Let me start off by saying that it’s still a shame our tenant Joe died this past April. But it’s also a bit of a toss-up in that while Joe might still be alive had he sought out an assisted-living situation, he also might have hated such an environment, and so in a way his going out suddenly in the place that he loved and had lived so long could be seen as a blessing.

I offer that preface lest I come off as callous in stating that certainly his demise has benefited us in providing Susan and me with the opportunity (we’d only hoped could one day happen) to rejoin the upstairs with the downstairs and make the house whole again after what’s been a 50-plus year disconnect that came some time after World War II when the single family residence was split into five units — part of which included the brilliant decision to remove the interior staircase and add an exterior staircase and entrance to the upstairs units. The two of those were eventually consolidated into the two-bedroom, two-bath apartment sometime before Joe moved in during the mid 1980s.

But a more tangible result of Joe’s joining the choir invisible came in the latest bill from the LA Department of Water and Power. See, in addition to Joe benefiting from an insane below-market rental rate of $765 a month, he also paid no utilities — which was triply awesome for him since he had three window-mounted AC units up there and going pretty regularly. On top of that until last year when he hired a cleaning woman who did his laundry off-site, he’d continued to use a washer and dryer he had up there even though Susan had told him to stop because it went against code.

Long story short, in the then/now comparison portion of the current DWP bill it shows our cumulative household electricity and water usage at a whopping two-thirds less than the amount of what it was during this 60-day billing period last year:

2007 Electricity Use: 3,120 kilowatt hours
2008 Electricity Use: 1,081 kilowatt hours

2007 Water Use: 38 HCF*
2008 Water Use: 12 HCF*

*HCF – Hundreds of Cubic Feet (1 HCF = 748 gallons)

Two-thirds!? To me that’s just incredible.

So too will be the construction project that’s been funded thanks to the mortgage refinance that we just closed. Can’t wait until that’s started. And finished.