Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Wind Energy Really "Green"???

Wind turbines and electricity transmission towersThis post is not particularly 'house-related' but since I pay my electrical bill, and I have no real choice where the electricity comes from, I think it is justified to reside at Savvy Homegirl.

I am all for ‘green’ energy. I think any way we can reduce our draw on natural resources must be for the better. Driving along the Lake Huron shoreline in Bruce County this summer however, I couldn't help but ponder the logic behind wind energy. A recent conversation with colleagues renewed this curiosity in the monstrous, unassuming turbines. I am undecided whether our society, and environment, is going to end up better or worse off once the ‘buzz’ dies down.

It seems like everyone is all for wind energy... until the turbines are in their backyard. Whether the issue is effect on health, visual esthetics or potential stray voltage, I have heard an assortment of concerns. Yet, the turbines continue to go up. There are so many turbines along Saugeen Shores, you can not even stand in one location and count them. I can only imagine what the view of beautiful Bruce County looks like from off the shore; vast, green and golden wheat fields over rolling hills, spotted with black and red grazing cattle, and these massive, white towers.

I have heard stories and rumors for months about residents near the towers experiencing declining real estate values, unacceptable stray voltage and severe headaches. I've even heard the provincial government is paying for hotel rooms to keep a group of families quiet about severe side effects they've experienced to their health. What worries me most? Many landowners signed 10 year agreements with the energy companies. What happens after 10 years? I have heard stories time and time again from Dutch immigrants of desolate, abandoned towers falling into disrepair, scattered throughout Holland’s countryside like a giant child’s jacks thrown down and forgotten. I imagine rusty towers, blades broken and lodged in the hillsides, resembling World War Two era structures battered and abandoned years after the last bombs landed.

It’s made me so curious, I googled turbine images to see if this is truly the case. Surely, if I’m so curious to take photos of turbines and towers, there must be others as fascinated by the idiocracy of leaving such mass garbage behind. For what? The sake of profit? How can they be a sustainable energy source if they are redundant after only 10 years? Well, turns out, this is about all I could find for pictures... and I think this is actually from an abandoned wind farm in Hawaii from 30-40 years ago.

Nevertheless, I am still not a firm believer. After-all, how do you discern the fact from fiction? Is it all a cover-up? A lucrative scheme for energy companies to profit off the 'green revolution'?

I could pay more for 'green energy credits', but at the end of the day, my electricity still comes from the grid, so how do I know if its green or not? However, I can choose to reduce how much I use. Maybe if all of us were more energy conscious and used less, the need for green energy wouldn’t be so significant.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Won a VIP Trip to Alexander Keith's Birthday Bash!

OMG! I've never won anything of this magnitude in my life! Well, some might consider the office Leaf tickets last Christmas comparable, but in my opinion they certainly do not compare!

Here is what I won:
Isn't that incredible! You know those coasters you get with your beer at the bar, it pays to enter the contest on them! Sometimes you win!! WOOOO HOOOO!!!

So, the MAJOR downer of all of this.... I can't go :***( While I hate to put work above such opportunities, I have TWO commitments that week! Since I can't even be at both work events, I certainly am not going to be able to get permission to go on this trip!

So, after debating all the different people I wanted to be my best friend, I decided to give the trip to my brothers

The way I see it, I get to travel all the time and have already seen much of Canada. With their commitments on the farm, they don't get away as often, and a beer-drinking, wild party in the Maritimes is right up their alley. I do owe one for helping with my roof after-all and well, I'm going to need someone to help me drywall this winter!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Very Productive Last Weekend of Summer

After two days lying around the house, making a serious dent in The Time Traveler's Wife (I'm reading the book AFTER seeing the movie. Recommendation - both are good, book is long!) and completing another season of SATC, I was ready to take on the world again today.

Take it on was exactly what I did too, completing an exhausting list of petty tasks that had been nagging away at my self-conscious to be completed for weeks now. Among them, were some additional "to do's" that were the result of my roof replacement. This included scouring the ground for loose nails that did not make it into the dumpster (and are surely waiting to lodge themselves in my tires). My brother gave me a great suggestion to get the last of the nails.

Attach magnets to a leaf rake and run it along the ground. You need super strong magnets, and while I'm sure you can get something suitable at Home Depot (they were out when I looked), I got Veterinarian Magnets from TSC store. They're compact, but strong enough to stay attached to the rake while I combed the ground for nails. Worked like a charm!

I still have not finished the capping at the top of the roof, and while I know it's something I could likely tackle on my own, I am planning to bride one of my brothers to visit and help me.

I also washed my siding today... blah, I know, what a menial job! Truthfully, I only washed the front of my house and the side I enter thru. A pressure washer likely would've done a better job, and saved me some scrubbing on the really grimy spots, but all I was armed with was my garden hose. It does look one hundred times better - just in time for fall!

Here is my remaining "to do" list for fall:
  • Make a fall wreathe
  • Change the weather stripping on the side door - I can SEE the light from outside, that can't be good for the heating bill!
  • Clean the eaves - still some shingles to be removed
  • Bring in my geranium and pull up my dahlias
  • Pull up the rest of my carrots
  • Paint my porch lights (the hose chipped some paint off them)
  • Touch up paint and seal around windows where its needed
  • Put away the patio furniture
  • Laquer crab apples - is this even possible???!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Take 2 Advil, One Season of Sex and the City and Call Me in the Morning!

It is nearly two weeks since my last post. Shameful in the world of blogging where consistency and frequency are king. It's not for want of ideas, more-so want of time to compose them.
Although, for the past five days, I have had such a horrible head cold, the ideas also found themselves thoroughly congested. Finally, with the onset of an immense migraine this morning, I called it a day and spent the rest of a beautiful Friday, in bed, getting some much needed sleep.

By dinner time, I found myself resorting to what any single-something woman would on a Friday night-in-on-the-mend, Season Three of Sex and the City. I'm not sure if I've ever blogged about SATC, but my relationship with the show is still pretty fresh. Not one to blog about relationships or my personal life, I have likely avoided it thus far. After finishing another DVD set, I couldn't resist. As I read a message about a recent acquaintance's preference for scotch, I also couldn't help by here Carrie Bradshaw's voice - "how very 'Big' of you". I immediately pulled out my Macbook, and here I am.

I never watched SATC when it was on TV. As the world, including my friends, became obsessively addicted, I abstained from understanding the attraction. In fact, it wasn't until a co-worker burnt an extra copy of the movie accidentally and left it for me, I decided to get to know the Manola-loving, Manhattan foursome a little better.

Am I hooked? Absolutely! I've surrendered to allow myself to relate to each character in one way or another, and I will never be ashamed of fabulous shoes. Am I crazy for finding life a little more glamorous when secretly narrated by CB? Perhaps it's just the Extra Strength Cold & Flu Medication, but I'll let you decide!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A New Roof, Long Day & $2500 Saved

Stripping old shingles off the roofWe did it! Faced with water coming through the ceiling (you will recall my earlier posts here and here), I had no choice but to replace my roof, and the quicker I could get it looked after the better!

After asking around at work and talking to neighbours, I called a few more wholesale roofing and siding suppliers in the city, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn they were significantly cheaper than Home Depot. Depending on your driveway and where your hydro lines run, most will also deliver the shingles to your roof. This is a HUGE help if you plan to do a roof on your own.
The south side after removing the shingles
With the offer from my family to help, which included the assistance of a contractor (my uncle), it was a no-brainer to do it ourselves. Even after my neighbour commented it was worth the extra $1000 to pay someone else. In this case, it was over $2000 difference, and since I was maxing myself out on the supplies, it wasn't even an option.

An air nailer makes the job MUCH easier and we put tar paper down first near the eaves

I also borrowed a tractor to lift the shingles to the roof
I also took the advice from a coworker and rented a dumpster. This was a wise investment, because it saved us time and a significant amount of labour loading truckloads of shingles and taking them to the dump. The rental company delivered and will pick up the full dumpster and get rid of the waste. Easy-peasy! And, with my luck, we likely would've ended up with a nail in a tire also, so it was an excellent idea to keep all the old shingles in one place and off my lawn / driveway.

It was a long, LONG day, and it was definitely a little hard on the body standing on a roof all day. Luckily, it was not too hot, and the rain managed to hold out until we were finished. I even helped! I was up there, shovel in hand, popping out nails, ripping the old shingles off, and carrying piles across the roof to the dumpster. Amazing how your fear of falling subsides when three others are walking up and down a roof like it's no problem!

Here is the final budget for the new roof:
Shingles (30 Year from a wholesaler) - $1082 Plus $40 delivery
Dumpster - $241 (includes delivery, pickup, disposal fees and taxes) - Mine was 6 cu yards, this held about 50 bundles of shingles and we needed 48 for my roof. Perfect!
10' aluminum drip edge, 1 bundle of EaveGuard (both for added durability under ice and snow) and 1 bundle of tar paper - $101
Nails for nail gun - $200
Gift for my uncle for helping - $45

Love for my brother and dad - priceless!