Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trying times

If you decide to try to live in Belize you have to be aware that the elements are hard on machines and people, things break and they're expensive to fix or replace.

Today was one of those days that feels as tho' you're being knocked down and every time you try to get up, someone else hits you a good one. We had to take our Toyota Tundra in for repair because, when it was converted over to butane, the fellow jambed the air filter into the headlight, causing a short. I was thinking that my night vision was getting worse, but discovered that one headlight was barely on. Also, we've been down here over two year so it needed a good tune-up. $$$$s.

The inverter for our solar system has been giving us very confusing messages, including no a/c power. We've tried to figure it out from the manuals, but they might as well be in Russian for all the good they did us. We could manage, at times, with the generator as backup, but it started using oil like crazy. The last couple of days it used a gallon of gas @ $10+ and a pint of oil. Took it to a fellow who does small engine repair. Has to tear it down and is probably a bad ring. $$$s.

The solar inverter gave us all kinds of blinking warning lights. (Take a deep breath). Could be bad batteries, bad inverter or who knows what. All huge dollar problems. To get local help we have to phone to Belmopan and hope for the best. HUGE $$$s. I tried to email Backwoods Solar in Idaho, but didn't have the power for the satellite, so when we took the generator in for repair we found a WIFI spot and tried to send. Bummer! AOL couldn't send emails right then. I was ready to scream or have a nervous breakdown. I took a deep breath and we headed for home, stopping to buy minutes for our cellphone so that I could phone the US. I can't sing the praises of Backwoods Solar enough. We bo't our system and appliances from them and they've always been available with patient help.Today Shawn talked me through our problems, helping me make adjustments to the settings. He told me he'd had the same issues with his system and the what we were doing was fine and he didn't see a major problem. Phew! That one was a big relief. I was able to breath again. Still, because it's so cloudy and rainy right now, we won't have much chance of producing solar power, so we'll have to supplement with lamps, but we have hopes that soon we'll be back to something resembling normal.

The trouble with a day like this when you're past earning an income and living not only off-grid, but in a whole country that feels like it's way off-grid, is that unexpected, heavy expenses are really frightening. The pot never get replenished.

We're going to go out (when the road dries so we can get down the hill) and buy a turkey or ham and I'm going to fix a Christmas dinner for us and put this out of our minds for a bit.

1 comment:

sandy a. said...

i hope things get better from here! We looked at some land over in Spanish Lookout today. Farm land for the future (you know we have a house in Maya Beach currently), and although there were a lot of pluses, it didn't have power and none close by either. Just spent 2 days with people who run on a generator and just don't know if I could live like that for long periods of time. If solar worked all the time I could do that with a backup generator like you do.