marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
It has been two months since I did a "state of me" post. Looking back I see I was definitely in a worse place at that time. Things have picked up but I feel back in a bit of a dip at the moment.

Some major loops have been closed - the drain-laying and landscaping have been done; replaced with the less intimidating "cleaning up the mess left behind" and "paying off the mortgage again" loops. Having to be out of bed by 8am for workers did wonders for my productivity over those couple of weeks and I had hoped it would "stick" as an adjustment to my body clock but I have slipped back to not being able to force myself out of bed until quite late in the morning.

I have also switched off the medication which may have been helping with that (Sertroline); I developed a strong physical aversion to taking it so switched back to a low dose of the leftover Citalopram then changed my prescription back as well. There was an almost immediate improvement in my mood, alertness and creativity (measured by my urge to write); at the same time I have experienced a resurgence in vivid and sleep disrupting dreams and also a near-constant hunger/snacking.

The only weekday commitments I have at the moment are work; so that isn't suffering relative to my established "norm" but we are still behind and I would like to do more; as well as of course keep on top of other things before the list grows long enough to again feel overwhelming.
Hall commitments have receded; hopefully for the next couple of months until it starts warming up again.

running through my head )
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 138 units
Exported 44 units (@ 10c/unit)
Used 84 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $28.91
As the cold and dark has hit the bill has spiked making this a much lower reduction than usual proportionally as well as numerically, about 11%.

About as expected. I will be using the fire for heating more over the next couple of months though so hopefully that will keep it steady.
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
Recently I had to have the waste-water pipes to the street cleared twice in the space of about two weeks. The second time we went the whole hog and had cameras down not just the waste water but also the storm-water drains - at least the one of the latter which isn't so clogged they couldn't push through. The results came in yesterday and they're not pretty ....

Fortunately I was saving for another project and building my reserves based on when I first had the waste water pipe videoed and quoted several years ago - but they are all much worse now. (Unsurprising that :-/ #quakecity ) So the several '000 dollars worth of trenching and pipe-replacing which is shortly to be undertaken won't be too much of a a hurdle financially. I knew this was going to have to be done at some point; It's just moving the drains to the top of the list and accepting that my other goal will have to wait ...

And I now have a sketch map of where the drainage on the property actually runs, which is ... not where I thought it did. That greenery on the frontage that I was planning to keep as part of the parental-unit-sponsored landscaping (different project again which has been delayed while we waited for these results) is going to have to go :(
marsden_online: (Default)
Produced 233 units
Exported 92 units (@ 7c/unit)
Used 141 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $47.58
marsden_online: (Default)
Produced 286 units
Exported 120 units (@ 7c/unit)
Used 166 units (saving 29.06c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $56.64
marsden_online: (Default)
Produced 372 units
Exported 181 units (@ 7c/unit)
Used 191 units (saving 29.06c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $68.17
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 339 units
Exported 193 units (@ 7c/unit)
Used 146 units (saving 29.06c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $55.94
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 413 units
Exported 223 units (@ 7c/unit)
Used 190 units (saving 29.06c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $70.82 (almost halved)
marsden_online: (Kea)
Today I received my first electricity bill since the in-out meter was installed to go with my solar panels. I also received the monthly production summary for October (view the daily performance here). This allows me to make some rough* calculations:

Over October the panels generated 372 units (kiloWatt hours but "units" is the term most people see on their power bill).

191 units were pumped back into the grid, for which I currently get paid 7 cents a unit (total $13.37 )
The balance of 181 units were used immediately by the house. Had I been drawing that power from the grid it would have cost 27.28c a unit*, so I saved $49.37 there.

In total my power bill is ~$62.74 lower than it would have been for October.

* the calendar month and the billing month are out of sync by about 2 days; also the meter was installed a couple of days into the billing month so those numbers are for slightly less than a whole period. But close enough.
* the cost per unit went up to 29.06c at the beginning of November so I will be "saving" even more on power used directly going forward. OTOH I do get a prompt-payment discount so the real cost per unit will be slightly less.

The Enlighten report also tells me that my production for the month is a carbon offset of 567 lbs or seven trees.
marsden_online: (Default)
The past week continues to have been positive for getting out of bed with or before the morning alarm and putting in max work hours (with still slow, but quality code output) and otherwise being productive / playing quite a bit of FreeCiv and a very busy evening of board games on Tuesday.

Granted with one thing and another the only reason the green bin was filled to go out was that Wednesday gaming was called off, and at the end of Friday I was feeling pretty had-it; but I also despite a small-hours-bedtime rolled out of bed promptly on Saturday energised to tackle weeding and forking over the vegetable garden. I did get sidetracked for a couple of hours crossing minor outstanding tasks at the computer off the (physical) to do list but then I did get the whole vege garden done over the course of several more hours. It pretty much wiped me out physically for the rest of the day, but I had nothing else on :)

After this post I am intended to go out and fill up the green bin again [I got distracted and went out and started before posting and then there was a Hall call; finishing] that will be the limit of my physical activity for the day. I deliberately opted to return to the cosiness of bed this morning aware that it was probably a mistake; my current lethargy indicates that it was but at least provides reinforcement for staying up next time. (Monday is my allowed "sleep in" day and today is a Public Holiday, Labour Day, to boot which is why having to spend more of yesterday (Sunday) than I would have liked at the Hall was less of an imposition than it could have been).

Speaking of, one area where I am /not/ feeling the motivation to continue by my ownsome is Hall maintenance; this was uncomfortably clear on Thursday and again yesterday when I had quite a bit of downtime there but only managed to summon the energy to attend to a couple of very minor patch up tasks off a much longer mental list of things I could and "should" do. Much of the rest of the time was actually spent just sitting in the car zoned out or on the verge of nodding off. Still save for organised working bees the Hall calendar is currently empty for now and there is only one enquiry sitting in the inbox; which has reduced to fewer than 10 active items.

Another thing which has taken up some time is that my motivation to write has returned although so far this has mostly been expressed by engaging in a couple of online debates (as preserved in recent posts). My backlog of intended posts, gaming write-ups and promised essays seems less formidable than it did, but is still going to take time to get to / through.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Although my relatively comfortable position in life is due at least as much to good fortune as to good planning / hard work I like to believe that an organised approach to managing my money helps maintain the state of affairs and bolster it against future misfortune.

One of the things I do is typically set aside some time Monday evening to pay any bills that have come in over the past week and make any other movements which are required. Sometimes this rolls over to Tuesday but rarely longer and I will often pay a regular bill as soon as the scheduled transaction pops up in GnuCash; but I don't open that every day. (I have also discovered that enabling 2-factor authentication on my internet banking (which everyone should do, if you haven't already) discourages me from logging in as often and encourages this sort of batch processing.)

To a lesser extent Friday but Friday is also payday and I kind of like to let that money sit in my account for the weekend.

This is particularly relevant today because today had a very big invoice (scheduled in two parts because transaction limits) paying the next instalment on my home solar panels, which were installed on Friday [happy dance].


This also means I am back to paying off a mortgage because the installation happened a little earlier than I originally intended. Yay having an open revolving credit facility for such occasions. (The revolving bit is important - if you don't pay it off it's not revolving.)

Since I really don't enjoy being in debt[1] I'm going to be a bit more cautious with my spending over the next few months. Fewer dollars to random good works and charity, more self restraint on impulse buys, and hoping no more crowd-funded investments (my only expensive vice at present) come up that I really want to get into.

That's more flippant than serious; I will "borrow to invest" in this fashion but only because I am confident of being able to re-earn the amount quickly. As the saying goes "don't lend what you can't afford to lose". I call crowd-investing a (personal) vice because it is putting significant amounts of money into limbo with no guarantee of when or if it will come back; very high risk for someone with normally a very conservative risk profile. I do however select the companies I invest in based on the principle that even if they fail, they will have added something to society in the process. [Eg cleantech, medtech, social enterprise].

In a similar fashion (and this has been a frustration throughout the process of researching, quoting and having installed) I'm not concerned about "payback" time on my solar installation, nor on the expansions planned to come. All the installers are like "Oh you don't want to install any more that you need for personal use; the electricity companies aren't paying enough to make your money back". I'm like "dammit, I don't need to make my money back, I'm spending money that I have to spend."

The energy companies can have my surplus for free if it means other electricity user get to pay that little bit less. Think outside your goddamn pocketbooks people!

[1] I know very few people who claim to enjoy being in debt, but several who claim that despite their dislike of it going into debt to get the things they want and then having to pay it off is the only way they can maintain financial discipline. I can sort of see where they are coming from, but it's like peeking into an alien dimension.

This post hasn't quite gone in the direction I intended but I'll leave it here and hopefully retain the enthusiasm to make another sometime soon.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Jotted in my Fb this morning:
Feels stuck in a holding pattern destination unknown.
This is not doing any for the areas of my life which require me to be self-motivating. Which is having flow-on effects for others ...

The area in particular is work where I am managing closer to minimum hours than maximum; which means that projects I am working on are not being delivered as quickly as they might (should) be; which must flow on to the client's perception of the company.
I am managing good periods of focus - the hours I am at work are being well spent and the work I am doing at present is challenging and a learning experience. But I might describe it like a favoured food - it's still not something you want to eat every day. This is in comparison to a staple food, which you can have for e.g. breakfast every day. As my source of income I really need to be able to chew through work every day.

Planning to do other things before work isn't helping; do things (housework, writing) before work and I am afraid I will be out of spoons before I get there. The result is I cannot be bothered getting out of bed until not only is it to late to do whatever I had planned but too late to get to work at the time I would like to (not that I am achieving that with any regularity anyway).
Scheduling things after work is a little better; but the usual pattern is I am a little less late than usual and work harder down to the wire where I have to leave.

Before work also usually means someone at the Hall (because for it to be something I have to keep to there have to be other people involved). And for all that many people are enjoying their association with that place and I still feel it is where I can make the most difference right now - as a project it's not returning/achieving what I'm looking for and I feel hamstrung by others lack of commitment and follow through.

And for all it feels like a holding pattern objectively most areas of my life are progressing nicely.
- Gaming continues to be excellent, with the recent, possibly temporary; addition of non-junk-food/meals to my mid-week game making it feel less like a group of over-aged teens and more like a group of actual grown-up friends socialising (this is a new experience).
- A deposit is down for solar panels to be added to the house, measurements taken and it is currently at the design stage; I don't mind if it's stalled there as I wasn't originally budgeting to initiate the project until next spring/summer.
- by my maths I will finish paying off my student loan this month and be properly debt-free - plus an effective pay rise of some tens of dollars a week.
- even the recent plumbing issues may have a silver lining in that I may discover that the next major project *needs* to be the kitchen; which would simplify certain decision trees.
- I have built a small reserve of money and investments - a long way away from closing off the mortgage aka emergency fund or living off the interest, but it feels those might one day be possible.
... if I can keep myself working and earning. Back to the start.

There's a little ... verse I found running around in my head in the car on Monday -
"Want to make a difference;
need the resources to make a difference;
back to working in an attempt accumulate the resources;
will I ever have enough to to make that difference?"


Mar. 16th, 2015 09:50 pm
marsden_online: (Sisters)
I am trying to take this week easy, not because of any lack of things to do but because my emotional energy levels have reached critically low levels. To the point where last evening I found myself lying in bed enraged and repeatedly rehearsing responses to a completely hypothetical situation generated by my own brain.

I had not even noticed that was a thing which had /stopped/ happening as I got "better".

crash )

In unrelated positive news, installers will becoming around tomorrow morning to measure up my house for solar panels.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
I was planning to spend this evening writing. I have a backlog 4 or 5 gaming-related posts in mental draft. This is none of those posts but is the one I have found the energy to write.

My journal has been quiet lately but life has been busy. I am now in 3 games a week (DMing a new story in my Broken Kingdoms setting as well as playing in the two campaigns I am journalling). Russian lessons have resumed. Work has started back busy and for the most part I have been putting in numbers of hours which I consider good. This week I started training a new hire straight out of study - this is somewhat of a new (and learning) experience.

I have literally been cleaning house - freed up much space in the hallway wardrobe by by taking the accumulation of obsolete appliances (VCRs, CRTs etc) away for recycling and last weekend I finally hired a truck and cleared the 20+ years of accumulated junk out of the garage and back shed. They feel ... kind of empty, but in a good way I guess.

This included the washing machine which blew its circuit board (again) at the end of January. It was only 10 months since the last time and I had the money "spare" so I bit the bullet and purchased a new one (ex-display, commercial model, good power and water efficiency ratings (for a washing machine)). Spent more than I intended to but expect it to have a long life under domestic conditions. I also replaced the lounge suite which while in as-new condition when it came with the house 20 years ago had seen hard use by gamers over the years, with several broken springs and other metal poky bits where the covering had worn through at the corners. I have replaced that with a cheap trade-in 2x2 + 1 suite as a bit of an experiment in space usage that I can flick on with no remorse if it doesn't work out.

It was a pretty big effort coming off the back of a very full work-and-other-things week (very grateful that D. turned up to help out) and I've been paying for that this week I guess. Emotionally I'm feeling pretty shattered and weak right now. Other contributions to this include hall dramas and stepping up as emotional support for various friends.

This coming weekend I am in Wellington for a wedding - flights mean it looks like I'm going to have a lot of downtime (like maybe all of Sunday). I am taking my Russian notes with me and maybe I will find the inspiration to actually start those other posts.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Normally the news that a company like energy efficiency and insulation business Right House has gone into liquidation would pass through my radar with just a moment to pause in sadness for those whom have just lost their livelihoods. However this time there is an indirect personal connection - it was a telemarketing call from Right House house and the following obligation-free quote which made me decide that then was the time to start the ball rolling on actually getting grid connected solar installed here.

The first step of course was googling up solar installers in NZ and sending off for more quotes. when it came down to it though two I already had bookmarked gave the best results. A shout out here to CPS Solar (Canterbury based) who provided a lot of useful information and food-for-thought in our conversation. Definitely consider them.

My choice though has gone to Solar City despite the fact they they were the tardiest in replying to my enquiry. I'd like to write a bit about why.

First off is their innovative Solar Care offering. For $0 or $1000 down they will install panels on your house and sell you the electricity generated for a fixed monthly cost for the next 20 years. (You then use or sell excess power into the grid.) This effectively locks in the cost to you of that much power for the next 20 years, and the contract is set so that the cost-per-unit is probably lower than you are being charged now.

Personally I think projects like this are what the major generators should be doing, to conserve hydro and fossil-fuel (ugh) generation for night time and winter use. But of course they don't make money by providing people with cheap power :-/

I was almost sold on this, it works out very well for both the homeowner (who gets rapid access to solar without massive expenditure or worries about insurance, monitoring etc of the panels) and for the company who get regular cashflow (instead of constantly having to chase new installations) and to depreciate the value of the solar panels on their books :). Had I investment properties I would be having Solar Care systems installed ASAP. Any of my home-owning/paying-off friends I strongly recommend taking a look.

However the desire and years of expecting to outright own the installation asserted itself and I was unable to bring myself to deviate that far from the plan. What actually sold me on a fixed install from Solar City installation was not the price but the opportunity to become involved with / contribute to a new initiative they are setting up with the University of Otago to (quoting the flyer)
Conduct a comprehensive study into household and commercial solar energy use, to better inform and guide the nation towards a 100% renewable energy future.

(As a bonus, "Customers will have the opportunity to beta test new technologies in the energy efficiency and solar space." Eh-heh-heh ...)

This will involve a period of monitoring before the installation which is fine because for me "starting the ball rolling" on a project like this means I have a 12-18 month horizon in view for actually affording and completing it. This is something I make clear of my requests for quotes but find a lot of companies have difficulty with - and their pressure (and oft-times effectively bribes) to commit sooner is something which I find distinctly off-putting.

Companies, I am (charitably) sure that you are genuinely interested in making sure your customers get good value for money but if you want my custom please do me the courtesy of understanding that I know and understand my own values, finances and finance options and that I am not undertaking such a large project on the spur of the moment. If I am not the typical customer in this, well that is simply a sad observation on today's society.

Another issue where I have struggled to reach common ground with all the companies I have talked to is my desire to install more generation capacity than is "economically efficient" for me. (The generators don't pay a terrific amount for home-solar production fed into the grid and these tariffs have only been dropping.) The concept that I might have broader, non-economic goals like future-proofing the amount of generation on my roof (nominally economic), or happily working towards overall lower power prices for everyone else by feeding cheap power into the grid and setting an example for wider home generation is completely foreign.

(I've had to temporarily throw in the towel on that one, but the system I am getting is eminently extensible at a later date by the addition of more panels and micro-inverters.)

Speaking of finance options this entire post / mini-rant was actually triggered by a quote from the Right House article.
But the business had not had the demand for their services, from home insulation to energy advice, that it had hoped for, Fisk said.
"I think that has been influenced by whether people are getting offer subsidies to insulate their houses," Fisk said.
The company failure may seem "counter-intuitive" when there is a housing boom especially in Christchurch and Auckland, he said.
Asked if the government cuts to home insulation subsidies in 2013 had affected Right House, Fisk said he believed it had "some effect".

Now this is a Stuff article so don't assume that quote from the liquidator (probably not yet familiar with the company finances) is entirely in context. It's obviously being played a bit by the reporter and as such I believe it reflects a wider feeling that the only reason people might be interested in getting into solar (and more broadly other technologies) is the money. That's a meme I'd really like to squish out of society's group consciousness because there are so many wider possibilities once you broaden your view from what is purely best for the individual.

[tangent]For example Christchurch (City Council) is currently looking at painful rates rises and having to privatise some of it's utility assets to afford the costs of the earthquake rebuild foisted on us by the national government. But we could build a new asset as a (somewhat seasonal) electricity generator right alongside the rebuild to offset some of that cost if only by generating some of the power required. I think most households and businesses would be happy to have some council-owned panels on their roof in exchange for the promise of lower rates increases (or the offset in lower electricity costs).[/tangent]

It is true that for the majority of homeowners (unlike well-privileged, mortgage-free, no-dependants self) the availability of subsidies will probably have a significant impact on the affordability calculations. (And part of the genius of Solar Care is how it simplifies that calculation.) It is good business for eg. an installer to point out the available options which may make what they are selling more affordable.

[aside]If you have a mortgage with Kiwibank also check out their Sustainable Energy Loan (link not guaranteed to be current).[/aside]

But I don't believe it is broadly good that our consumerist, buy now (worry about paying later) culture tries to rush people into accelerating financial plans that should be taken time over and focuses on the monetary payback value of long-term purchases to the detriment of other values. And just like if your business relies on the government topping up your employees wages because you don't pay them enough to live; if your business relies on pressuring people into making financial decisions for cashflow perhaps you should take a hard look at how sustainable it / its growth path really is. When I look at who I give significant amounts of my actually-earned money to, you better believe I'm taking that into account. Often it is through [your business'] salespeople that I have the most direct experience of that.

[aside]No I'm not a fan of commission sales, why do you ask?[/aside]

Disclaimer: this has not been any sort of solicited promotion and I have no connection (yet) to any of the mentioned companies except as outlined above. (Haven't even signed and returned the quote.) :p


Jan. 12th, 2015 11:12 am
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
Last week "on holiday" which means I need to start coaxing my body clock back into something more suited to work hours. This basically means getting out of bed at a reasonable time and setting myself to do things over the day.

Each time I try to list the things which need doing it rapidly balloons out of control, so I'm restricting the length to three significant items at a time. Which of course means so far today I have simply made headway on a fourth ... and fought off the desire for a late-morning nap.

The desire for more sleep this week can probably be partially attributed to the fact that I have pushed myself to exhaustion four of the past seven days - wedding on Monday, mass pruning on Thursday*, serious housecleaning on Saturday and hosting board games on Sunday.

* along with losing my phone when dumping the prunings at the refuse station, which led to some hours of stress. Karma paid back however and M called some contacts at the council and got permission to go in and look for it - once fence-climbing mission later and it was right where I thought it would be, although you needed to be within a couple of metres to hear it ringing from under the rubbish.

Dear diary

Dec. 8th, 2014 10:17 pm
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
Recording quite a surprisingly pleasant weekend. Somehow I found myself under pretty much no pressure to be anywhere or do anything which led to a lot of napping and a surprising amount of productivity in between
- picking up an Xmas present for the elder niblings
- some significant reading
- going to a party and dancing early and hard (which in retrospect may have been a bit of a mistake as it contributed to my fading off home early)
- some significant hedge pruning
- Some minor stuff at the Hall on Sunday - not what I had sort of planned due to the weather completely sapping my enthusiasm for the outdoors but cleaned up some glass indoors and emptied the water containers while photographer etc did their thing.
- catching up on writing game logs (several hours of writing there)

The reading and the writing in particular were aided immensely by finally managing to come up with a comfortable arrangement for sitting up in bed with either book or laptop. (This may in future also result in more media watching). Time spent out of the "office" and away from the preponderance of possible "to dos" on the main computer is good for me.

Today was also quite unusual - a Hall alarm at 5:15am (unusual time, unusual day), pretty much just on dawn meant by the time I got home again there was little point in going back to bed even though I had only managed 4-5 hours broken, dream-filled sleep (probably due to all of the aforementioned napping). This led to
- doing a load of laundry
- six fairly productive hours at work
- washing the dishes
- vacuuming

At this point I had to take a nap because while I could have pushed myself to do the next thing on the list it would not have been done well and it would not have been good for me I woke up with enough energy and more importantly determination to pick up momentum again.

- mopped the floors -> bringing me up-to-date on the household chores
- cooked a good dinner which will double for tomorrow night
- caught up the accounts (and discovered my recent foray into Bonus Bonds is starting to pay out - must make a separate spreadsheet to track ROI on that)
- dug up some information about our power usage and emailed it off to one of the companies I am talking to about Solar (and probably the one I am going to go with).
- made a dear diary post :)

I'd like to think I'll be able to get a good nights sleep and an early start for an equally good day tomorrow but as I remember all too well from the start of last week, that's actually probably going to prove pretty arbitrary and random.
marsden_online: (Default)
So after a telemarketing cold-call I had a chap around from RightHouse to do one for those obligation-free quote thingies on slapping in that solar system I want. (Which is substantially larger than the one he initially recommended, because future proofing.) Turns out prices have dropped markedly in the couple of years since I was last seriously considering pricing it; far enough to bring what I want in range of the 5-year plan.

That is: coating the north and west sides of my roof with panels which will apparently give me a 3kW system; grid-connected (theoretically about 75% home use 25% sold into the grid); no storage batteries at this stage because they are apparently not particularly economic yet especially if you have a reliable grid connection but the potential to retro-fit them later.

~ $12,000 ($10k if I wanted to take advantage of their current special, which I don't)

Our power usage profile (thanks Powershop! 9who I will unfortunately have to part ways with upon becoming grid-connected) in no way matches the averaged one they use so grid-connected numbers above and calculated savings and return on investment taken that with a certain amount of salt, but "repayment" looks to be 7-10 years.

25 year warranty on the panels / life expectancy of the system.

I'm not rushing into anything, as I said this only moves it into the 5-year plan (from the 10-15 year plan); now I weigh this against the other $$-requiring projects on the list and how long I think it will take me to save at least the deposit, preferably the lot. There are also at least two other companies I want to get quotes from.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
If I have been a bit quiet on here recently it has been because life has not been letting up, over and above my tendency to overcommit. So here are few things from the past little while.
cat )
productive Saturday )
111 excitement )
marsden_online: (Kea)
The last couple of weeks have been very good for me - most days I've been managing to exit bed on time and for a while last week I thought I was going to hit 30 hours. Alas it was not to be, only due to competing commitments though. It was productive work as well - I've managed to beat a series of programming issues which were frustrating me and now feel real progress is being made once more, which has in turn improved my enthusiasm for going into work and my focus once there.

It may be that my internalised expectations of myself have also subsided a bit to meet reality - that's one theory anyway.

This week I wasn't pressuring myself to try for 30 and was somewhat surprised to notice on Thursday afternoon that I was past 20. I drove home with an odd sort of sensation - worried about the fact that I was not feeling under any immediate pressure to accomplish anything either at work or at home. Today I identified that feeling as a low-level anxiety - anxiety is very rare for me mostly because I'm too busy trying to get the next thing I-have-to-do done to notice it - and by today it had passed.

That said, I also failed to make it out of bed at a reasonable time today ... but didn't have to leave work for anything else this afternoon so managed my full day worth of hours anyway, and had only a few chores planned for about the house tonight.

Beyond work - the weather has been very good more bright warm sunshine than rain. I have been marking tasks off my to-do list around the house and around the Hall. Socialising has been more rewarding and less stressful than the previous few weeks (significantly through lessened exposure to one individual I admit). The weak point has actually been the D&D3.5 game I am running on Tuesdays - we've had issues getting critical mass over the uni holidays and then the PCs took off in an unexpected direction and last session we had an unexpected fatality of one character whose backstory I had been building on, so I am woefully under-prepped. This group is also good about getting on and does things a lot quicker than some other groups I've run for, so I'm finding myself under-estimating the amount of prep I need rather than my usual over-prepping.

Finally, earlier this week I claimed for my tax refund for 2013-14 (discovering I have been using the wrong tax code, but never mind the difference is in the right direction :) ) and it came through tonight, giving me enough money to at last zero the mortgage. This is a goal which has just kept slipping into and out of reach again repeatedly over the past few years; last year and this I have been pursuing it quite determinedly. It will be temporary no doubt - although there are a few other things I want to spend money on first I will no doubt be dipping into it again when the next bit of home renovation reaches the top of the list. And that was what turned a satisfactory week into an excellent one :D

[I am buying a lotto ticket tomorrow; now if I could just get laid as well ...]

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