2017-12-09 The Tale of Two Thermostats – Part 5

The Final Chapter!!

Well folks, this is it.. The riveting conclusion to the tumultuous tale of my two thermostats and the final hours leading up to what I am more than happy to describe as a great success.

I spent a week, off and on, troubleshooting my HVAC woes and had traced the failure of both of my thermostats to a power issue. This was also confirmed by my replacing the wired thermostat with a brand new Nest which also had power issues. Not a coincidence. My conclusion was to replace the master zone control board which is the conduit for all the wires to and from the thermostat, appliances, sensors, dampers, and wireless receiver. This board was also how power was routed to all of those things.

After I pulled the trigger on buying the board, I had to wait several days for it to arrive. It showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday, but I politely procrastinated working on it until today because my primary objective this week was to apply for jobs. Feeling quite satisfied with that thus far, Friday was the day.

Quite honestly it took me longer to mark all the wires with electrical tape and function and write down exactly which connections went where than it did actually physically swapping out the boards. I bought the same exact one, so it was cake. The moment of truth came at about 2:45PM when I turned the power back on. Once I did that, and went through the short list of steps for configuration, I noticed immediately that the wireless receiver (which, again, gets it’s power from that board), had the LED lit. That’s when I knew it worked!

So there I was, in my basement, all alone (save my kitten), doing a super happy dance and sort of pumping my fist in the air. I finally did it.. I’ve confirmed with 100% certainty the zone board was bad. I had a problem and I solved it. That’s a pretty good feeling.

The next set of tests went really swiftly. I tested zone 2, which is the wired thermostat and turned the heat way up and sure enough it kicked on right away. After that, I had to re-connect the wireless thermostat in my bedroom to the red-link receiver, which took all of three minutes just to run up and down the stairs. Once the heater was off again, I cranked it up to get that call for heat signal down to the board. Again, it worked as expected. Both zones were triggering the heat and I had a smile off my face that was like the cat that ate the canary.

Lessons learned…
1. Don’t make assumptions (said every person on every problem solving project ever).
2. You can’t get HVAC parts in town without being a licensed contractor. It is like an exclusive club which, by the way, also is comprised of 99% men.
3. Wiring for this stuff is really quite easy (and kinda fun).
4. It doesn’t take much to know more than the support persons when you call a manufacturer, but they can be friendly and helpful.
5. Every variable matters.

Along the way I returned the Nest and also purchased some additional wire to run the C (Common) for power to a smart thermostat, which I may or may not need. I’m half tempted to buy the Nest again just to see if I can get it to work without the C, but that would be sort of outside the bounds if that’s not the thermostat I eventually go with.

I am going to get one, at some point, but for now it’s back on my “wishlist” of things to get when I have income again. I’m essentially right back where I started two weeks ago, except now I have a few new holes in the wall in my dining room, I have way more knowledge of HVAC systems, and a new found appreciation for all the things in my house that just “work” to make my life so easy every day.

Staying Warm,
~Miss SugarCookie



2017-12-08 Friday and Forward Thinking

I’m guilty. I admit it. I’m now frequently forgetting what day of the week it is. I’m also not ashamed to admit it’s been glorious. The last five months has been rejuvenating and a wonderful growth opportunity for me. I can say with 100% certainty that I’m happier and healthier today than I have been in a very long time.

I’m not just better than I was last October or December or March when things were really rotten.. I’m better than I was all of last year and 2015 and probably 2014 too. And that’s not even the best part.

What’s even better is that the future looks so great. I’m pursuing my dreams and I’ve I pretty much opened my mind to all sorts of things I never thought possible.

I’m actively working on me. I’m working on overcoming my fears and testing my limits. Some days are two steps back but they are no match for my leaps of faith forward.

And today, FriYay, my positivity and enthusiasm are not even inspired by caffeine.. because I haven’t had any.

Today my zest is coming from a place inside me that’s been suppressed. I’ve started asking the universe for what I want, and one by one, those things are showing up on my doorstep. If that’s not the Law Of Attraction, I don’t know what is.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed my time off from the life society dictated for me, and now I’m ready to get back in there and contribute and create and coexist on my own terms.

Owning it,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-07 Let Me Eat Cake

This morning I’m back in my happy place on “my” elliptical machine staring out at an almost completely empty gym. All the working people are probably already on their way to or at work. All the Non working people are probably not up yet. 😜 The exception to that seems to be people who are retired and.. well.. me.

I think my problem last night was caused by the number crunching. In light of the job situation change soon, I wanted to be absolutely certIn what kind of income I require. I had previously gone through July, August, and September expenses compiling all the data but for some reason I stopped there.

I went through October which was an interesting month to look at because for the most part I had completely reined my sending in, but then I went to Hawaii which threw in a pretty massive fluctuation. This anomaly was split between October and November so for one month it did not seem too harsh. Even still, the bottom line was staring at me and I realized I have to factor in spending for travel as a part of my lifestyle. It truly is a part of my lifestyle I don’t want to sacrifice.

Once I had my target monthly figure the real number crunching began. The questions?.. How much do I have to work, hourly, and at what rate to hit the target?

Something came up this week which I was not previously familiar with. This was the possibility that my income might end up being 1099 instead of W2. This means that I have to not only factor in possibly paying for my own healthcare but also Social Security and Medicare tax. This is roughly another 15% that needs to be accounted for. Damn.

Contract employees typically get paid more for this reason (or they should). I’m glad this came to light before I enter into any negotiations. I’m also glad I did this extra crunching because now I have actual figures in mind.

Of course I’m still asking the universe to let me have my cake and eat it too. I want to work less and get paid more. Ideally I want to work an average of 30 hours a week but still make enough to hit my monthly target. Oh.. and I also want the frosting which is to be working on something I want to be working on with smart, cool people.

Ok universe, do your thing!

Today I’m not only looking forward to having a job interview but also getting my ducks lined up to enroll in school. Two more hoops to jump and I’ll be set.

Depending on how all that goes I may or may not have time to put my HVAC hat on. We’ll see.

Bring on the Cake,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-07 Negative One Hours Until Tomorrow

This is the first time in a long time that I could not seem to fall asleep shortly after going to bed. The clock has turned over time and it is now tomorrow, which means everything I may reveal probably happened “yesterday”. The last couple days in general have been full of lots of things. There has been a lot that I did and a lot that I did not do.

I went to the startup collaborative’s “one million cups” session which was interesting as always, but sort of feels like a waste of my time. I’m not likely going to find a job or discover the new “best” thing there, but it is a chance to network a little bit and get more comfortable doing that. I’m challenging my own social anxiety more than anything else.

I applied for two more jobs online bringing my weekly total to seven. I originally targeted three a day, but I’ve adjusted my goal to ten a week plus communications with five other known contacts about potential contracting. So far I have done two of the latter. The folks in California seem really interested in me and I have another interview with them tomorow.. er.. today.

What I didn’t do is probably a more telling story…
1. I didn’t hit my daily step goal.
2. I didn’t blog (making up for that now I guess).
3. I didn’t get to ordering my official transcripts so I can register for school.
4. I didn’t look into filling out my financial aid forms.
5. I didn’t work on my HVAC issues (though I do now have the new hardware to do this).
6. I didn’t eat any vegetables (unless you count the ones cut up in the home-made chili I had for lunch).

Instead, I opted to do meet ups, and coffee, and chat with people almost all day until I was ready to be home and be alone. Once it got to that point, I opted to make cookies (gluten free of course) instead of eating healthy or getting more exercise. All evening I sat at my laptop researching one thing or another until I decided it was time for bed. That’s when I realized my mind was crazy-busy and I’ve been lying awake in the dark ever since.

Right now, I have my sweet kitten on my lap and I’m still not feeling tired. My sister and I talked about doing the “whole 30” together, which I’m completely uneducated about so I may go surf the electronic superhighway for info on that. I’ve heard people talk about it before but never looked into it.

Perhaps more on that tomorrow (aka/ later today),
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-05 The Tuesday Transition

The kids are at their dad’s house and I’m waking up to an empty house, which always feels weird no matter how often I have to go through this transition. I always tell myself it’s going to be good because I can sleep in, but then Tuesday comes and I’m awake around the usual 6:30 with no ability or desire to try and fall back asleep. I always tell myself it’s going to be good when they are graduated and off on their own life path, but I think I’m in denial about that too. I like our morning routine even though it’s quite trying at times. I like having them here, laughing and complaining and filling the house with activity. I’ve only got a few more years.. I really need to make the most I can of it.

One part of our normal morning routine is dropping them off at school. It’s a reason for me to get up and get dressed and by the time 7:45 AM rolls around, I’m energized and ready to get out the door. I typically dress for the gym so I can go there right after, and in recent weeks it has worked out great. I start my day with 10K steps and a writing session from the elliptical. I would guess that at least half of the blog posts in the last three weeks were written at the gym. That’s maximizing my time for sure!

Without that motivation to get the kids up and going though, I find myself not getting dressed as quick and not really feeling like jumping in the car to go anywhere. And this morning it’s cold outside, so that makes it even harder.

Yup, it’s just me in my big, beautiful house wth only my pretty kitty, Kayla, and no where to be and no one to be accountable to. It’s kind of a bummer.

I’m going to try and get motivated to go to my new job, which is looking for a job, but that doesn’t exactly sound appealing either. My original goal for December was to contact or communicate with three people/businesses a day about potential employment but I truly did not start that until yesterday. I put in three job applications and sent email out to two people.

One was a guy I met last week at 1 million cups who is developing a health care product/system which prevents falls in hospitals and the other was one of the founders of a healthcare contracting/consulting company out in California. I actually have a meeting with the latter today at 3PM.

Anyway.. I’ve got to get up and start something. I’m not sure what that will be yet, but if I don’t start, I won’t ever get to the middle or the end.

Happy Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-04 Part-Time Problems

Monday morning again and my head is full of things I want to put on the to-do list this week. The challenge? Making the job search a priority.

Sadly, the issues I had this past with my HVAC, iPhone, and laptop ended up being welcome distractions from what should be my main goal. Despite that though, I now have two rockstar resumes that focus on specific jobs and am ready to start applying.

I had previously considered taking a part time job just to earn some quick cash to ease the Christmas strain. I’m sure that when the Baby Jesus arrived he never intended for his birthday to cause People monitary stress and depression (not that I’m depressed but The holidays cause lots of people to feel both stress and depression).

Also.. as a benevolent, omnipresent being, I’m pretty sure He never intended people to wage wars or die “in His good name” (Lily Allen said it best with her song “Him”). I digress.

This past weekend I not only put in an application at my gym but also attended an informative session about becoming a Jazzercise instructor. The problem with both of these is that they do not and will not pay enough to meet my minimum (which I knew already). They would merely be supplemental to some other gig. Still there would be value in both.

For the gym, it would be interaction with like minded adults, which I don’t have enough of but also that it would be super convenient to pick up some shifts since the gym is 5 blocks from my house and I’m there every other day anyway.

For Jazzercise it would also be the camaraderie but also a financial win. I would be getting paid for working out instead of paying. Jazzercise is 60 bucks a month and in evaluating my spending I will admit that is one of the next things to get cut. I do love my Jazzercise but in the grand scheme of things, I should be able to do all the working out I need at home and the gym.

My gym membership is a mere $82 annually. That’s less than 7 bucks a month. Over 10 years ago I bought into a lifetime membership which locked that price in.. indefinitely. Last year my gym got bought out by another company and they are still honoring that contract. It’s AMAZING.

Anyway, I would be willing to let the Jazzercise go in order to not have to pay their membership fee, but a much better option would be for them to pay me instead. Right?

The catch is that the certification process costs about 1800 bucks. It would be an investment in the future for sure but the timing is poor. Pretty soon now I’ll be working again AND have 30 hours a week dedicated to the MFA coursework. I’m not going to have any free time to participate in the process.

Perhaps when I’m on a solid track with an established routine, I can revisit the “part time” scene. Until then, it’s time to push that job search stuff to the top of the list.

Time to hit it and git it!

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-03 Sunday Status Update and Reflection

Some days I feel so positive about my progress and some days I just feel like a follow through failure. Braeaking it all down with statistics helps me realize the reality and take feelings out of the story. These “pulse checks” are therefore very helpful. It’s also helpful to compare one moment in time to another. That way I can truly see if I’m making progress and meeting my goals.

Here’s today’s snapshot…

Exercise/Steps: My average steps for the last 7 days was just shy of 20k steps per day. This is on par with where I was two weeks ago but about twice as much as I was getting at the start of the year.

I went to about 6 Jazzercise classes for the week which is also about the same as last week but I’m doing more of this now than at the start of the year as well. I’m still using 8 pound weights but don’t think I can go any heavier because 8 pounds is pretty taxing on my joints.

Sleep: My 7 day average was 6 hours and 50 minutes. This is worse than the last four previous weeks which were all 7+ hours average per night. My goal has been 8 for so long but I’m feeling that’s unrealistic. I’m going to adjust accordingly and shoot for 7.5 hours. I’ve still felt rested and energized for the day when I wake up and I think that’s the important thing. I’m now able to sleep through the night which is HUGE! A year ago I was so far from that it’s crazy and was even still struggling six months ago. I’m attributing my improved mood and energy to this one factor and therefore know for certain the changes I’ve made in my life were not just good ones.. they were absolute necessity.

Eating: It was a tough week and my willpower was low. I had too much junk with sugar in it. I’ve decided I’m going gluten free… and I started a couple of days ago. If that seems familiar, it’s because it is. I just copy/pasted that from two weeks ago. It’s exactly the same. I caved on the gluten free thing a few times and broke down and had too many sweets. But a few days ago, on December 1st, I re-committed myself to being gluten free. It’s time to get serious. I’m not going to try and fool myself into thinking I can also cut dairy or sugar at the same time. So this month I’m going to focus on just that one change.

Employment: Still None. My MFA residency starts this month and I’m now actively engaged in looking for a job.

Relationships: I now have a backlog of writing to do on this subject.. for romantic relationships and new things regarding family, but I’ve not found dedicated time to do so because of other priorities. Of course I’m still single and unsure what to do about these of my life, but it’s not like it’s a thing you can set goals around and make “progress”. Am I Right?

Looking forward to:

1. Monday – Pounding the world wide electronic superhighway for a job. (Yes.. I’m actually excited about this).
2. Tuesday – An evening in or out with my lovely sister. .
3. Wednesday – Showing my HVAC who is boss and filing away the final episode of that saga.
4. Thursday – Lunch with Leah.
5. Friday – FriYay!
6. Saturday – Christmas cookie chaos!!

Life is Still Good,
~Miss SugarCookie