Getting stuff done

Today was my day to do part of our monthly shop.

After the kitties were fed, of course.

Rolando Moon followed me around while I did my rounds.

She even let me pet her a bit, before trying to chomp my hand.

She is so mean. 😀

It’s a good thing we were doing a shop today, because we ran out of bird seed yesterday, and used the last of our dry kibble for the outside cats this morning!

Normally we would have gone to the city to do our Costco shopping today, but our budget got a bit switched, so it was a smaller Walmart trip at the smaller, nearer, city. The electric company changed the dates to report our meter reading, which meant the due date changed, too. Normally, we can pay all our utilities when my husband’s disability payment comes in on the last business day of the month; that would be the one with his private health insurance that we live on. He also gets CPP Disability from the government, which is a top up of sorts, on the third last business day of the month. That allows us to do the bulk of our shopping a few days before the end of the month. This time, however, we had to make our electric payment out of it, and it was a few days late. We haven’t had a late payment on any bill since we’ve moved here! Thankfully, though, I was able to get explain our situation to the electric company and they were able to change it for us, so this will be the only month where it is an issue. Still, it left us with only about a third of our budget for this trip.

Which is okay. We’ll just do the big trip next week.

We had another change to our budget this month. We signed up for StarLink quite a few months ago. The initial down payment was made and we were just waiting for the service to go live in our area. Once that happened, they would send us an email to let us know before taking the rest of the funds out of the account. That would give us time to transfer the funds from our savings account to cover the bill.

Last night, my husband showed me an email from them, saying they’d tried and failed to make the payment.

!!!

It took a while, but my husband eventually found several emails from them, in his spam folder. Not only did they send as an email in advance, but they had tried to take the payment out a couple of times already!

Thankfully, today my husband was able to make the payment manually. Which means the equipment will soon be mailed out to us. He did have to update our address to our driveway marker number, because they didn’t consider a box number a valid address. Which is silly. There are plenty of people in rural communities that don’t get mail delivery. Considering rural internet is the whole point of what StarLink is doing here, you’d think they’d clue in.

No matter. With the shortage of computer chips delaying their roll out by months, if not years, we weren’t sure when we’d get our system. Thankfully, we signed up long enough ago that we are still high on the list.

The only down side is, even once the equipment gets here, we may not be able to install it. There is an app that will help us locate the strongest signal from our roof, and that’s where the dish will be installed.

There isn’t a massive amount of snow on the roof – the girls would have gone out to shovel it, if there was – but there is enough snow to make it dangerous to go out there, while lugging around the parts and pieces of a satellite dish and tools!

No matter. It’ll get here when it gets here. It’s still in beta, so once we do have it set up and running, we will close the larger of our two satellite accounts but leave the second one as a back up, just in case something goes wrong. After about a month, we’ll see about closing the second account. Just closing the one account, while paying for the new StarLink account, will save us about a hundred dollars a month. If it works as promised, we should have more reliable internet, with no data limits. Our current service keeps going up in price, but connectivity has been getting worse. Meanwhile, if we go over our data limit, the cost per gig is double. The StarLink satellite signals shouldn’t be affected by weather to the south of us, the way our current service is.

Once we get to the point where we have just the one, new account running, it should save us at least a couple hundred dollars per month, and with the way the price of basics, like food and fuel, are rising, that will be a big help. Plus, with more reliable service and no data limits, I’ll be able to do things like participate in Zoom calls and meetings that I’ve had to skip. I tried doing a Zoom call with my brother once, and it was barely functional!

So that is good news. 🙂

My husband was able to take care of that while I was doing the shopping. We haven’t been able to clear enough or the yard to drive up to the house, though, so I had to pull up as close to the gate as I could. Thankfully, it all fit in the wagon we’ve found so handy, though it was heavy enough that the wheels were sinking in the packed snow of the driveway!

As soon as everything was unloaded, I fed the outside cats again while the girls put stuff away. You’d think they hadn’t been fed this morning at all, the way the little buggers were begging! After taking a couple of kibble bags into the house for the inside cats, I came out to get the last two bags for the outside cats, and found a cat in the wagon, looking ready to tear one of the bags open, right then and there!

Once all that was taken care of, I headed out again to the post office, where I also picked up a bag of deer feed this time, instead of the black oil seed I get in the summer. I was also able to refill the suet feeder. I’ll have to pick up more deer feed next time; for the past couple of winters, we went through about a bag of deer feed a week, but with the extended fall we had, and the current mild temperatures, the deer aren’t in as much need for supplemental feeding just yet.

While going back and forth, I usually have several of the adult cats following me around. Among the kittens, it’s been Nosencrantz and Agnoos – until now! This handsome boy has joined the party of cats determined to get stepped on and tripped over! 😀

More importantly, he lets me pet him regularly now! He even lets me pet his belly while he’s rolling around on the ground, though he does look awfully confused when I do! 😀

I just love those golden eyes!

I’m settling on this one being Chadicous. Aside from Bradicous, with his distinctive white tail tip, we’ll have to settle on which is which for the other ‘icsouses. 😀 One has a distinctive black mark on its nose, while another has a lot more white on his hind legs. There’s still a third one that doesn’t stay still long enough for us to spot any distinguishing features.

I’m happy to say we are now good for the next while; it was mostly critter food we were running low on or out off, but we’ll be good until we can do the rest of the shopping next week. After that, we will be avoiding shopping as much as possible! I expect one last trip to the city in the middle of the month, then not again until after Christmas and New Years, at the earliest. Hopefully, the weather will remain mild, but if we end up in a deep freeze or snowed in again, we should be stocked up for a couple of months by then, if necessary. Especially once that quarter beef we ordered is ready!

I really look forward to when we are at the point of self-sufficiency where these trips to the city are just for topping up, not a major necessity as they are now.

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Getting stuff done

  1. Here is my ***GUESS*****. It’s a little bit outside of my normal pre-retirement employment, but should be more or less accurate.

    The Starlink “terminal” (antenna) needs a relatively unobstructed view of the sky and is close enough to the house for the wires to reach to into wherever they need to go inside the house. The roof is likely the best place as the house itself shouldn’t get in the way of the antenna’s view of the sky and is close to most anywhere inside the house….but I don’t see why one couldn’t try it out first on a picnic table…or the roof of the elegant outhouse. 🙂

    The Starlink satellites are in all sorts of orbits and appear to move “all over the sky” so the equipment can choose among multiple satellites. The more sky the antenna can “see”, the better it is as the equipment will have a larger choice of satellites that can be used. So, if the antenna can’t see a section of the sky, it’s likely that the equipment can compensate. Having to compensate for the obstructions may lower the speeds at times, but it’s better than the more traditional services where “if the one and only one direction the antenna needs to point is obstructed, you’re out of luck”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just talking to my brother about it, and he mentioned that some people are able to have them right on the ground, even in the snow!

      We have so many trees around the yard, though, the roof will most likely be the best spot. At least we know we won’t be aiming so low to the south that we had to find a gap in the trees, like with our current dishes!

      Like

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