Archive | December, 2010

Find the Kitty Friday 12/31/01

December 31, 2010

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It’s the final day of 2010, and I am not very sad to see the year go. It’s been a year full of extremes- great sadness because my dad this year, and so did some of my beloved pets. Great gladness because I got the kitchen done after 13 years of dreaming. Goodbye, 2010.

It’s Friday, so I’m playing Find the Kitty today. Where could she be?

findkittybox

Hee hee.

She’s been on a hiding binge, finding the most terrific places to skulk. Perhaps it is because we open the dogs’ room, now– it is so cold that we have to open their little room to get heat in there. They bark voraciously whenever Livvy walks by. She plays it cool most of the time, but sometimes she’s spooked and whizzes out of the room to hide. Poor baby.

Or perhaps she has been inspired to play Find the Kitty because we’re getting a lot of packages right now, thanks to Christmas. As soon as the UPS man comes down the driveway, she’s ogling the box through her perch at the window. And as soon as I zip open the box, she’s in it almost before I can get the bubble wrap out!

Then she shoots her laser beams at me. LOL.

Livvylasereyesinbox

Happy New Year, my beloved friends. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He give you peace and make His countenance to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious to you, and may the wind be always at your back.

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Old Window Icicles

December 29, 2010

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Huh. I’ve never seen this happen before.

oldwindowicile

You know why that’s happening?! Because for the first time in this house, it is ACTUALLY WARM. It’s so warm that the warm air is leaking out through these leaky, 100-year-old windows, and making icicles when the warm air hits the freezing air outside.

Wooow.

Since ditching our forced air furnace and installing gas heaters, the house has been incredibly warm. And the gas bill is much lower than last year. Unfortunately, the electric bill is SKY HIGH because we have electric baseboards upstairs. I knew that would happen. But I wasn’t comfortable installing gas heaters upstairs. This setup is temporary– we intend on installing a hot water baseboard system in the future. But the gas heaters are just phenomenal.

I did a LOT of research about the heaters before I bought them. I’m a copywriter for a few online writing companies, so I also wrote a number of researched articles on the devices. I’m pretty impressed with them. Of course, I have a slew of carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout the house (you should install these if you have ANY gas-burning appliance in your home, anyway– and especially if you have a fireplace). Some of them have digital readouts that display the level of CO2 in the room. And mine has consistently displayed 0. Yay! The gas burners burn very cleanly.

Actually, gas heaters are no more dangerous than a wood fireplace. Wood needs oxygen in order to burn, too, and dispels carbon monoxide, too. Gas heaters have something that fireplaces do not, however– sensors. When a heater senses that oxygen is being depleted, the heater will shut off automatically.

Anyway, I am very happy with out heaters, although I think they keep the house a little too warm. The water vapor is not a problem here, as we have PLENTY of drafts in this house (I never thought I’s be grateful for a drafty house!) and the moisture helps eliminate the massive static electricity we’ve had problems with every winter. So far, the gas heaters are a win-win.

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A Review of the GE Profile Top-Loading Washer

December 28, 2010

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The renovation was too much for my 17 year-old Kenmore washing machine. We had moved it out of the kitchen into the basement during the summer, so I could still wash clothes while we gutted the kitchen. I don’t know if it was the extreme humidity down there or what, but wen we brought the Kenmore back up into the new kitchen, it spouted an oil leak at the bottom, oozing out of a rusted bottom. šŸ™

So we had to go washer shopping. I’d heard a lot about those new-fangled front-loading washers, good and bad. Besides the water-saving feature, everything else I’d read about them was bad. They are expensive, the drum and drum parts wear out quickly (some models wear out as quickly as 5 years), some develop mold and mildew problems from improperly sealed gaskets, etc etc. So we decided to stick with a reliable, tried-and-true top loading machine.

We chose the GE Profile 4.3 Cu. Ft. This model has a much larger capacity than my old Kenmore (which I got when I only had two young children), a big plus. The store offered two different models, one GE Profile has “Quiet-By-Design” technology, which means that the housing inside is insulated. Since the washer was going in the kitchen next to the living room, we got the quieter model. It ran quiet at first, but after 2 months, it’s not as quiet. Or maybe I am more sensitive to the noises now. I hardly heard it when we first got it, save for a few clicks. But now the spinner spins quite heartily. I may call the serviceman about it if it gets louder (the machine comes with a 1-year warranty).

GE washer 1

The GE Profile is supposed to use less water, similar to the claims made by front-loading machines. And the machine has no central agitator, either. The machines uses “HydroWave wash system with HE LoWater wash and InfusorTM – Utilizes the concentrated power of HE detergent, requiring less water than a traditional topload washer to get clothes clean.” “HE” stands for “High Efficiency.” It’s a special low-sudsing detergent. It tends to be a little more expensive than the regular detergents.

GE Washer 4

GE washer 5

Basically, the machine fills with water from the top and water squirts out of the holes in the tub, too. Apparently this replaces the traditional agitator. My clothes turn out clean so I think the machine does the job. I like the fabric softener dispenser, too.

The control dials are nice. Rather high tech. The sheer number of settings overwhelmed me at first. As much as I love my gadgets, I’m horribly simple when it comes to appliances. I just want to turn a knob and start the wash, not feel like Captain Kirk issuing a beamed transmogrification. I pretty much stick to the same basic settings. The digital countdown readout is very nice– it informs me how many minutes are left in the load.

GE washer 3

GE washer 2

One caveat to the machine is that it must be loaded perfectly. You can’t just dump a wad of clothes in the tub, or else the machine will not wash clothes properly or rattle off the floor for the moon. You have to place clothes in a ring all around the edges of the tub, leaving exposed the little white nub at the bottom of the tub. You can’t overstuff the machine, or else the top layer of clothing will never get “infused” with water from the tub’s holes. So far, I have been careful about loading, although one of the kids stashed a wad of jeans in it and the machine objected very loudly with some loud thumps. Loading the machine and setting the controls accurately is very important.

I’m pretty pleased so far with the GE. Then again, I am rather easy to please. I don’t require fancy buttons or an appliance to make toast while it chills milk and tells me the weather forecast… I MUST have a machine that lasts a long time, however. Today’s appliances do not have a good track record of longevity. We’ll see how this GE lasts. So far, so good.

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I’ve Been Boring…

December 27, 2010

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… I haven’t had much of anything exciting around here, have I? Sorry! šŸ™ But in all truth, it has BEEN pretty boring around here.

livvyondryer

Just hanging around...

I haven’t done any projects in a long time. The window seat/bench remains unfinished. The dining room closet still has no pole for the hanging of coats. No window trim for the siding around the kitchen window, nothing. We’ve been puttering around with tiny projects, such as setting up the phone station (and trying to get a computer that works). And I did *finally* clean the living room, organize my desk, and get all the business papers in order. That took a week!

The kids have been on winter vacation, and we’ve been lounging.

Livvyindeskchair

Just lounging...

Unfortunately, some of them got serious bouts of the flu/strep throat. So we’ve been out of sync here. My kids are rarely sick; this is a shocking anomaly.

I have no fun or interesting stories. No yarns or tales of historical tidbits. I’ve run dry right now. Perhaps after a time of rejuvenation, I’ll do better.

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Merry Christmas

December 23, 2010

2 Comments

Cat nap

Glory to God in the highest!

Christ has come!

May your day be filled with His peace, His joy, and lots of warm kitteh fuzzies!

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Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

December 21, 2010

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Did you hear about the lunar eclipse last night? It was a unique event, because it occurred on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). Unfortunately, I missed it (I actually do try to see these astronomical events, I think they are amazing!), but someone made a very cool video of it! I’m glad some folks broke out their super cameras– this video is so clear it’s almost like you are there, watching it with your own eyes. The video is best played in full screen mode– SO impressive!

After watching an eclipse I have to wonder if people really did believe in the “Flat Earth” theory. I mean, all you have to do is watch an eclipse to see that this isn’t so. I don’t know where the idea came from, I’ve only heard insinuations that folks back in the Dark Ages believed it, just like they believed that maggots sprang from meat left on the butcher’s butcher block table, or that scientists could turn lead into gold. :S

Anyway, eclipses are cool. I hope you liked the video!

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Find the Kitty Friday: The Night Owl

December 18, 2010

3 Comments

It was too late for Bird TV. But she stayed up late to catch a little glimpse of skunk and raccoon TV….

LivvyClimbChair

Sorry I’m late with Find the Kitty Friday! Boy, it’s been CRAZY with work lately. How’s your weekend going? šŸ˜€

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Supplemental Income for the Household

December 18, 2010

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As many of you know, I blog for pay. If it wasn’t for blogging, I’d never have been able to do what we do around here. This old 1855 house isn’t exactly a money pit, but it’s old, and as many of you know– modern incomes are pretty pinched these days, especially if the husband is the sole breadwinner.

I joined SponsoredReviews.com in early 2008. Combined with the handful of other companies that I’ve joined, I make a pretty good supplemental income (enough to be paying off for that huge kitchen renovation we did over the summer). SponsoredReviews asked me to write about my experience with them.

When I first joined SR, I wasn’t raking in the dough. Blogging for pay takes some time. That first year, I earned about $250. In 2009, I earned almost $300. I started up a bunch of new blogs and so far for 2010, I’ve earned over $700 with SR. That’s not too shabby, if you ask me.

SR is easy– probably the easiest blogging company I work for. The format is very simple (here’s the link, here’s what you say, boom- done). Some companies make you wrangle with a billion links and requirements and such. I like SR because it’s simple. Secondly, SR gives you 65% of the payment, where other companies take 50% share or more.

I wish there was more work at SR. A few months ago, I was clobbered with advertisers asking for reviews– I think I earned most if that $700+ in about three months over the summer. But work waxes and wanes. That’s the nature of making money online, of course. I like SR, so of course I want more work there.

If you are serious about making a little extra cash in the side, even if it’s just to get a pizza every month or to help pay off the mortgage, you CAN earn money by blogging. SR is one of my main income-producing companies, and they are a reputable one with which to do business. Check them out, you may like what you find.

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Pressure!

December 18, 2010

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Ever try scrubbing your home’s exterior siding or basement floor? NOT FUN. Our basement floods from time to time, leaving behind silty mud and a bad smell (not to mention that the cats make a total mess down there). One of my dreaded spring chores is to hose it out. I use my garden hose with the minimal pressure it provides, and it takes a long time and a LOT of water to clean that floor. Maybe i should look into power washing services, eh? If I consider the cost of water (very expensive here) and my labor, I’d probably break even if I hired a team. Because my basement sump well eventually pumps the ground water back into the storm water reservoir, I’d have to make sure that the company used green technology. I wouldn’t want any chemicals or gunk going back into the system.

If you are in the west coast and are in need of some cleaning up, check out Mr. Pressure Wash (catchy name, don’t you think?). Most pressure washing machines need to be rigged up to your water supply (ouch, that’s hard on the budget), and it’s a cost that companies sometimes don’t give when they offer estimates. Mr. Pressure Wash is unique– they use and reuse their own water! They also don’t use caustic chemicals– instead, they use special enzymes to wash out oils, stains, and other dirt. Estimates are free.

Photo courtesy of MrPressureWash.net

I think it’s terrific that companies like Mr. Pressure Wash are being more considerate of our natural resources and the high costs associated with pressure washing. Kudos to them for offering a great alternative!

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Making Do With Modulars

December 18, 2010

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My dad was in the modular business. As a young man, he was a carpenter and contractor. But in the 70s, the housing industry slowed (like it is now), and he was without work. He started a modular building business, which became very successful in western New York. I think it’s so interesting to see how methods and designs change over the years. Thirty years ago, a pole barn or modular structure was good for a cow barn or chicken coop maybe. But today, they are being made into temporary and permanent buildings. A company can literally start from the “ground up” in the early 80s, and grow to become a hugely successful business, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of modular and mobile buildings.

Modular and mobile buildings are on the rise everywhere. You probably pass them every day, and have no idea they are what they are. They are built as medical clinics, sales offices, as temporary and permanent schools, daycare buildings, restroom trailers, storage containers, and more. They are desirable because they are easy to construct, quick to build, and — when build with quality — very sturdy. Everyone is pinching their pennies now, even businesses. It’s too expensive to build by the traditional methods.

This is one of Pacific Mobile's office modulars. Wowsa! Photo courtesy of PacificMobile.com

I think it’s pretty neat. Now, I like my old house as much as any history-lover. But if we ever get another garage or shed or anything, you can believe modular is on the list. It’s inexpensive, looks great, and is sufficient for the need. If you live in the west coast and need some help choosing a reliable company, look into Pacific Mobile.

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