Category Archives: Life at Home

The little things

I wanted to take just a minute to talk about climate change and just a few of the little things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint. There are two tips in particular that I like, that are not only better for the environment, but also make your life a lot easier.

The first is pretty simple. Start replacing your standard incandescent light bulbs with the newer compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. These have significantly come down in price since the days when they were first introduced, and you can usually grab a four pack for about $6. Granted, it’s a wee more of an upfront cost than what you were paying for your traditional light bulbs, but think about how less frequent you’ll need to change those suckers? A typical light bulb lasts about 6 months or so, right? These incandescent bulbs last a lifetime of approximately 1500 hours. CFLs last for approximately 10,000 hours. That’s more than 6x longer! Meaning that instead of changing out a bulb every six months — you’ll do it once ever 3 years. This is especially important for those bulbs that are a pain in the ass to change. You know which ones, I’m talking about — the ones that you have to get the ladder out and bring a screwdriver to remove the light fixture. Swap those first! Save yourself the hassle.

So, that extra few dollars isn’t really going to waste. Not to mention the fact that these bulbs are more energy efficient and will significantly reduce your overall energy bill if you replace all of them. So, what’s not to love about them? The only downside, and it’s a minor inconvenience, is that you need to recycle these — they cannot be thrown away in the trash. Just save them up for when you need to run to the hardware store and bring ’em with you. Problem solved.

The second thing, which I always thought was so granola, is bring your own bags to the grocery stores. Here in California, nearly every grocery store sells these now for usually $0.99 and most of the time the store will credit you $0.05 for each time you bring in your own bags. So these will pay for themselves in less than 6 months, if you shop weekly.

What’s even nicer, though, is that these bags make it so much easier to carry groceries. You can fit so much more stuff into one fabric/hemp grocery bag than you can in one plastic or paper bag. Plus — they don’t break! Yesterday, coming back from my mini shopping run, they threw a gallon of apple juice into one bag plus rice, a few jars of baby food and some other goodies. With traditional grocery bags, the apple juice would’ve been not just one — but often two bags itself, to double bag it. I was really surprised at how much more efficient these bags are when shopping. So just throw them in your car and bring them with you when you go into the store. That’s the only hard part. But it’s worth it!

So, that’s just some of the small things you can do around the house to make an impact on the world around you. For more tips, check out this post from the Practical Environmentalist.

This message was brought to you as part of Blog Action Day.

Someone’s Ready for a Trip

We went out today to get bogart a new carry-on case for the plane, in preparation for our upcoming trip back east for the wedding. We tried this one out in the store and he ran in there and made himself at home. We’ve never seen him so excited about a carrier!

Bogart's Carry-on

When we brought it home, he laid down in it and starting crying. While we’re not exactly sure why he was so upset — we have reason to believe that he was trying to tell us that he was ready to go on the trip. Over the course of the evening, he already spent several hours in his new carrier. Amazing.

Carpetboggled: Addendum

As I headed out of my building this morning at 7:30, I noticed that the note (see my May 8 post, below) was gone.  These damn carpets aren’t going to get any respect now!  But that’s what I like about this building – every so often, the condo manager or an irate resident posts a bullshit note and someone here who thinks along the same lines as I do, rips it down in under 24 hours.  Take that, bitch! 


LTJ is on his game.  In his response to my post from yesterday, he wondered why the carpets weren’t replaced back in March within a / within the week, as the note promised.  I have no idea.  I live in a highly dysfunctional building.  But the association added to its legacy today.  Taped to the front and rear entrances is this note, attributed to the condo manager (or whatever his title is; he doesn’t live here):

Attention Residents:

The carpets have all been replaced.  Please respect them.

Thank you,

[Asshole I won’t name]

I’m bemused and mystified by this note.  I have to respect the carpets?  How?  Should I engage them in polite smalltalk?  Should I ask if they need anything from the store on my way out?  Should I take off my shoes when entering the building?  Were the old carpets disrespected?  Did someone talk about them behind their back?  They looked respected to me.  No rips, tears, or holes.  No online blog dedicated to libeling them.  Strange, but it’s just another day in the life of the “Washington Arms.”

Just finishing up..

While Cool Jesus was out partying the night away with The Police, MP and I were busy cleaning up our apartment. It’s done… finally. We’ve had a number of delays and weekend activities that have prevented us from putting the finishing touches on our new abode, but we were finally able to do it this weekend.

With the help of a little we’re done and I present the photos, courtesy of Flickr.

Operation Move: Complete

It has been a chaotic couple of days. It all began on Friday night with a forray of boxes and cleaning supplies strewn around the apartment and continued throughout the entire weekend. The movers were extremely prompt, and I’d highly encourage anyone living in the South Bay Area to use as they quoted us with 3 hours to pack and 3 hours to unpack. They arrived at 8:20 and by 10:15 we were off to our new Apartment.

The biggest complication of the weekend was the layout of the living room (floor plan 3). Trying to figure out how to arrange everything in an orderly fashion, with the dining room table was no easy task. It didn’t have the clearly defined dining room area that Alderwood had. We managed and were able to set most of the major items up by Saturday evening.

We finished off the kitchen, living room and bedroom yesterday — leaving the guest bedroom / office for another day — and decided to head over to Alderwood to put the finishing touches on the apt. As soon as we walked in, we realized how much nicer our new place is. I even said to MP Saturday night as we strolled around our new complex with Bogart, that I felt like we were living in a resort. It’s really gorgeous, and we really would not have been here if it wasn’t for MP’s work ethic, dedication and mad computer programming skillz.

I’ll have pictures once we get everything set up.. we’re still in Moving Box Hell.

Just checking in

I’m relieved that CBS decided to renew ‘How I Met Your Mother’ for a third season.  My man Petro, who is also a big fan, sent me the good news earlier today and I was probably more happy than I should have been, considering it’s “just a TV show.”  Having such a clutch show on Monday nights is immeasurably good for my psyche.  When I come home on Monday evening after being slapped around by the post-weekend workday return, it’s nice to come home and have something to look forward to.  Something to take my mind off everything.

Having at least one good show on a Monday night really shortens the week.  Tuesdays suck.  Wednesdays suck.  Thursdays are stellar.  And then Fridays are all about going out and getting liquored up.  Incidentally, it’s just about summertime and the best TV series EVER is already in the midst of its 106th season.  That’s right, Red Sox baseball.  At least CBS can’t threaten to cancel that.  Only Mother Nature can do that, and that’s why on nights like tonight I’m sitting here blogging rather than watching the game.  Lucky you.

One happy family

I don’t like my neighbors.  On one side of me is a married couple a little older than Swedish Girl and me.  On the other side of me is a man?  A woman?  One of each?  I have no idea, as their shades and blinds are always closed and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them.  They/he/she is (are?) quiet, so that’s good.  The pricks on the floor above me are loud.  I swear on one Sunday morning a few weeks ago, it sounded as if they had some friends over and were bowling with both bowling balls and each other.  These neighbors were kind enough to rip up their wall-to-wall carpeting some time ago, so we can hear every footstep, every dropped beer bottle, and every bowled ball or human.  The old lady across the hall is quiet, but I get the feeling she’s keeping an eye on my comings and goings through her peep hole.

It’s mostly the married couple next door that bug me.  Just this morning, they were leaving their apartment just as I was leaving mine.  The wife went out of her way to ignore me.  The husband and I exchanged cordial good mornings, but then he let the outer door slam on me moments later.  Lovely.  His wife apparently thinks I’m a serial rapist or something, because other times that I’ve held the door for her, she’s dashed through with nary a ‘thank you’ or a nod.  I have come to the conclusion that, contrary to the typical fiber of my being, I’m going to turn up the faux charm and really kill that couple with kindness. 

There is one really friendly neighbor with whom I wish I shared a wall.  I call him Detergent Guy because one late night as Swedish Girl and I were watching TV in our pajamas, he loudly knocked on our door.  It was such a forceful knock, that we thought the RA was coming to bust us for something.  Turns out, he was drunk and doing some laundry, but he couldn’t carry everything and spilled laundry detergent on our door and floor mat.  Since then, he’s been cool with us.  I hope that event (and subsequent hallway exchanges of pleasantries) helped erase the image in his mind of Cool Jesus as slayer of old ladies. 

But that’s a tale for tomorrow…

Personal Assistance

I think I understand why some people have personal assistants and others don’t. Movie stars, musicians, and power brokers aren’t necessarily any busier than I am; it’s just that they can afford to have them. Is there anyone who wouldn’t want a personal assistant if they could afford one? As I was driving home from work last night, I was thinking of all the things a personal assistant could take care of for me – making my hair cut/teeth cleaning/oil change appointments, returning a package at the post office, dropping off/picking up my dry cleaning, locating that out of print CD box set that is only available overseas, picking up a white, silk pocket square that I need for my office holiday party, and on and on. But is it doing these mundane tasks that keeps us grounded? Would I lose myself if I stopped going to the dry cleaners or making my own appointments? I guess, for better or worse, these chores help keep my feet on the ground.

And now for something completely different…wasabi peas. I picked up a bag of wasabi peas at Harry & David last week and I’m in love with these things now. The only issue I have is that there isn’t enough wasabi coating on all the peas. In fact, some are barely touched by wasabi coating at all. But in general, these things are a great tasting, healthy (4 grams of dietary fiber per serving!) snack.

Egg nog. A week and a half ago, my eyes lit up with glee when I saw that egg nog had made it’s annual appearance at the supermarket. I quickly grabbed a quart of fat free nog only to find out at home that I had mistakenly purchased fat free egg nog flavored milk. Not good. Not good at all. I dumped it out, but was able to find light egg nog the other day. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.