Wow. Is this three posts in three days? It's like the good old days. Remember those? So, today I wake up and go through my normal routine. Read e-mails, listen to voicemails, eat some breakfast, say hi to my beautiful fishies, etc. Time for the shower.
I turn the water to hot and weigh myself while I wait for it to heat up. 139. Damn. That's really skinny. I eat a lot of salmon. Shouldn't I weigh more? I check the water - it's still cold. I brush my teeth while I wait.
It doesn't usually take this long, but ever since I got this hippie low flow showerhead that removes chlorine, it takes longer to heat up. I freestyle in front of the mirror.
It's still cold. Something's wrong. I go check my stove - it won't work either. Dammit. They turned off my gas. For the first four years I lived here, my gas was directly debited from my checking account. This was a good system. All of a sudden they stopped, but I keep forgetting to check my bills. They're just not that interesting. Yep. I'm a deadbeat.
I have to take a shower. Normally a huge wimp with cold water I stick my leg in. Not so bad. I slowly inch forward appendage by appendage until I'm mostly within the showerhead's deadly aim.
Maybe because of years of conditioning, only taking showers with hot water, the water actually feels warm. As soon as I remember it's cold, it feels cold again. I try to imagine that it's a warm shower and it actually works. I continue my shower as I normally would and dry off.
Then it hits me - that wasn't so bad. I'm moving in a month or so (you won't believe where! I'll write about it once it's finalized), so I figure that I can just take cold showers for a month. I don't need the gas to heat the house, obviously, and I don't really need to use the stove.
So, if you see me in a month or so and realize I have gained a tremendous amount of character, now you know why.
I take long showers, or at least I used to before I lived in an RV. I always put the water a little too hot, then get in and face away from the shower because the water is too hot for my chest. Fifteen minutes later I realize that I've been staring into space while enjoying my vertical hot tub, and then finally start taking a shower.
Yeah, it's not ecofriendly, but I'm making up for it now that all of my power comes from the sun.
Anyway, back when I had a house I realized two things:
Energy costs are high and rising - an increase of around 9% expected in prices in the UK pushing the average annual bill to £1,450 ($2,350; €1,705). It's a political hot potato and both the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and Energy company Centrica boss have recently been criticised for being out of touch and crass for suggesting people wear a sweater or even two to keep bills down.
But they could have a point. It's easy to blame the energy companies and the government and expect them to fix it so we can continue as before. Energy is something we take for granted. Central heating, insulated walls, double-glazing - for many we've never had it so warm or comfortable. We sleep scantily clad if at all, get up in a pre-set, temperature-controlled house, have long hot showers, get into warm cars, or heated trains to go to warm offices. In the Netherlands, where I'm currently living, it's still possible to wear a shirt to the office and not feel cold. This seems wasteful and wrong, especially considering the impact on the environment and the ever increasing demand for energy leading to controversial new sources of energy such as shale gas.
Are we as consumers really doing enough to save energy and reduce our consumption and our bills? If we all did a bit more we could collectively reduce demand and our environmental impact and save some money too.
To be clear, I'm not talking about the poor elderly person on a state pension sitting in front of a one-bar gas fire, wrapped in blankets too cold to make a cup of tea to warm up. When you're that poor, out of sheer necessity or desperation you already do what you can to save money.
As a consumer, I know I can still do more both to save energy and money. Our monthly fuel bill in the Netherlands is an eye-watering €270 (£230; $375) per month. The average here is €150 per month. We, a family of four with two teenage boys living in a 130 sqm (1,400 sqft) house, set ourselves a challenge to reduce our monthly bill by €100. It's the latest stage of our conscious effort to live more simply and reduce our impact on the environment.