I received a flyer in the mail from the Southern California Gas Company telling me of all the ways I can save money on my gas bill. And since I recently had a “Smart” gas meter installed, the flyer went on to say that I could also “track” my gas usage and set up a savin’s goal. If I choose my goal as 10% a year, my gas bill could be reduced by $58 bucks a year. Look honey, we’ve saved so much money we can now afford to fly first class to anywhere!
The company’s web site also don’t get into a lot of specifics, but I’m guessin’ the wife and I would have to take a few more cold showers, drop the thermostat on the spa to 65 degrees and we’d probably have to kick our stove out to the curb for bulky item pickup.
I can track my gas usage all day long and view my billin’ history till the sun sets, but how else do I reduce my gas bill without usin’ less gas? Heck, I could also save a bunch more money if I didn’t buy tires for my car and just drove around on the rims. Oh sweetheart, it’s goin’ to be a rough ride to Vegas next week!
My electric and water meters are also “Smart,” but they haven’t performed any miracles for me either. Other than eliminatin’ a person that use to walk around and check these meters, I’m not sure what their advantage is. I continually get a monthly letter from my power company tellin’ me I’m using more power and water than my “more efficient neighbors.” You know, this whole environmental thing is really irratatin’. As an example: A number of people in this community are pushin’ the city to allow them to dig up their grass and plant the “fake” stuff to save on water, but the city fathers won’t allow it. Go figure.
In addition, all my exterior walls and attic space are insulated. I have dual paned “E” glass windows throughout the house and every stinking’ light bulb has been changed over to them stupid “curly” bulbs that contain mercury. So no matter what I’ve done to keep pace with the latest environmental upgrades, my city has not yet labeled me as bein’ “efficient.” I’m also usin’ way too much water, but unless I want that “desert” look for my front lawn, I have to use that wet stuff to keep it green.
Yea, I’ve come a long way baby, but I’m no more “efficient” or “greener” now or savin’ any more money than my Neanderthal neighbor, who still struggles to open and close his original wood “double-hung” windows and who still illuminates his house with them old fashioned incandescent light bulbs.
LA Retired Fire and Police Assn
Since my last article I have been appointed to the Benevolent Committee. We review requests for monetary assistance from retirees. We are the last resort because our assistance can only be obtained when there are no other viable sources available.
I want to talk about some requests that have come from spouses of members that have gone EOW (End of Watch) and all of sudden they are faced with the issue of paying bills. Bills they said they did not know needed to be paid. They need funds to pay overdue bills, to keep utilities from being turned off or other payments going to collectors. I ask myself, “How is this possible?” A retiree’s adult spouse should know what bills to pay – could the retiree that went EOW keep everything that secret? Maybe the surviving spouse was happy in their sheltered life not worrying about the bills or bank accounts. Until, of course, it’s too late and they are suddenly alone. Think about it? Is that how you want to leave your spouse after you go EOW?
I had a friend that died of cancer and I contacted his spouse to see how she was getting along. The spouse said she was doing well, that my friend had discussed all the issues that would come up after his death. She said that when my friend found out he had six months to live, he realized he had cared for all the monetary issues and now needed to prepare her to care for herself and all of the household issues. Because of my friend’s preparation of his spouse, she is not burdened with issues of when to pay bills or what accounts to pay them from. Because she was prepared, she has been able to cope a little better with the loss of my friend, the love of her life.
Do any of us know how long we have to live? At our age shouldn’t we stop being so secretive regarding the household finances and where you have your free check money stashed? Both spouses should be aware of what to pay and when to pay it. Don’t let your spouse be so unaware that he/she has to come to the Association to ask for monies because you weren’t prepared.
Well, enough said on that issue. Until the next newsletter, remember a retiree’s main job is to stay healthy.
By Art Placentia
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