Here Comes The Generator

For much of our time in our “forested” home in the mid-Atlantic I wanted a whole-home generator installed. We lost power multiple times a year, sometimes for more than 24 hours.

When we realized we were moving to Arizona, buying such an item became beyond imprudent. However, I wanted to buy one for whatever home we bought in Arizona.

When I mentioned this desire to people, EVERYONE said, “Oh, you don’t need one here. The power seldom goes out and it never goes out for more than a few minutes.” I should never doubt myself.

Yesterday, in the middle of a monsoon thunderstorm, we lost power for five hours. My wonderful wife has, reluctantly, agreed to the installation of a generator because before we moved here I made her promise that as soon as we had a lengthy power outage we would install a generator.

Of course, the rain (I estimate between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain fell yesterday at our house) was much needed. As uncomfortable as I was yesterday while the power was out–the feeling of losing control is overwhelming for me in those situations–that should never happen again. The company that installs generators is sending a rep on Monday.

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It remains apparent that, just below the surface, I have a layer of unresolved anger and frustration. While my plight for the last decade of not being able to establish a fulfilling post-baseball career is fuel for that fire, the conflagration is decades old.

I cannot exactly pinpoint where this issue began. The fact that my parents divorced in my early teen years is almost certainly a factor. Growing up as the child of Holocaust survivors and understanding what happened to my father is probably a cause.

Another cause is that I was the victim of several physical assaults in junior high and high school, assaults where I never fought back. To tell the truth, these assaults were racially motivated.

In college, a swastika was drawn next to my name on a dorm roster two different semesters. The first time it happened, I almost punched the person who told me, “Oh, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a prank.” Maybe I should have punched him…

Anyway…this unresolved anger will sometimes manifest itself by my lashing out when someone I don’t know well disappoints me. (On rare occasions, it will manifest itself with someone I do know well.) Almost without exception the level of my response is inappropriate for the slight I have suffered. As Bill James has written, the straw that breaks the camel’s back doesn’t have to be as heavy as the other straws.

Something like this recently happened and, in a desire to finally put out the fire, I thought writing about it here might be a good first blast of the fire hose. I welcome thoughts from any of you in a similar situation.

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How many of you have attended a Concours d’Elegance? My wonderful wife and I attended the one in Hershey in 2019, an event that, sadly, has apparently been permanently discontinued. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.

This Hemmings article is about the Audrain Concours event that began in 2019, was not held last year for obvious reasons, but will be held this year. Without rhyme or reason, here are some photos from the 2019 Hershey event, not including any of the dozens I took at the Cars & Coffee the day before the Concours–maybe some other time:

 

 

I was really in my Packard “phase” as the proportion of Packard photos exceeded even the ample number of cars of that make in the event.

 

#HereComesTheGenerator

#UnresolvedAnger

#Concoursd’Elegance

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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11 thoughts on “Here Comes The Generator

  1. Why not invest in solar with battery storage versus a generator? That way you’ll be ready when you finally get your EV.

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    1. Good question, but…first and foremost the cost difference is enormous. A Generac power cell or Tesla power wall would be $45-50k. A natural gas generator is no more than $10k.

      Second, and this will sound counter-intuitive, the natural gas system has, theoretically, far more reserve capacity. The batteries in a solar device have finite capacity. As long as natural gas service is not interrupted, then a house is not without power even if the grid is down for weeks.

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  2. In 2012 I attended the Amelia Island Concours with a friend and his 1932 V-16 Cadillac. I towed his car with one of my trailers due to his being damaged a couple weeks before when a tire blew and tore up the side of the trailer (he was rescuing a project car). I highly recommend attending if you ever have the chance. Another that used to be put on was at the Chateau Elan winery in north Ga. It was put on by the winery, which was owned by Don Panoz who also owned Road Atlanta and was the father of Dan Panoz who built the Panoz cars. It wasn’t a “major” concours but was quite fun none the less. One that’s on my bucket list is Pebble Beach. Hopefully in the next couple years I can cross that off the list.

    Back up generator:

    I have had one for several years, bought at a surplus auction. One thing I recommend doing is run it at least every couple of months for at least an hour. And run it under a load. I have a manual switch, as opposed to an automatic one, which disconnects from the incoming line so I don’t “back feed” the grid. And when you put it under a load, use several appliances, like you would while connected to the grid. If there is an issue, it’s best to find it before you’re needing the generator.

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    1. Thanks, DDM. My wonderful wife and I have talked about attending Amelia Island, but I really dislike Florida. If we go to the Mecum auction in Kissimmee next year, then maybe we’ll attend Amelia somewhere down the road, time permitting. Maybe we could meet in person there.

      Thanks for the tips about the generator. These new-fangled units are supposed to self-test, self-correct, etc. I am strongly leaning towards a Kohler in part because it tests itself more often than a Generac. Even if it never has to run in however many years I have left in this house, the piece of mind will be well worth the expense.

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  3. I’ll be interested in what you finally end up with for a generating system. I, too, was going to ask about going solar, but you’ve already explained that, and your logic there is undeniable.
    I have never been to a concours show, but I would like to do that some day. Frankly, other than the most well-known, I don’t even know where to find them.

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    1. In Arizona solar seems like the logical solution, but it’s not cost-effective or even outcome-effective, at least not yet.

      I think you have to just do an Internet search for Concours d’Elegance and you might find a site or two that lists such events. Fountain Hills, Arizona has one next February. I believe you’ll be around then.

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  4. Backup generators are an excellent investment. Fuel source for a generator is the real question. Do you have natural gas from Southwest Gas in your neighborhood? If not then you will be needing to install a propane tank to provide the generator fuel. Some neighborhoods have deed restrictions on the installation of propane tanks.

    When we remodeled our house in 2014, I had the electrical engineer provide a separate panel for specific circuits in the house so that that panel could be supplied from either the house main panel or a generator panel. A whole house generator for my home would be too huge. I too need to obtain a generator for this specific panel. I will not use natural gas for the generator. In 2012 there was a severe cold snap in Southern Arizona and Southern California. where the overnight lows were in the middle teens for several nights. This resulted in an huge natural gas demand in the region. Because of Federal regulations when the gas demand exceeds the supply Southern California has the priority for supply and Arizona is shorted. Southwest Gas, had to cut off customers from natural gas in Southern Arizona when the gas was needed for heating. Our neighborhood was one of those cut off. We were without natural gas heat and hot water for 3 days. At the time our heat was provided by natural gas fueled forced air heaters. After the emergency I changed our heating system to electric heat pumps. I will find a low speed diesel generator for my generator needs.

    You do what you need to do for your circumstances.

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    1. Thanks, Philip. We do have Southwest Gas service and, despite the experience in 2012, we will be using natural gas to power the generator. I have not been able to ask anyone in this area if they were without natural gas then.

      Propane is not an option for the reason you cited and other reasons, namely another $5-$7k in cost. We want to make use of what already exists. We would have liked to use solar, but it’s just not practical.

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  5. I’ve not had the chance to go to a Concours, I just haven’t committed to doing it. A new one started up just a few years ago not very far from me: https://www.cobblebeachconcours.com/

    The next (Sept 2022, rescheduled from Sept 2021, likely originally set for 2020) will be only the 8th event. It looks like an incredible show I think. As I say I just haven’t had the chance to go, as normally September is a fairly busy time for the small shows my cousin and I run. There’s just never enough weekends frankly.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. My wonderful wife and I have only attended the one Concours at Hershey, but barring some awful turn of events (always a possibility) we will almost certainly attend at least one more, hopefully at Pebble Beach.

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