Friday, April 29, 2011

Cheap American Gas!

It seems like everybody is complaining about the price of gas around here. Apparently, Connecticut has some of the highest gas prices in America. This morning, I paid $4.39/gallon for gas. And what do I think about it???

cheap, Cheap, CHEAP!!!!!

I'm not sure what the price of gas is in Switzerland these days, but the lowest I ever paid in the 10 years we lived there was about CHF 1.20 per liter. Using today's exchange rate, the current price of gas in CT - about the most expensive in the country - comes out to about CHF 1.00 per liter. That's right! Gas in CT is still cheaper than the cheapest I ever paid in Switzerland - even when oil was $50 per barrel.

People have gone completely crazy. I buy gas at possibly the most expensive gas station around because it is right along the edge of the Merritt Parkway. The Mobil I go to has its own exit. I pull off, fill up, and go right back on. It's convenient, and I don't drive any extra miles (it's on the way to/from Mrs. TBF's office) or spend time idling waiting in a line to buy cheap gas.

The alternative is going to the cheap gas station which is about 2.5 miles past our exit. There, I can save about 10¢ per gallon, but I'll have to wait in a line stretching into the street. Given the current price of gas, and calculating our 18.3 mpg average since buying our vehicle last September, we pay about 24¢ per mile for gasoline. That means, going out of our way to save 10¢ per gallon will actually cost us $1.20 to drive the extra 5 miles. Even if our 19.2 gallon tank were nearly completely empty (it never is), the 10¢/gallon times 19 gallons would save us $1.90 minus $1.20 driving to the cheap station. A total savings of 70¢ for the hassle of waiting in line with a bunch of tightwad geezers telling me about how they remember back in "the good old days" when gas was 19¢ per gallon (Yeah, and you made something like $75 per week!).

The only reason people are freaking out about the price of gas is because it's one of the few commodities where the price is posted on lit up signs all over town for everybody driving by to constantly see what the price of that commodity is.

Apparently the price hasn't gone up enough yet to cause people to change their habits. Most cars I see on the Merritt have only a driver, so people still aren't carpooling. I still see parents waiting at the bus stops in the morning with their kids in the back of an idling SUV - walking distance from their homes. I'm still not seeing that many hybrids or small, fuel-efficient cars on the road. It's a perfect example of people complaining, but then not doing anything about it.

It's going to take gas prices hitting $7.50 gallon before anybody does anything about it. And... THE OIL COMPANIES KNOW IT!!!

Enough ranting. I feel better now.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is There Anybody...


Yes... WE'RE ALIVE!!!!

Have you all forgotten about us?

Does anybody still care?


I think it's time to start blogging again.

I know, I KNOW... I said that about eight months ago, but I'm going to try to make a real effort to set aside time every single day (or... every few days... let's not get carried away here!), to once again put my thoughts on the blog whether you want to read about what we're up to or not.

That's right, people! You're powerless to stop me!!!!!!

How can I quickly recap the last eight months?

Here goes...

Mrs. TBF is doing very well at home and at work. I drive her to work every morning, and I pick her up in the evening. Fortunately, her office is only about 15 minutes from our house, so it works out great. In fact, we still only have one car, and we have no intention of buying a second car in the near future. We thought we'd try it for a couple of months, all went well, so here we are with me serving as Mrs. TBF's personal chauffeur. Maybe I'll buy me a chauffeur's cap.

I continue where I left off in Switzerland: full-time retired person. My job continues to be to make sure that all Mrs. TBF has to do is work and relax. I take care of all the stuff around the house, finances, shopping, etc. I joined a gym where I swim three times per week, and I manage to keep myself busy AND out of trouble. The two major differences between here and Switzerland are that we now have a car, AND I don't have to take language lessons since I am fairly fluent in American English after nearly 50 years of practice!

Let me tell you something...

Not having a language barrier is a HUGE deal!

Mrs. TBF LOVES our house, and I pretty much decided after about one month of living here that I HATED a lot about it! Therefore, we have decided to do a MAJOR renovation on our house that will require us to move out for a few months. The hope is that we will BOTH love the house after the renovation. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing major wrong with the house. It's just that we want to bring it into the 21st century and make it completely our own. We've been working with an architect/designer and a contractor for a couple of months now with the goal of coming up with something that will (hopefully) end up being pretty spectacular, and we plan on beginning the work sometime around the end of July or beginning of August.

Other than that, just your normal getting-used-to-a-new-house-and-new-area stuff. New York City is only a 40 minute train ride away, and we've been enjoying going into the city for dinner, etc. Also, let me say this: It sure is easier having West Palm Beach and Chicago only two hours away instead of twelve hours away when we want to visit family and friends. Plus... no jet lag!

That's enough for now. I'll just start blogging again (tomorrow?) in stream-of-consciousness like I normally do, and then I'll throw in the occasional flashback from the last eight months. It'll be easier that way.

Whew! My brain is exhausted. I need to rest!