Posts Tagged ‘Green’

… and this was the only way they could do it!

Call in the Fire Marshall!

So late Tuesday afternoon, Chief was at work. The generator had been running earlier, about 11 am, and I turned it off at 2.

So what’s that? 3 hours?

The plan was to leave it off for the rest of the day. The batteries were all charged and there wasn’t a reason to turn it on again. THIS was the point we had been trying to get to. Run the thing for a short period of time to just top the batteries off and save on gas.

So what happens?

Well.. SPAZ happens.

He comes home from school around 4 and instead of just using the laptop that’s already charged up.. he plugs the laptop into the invertor. Drains the sucker down to zip. He’s been told time and time and time and TIME and FIVE WEEKS WORTH OF TIMES to not plug the laptop into THAT particular invertor.

So now the laptop is not only dead.. but the router also won’t work meaning no internet.

No internet to Spaz is like.. I don’t know.. taking food away from a rabid grizzly bear.

He tears a fit.. bitching and moaning and complaining and bitching and moaning or complaining.

Weed was there and the more Weed told him it was his own dumb fault.. the more pissy he got.

Finally, when the chef’s knive I was holding was justthisclose to flying in Spaz’s direction, I told Weed to just turn the damn generator on.

About a half hour later, there was a knock on the door. Weed answered it and told me that it was the fire marshall and he wanted to see me out back.


Have I mentioned that the fire marshall is also the guy that heads the youth group Spaz used to go to?


So I go to the back door and he tells me I have to shut the generator off. I complay.. and he tells me that he didn’t know that we still lived here.. that he thought we moved. He also said that he can’t let our “familiarity” bias him.

Of couse it couldn’t, I tell him.. and I didn’t expect it to.

See, I’m the NICE one in the family.

So he tells me that I can’t run the generator and I ask him why.. he tells me it’s against the fire code and again, I ask him why. I tell him that I’m not being sarcastic or fasicious .. I want to know what is against the code so that I know what I have to change.

He goes to his car and brings out his Fire Hazard 101 Rules and Regs and while he’s combing through the pages, who pulls up but the CEG (Code Enforcement Guy) .. he walks up into my back yard and right behind me with his arms across his chest and doesn’t say a word. No Hi.. No Fuck You.. No This-Time-I-Got-You-Biatch!

I should have told him to get off my property because he was trespassing but I didn’t.

You know how you just KNOW something .. well, I didn’t know exactly then WHAT I knew, but I knew it .. Just felt it.

So the Fire Marshall tells me that this whole set up was dangerous.. that we can’t have extension cords running into the basement .. that there’s FAUX wood on the side of the house.. that the dog house was plastic .. all these things. So I let him say his peace and then the CEG ¬†has to go and open his mouth.

He tells me that they’ve been getting complaints about the noise and smell. I asked who? He said I didn’t need to know that. I told him that under the constitution of this republic, I have every right to know who my accusers are because I know FOR A FACT that the three houses closest me have no worries. He said that it may not have mattered to them in the winter, but now the weather got warmer and windows are opened.

I’m like WINTER? Are you freaking kidding me? This doesn’t go back to WINTER.

And he fumbled all over is tongue to say that he meant a few weeks ago while it was cooler out.

He then mentioned the tragic deaths of two people in a few boroughs from CO poisoning because the owners of the store they lived above had put a generator in the store to keep there fridges going because the power company had shut them off.

Yea.. I told him.. because they had it INSIDE .. and sorry, I don’t think a canopy of huckleberry trees constitutes INDOORS.

I then showed him the EPA stickers on the generator and the little line saying that this particular generator was well within California’s EPA codes.. CALIFORNIA, big CEG .. you know.. the EPA Capital of the World??

And noise.. what about the lawnmowers? What about the roofers using their nail guns at 7am? What about your freakin’ son on the trash truck that parks in front of my house for 40 minutes while he does God knows what on borough time?

Things started to get heated .. good thing the Fire Marshall was there, huh? ..and we got into a word exchange about how adult handle situations like adults and don’t do the weasel thing like going to the landlord or coming by when they knew Chief wasn’t home.

The Fire Marshall was getting uncomfortable because he knows what kind of people we are.. so he right away says that he knows that we didn’t MEAN to do anything wrong.. and I tell him that we followed every borough ordinance. The CEG wanted to know where we got our information because WE didn’t call HIM .. Well, guess what MR. CEG .. we DID .. you weren’t there and never came around so we did the next best thing and went on the internet where all the borough’s codes are listed.

Their outdated, he tells me.

Oh. Really?

Nice.. so what do you have them up there so people can follow the wrong codes and get fined? Is that how you keep your job?

He didn’t like that.

At all.

Now, the Fire Marshall was getting REALLY uncomfortable and to try and throw water on the inferno, he pulls out a copy of the email that my landlord requested I send to him outlining our plans for alternative energy.

Hmmmm … interesting.

He points to the part where I talked about solar panels and asked the CEG if there were any issues with them. The CEG says no but :: you’re going to LOVE this :: .. IF YOU CAN’T PAY YOUR POWER BILL HOW ARE YOU GOING TO AFFORD SOLAR PANELS.

And I swear I wasn’t raised this way but you know, some straws just break the camels back.

I looked him straight in the eye and said IT’S NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. END. OF. STORY.

I wish I had a camera.. his face was priceless.

Fire Marshall was all gulping because I know he didn’t intend to make things worse and wished, as much as I did, that the CEG would just shut the hell up.

Oh.. and while on the topic of solar panels.. the CEG happened to mention in an off-handed kind of way.. that he would like to see how they are installed. I told him fat chance he’d get that opportunity here!

I then asked why it was ok to have a generator if power was out.. CEG said because then it was an emergency .. I said that THIS was an emergency and he went on his stupid script about the neighbors and quality of living for THEM :: guess we don’t count :: and all this other bull.

The Fire Marshall butted in to say that he could care less about the noise.. he was just worried about a fire and how he would hate to have to come here and pull our burnt, charred bodies out of the house. He really did say that.

But like I said.. sometimes you just KNOW things and when I saw the email to my landlord in the Fire Marshall’s hands I knew then that everything we were doing up to that point WAS legal, the borough just didn’t like what we were doing and was going to find any way possible to stop it.

Little do they know that I’ve read the Art of War and sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

So I shut the generator.. called the landlord and told him that I wasn’t going to use it anymore because I didn’t want to cause him anymore headaches and when Chief came home, I told him I was done. This was it.

Unfortunately, the power company wants the WHOLE bill before turning it back on .. there was a payment agreement in place when Chief closed the deli and since he didn’t have an income, DUH .. couldn’t pay the agreement. But they didn’t care. Of course, the didn’t care.

The kids.. well, Spaz immediately called the Crack Whore because GOD FORBID if something in his life isn’t easy.. who immediately started ranting and raving about getting custody .. even though she gave her 30 day notice to her landlord and doesn’t know where the hell she’s moving to .. and Weed, well, he was the same way.

When the going gets tough.. his kids get going. And that kind of pissed me off in a major way because THEY are a majority of the reason why the bill got so high in the beginning.

We returned the generator and will now send money to the power company as we get it to get the bill down until it’s paid.

There really isn’t anything else we can do … except charge the batteries using the car :: we do drive, yknow :: and run the lawnmower.

All the time.

Because, like I said.. sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.. and using THEIR philosophy.. and use ANY sarcastic voice you can think of .. isn’t dangerous to have a gas can filled with gas outside your house? Isn’t it a FIRE hazard? And well, how ELSE are you suppose to property dispose of gas? Just so happens that my lawnmower will use gas in a safe and non-hazardous manner.

Oh.. and did I happen to mention that my lawnmower is about 10 times louder then my generator???

… because, yknow.. I’m anything BUT a tree hugging, enviro hippie nut job!!

Well, maybe a nut job but not in this case!

Anyway.. we live in a land where our electric/gas company likes to rape their customers. And I’m not talking any old generic rape.. I’m talking BRUTAL prison rape.

Chief has been talking for some time about moving away from them and implementing some sort of alternative enegry.

Mind you, this man is half McGuyver and half Grizzly Adams so I really wasn’t looking forward to even HEARING what any of his “ideas” were.

We have very differing opinions of what going off the grid entails!

Anyway.. he was doing some heavy duty research. THAT I will hand to him. He’s more then willing to put the time and effort into something HE thinks is important … changing the washer on the hot water knob in the shower, though? Not so much.

At any rate.. We got hit with a ridiculously high bill :: and I mean RIDICULOUS :: along with a 10 day shut off notice. Mind you, during the usage dates this bill spanned we were in a very difficult financial situation and even though he didn’t have an income and I was receiving unemployment benefits, he was turned down for assistance. THEY claimed it was because of his 320.00 monthly child support judgment.

However, his judgement is NOT for 320.00 .. it’s for 160.00 .. and the Crack Whore hasn’t paid that since the beginning of summer.

I have my OWN theories as to why he was turned down but this isn’t the appropriate post for THAT rant and vent.

Anyway.. so with his paycheck, he went out and bought a generator. And marine batteries. And inverters. And heavy duty extension cords.

There really isn’t much in the house that needs power. 1 fridge, 2 tvs, 2 cable boxes and 3 laptops.

Mind you, I’m looking at him like he’s completely off his gourd. I was P.I.S.S.E.D that he just didn’t take his check and make an arrangement with the power company. There are certain things I can live with and certain things that I will not.. electricity falls into the WILL NOT category. Say what you will, but I am woman that likes some convenience once in a while.

But he swore that he was going to get this working and as soon as we could afford it, he’d get solar panels and a windmill. He had it all figured out but we would need to take it one paycheck at a time.

After a few days, I kind of warmed up to it. No more yelling at everyone in the house except the dogs to turn off the lights when they leaved a room .. or turn off the tv before going to bed .. that kind of stuff. If they wanted the charges to last for the laptop or router or if they wanted to watch tv later on in the evening .. well, they were just going to have to conserve.

Their annoyance gave me a sick kind of pleasure!!

But you know.. this is ME and we wouldn’t have a story if it wasn’t!

About a week or so into this endeavor, me and Chief had to go to the store. Spaz was on spring break so he was left home alone. We don’t let the generator run when an adult isn’t in the house so it was off when the borough’s code enforcement guy walked right up to our property and started examining the generator.

One thing I have to note here:

EVERYTHING was in compliance with the borough’s code. The generator was NOT hooked up to the house’s main breaker box.. we didn’t run it passed 10pm (noise ordinance) and the generator itself is within so many EPA laws it’s ridiculous. It’s even rated to operate in California .. the EPA Capital of the World!

In turn, we made sure that it was as sound proof as possible.. wasn’t an eyesore (big dog houses work great for housing one).. and didn’t start it either too early or run it too late. We even installed what looks like a car muffler on it to make it quieter. You can’t hear the damn thing if your in MY house let alone someone else’s and when you’re outside, near it, it isn’t any louder then a lawn mower.

But apparently, the neighbor two houses down has a vendetta against us ever since she called the police about a fire blazing in our yard when we were actually BBQing and the subsequent raw eggs that the Idiot King decided to lob in her yard in retaliation.

I was at the store when this whole cop calling egg throwing incident occurred, so don’t blame me for not stopping it!

Okay .. so anyway.. we come home from where we were and Spaz tells us he saw the code enforcement guy walk up into our yard and examine the dog house where the generator is.

As soon as I hear that, I told Chief to call the landlord. Any time there is an issue with the code enforcer guy, he weasels out from talking to one of us and goes right to the landlord.

Chief does and good thing.. the landlord’s office was calling at the same time. He leaves a message explaining that nothing we are doing is illegal or dangerous and that if the CEG (Code Enforcer Guy) wants to come back around and check, he’s more then welcome to.

This was a Monday afternoon.

Tuesday comes and goes and we don’t hear anything from either the landlord or the CEG.

Funny thing though.. the generator wouldn’t start. Hmmm… don’t you find that a little suspicious? I do.

Chief finally gets it going. He thought it was that fact that maybe something “enginey” had happened.. I know nothing about engines so all I heard was blahblahblahblahblah when he explained it to me. Whatever.

Wednesday morning rolls around and guess what? Generator won’t start again. He gets it working but after an hour or so, it stops again. Great. HE has to go to work.. I know nothing about what might be wrong to get it re-started.. and I figured, yknow what? I’m just going to go get another one .. we’ll worry about taking the bad one back the following day.

So me and Weed jump in the car and buy the only other generator the place had.. which was bigger then the original one .. Chief gets it going and we’re all happy campers.

And then the landlord’s office calls again late in the afternoon while Chief is at work.

She tells me that the CEG called again.. that HE called the power company and found out that our electricity had been cut off and if we didn’t have electricity re-instated by the up coming Monday, then he was going to condemn the house.



I told her again that NOTHING was illegal .. I told her that if the CEG wanted my electricity back on then HE could pay my bill to have it turned on.. I told her that we offered to have in come into the house.. but we haven’t heard anything from him nor did he return to the house.

She said she didn’t know if he could even do that.. and that she would have to call the owner of the house and tell him what was going on.

But I’m not going to lie.. this freaked me out. As rebellous as I am, I tend to stay within the lines and since I wasn’t the one who actually did all the research on the rules and regs and because I have never been in this situation before, I was out done.

Chief comes home from work around 10pm and I’m telling him what happened and getting more pissed off now.

I mean, isn’t GOING GREEN shoved down our throats all the time? If there was a storm and we lost power, we could use a generator then, right? Why is now so different?

Chief ASSURES me that the CEG can’t do what he threatened.. in fact, he was actually trespassing when he walking up into our yard the first time and that all this was because the asshole chief of police drove down our block when Chief was out trying to get the generator started and both glared at each other. There’s no love lost between either of them and the assumption was made that the asshole chief of police went back to the CEG and was like, “.. what the hell you doing about that generator???”.

The next morning, Thursday, the landlord calls. The actual landlord who owns the building. I right away hand the phone to Chief because I don’t want to deal with it. But guess what? HE’S just as pissed… if not more.. about the whole condemning of the property thing.. So pissed in fact that he told us to erect a fence around the property .. something we’ve been asking him to at least pay half of for the last four years.

So thank you, CEG! I’m getting my fence!!

In all seriousness, knowing that the landlord was on our side and didn’t give a rat’s ass that we were running a generator and moving to solar and wind power put my mind at ease. My indigestion had more to do with him being ok with it then the borough, I think.

Bowels and stomach operating just fine now, thank you!

But then another funny thing happened… the NEW generator stopped working. The engine operated fine but the part that makes the energy wasn’t putting anything out so we had to take THAT one back.

We’re up and running now (please don’t jinx it!!) and other then Spaz complaining when we move off generator and onto battery power for the three minutes it takes the router to go back on .. things are peachy.

Eventually, the generator will be converted to propane along with the stove and water heater and then another conversion to solar panels.

It’s baby steps.. one leap after another as the paychecks come in but right now, the only “bill” bills we have are the rent, cable and water.

Give Chief time though, he’ll think of a way to dig a well to the creek and use tin foil to get HBO!