Tag Archives: no electricity

Without: A Journey in Living “Off the Grid” (The Beginning)

Off the grid is a term often used to describe a style of living without being connected to utilities provided by a business, corporation or co-op. There are a lot of people in the United States and elsewhere in the world that live in this manner, some by choice and others not so much. When you live and grow up in a country like the United States, it is expected that you have things such as electricity, running water whenever you turn the tap on, and even cable television and internet.

In some cases, it is expected to have central heat and air, with air conditioning units and wood burning stoves or kerosene heaters being considered nearly barbaric and long out dated.

If you turn the water faucet on at my house no water will come out. If you flip the light switch on you will still be standing in darkness after the sun goes down. My cooking is done on a barbecue grill and an outdoor propane powered cookstove. The heat in the house is done with the help of a wood burning stove. My family lives completely off the grid.

 

In the middle of February the electric co-op that we had power through shut our power off without notice and refused to turn it back on unless we paid something to the tune of over $2000. This wasn’t the first time they did something like this, back around Thanksgiving they did the exact same thing. I’m sure I’ve written about both events, and the fact that the co-op has never sent us a bill with any regularity but because of laws passed that make corporations more valuable than people, people suffer.

So as a result of the co-op being the wonderful little assclowns that they are, my family has had to go off the grid. We are lucky enough to have a well, and are capable enough to draw water from the well to provide our animals, plants and ourselves with the water that we need. We have a gas powered generator now to power our computers and lights in the evenings for a while. We will be powering a well pump as soon as I can get it installed.

We’ve talked about changing over to solar power, but we don’t have the money for the set ups. We’re struggling enough as it is, and buying the generator wiped out what little savings we had.

There are times, more now than ever before, that I want to just give up. I don’t want to get up in the morning because I’m tired of the struggle. I have to keep reminding myself that there are people, and animals that depend on me to get out of bed and muddle through to day.

I’d like to start a gofundme account to raise the money for a whole house generator or a solar array, but that has never worked in the past. I don’t know enough people to make something like that work. Once again I’m reminded of how much of an outcast I am because of my disability. I have no friends or family to turn to for help. So I have to go at it alone.

I blame society for my difficulty interacting with it, but that’s a story for another time. The light will begin fading soon, lunch break is over and I have work that must be done before nightfall.

 

Playing Catch-up

Where do I begin? This last month and a half has been beyond hectic. This year was supposed to be better than last and yet it has already begun to descend into a spiral of negativity. I’ve been struggling with depression from the start of the year and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

From the start, I’ve been battling with a school district that wants to receive extra funding for having a child that is ASD in their system but refuses to place that child in a classroom where they will excel. Even after writing the Virginia Department of Education nothing has gotten done except the school district threatening me for keeping my son home and out of an environment that has caused him to begin self-stimulatory behavior again and stop eating. They kept threatening to call the truancy officer every time the school was called or talked to about trying to get my son a placement. The thing that really pisses me off is the fact they refused to do any testing until he was enrolled and attending their school which is against the law.

When it began evident to me that the school wasn’t going to do anything except tell me that all the diagnosis from the doctor were wrong and he was fine in normal class I removed him from school and begin to homeschool him once again. I’m not happy with this but it is better to homeschool him than allow him to become so out of control and lost because of the teacher’s inability to control their classroom than just look for social groups for him to be involved in.

Just as I finally thought that things were going to get better I came home one afternoon (Friday to be exact) to find that the power company had shut off the electricity. They have never sent us a bill on time or with any regularity, and every bill that we have received from them (whether past due or not) has always been marked for immediate disconnection. I know I’ve written about this in the past. This time, when we called them, we were told it wasn’t their fault we didn’t get the bill and that unless we paid them somewhere around $1300 plus another deposit of $1200 and a reconnect fee, they weren’t going to turn us back on.

Fuck you Southside Electric Co-op.

It would cost less to buy a whole house generator than to reconnect power with this company so they can just shut it off on whim yet again. We don’t even have that kind of money. We’re struggling enough as it is.

So once again, we have no electricity, which means drawing water from the well manually, using the woodstove for heat, and using candles and flashlights for light when it gets dark. No power means that when my Chromebook that I’m writing on runs out of charge I have to hunt down a library or other place where I can charge it.

We are looking for a generator, but honestly, they are expensive and we’d still have the expense of the gasoline or propane to run them. Using solar panels would be a much better idea, but we don’t have enough money for an array.

So we are stuck without power, our truck is still not roadworthy and I’m fighting the urge to slit my wrists so that I don’t have to wake up every morning to this hellish nightmare in which no one gives a shit.

I also expect to lose my phone before too much longer as well which means I’ll have to hike to a library to use internet and keep up with the world.

I think the saddest and most frustrating part about all this bullshit that is going on is that fact that I am living a third-world lifestyle in a first world country. Everyone brags on America and how great it is, but it’s a lie. It’s great if you have the money to buy it’s greatness. If you have the money to buy politicians, and corporations, then yes, America is fantastic.

However, if you don’t, it’s shit.

It’s a bunch of lies that we are fed as children to encourage a sense of elitism so we can convince our children that going to war to “defend America” is a fan-fucking-tastic idea.

But it’s all a lie.

There’s nothing great about this country anymore.

It’s corrupt country that people try to rule with their own misconstrued religions.

Not so different that the countries we’re fighting against after all…

 

Bitter Cold-Truth

We haven’t had electricity since Thursday when our electric company disreguarded a verbal agreement we had, refused to give us twenty-four hours and shut our power off. They claimed they would turn us back on but first we had to pay them nearly $400.00 and fork out a $1200 deposit. We have never not paid our electric bill, since we moved into the house in March of last year, we have always paid even when the electric company screwed up the billing address and didn’t send us our bill on time, or when they jumped our electric bill from barely $150 a month to well over $600. We weren’t the only people that they have done this to, we’re just the unlucky ones struggling as it is to pay the $150 bill when they dropped new increases on us after the deregulation of electric companies in Virginia.

The weather the past two days has reached below freezing both days and the only thing keeping us warm is the large firepit we dug out front during the spring and the heater in my truck. Though if I’m going to be completely honest, only half of the heater in my truck works. The blower motor for the front of the vehicle doesn’t work so it doesn’t actually blow heat in the front of the truck. We charge our phones and my Chromebook in the truck as well. However when night falls and we have to return inside the darkened house our spirits sink.

This is not how I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my wife and two children until about three hours ago we didn’t even have a turkey.

I know when this Thursday rolls around I’ll see posts of how everyone on my friend’s list spending time with their family and gourging themselves on food while getting ready to go shopping for Black Friday and my family and I will be gathering wood for a fire, drawing water up from our well and cooking our meal over hot coals from our firepit.

This is the bitter cold truth that I wake up to each and every morning now.

Admist all of this I am still struggling to find doctors that diagnosis ASD in adults, trying to enroll our youngest in public schools, fight for SSI, and deal with depression so bad that I struggle to keep going. The only thing I can tell myself is if I give up, my children and wife will be worse off than they already are.

My wife is disabled and cannot use the chainsaw to drop trees for firewood, or chop wood with an ax. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license, and our oldest son is still too young for his. I am the only one in the family with a license and therefore, the only one able to drive back and forth to the store.

How would they be able to make it if I gave up? If I was selfish and ended my own suffering and left them alone…I can’t do that to them, my pain is nothing compared to what they would be left with.

So I keep going.

It’s really the only thing I can do. I focus on one task at a time; one item on our to do list and keep working towards something better. Though I don’t feel like anything is going to get better anytime soon.

I’m cold and tired all the time now, it’s like the dampness has settled into my bones and will refuse to leave until the spring of next year and warmer weather.
I just have to keep going.

Survive

It’s all anyone can do to really survive in today’s world. I live in a country where a majority of people claim it’s a Christian country, but when you ask them to uphold the principles taught by their tenement they refuse. Don’t get me wrong there are many Christians that do follow their faith as their scriptures dictate, but, for the most part people don’t.

I sit here writing this post this morning in a home with no electricity because our electric co-op couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning to be paid. Over the past two months, life has been hell moneywise. Our truck broke down, the trips back and forth to Texas, our dog getting hit by a car, having someone run up our phone bill and cause 5 GB in data overage (at $15 a gig that’s a total of $75 we have to shell out, because we were kind and ultimately taken advantage of) my mother-in-law’s car broke down forcing me to take her back and forth to work or places where she can get rides to work while never being thanked…All I can do is survive. I don’t live. I push through one day at a time and wonder what hell tomorrow brings.

In order to get our electric back on we’ll have to pay the balance of what we owe, a reconnect fee and now a $1,200 deposit. Yes, 1200 dollars. So, we will get to struggle through the winter without electric, cook our meals on a campfire (when it isn’t raining), struggle to keep warm when the temperature drops below freezing (it’s supposed to drop below freezing at least four of the next seven days) our water will be drawn from a well by hand. I live in a first world country, however; I’m facing the same struggles as a third world country all for the sake of greed.

We have been struggling all this week to make sure there was food in the house for our children to eat and have even had to face the fact that we might have to start slaughtering our livestock for meals. Luckily, last weekend I was able to sell some homemade salsa and make enough where we had to cull our flock.

I feel like it’s been one thing after another and I’m not sure how long I can keep on just surviving. I want things to be okay for once. I want to wake up in the morning and not wonder how I’m going to cook breakfast since it’s raining outside. I want to not have to make up games with the children and make it an adventure not to have electricity. I want to be normal and not have ASD so I can work and bring in enough money to support my family. I’m falling apart and I don’t know what I can even do or where I can go from here.