. When we first moved into our house propane was about eighty cents a gallon, which was lucky for us, as our house was partially unfinished, leaked cold air everywhere and didn't have any curtains. We used a lot of gas that winter (had to re-fill the thousand gallon tank in the middle of winter), and it was expensive.

Actually, before that, we didn't pay anything for heat. We were supposed to (as we paid our own gas bill in the apartment we were in), it just turned out that we didn't need any heat ourselves. We were in one of the inside apartments in a six-plex, so there were other apartments on three sides of us. And two of those were college kids, so they typically had their heat set at about 75F. I'd set our thermometer at about 66F and the heat leaking through the walls would keep us warm all winter. Pretty sweet. At least for us.

[wood pellet]

So anyways, my wife has pressed for a third data point, and this winter we're putting a wood pellet stove into operation. Cheaper than propane, but easier to run than a wood stove (and she hopes, less mess as well).

So far so good, except that she bought the wrong pellets. According to the stove guys the pellets she bought were not a good brand, and gunk up the stoves; so somehow she talked Ace Hardware into coming out and picking upt he pellets and taking them back. Which should be fine, except that my dad need to measure the tow ball height on his new truck with 400# and 600# of weight on the tail of his truck, so we used the pellets for weight (10 bags at 40# each is pretty easy to figure out), and well, now one of the bags has a hole in it. I don't know if it already had a hole in it, or we put the hole in it, but there's a hole now, so there's a problem.

So this weekend, I had to go over and buy one bag of pellets, so that they could come back and pick them all up and everything would be fine. My wife didn't want me to use a credit card, just in case someone was paying attention, so I had to use cash. Luckily a bag of pressed sawdust is pretty cheap, like $4.10 after tax. Fine. I pull out a $5, and the clerk counts out my change:

Sigh. That's not right. Its just wrong--in so many ways. So I give the clerk back a dime and head home, determined to check my kids' math homework extra careful whenever they have any.

 
Comments:
What are the odds the clerk was a student at NAU?
 
I don't want to think about it. Its such a sorry state of affairs.
 
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Life in the middle of nowhere, remote programming to try and support it, startups, children, and some tinkering when I get a chance.

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Paul Graham's Essays
You may not want to write in Lisp, but his advise on software, life and business is always worth listening to.
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Dave Pollard working on changing the world .. one partially baked idea at a time.
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Feb '04
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New Jets create excitement in the air.
The audience is not listening.

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Neat chemicals you don't want to mess with.
The Lack of Practise Effect

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Scramjets take to the air
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Checking out cool tools (with the kids)
A master geek (Ink Tank flashback)
How to play with your kids

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