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Yes, it's been a month ...

February 18, 2008 - LLee Janssen

One reader reminds me that I haven't written anything in this blog for a month. He's right, and it's been on my mind. Have I not been moved to write? Truthfully, there are many things I could have written, but I've been reluctant. There are areas I'd love to chime in about, but I wonder if it doesn't sound like I'm just complaining or screwy or what. Okay, here goes ...

My heating experiment ... the use of a space heater and considerable lowering of my thermostat has cut the monthly winter energy cost in half ... but it's also cut down on my socializing at home. While I may find 60 to be quite comfortable (and actually, 56) my so-called friends don't. But not to fret as spring will soon rectify the situation. Meanwhile, I've done the PPL energy audit and find my electricity usage, even with a space heater, to be conservative. Still, I'm not looking forward to the removal of rate caps in two years, and the prospect of that tells me the heating solution is only short term. I wish solar panels were affordable, but that's not what I hear. I admit my obsession over energy use is more prompted by fears over how I'll be able to survive -- or if that's all I'll be doing -- should energy costs not be curtailed.

City crime ... I've given up my pedestrian lifestyle. It was a struggle, because the daily walks really helped me deal w/ the stresses of the job. But the thoughts of what happened here at the start of January have caused me to think again. On the bright side, the money for that monthly parking pass is at least going to a local cause and not big oil.

Looking ahead to old age ... nah, why bother! Okay, think again ... with Social Security in trouble and my distrust of the politicians in D.C. who will be charged with fixing the system, I think my efforts are better spent trying to stay healthy and able to keep on working. More green to feed the machine, so the fat cats can divvy it up and spread it around, maybe give out some more "rebates" to people who haven't paid as much into the system, as is the proposal for Pennsylvania rebates. Not that I begrudge the working poor but more that I wonder who's looking out for the increasingly pinched middle class. Hey, I worked hard all my life and now that the kids are grown and gone, it would be nice to hang onto the house and the bedrooms for their visits, someday with children of their own. And just because they are grown and gone, now I'm a single instead of a family of three, and I don't qualify for crap, let alone a rebate. Forget that 38 percent of my income goes into taxes in one form or another, and forget the years of debt incurred while raising those young ones. The American dream, right? But when did the dream ever mean that all of the extra change would go into supporting the house, utilities, insurance and not much else?

Or is that simply the new American nightmare?


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