But first a few updates.
We're still here and kickin' it. Mario is still doing his pinball walks through the house (he's blind and he never seems to remember the paths through the house, like so many stories I've read of other blind kitties - every walk is a new day for him - wondering if there's more to his blindness than high blood pressure). Sammy is losing tiny bits of ground every day. Meds are slowing his disease, but they haven't reversed or stopped it. And we're bracing ourselves for that day we have to make a hard decision.
Jingles, or as we've come to call him, Little Bitty Dog (LBD), got his first official vet visit last week. The vet checked him over, said he has a little arthritis in his back legs, he has the starting of cataracts in his eyes and he'll most likely need a dental in the next six to twelve months. He was microchipped, he got his rabies vaccination (the reason it's been months since we had any of this done was we were waiting for the paperwork from his old owners). His vaccination would come due on March 1, so we went ahead and got that updated so we could do the license thing.
His paperwork is in the mail, I need to set up the Home Again information online. He's our dog now.
It was really heartwarming at the vet when we were in the waiting room and he checked stuff out, then wanted up and he laid down quietly between Brian and me. He knows he's safe with us.
I finally figured out how to use the Amazon smart plug I got for cheap back in April (ten bucks instead of twenty five). I'd messed with it out in the garage, but had problems getting it connected.
I got it into my head that it would be nice to have the living room light turn on by telling Alexa to turn it on. It's dark in the living room. It's not a room we spend any time in. So, I figured I'd try to get it running out there. And I did! Yay! Then I thought "hey, how about having TWO living room lights?" And I moved the lamp from the family room to the living room. It matched the other lamp that was out there. I used an extension cord that was plugged into the smart plug, both lamps connected to the extension cord. Got them both working. So, "Alexa, lights on" turned them on, "Alexa, lights off" turned them off.
Seriously, I have no life. I found this highly entertaining. And I wanted to do MOAR magical stuff. Because shouting commands into the air when you're totally alone and having them fulfilled is nothing short of miraculous. (I still think electricity is magic and don't get me started on blue tooth - )
So, I ordered more smart plugs. Off brand. Setting one up (it was a package of four) was a little more involved, but I got it done. My first one was here in the family room. One of my crafting lamps. Then I learned how to set up routines, so every morning, the lights come on at six. No more stumbling down the hallway to turn on lights in the morning. When we don't need them, I just tell Alexa to turn them off. I thank her and she welcomes me.
I set up another one of the plugs with the Roku in the bedroom. That little streamer gets so hot, even when I'm not using it, that I had one of those little switches that I could turn the power off when not in use. Well, now, I just say "Alexa, Roku on" and voila! It's on.
Anyway, that's a little background for the next portion of my exciting life.
It's been cold here. Colder than normal. We've had rain. We've had fog. We've had sunny days that never en...wait, that's the earworm, never mind that one.
We have an old thermostat. It was state of the art when we got it, you could set times for when you wanted the furnace or air conditioner to come on. During the week, you could set a woke up time, a going to work time, a home from my busy day at work time and a sleep time. And for those times, set the temperature. Between sleep time and woke up time, in the fifties. Between the woke up time and going to work time, 68°. Between going to work time and home from my busy day at work time, 60°. Then it would be 68° between that time and sleep time.
But on Saturday and Sunday, there's no middle time. You have sleep time to woke up time. Then woke up time to sleep time. We have to manually set the temperature for the day, then reset it during the evening. Or just turn it off.
Well, these last few weeks, I got to thinking about smart thermostats. Since the daytime (leaving for work is Brian going out the sliding door to his shop in the backyard) temps are in the low sixties, if that high, during the week we also need to manually change the temperature. Because, damn, it's cold! And my mind wandered to a smart thermostat.
I had received occasional mails from our utility provider about rebates on smart thermostats. I never paid much attention to them. But last week, I thought I'd check it out.
And there were rebate offers in their marketplace. $75 rebate and some came with an additional $50 rebate. Interesting. I looked through what they had listed and some were pretty spendy. And the fifty dollar rebate was if you were willing to sign up with a third party who would monitor your thermostat settings and advise you accordingly. Nope. Not worth it.
And I found one that had pretty good reviews and had the option to run manually, no wifi needed. A must for this household. I have no problem with technology. I can't say the same for Brian. He wanted a thermostat that he can set from the console. A Sensi ST 55.
Now, the rebate form was only available for either Lowe's or Home Depot (meh). I filled in the form for Lowe's and waited for a response. I got it the next day, but it was for Home Depot (meh). (Stores should stay out of politics...publicly calling the members of one political party stupid, well, spending money there is done with some great reluctance.)
So, this morning we went to Home Depot. Asked an employee where the thermostats were, she told us how to get there, I found the box, had the rebate coupon in one hand, thermostat in the other, walked up to the checkout counter, Brian pulled out his Home Depot credit card and the kid scanned the thermostat box. $99.00. Then he scanned the rebate form. $75.00.
He did a double take. He looked a the rebate paper and read the fine print. He shook his head. He was really surprised at how big the rebate was.
Our total for a new smart thermostat was under $26 dollars. Nice.