[bct] end of year and such.

  • From: "jeff" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "blind cool tech mail list" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 16:32:42 -0600

Hi all,

In 2005, my brother had 4 grandchildren born to him, and my older sister 1. I am thankful both for the beautiful babies as well as the fact that I have none of the grandchildren yet. There's plenty of time for all that later. My brother is just 40.

My mother got remarried to a man who seems to treat her like gold, for that I am very thankful.

My family is happy and healthy for the most part and living comfortably, so again I am thankful.

I am also happy to have met you all and added the sounds and experiences of your lives to my own this year.

My local utility, Excel Energy, usually charges me 226 dollars per month on the budget for gas and electric together and ended up the year by lowering my bill to 176 for December. I hope they know what they're doing. I, like Larry, added some more weather stripping around the old house. My house was built in 1916 and is a bit drafty by Minnesota standards. Last year, Mary and I installed new insulation in our attic. We ran a coarse of bats of fiberglass, 6 inches thick, from one end of the house to the other running east to west, and another layer from north to south. We had previously installed 4 inches between the attic floor and the upstairs ceilings for a total of 16 inches of insulation. That has helped a ton and fiberglass insulation is relatively cheap. WE added weather stripping between the sashes of the old original windows. We caulked where the foundation meets the rim joist which is the lowest wooden portion of the house. Next year we hope to insulate the floor between the main floor and the basement, put good insulation in the walls and replace a couple of windows. When we bought our house some windows were starting to dry rot from years of weather, mainly the south and west sides of the house that take the rain and sun, this caused us to have to buy the newer style double and triple insulated windows. Our front porch is enclosed and provides a weather break for the north side of the house. We have 2 huge trees on the south side of the house. In summer the leaves block the sun and help somewhat with cooling bills, in winter they lose the leaves and let the winter sun shine into the south facing windows. We could increase the amount of glass on the south to make this effect more pronounced in the future. I've also heard of people putting in brick flooring in front of a south facing deck door which is made of glass so as to take on the solar loading throughout the winter days and release it at night as outdoor temps go down. I used to watch a PBS program called "A House for all Seasons" but it never mattered as much at home as it does here and especially now. If you have steel entry doors, they make a special magnetic weather stripping which works like that which surrounds a refrigerator door, it cuts off drafts quite a bit. Adding moisture with humidifiers in the winter time will allow you to lower the thermostat and be just as comfortable, or make your current temp just that much more comfortable. Here, people frequently get nose bleeds in the coldest part of the year which is January and February. One can even get plastic plugs to go into outside walls' electric outlets and light switches. Our local utility provides a free "energy audit" which is where they inspect your home for what exists and what can be done to save money on energy. They set up a huge fan in the front doorway and seal it in with plastic and tape. They do a "blower test" with this fan to see how much resistance your house gives to infiltrating air. They leave you with a list of suggestions and their approximate savings in percentages of current cost. If one's income is below a certain threshold, the fixes might be paid for as well. The other ideas I've heard of for saving energy is to get pipe insulation which is basically a tube of foam which is split down one side and comes with peal off sticky stuff to secure it around the pipes. You actually put this on both hot and cold water pipes and heating pipes if you have a hydronic heating system with radiators. Using foil tape to tape the joints where your ducting from your furnace goes together will save a little too. We also got the talking thermostat which allows for programming in a set back at night. We can comfortably set the boiler/furnace to be set down to 62 degrees when we sleep and back up to 70 when awake. We can also have it go down into the 50s when we aren't home, though we don't do this lately since everyone has changing schedules, with the kids both in school and working as well as Mary and I.

On the dating subject, I have found that participating in "blind" versions of your favorite activities is the best way to meet others of like mind. If you like computers, join a blind computer users group in your town or a local blind sports club like goalball or beep baseball or blind bowling league if they are available. As with employment, dating can be helped immensely by networking. See who your friends know who might meet your requirements for a date or partner. Don't restrict yourself to only other blind people. This all is a lot easier in big cities. When I was a young college student, I met most of my girlfriends via friends. School is a terrific place to meet people because they are trying to improve their life and that's really positive. Some people have success meeting others through church but I've never tried that. I would definitely warn against meeting people in bars. It is just too likely to be people looking for short-term physical intimacy and not a true relationship. The people I ever met in bars were mostly alcoholics and a general disappointment. My mother met her recently married to husband via the internet. As did a good friend of mine who is also very happy with the outcome. I have no personal experience in this area but would imagine, like other methods, one should just be very careful and look for signs that the potential date has negative issues and avoid actually going out with them if they do. I have always insisted on meeting any guy my daughter dates or any girl my son dates. It makes them think twice before agreeing to date someone because that person is going to be brought home to meet us and we are reasonable but picky. You can use your existing friends to perform the same function. Make perspective dates meet a good friend or relative before dating you so that others can observe the new person. Later, you can compare with your friend or relative to get a good idea of what you and they both noticed. I tend to lean toward the side of safety and tell my kids to have their first date be at least a double-date if not a larger group for safety and to see how the new person reacts to different kinds of people. The more you can see on the first date the better.

Thus ends the rambling pontithications from my brain based on recent messages I read. Overall, 2005 was otherwise uneventful, not the worst thing to say. 2004 saw my daughter have a auto accident and me cut off, and have re-attached, my right middle finger tip. I don't need that kind of excitement.

I will wish and pray for a 2006 full of great things for all of you. So, for now, I'll just say, see you next year.

Jeff Armstrong,

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