Wednesday, September 2, 2015


August was a stressful month for budget.

The red line is our base, non-overage Verizon bill.
Herc biting the neighbor's dog was not anticipated.  Not only did we cover their vet bills, another couple of hundred dollars went into fortifying the dog kennel.  It is my sincere hope that this is a non-recurring expense.

More vexing is the Verizon overage.  There are multiple dynamics in play.  Cell phone companies, in general, seem to have punitive overage fees as a basic part of their business plan.  They get you to sign up and everything is jolly until your child has a girl-friend and sends 8000 texts in one month.  You fix it with unlimited texting, and then they discover Snapchat or Facetime.

This is George Jetson stuff that was pure fantasy five years ago.  It is a video streaming technology that is very bandwidth intensive.

One of the keystones of the business plans is to keep users in the dark.  They don't want the users to be able to calibrate and make adjustments.

Kubota figured he was doing great as long as he did not get any "overage alerts".  So he ran with the throttle pushed all the way forward until he hit the wall.

Guess which three days Kubota was spending at a friend's?  On the 25th, 29th and the 31st it was just Mrs ERJ and me using the bandwidth.   Cumulatively, we are about 4 Gig above our trend line for the month even though we are only nine days into the billing period.
After a few hours of churlish behavior (on my part) we came up with a plan.

Every day for the rest of the billing month I will produce a new chart showing daily usage similar to the green-and-red one shown above.   We have to get our arms around this because it is very tough to claw our way back on a fixed income.

It absolutely SUCKS that Verizon is complicit in this.  It SUCKS that I have to go through all of the extra push-ups to provide Kubota the information he needs to make responsible choices.  It SUCKS that I cannot pull Kubota's devices/usage out of the mix and present them separately.  It SUCKS that Verizon does not provide a suite of tools that allows me to administer my WIFI, to allow me as the administrator (and bill payer) to throttle back specific devices while leaving those that are used responsibly unchoked.

Kubota's plan

Kubota impressed me.  He came up with a plan.  He thinks that the problem is that he is using his electronic toy as a pacifier on nights when he has difficulty going to sleep.  In other words, he plays online games to entertain himself.

He came up with the idea of putting new batteries in his electronic keyboard.  He can turn the sound level down low and compose music.  I had some spare rechargeable batteries and so the deed was done.

The sound of him dinking around on that Yamaha keyboard will sound like coins clinking into the family cash register.  It will lull me to sleep.


  1. My 'fixed income retirement plan' on is based on these things:
    1) no children still at home (or coming back home [this looks very good right now])
    2) My hobbies will consist of golf (paid for by working part time at a golf course so golf will be free), fishing by going on friend's and relative's boats (buying bait - and lunch on occasion)
    3) Gardening (learning from you how to make that fairly inexpensive and 'fruitlful' (pun intended)
    4) playing chess both on line (some expense but not if done at WI-FI hot spots, at the chess club (very close to free), AND studying games and covering up the moves of the winner near the end and trying to figure out how he won! I have over 150 books already purchased at used book sales or given to me as gifts. I can never run out of material as starting over (which it appears I may not be able to accomplish if I live to be 100, it will be a fresh game in book #1 to me by that time.
    The Lovely and Talented will simply be budgeted at a much higher rate than my allowance (hence guaranteeing harmony) to use to spoil our grandchildren that are on the way.

    Any flaw in this plan Joe? Let me know if you see one my friend.

  2. Ouch, and yes Verizon is a PITA to deal with... They HAVE that data, but won't share it.

  3. Ouch, and yes Verizon is a PITA to deal with... They HAVE that data, but won't share it.

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