Turn Off the Lights!!! (Mommy wants a steak)

We live in Lubbock, Texas. Our fine city boasts a population of over 200,000 humans.  We have one electric company. But it’s ok, because the electric company’s name is Lubbock Power and Light. Obviously since they have included our town’s name in their business’s name, they are totally looking out for the needs of their fellow community members.

No.

In March LP&L told customers the necessary rate increase would affect customers bills by about $7-10. Instead, they increased Lubbock’s rates exorbitantly during the hottest stinkin’ months of the year (in spite of being counseled to wait until October to increase rates).   So last month we get our bill and it is $100 more  than the bill we received for the month before. Wait. what?? Then we realize we were only billed the new higher rates for 15 days. Therefore, if we had gone a full month at the new rates our bill would have been $200 MORE than the previous month.

I wasn’t going to take this injustice sitting down. Well, no, that’s not true. That’s exactly what I did. I sat down and researched the heck out of how to lower our bill. See, our town is in an uproar and understandably so. This company has a monopoly against it’s community. Think of the elderly and disabled. People on a fixed income who need electricity for medical equipment. Come on! There are petitions and there was a protest. I signed the petitions, but I am nervous about attending any protests with my kiddos. I fear the mob mentality of sweaty, angry, righteously-indignant people holding signs, marching in 100 degree heat.

I decided to make a difference in my own way. I vowed that they would not receive a penny above our cheapest bill and that we will help others with the money we save. I wanted to be the Norma Rae of Lubbock, Texas silently standing my ground as the machines stop. (except I am a brat, which you will soon see)

And now for some meandering fun…

For our first year of marriage, the firefighter and I shared a bathroom in our tiny one bedroom apartment. So many things about our first year of marriage were beautiful and adorably memorable. This was not one of them. If ever you want to witness undeniable proof regarding the differences between men and women, share a bathroom. This handsome man I was blessed to marry seemed to produce hair and nail clippings for the sole purpose of defiling that room. There were grease smudges and dirt, toothpaste binding with the grime to form an impenetrable bond with every tiny crevice. (If I were more entrepreneurial minded I might have stumbled upon something that NASA could appreciate as a cheap bonding solution.) When we moved into a house with two bathrooms we decided he should have his own, that way when we had guests and they asked to use the bathroom we wouldn’t have to give them directions to the nearest gas station.

Welp, then we started having boys and as it turns out, part of the male chromosome dictates that you must make a mess of a bathroom. Little boys pee everywhere. When they start heading toward the bathroom I remind them to wash their hands. They would hear that and wash their hands BEFORE pooping, then wipe their bottoms without toilet paper, with just their hands. (that child swears it’s an accident, but four times?!?!) Sometimes they will pee in the trashcan right next to the toilet, just for fun. These are unpleasant discoveries during the best of times.

Right now is not the best of times. I am still in the vomitus maximus stage of pregnancy and I have set our A/C pretty high to beat the electric company. Also, I have instigated a “no lights on during the day” policy. Which is fine in the man cave bathroom because there is a window in there so you can see all the pee pee drawings, puddles, poo on the toilet seat, grime in the crevices, and the freakish accumulation of hair from the three Y chromosomes living and shedding in there.  (Don’t worry, I wipe the man cave down many times throughout the day. Also, you may want to invest in the Clorox company for the next 15 or so years. My family alone will guarantee it’s continued profit margin.)

We had a horrifying clash of the pooping titans the other day. The bigger boy ran hollering, “I need to go number 2!!” and as soon as he slammed the door of the man cave shut, the little boy shouts “I need to make poopy really really bad!!”

crap.

I ruefully turned on the light to my bathroom, knowing someone at the electric company was watching our meter with glee as he called his wife to let her know she could go ahead and purchase the yacht with the gold plated fixtures. Then I felt I ought to stay to bear witness to the onslaught of little boy malfunctions that were about to spray my bathroom, that way I would know exactly what needed to be cleaned and what ought to be burned.

I won’t go into detail, but just know that the shower curtain went through the washing machine when all was said and done.

Anyway, I am really dedicated to this whole saving money business. We make our laundry detergent, use appliances as sparingly as possible and only during the hours of the day with the cheapest rates, we unplug everything not in use, we use coupons when we can, shop at resale shops, and peruse garage sales and craigslist. Oh yeah, I am totally on board this money saving train.

Well…

I have this one tiny craving. Even after I have it I am ready for another. I could/would eat this all day, everyday. It’s not for tuna casserole or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or some other budget complimentary thing.

I want a thick, juicy steak.

I betcha Norma Rae preferred lobster and caviar. Hmm…lobster…

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7 thoughts on “Turn Off the Lights!!! (Mommy wants a steak)

  1. I feel your frustration! 😦 We moved recently and our electricity bill went up about $200. One company has a monopoly in the area we used to live in, but their rates weren’t bad. Now, this other company that has a monopoly where we live now has outrageous rates. Our ACTUAL electricity usage costs about $100. The extra $200 are fees. FEES! What can anyone do except turn all the lights out and unplug everything except the AC? I live in Arizona, so we need that AC going. 🙂

  2. Now, I’m likely to get my head chewed off for asking this, but here goes…. when I first saw your comment on this on fb, I googled it. I looked to me, based on the bit I read, that rates went from $0.02 per KWh to $0.07 or $0.08. Is that right? Yes, that’s a bit jump in rates. BUT the best rate we can get, where there are companies to choose from is just short of $0.10 per KWh. And the sudden jump is what you get when gov’t was all involved and regulating the rates… I’d read that LP&L was loosing money (gov’t!) and needed to raise rates to stay in business. Electricity is expensive, but so is water (at least around here). Its rough to deal with a jump like that, but if what I read is at all correct, it’s worth it in the long run (market prices, baby).

    All that said,we, too, work hard to stay frugal. But I do dry diapers in the dryer rather than line dry. ’cause I figured out that a dry cycle was costing me about $0.30 to $0.50, and it takes me 20 minutes to hand the diapers out. I can earn more than $1.50/hr doing other stuff. Now, we only a/c to 80′ (and heat to 64′ in the winter), have solar screens on the windows, stuffed our attic with extra insulation and will close curtains on windows with direct sun. I do fewer oven meals in the summer, more stove top quick and crockpot. I do, however, have a chest freezer in the garage… the savings I can get on buying lots of meat, bread, cheese, etc when its cheap is worth the price of the electricity to run that thing in the garage. And its not uncommon in the summer to have an electric bill of nearly $200 (and that’s with all our energy saving do-dads!)

    Good luck on staying frugal, its quite possible and do-able.

  3. We went through a rates increase here too in San Diego. It’s the pits.
    I love your blog. Thanks for sharing it on the IAP FB! I have a little girl and another on the way so I’m not familiar with the ways of little boys and their messes. I try not to imagine what I’m stepping in most of the time in our shared marital bathroom. Your writing makes me laugh. Write more!!! 🙂

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