Friday, September 18, 2015

Decluttering update

Almost a year ago, I stumbled across Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and made an effort to apply it to my domicile. (And I want to note here, I was #konmarie'ing before it was trendy. Just saying.) Despite my earlier efforts, paper continues to be a problem - just when you think you have it under control, more surfaces from some magical place. And I keep accumulating kitchen gadgets I have no room for.

I have also discovered that the process described in the book needs to be reapplied occasionally. Something that gives one joy in 2014 may be totally annoying in 2015. While I discarded my work uniform (Docker-like twill pants) about two minutes after retiring, I am finding many other clothes in my closet do not suit my new lifestyle as a retiree. Plus, they are completely out of fashion.

(An aside: It is not lost on me that the current selections in the department stores look like they came right out of my wardrobe from the 1970's. A part of my brain thinks, If only I had saved those peasant blouses, that poncho, the sweater with a shawl collar in shades of brown, I could wear them now. Except I could not wear them now, as they would be laughably too small for this post-middle age body. Also, it's a style only the young can carry off.)

Winnowing clothes is a lot more satisfying than paperwork. If I haven't worn something in several years, it is easy to relegate it to the Goodwill bin. With paper, just because I will never look at a particular item again does not mean it can be tossed. Also, clearing out the closet means more closet space which can be filled with something joyful like yarn or new and more fashionable clothes that actually fit, while at this point, throwing out paper just makes room for more paper.

I recently asked my kids if there were any of my possessions either of them wanted, and the answer was NO. (Really? Nothing?!?) Now I can look at my stuff with the knowledge it will likely become so much landfill at some (hopefully far in the) future date. That gives me license to continue to whittle away.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

That damn cat

In the not so distant past, I acquired another cat (read about him here and here). In the not so distant future, I will be buying a new TV.

From clues left behind by the purrpetrator, it appears Beau knocked the sound bar off the TV stand, and the sound bar hit the screen, damaging the display at point of contact. I would be more upset, but the display on this TV has been problematic for a while, so now I have an excuse to buy a new TV. And lock Beau out of the den.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


The new deck was supposed to fit on the footprint provided by the patio slab. The subcontractors did not follow directions and made it larger than the patio. Now crap is growing up between the boards.

At the moment, this bugs the hell out of me. In the great scheme of things, however, it rates a zero. Time to let it go.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cleaning for company

Since family was coming to visit this week, I finally unboxed my new carpet cleaner and put it to work. After some initial disgruntlement, I decided it works pretty well.

My primary complaint is the user guide. My unit appeared to be one that had been returned by a previous customer, as none of the attachments were in their little plastic bags. Consequently, I wanted to verify I had all the parts. No parts list in the user guide. Instead, the list was printed on one of the inside flaps of the box, something I noticed only when I was dragging the box out to the garage. Also, the diagrams in the user guide were too small and dark to reveal much detail. And the instructions seemed to be in an odd order; for example, the optional step of rinsing the carpet didn't appear until the end of the "clean up" section.

I tested the unit on some carpet remnants, which probably was not the best idea because the cleaner has rotating brushes and it was difficult to maneuver on the remnants without catching the edges with the brushes. However, they did get clean.

After a day of rest, I tackled the hall, most of the living room, and part of the dining room carpet, all wall-to-wall. This worked better, much like vacuuming but with a really heavy vacuum. I chose to perform the rinsing step, and then I also tried sucking up more water by running the unit without any water in it, which did not make much difference. The carpeting was dry by the next day.

Even though I had cleaned the carpets after the remodeling was complete, I was gratified and amazed to see how much *more* dirt the cleaner picked up. (I have a feeling carpet cleaning is like brushing a cat - no matter how long or how often you do it, there is always more hair.) The brushes fluffed the pile some, making the carpeting look newish again. I would recommend pre-treating stains, however, so they come out with one or two passes. All in all, I am satisfied.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sleep with the sheep

I hate to shop, but after repeatedly waking up with an aching back, I decided I had to do something about my mattress.

I have a waterbed frame (sans the water-filled mattress) and waterbed frames are a bit longer than standard bed frames. They make mattresses to fit waterbed frames, but the selection is limited. I thought about replacing my bedroom suite so that I would have more mattress options, but it's made from solid oak with cedar-lined drawers, plus none of the local charities will accept waterbed frames. So I thought maybe I should just get a standard queen size mattress and stuff something into the gap at the foot of the bed so the dog does not get trapped between the mattress and bed frame.

But which mattress? I stumbled upon a web site (which I cannot find now) that broke down the options based on a collection of criteria, and all the possibilities had drawbacks. I just could not generate any enthusiasm for any of the usual selections.

A while back, I read a memoir (title totally forgotten!) in which the author described sleeping on a wool mattress. Being a knitter, this appealed to me, so periodically, I would research wool mattresses. They are expensive and not available locally, so I was reluctant to purchase one without trying it out first.

But then I did. I ordered one from Surround Ewe, sight unseen. After sleeping on it for two months, I could not be happier about my decision.

I ordered a 4" topper with my mattress, and I am glad I did, because the mattress itself is very firm, very much like a futon. Surround Ewe included two wool pillows and a "summer weight" wool comforter with my order. It's like sleeping in a wool sandwich. I now think of the bed as my nest.

And it is a very warm nest. Before, I had a difficult time staying warm in bed, despite the following: topping the mattress protector with a doubled blanket, using flannel sheets, capping it all off with a fleece blanket and polyester comforter, wearing thermal pajamas and wool socks, AND making the dog sleep with me; sometimes I wore a wool sweater to bed and/or added an afghan to the mix. (I considered buying an electric blanket or mattress pad, but could not convince myself I wanted to sleep with all that wiring.) Now, I still use the flannel sheets and the dog makes sad eyes if I don't let her on the bed, but otherwise it is just the wool comforter. Summer weight or not, it will have to go come spring.

Surround Ewe has a "renewal" program for their products, but I am hoping I never need it. Theoretically (which means in my magical fantasy world), the bedding should last forever. Everything is covered in thick organic cotton, I air things out each day by throwing back the covers and turning on the ceiling fan for a bit (they recommend opening a window, but HELLO it is still winter here), and come summer I plan to air everything out in the sunshine once or twice.

I don't get very excited about anything I own, but if my house burned to the ground tomorrow, this bedding is one of the first things I would replace.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Time for spring cleaning (almost)

It's difficult to get in the mood for spring cleaning after it snowed yesterday and tomorrow promises freezing rain. Ugh. But there is not much else to do while awaiting spring. Except spend money.

Frequent readers will recall that last year I fired my professional carpet cleaners after discovering I could do a better job with a rented machine. One problem with renting a machine is the logistics of the rental, a definite deterrent when you want to clean a small area. Another problem is its heft; when I bumped it up against the baseboard, it scraped off the paint. So I broke down and purchased the above. It is still in the box, but once I get up the gumption to actually use it, I will report back.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trim that tree!

I'm rather lucky when it comes to neighbors. Not only do I get along with them, they seem to get along with each other. Jack, the best neighbor in the world, lives across the street, but even he was a bit bothered by *his* next door neighbor's trees. I knew the two of them had been in negotiations over said trees, so I was not surprised when the sound of chain saws and wood chippers filled the air last week.

Unlike some people in my fair city, these two neighbors are not anti-tree. However, the branches of some of Sue's locust trees hung over the property line, dropping a shitload (ha! that word is recognized by spell checker) of fine leaves into his gutters each year. Also, recent wind storms had left several large branches hanging by a thread.

I thought the trees were coming down, but not so. The broken branches were removed, along with the lower ones that were behaving unneighborly, but the trees themselves remain, to provide much needed shade from the midday sun. I enjoy the golden leaves in spring, which turn green for summer, then yellow in the fall.

Most properties in this neighborhood are populated with silver maples, all of which are potential house crushers. Despite their height, locusts seem to be rock solid. A friend of mine had some locusts removed from her yard 25 years ago, and the stumps are still there.