Personal Stories

Corona Virus Diaries – October 27, 2020

Photo by August de Richelieu on

It’s early morning here in New Hampshire. The weather has been pretty crappy for a few days. Don’t get me wrong – we need the rain. It’s been colder than it has been, too, and that gives it a raw feeling. They’re even calling for a possibility of some snow Friday morning. I usually don’t mind the snow, except it interferes with geocaching. I love sitting in my chair next to the window and watching it fall. Usually it takes until about the beginning of March before I get tired of it and just want spring to get here.

The rain this month has moved us out of “severe drought” to “moderate drought.” That’s good news for a lot of people. Many people were having problems with their wells. Not us, we were fine. Well, except for the pump deciding to quit last winter during the coldest weather we had last year. Looking back, it was a good thing that it quit then, because the well drilling companies are now backed up with work until the spring.

Speaking of home repairs, when we had the house built, we went with a tankless hot water system with our oil burner. We weren’t crazy about it for two reasons. One is that there’s a small amount of water in reserve, so when someone turns on the hot water tap, after a few minutes we get nice, hot water. Then, once that reserve is used up, it cools down until the unit kicks in. The idea is we would never run out of hot water. When I’m taking a shower and just as I go to rinse out the conditioner the water cools down, it’s not a pleasant thing. Usually that’s the time I just brush my teeth until the hot water comes back on. The other issue is that in the winter, the water never seems to get hot enough. Our water comes up from the ground and goes into a holding tank in our basement until it’s used. In the winter that water is a lot colder than in the summer and the hot water heater just never seems to be able to get it hot enough, at least not for me.

Well, the last time the oil burner technician came in and serviced the burner, he said the water heater was leaking. I said we didn’t really like it anyway – were there any out there that were adjustable that we could at least make the water hotter in the winter? He said he’d look into it and I never heard back from him. Yesterday, as I was coming home from dropping my granddaughter at school, I saw an acquaintance who is a plumber working at a house down the hill from my house. I stopped and told him my issue. He came up to my house about 20 minutes later and took a look at it. He said if we were using propane, he would absolutely recommend replacing the tankless water heater with another, but with oil heat it just wasn’t as efficient. He recommended switching over to a 50 gallon hot water tank. It would be a lot more efficient and save us on oil, especially in the summer when the heat wasn’t running. Off the top of his head, he guessed it would cost about $5000 to do this.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m facing a break-up with my 2011 Jeep Wrangler. I call it a break-up because that’s what it feels like. It feels like a bad relationship when you know it’s over and you just don’t want to let go. I love my Wrangler, but the last few years have been very expensive in the repairs department. I put a new transmission in just this past spring, and it’s still not behaving properly. Since it has a 3 year warranty on the transmission, I’m going to try to get it back to the repair shop, but that means leaving it there since it happens more when it’s cold and hasn’t been driven overnight. My husband was up under it putting new rear shocks on and said there’s a lot of rust under there. I try to be good about it – taking it every 10-14 days to the car wash for an undercarriage wash in the winter to get the brine they use on the roads out of there, but it’s a hard battle to win.

One of my relatives manages a Chevrolet dealership. We’ve gotten 2 cars from him already, including my spouse’s pickup truck and my son bought his first new car from him as well. I have plans this weekend, but after I get the Wrangler back from the transmission shop I’m going to take a drive over and look at what he has. I was leaning towards a Chevy Trax, but he’s recommending the Trailblazer. The name “Blazer” brings back PTSD from my spouse’s Blazer that he had when we met. We went through two transmissions and an engine before he stopped spending the money on it. I’ll look, though. The online pictures look pretty good. Still, when we were camping someone walked by our site and said “that’s a nice Jeep!” No one’s going to say that about the Trailblazer. I did run the Wrangler through Kelly Blue Book and was honest and they came back with an almost $10k trade-in value which is nice.

Lots of money going out right now. I guess it’s good that this year wasn’t a big travel year, and next year isn’t looking too good too. We have planned a trip to Disney World for my birthday and I might take an extended stay in Florida with my friends and for my work if my spouse is laid off like last winter. I can do that pretty cheap since I can cook for myself. While I’m there I might drive over to Texas and see my son and his wife at his base. I have a trip to Vegas planned with friends, but that is dependent on what happens with COVID.

We are at 146 total cases in the county and 2 deaths still. We still have a nice bubble here, although there have been a couple of cases in the schools. We are not remote learning, although my granddaughter’s school is going to half-days on Wednesdays and sending home some work with them. We will see how that goes. Most of it seems to be enrichment work rather than sitting there working on paper. I’m not so fearful traveling. I wear a mask or gaiter and that seems to be fine. I don’t care if I’m the only one wearing it. I flew on a plane two weeks ago and I’m still fine. I still prefer to drive, but it’s not always feasible to take two days on either side of what I need to do to get somewhere. My spouse’s work shut down their office – only office employees are allowed in and out

I had something I wanted to write about, but this is long enough already – I’ll make a separate post for later.

2 replies »

  1. We had a love affair with a Honda Civic Wagon. Had that car for 21 years. We even replaced the engine. It was sad to let it go but when you can see the road through the floor and the mechanic said that going over a railroad track too fast could cause the rear axle to fall off, well we knew it was time… The changing of the seasons is always a tough time – we have property taxes, car insurance, life and home insurance all due in Nov. It gets real tight and then Christmas! I hope you get to do your traveling! We are aiming for GeoWoodstock in August…

    • I’m not planning on Geowoodstock. We have a Transatlantic cruise booked from Rome the end of October, but I’m not optimistic. The only bright side is the lack of other vacation options has helped the vacation rental industry in this country quite a bit so I still have a job!