Category Archives: Electricity issues

The Last Panel

Last week was a momentous day for the Flores family. It was the day we finally purchased the last panel for our solar electric system. Angels were singing, birds were flying through the air with ribbons in their beaks, rays of light beamed down from the heavens… Ok, well, maybe those light beams were from the light bulb, but it was a red-letter day for us.

The next day, our 6 battery system charged completely. In fact, we had a hard time using some of the power so that we could get maximum efficiency without it overcharging. Another battery was required.

We went and got one at AutoZone and hooked it up. Since then, we have been walking around on cloud 9 (ok enough with the heavenly choir references). We have ample power to do laundry even on cloudy days now. The batteries are still more than half charged at 6 am in the morning even with my son playing video games (em–cough) I mean doing classwork late at night when the internet is working. 

These are the shades I got. Simple, durable and covers the bare bulb!

To finish off our electrical system, I wanted something like a shade to cover the light bulbs in the ceiling sockets. Do you think I could find any locally? Nope. I searched high and low. So I ordered some from Amazon. While I was at it, I ordered a replacement string of lights for the stairway and some new motion detector lights for the front of the house since the old ones had given up the ghost a few months back. None of these was very expensive. The lights will last 2-3 years before they need to be replaced. The light covers might never need to be replaced. 

Thus ends the 12-year struggle for electricity in La Yacata (or at least in our home). If I wasn’t so pleased with the end result I’d say it was anticlimactic. But since I am…

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Read about our struggle to get electricity in La Yacata!

It’s FREE today in honor of this momentous event!

la yacata revolution cover

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Filed under Electricity issues, La Yacata Revolution

Energy Adaptation

Now that we have upped our overall power potential, we’ve been trying to figure out how to use it most appropriately. Each of us has different thoughts on appropriate use so we’ve had a few arguments along the way.

My priority is having enough energy to teach classes, sometimes up to 6 hours a day. Since I start in the afternoon and work until several hours after dark, I want to make sure that there is enough charge in the batteries that I can complete my shifts. We now have 5 batteries, with the plan of purchasing yet another one with my next paycheck, so mostly this hasn’t been an issue.

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Music to my ears!

Of secondary importance to me is power for the washer.  We’ve established a routine whereby wash is done only on days when I don’t have classes because classes are of course of higher importance than clean chonies. Besides, if worse comes to worst, we can still handwash using the lavadero (washboard).

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“Doing classwork Mom!”

My son has different priorities. He is working on completing prepa (high school) online, so theoretically classwork comes first. However, he’s having trouble motivating himself to complete the current algebra course, so playing video games absorbs most of his time. Of course, since we are sharing his computer so that I can teach classes, he’s somewhat frustrated with his gaming time allotment. Furthermore, his desktop computer uses more energy than any other item we use. And since I’m already using it 6 hours a day, he is even further limited.

My husband has gone through a strange transformation since the purchase of the most recent battery. He’s become Defender of the Power. Any unauthorized energy use by either my son or me is up for debate. This includes a light left off by accident when a room is empty and charging my kindle. He monitors the voltage as obsessively as my son checks the internet ping, which fluctuates wildly throughout the day.

He’s even gone back to using a flashlight after dark, although for months we’ve been able to turn on a light in the bathroom or kitchen to illuminate our lives. He’s also begun setting up booby traps using our motion activated solar lights. So any nighttime potty trips are apt to become blinded, fumbling experiences, all in the name of saving power.

We have learned that 2 solid days of rain, unseasonable for this time of year, sends us all into panic mode. Not only does the internet give us fits, but the batteries are not able to fully charge for obvious reasons. Therefore, we’ll have to learn to budget our energy use better before the rainy season.

Otherwise, we are enjoying our solar setup immensely.

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Filed under Construction, Electricity issues

A room of her own– the guest room office

Just because I have stopped renting the Little House in Sunflower Valley, doesn’t mean I don’t need my own office space. Of course, I’ve had to be adaptable. Or rather, we all have had to adapt.

A few weeks before we moved, my laptop started giving me issues with the Zoom program that my online classes are taught through. I know the moment it happened, since the class prior to the Zoom update was fine and the class immediately after was not. I tried contacting Zoom who said it was either my computer or my internet.

So I decided to order a new computer. I bought a refurbished all-in-one computer at Amazon and I had it a few days later. The problem with Zoom persisted. Plus the computer would randomly turn off. So I shipped the computer back to Amazon.

Instead of buying yet another computer, I ordered a camera and started using my son’s custom built computer for classes. I was still having problems, but now I was sure it was the internet. This issue led to the quest for the internet. Then with the purchase of another battery, making the current number 4 batteries for our solar setup, we made the move to La Yacata. 

The room that was our bedroom prior to the upstairs remodel became the office and guest room. My son’s computer and a desk are in the corner of the room. The huge blue screen that the company I work for requires as the background is suspended from the ceiling. We have a twin bed set up in case of a guest. There is also another smaller desk that holds all La Yacata community paperwork because I am still called on at times to take care of that business. I hung a blanket on the wall to help with the microphone echo. I had my husband move the fan light from upstairs to into this room. The lighting still wasn’t very good for the video I need to teach classes, so I bought a floor lamp as well, which seems to help keep me from looking so washed out. My husband ran the cable from the modem perched in the second-floor window to the office area.   

After all the work, here I am sitting at the upstairs table on my laptop writing instead of the office. It’s just too dark to be in there all the time, although it works wonderfully for my classes since most of them are scheduled after the sun goes down anyhow.

My son and I are sharing his computer. I use it to teach classes, sometimes up to 6 hours a day.  I know he’s a bit frustrated with that. My laptop is over 2 years old and just hasn’t adapted well to the Zoom updates. It still works for everything else I need it for though.

My son’s computer time has also been limited because of our off-grid setup. With just 4 batteries, we aren’t sure of our electric budgeting yet. Yesterday we did two loads of wash and filled the tinaco on the roof using the pump and used some power tools so by the time evening came around, the charge indicator was orange and my son wasn’t permitted any computer time.

In case you missed it, we did two loads of wash yesterday! With the pure sine wave converter, our washer works just dandy. Our other small appliances also work better, the blender, popcorn maker, and fan. So while we still have hopes of a few more batteries, we are delighted with our current creature comforts here in La Yacata.

That hasn’t stopped my husband’s drive for change though. He’s got a few more projects underway.

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Filed under Electricity issues, Employment

A room of her own–leaving the Little House in Sunflower Valley

Where I’ve been working for the past 2 years

Once we finally got the internet up and running at our house in La Yacata, there really was no reason to keep renting the Little House in Sunflower Valley. The problems the house had with internet, electricity, and leaks, far outweighed any benefits it might have had in the past.

So, since the rent for the month was already paid, we started gearing up for the move at the end of the month. First, we needed to make arrangements to cancel the internet through Telmex.

This was a two-step process. I had to call the company and receive a “folio” number in order to return the modem to the company. The first time I called, I was disconnected. The second time I explained that I wished to cancel the service because of the numerous fallas (outages) and was given the folio number.

The next day we took the modem to Telmex. We couldn’t just turn it in at the desk with the number. We had to tromp up 4 flights of stairs to the “internet” office. Just like when we contracted the service I wondered about the lack of handicap accessible offices. So there, even though we were the ONLY people in the office, we were instructed to take a number from the number machine. We did. We were number 2.

So when the Telmex internet woman was good and ready, she called us over to her desk. I gave her the folio number. Apparently, my cancelation request was entered as a “baja” instead of cancel, whatever that meant. She deleted the transaction and created another one. I had to explain again that we did NOT have phone service with Telmex, only internet service that we would no longer be using.

Then she said I still had one month’s outstanding balance that I needed to pay before she could process the request to cancel. I sent my husband down the four flights of stairs to pay that. When he came back, she made a copy of my permanent residency card and had me sign the form ending internet service in my name.

As both the electricity and water bills at the Little House were still in the name of the owner, I could not cancel those services. I did make sure I had the last bills I paid with the receipt as proof of payment to turn over with the key. Because the bills are bi-monthly, as a renter I would still be responsible for the next water and electric bills. However, since I had paid $1000 deposit, I didn’t see why the outstanding balance wouldn’t be deducted from that, and instead, I would receive about $700 from the deposit.

The owner of the house lives in Yuriria, which is about a 40-minute drive for us, so we went there one afternoon hoping to catch her at home. Of course, she wasn’t there, but her son was. We explained that we would no longer be renting, that these were the last paid bills, and that there was an outstanding balance from the deposit owed to us.

The son refused to take any of the papers and said that he would have the owner call us to “inspect” the house and we could ask about the deposit then.  He asked about this month’s rent. I showed him the bank receipt proving it had been paid. He asked about next month’s rent. As it was still 2 days until the beginning of the next month, I certainly wasn’t paying another month. Fine, then. We didn’t leave the key.

The owner has not yet contacted me. I believe her thought process is to keep the entire deposit. While I don’t enjoy being taken advantage of, in this case, by not receiving the remainder of the balance on the deposit, I am of the mind that karma will take care of the matter for me.

You see, several months ago, the lock on the front door broke, so we replaced it. She will need to break into her own house and have a new lock made unless she calls us for the key. All of which could have been avoided had she done things as they should be done.

The move back to La Yacata took longer than I thought it should. We accumulated quite a bit of junk in the 2 years we rented there. My husband and son are heading to the tianguis in Valle this weekend to turn some of this crap into billetes (money).

In the meantime, I’ve started setting up my home office in the spare room in La Yacata.

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Filed under Electricity issues, Employment