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Cool Aluminum Foil Garden Markers

June 7, 2012

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Garden markers are so helpful when the little seedlings are just starting to pop up in the garden. All those seedlings look the same and if you are like me, you totally forget what you plant where. In the past, I’ve tried popsicle stick markers (the pen ink fades and the popsicle sticks never go in far enough so they topple over) and skinny tree limbs stuck in the ground with colored string (I always lose that list that tells me what color belongs to what plant!). So when I saw a unique fix at lifehacker.com/5915201/make-garden-markers-with-aluminum-duct-tape, I flipped. This is so neat!

Crafting weblog Aunt Peaches shares how to make inexpensive and attractive garden markers using a bit of aluminum duct tape and a box of plastic dinner knives. Cut out a piece of aluminum tape and sandwich it around the handle of the plastic knife. Then write the plant name in reverse on the tape with a ballpoint pen – this will press out the letters on the other side and you’ll have an embossed metallic garden marker.

The key is using aluminum foil duct tape, the kind used for taping heating and cooling ducts together. I tried it using aluminum foil. It didn’t work out very well.

marker

The duct tape markers should last a while. And they look kinda quirky and cute.

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Soundproofing

May 31, 2012

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I have written a number of articles on soundproofing lately (for online publication SF Gate Home) and here. The science behind it is very interesting. There’s s new product called Green Glue. It’s a “viscoelastic damping compound” that looks like green caulk. Apparently, you spread it between a sandwich of drywall boards, and it converts sound waves to heat. Amazing! According to a number of people who have used it, the stuff actually works.

I’m storing all this information for two reasons. One, when sitting in my office, I can hear a pin drop upstairs, right through the floor. It’s simply staggering, how sound travels through this old house. Two, I’m going to be converting the garage into a family music room, and I’ll want it to be soundproof, or at least somewhat soundproof.

Another reason is that we have dogs. Yorkies. They are adorable dogs but they YIP YIP YIP all day long. Not very conducive to recording music in a studio!

Soundproofing is not very common in homes. It should be mandatory in apartment houses, I think. It isn’t very expensive to soundproof or even muffle noises. I don’t know why more landlords don’t do it. I wish mine had!

So this is my latest venture, investigating the science and construction of soundproofing. I haven’t been able to start my built-in bookshelf project yet….

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You’ve Got Questions…..

May 16, 2012

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I love forums. Since I write articles for so many diverse topics, I often come across forums. While visiting forums are not generally considered to be the most reliable method for exacting information, I like them because I can glean so much from the experiences of others. Many a time, a forum member has posted some fix for a computer or plumbing problem that I found useful.

So I want to mention a very cool forum for homeowners. It’s called homeownershub.com and the owner of the site is a terrific guy. He just opened up a helpful Questions and Answers section, too. You can ask away– ask questions about your appliances, roof, electrical, anything. If you know a thing or two about the topic, leave your answer. Or read others’ answers. Or, just post a comment to commiserate with us other homeowners, lol.

It’s a really good place to get information. Check it out!

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I’m writing about this site because the owner is a very nice guy and the website is extremely helpful! I recommend it. 🙂

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I’ve Made Up My Mind…. I Think

March 31, 2012

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I’m going to finish the living room this year, Lord willing. This is easier than ripping out rooms and rebuilding them, but it’s still no easy task. The hardest and lengthiest job will be building the built-in bookshelf units. I have never done anything remotely like it, so I must study up and find some good plans. It involves precision carpentry which, I admit, is not my forte. I have little patience for slicing and dicing dove joints and picayune stiles, so…. I may go with some stock cabinetry pieces if I can find some cheap enough. My local store sometimes sells defective or broken units which are easy to repair.

newdesk1

I got this cabinetry very inexpensively. It doesn't look pretty yet because the set is not complete, but it's a start.

I also plan to move the gas fireplace unit to a better location. I will create a nice fireplace box and mantle and The Hubs will reroute the gas lines. I’ll paint the walls, the trim, and sew curtains (I’ve had the material for a year!). I’ll install carpeting (first time for this) and *hopefully* get new furniture. All we have is hand-me-downs (one huge couch and a broken but beautiful wing chair). There will finally be enough storage space and organized working space for all the home office, school stuff and all the computer stuff. The more I think about it, the more excited I am getting!

Of course, nothing is budgeted yet! I will have to take it on a pay-by-pay basis. That’s how I did the kitchen in 2010. So I have to make a list of needs and then start bargain hunting at the scrap yards. It’s amazing how much money you can save in the “dent and ding” aisle!

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How to Buy Replacement Windows That Look Great

February 16, 2012

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One of the best investments you can make for your old home is new windows. For the average homeowner, vinyl replacement windows is a good choice. But all vinyl replacements are not the same. Here’s how to choose the best window for your money and your old home.

Making your Selection

It comes as no surprise that the best window is the one that is the most attractive at the most affordable price. This is easier said than done, however. Window manufacturers seem to love to confuse the consumer with strange terms, baffling “new” “technology” and other slick marketing techniques. I’ll explain what some of these terms mean.

Vinyl
Vinyl replacement windows are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the same material used for PVC pipes and vinyl siding and fencing. PVC is a veritable soup of chemical ingredients. One manufacturer may use more of one ingredient to produce a better window while another manufacturer may use less and produce an inferior window. For this reason, it is best to stick with a name brand manufacturer who has a history of producing quality windows. Avoid the cheap no-name brands because chances are these products use cheaper ingredients that may cause problems in the future. Look for windows that have the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) label on them. This means that the window is certified by the AAMA for high quality materials and manufacture.

Two of the big problems with vinyl windows are their propensity to warp or sag with extreme temperatures and yellowing that occurs under direct sunlight. Look for a window that contains titanium dioxide (TiO2), an additive that helps vinyl keep its white color. There’s not a whole lot you can do about the warping from temperature changes– vinyl siding suffers from the same plight. If possible, install awnings over the windows that face south as these generally receive the brunt of direct sunlight year round.

Double Glazing
Most vinyl replacement windows are “double glazed.” Double glazing is also known as insulated glazing. It’s basically two panes of glass separated by a small pocket of air space. This type of glazing is marvelous, in my opinion.

A double glazed window. Image courtesy of pvc-window-manufacturer.com

Old homes with their original windows have single pane glass. As many of you old-home owners know, heated or cooled air and sounds pass very easily through single pane windows. But add another pane to the window and air flow and sounds are sharply restricted. Years ago, the double glazing cost for new windows added greatly to the entire cost, but today, double glazing is very common. Some companies will even offer to add double glazing to older windows and doors. It’s incredibly more energy efficient.

Gas
Some window manufacturers boast that their windows contain argon gas or some other inert gas, claiming that the injected of gas between the two panes help prevent damage from UV rays and add additional energy efficiency to the windows. Personally, I don’t think the gas does much good and I will never pay extra for it. Over time, the gas leaches out. It’s not toxic in such tiny amounts. But seeing that it is not a permanent feature and that it does very little good anyway, I won’t ever pay more money for a window that has it.

Screens
Vinyl replacement windows screens are, in my opinion, substandard.

Kitty cat screen damage.

They are usually made of fiberglass material and they tear easily (especially if you have cats!). They are very pretty at first, when installed, but over time they start to sag and the fibers weaken. They fill with dust and dirt, and if you wash them, the fibers sag and weaken all the more.

I don’t know for sure if any window manufacturers make metal screening in a smart-looking black color. They certainly should. Metal screens are much easier to keep. If you get a vinyl window with fiberglass screens, expect to have to mend or replace the screens pretty regularly, every 7 to 15 years or so.

Tilting Sashes
In my estimation, the sashes of a vinyl replacement window are one of its best features. Many models feature “tilting” sashes. You press two small clips on each side of the bottom sash and the sash will tilt in for easy cleaning. What a marvelous, magnificent feature! No more clambering 40 feet up a ladder to wash windows!

Another great feature about these sashes is that you can lift the bottom sash up AND the top sash down. This is a great feature for homes with small children or pets who may try to poke through the screen. You can simply open up the top sash of the window to protect the lower screen, and still get fresh air.

Things to Avoid

Besides the usual features I’ve mentioned, check the window for any possible future problems that may develop.

Stupidly Designed Safety Clips
When we bought our first bunch of vinyl replacement windows, the window installers proudly pointed to their “safety clips” as an exclusive added feature. These clips were simply plastic triangular pieces that, when flipped out, would “lock down” the windows yet still allow the windows to be cracked open. This would keep the windows secure but still allow fresh air to circulate especially during hot summer nights.

While a terrific theory, the clips didn’t last long. They were poorly made and they were not attached to the window at all. After a year, they fell out and left ugly gaping holes.

Thin Vinyl “fin” Opening Handles
I would have gladly skipped the Amazing Safety Clips for better opening handles, that’s for sure. If you expect to open and close your window more than a dozen times, look for thick handles.

A broken handle on my window.

Blue-Tinted Windows
Some manufacturers tint their windows various colors, because homeowners may not want only white. However, avoid blue-tinted vinyl windows especially if they are a no-name brand and do not come with any AAMA certification label. Like supermarkets that color their old beef a red color to make the meat look fresher, blue-tinted windows hide the sub-grade vinyl used for the windows. These windows are tinted blue to hide their lack of titanium dioxide, the additive that makes the vinyl a white color. Over time, the blue tint will fade and the vinyl windows will become an ugly light yellow color.

Despite the caveats, I love vinyl replacement windows. They are more energy efficient and easier top operate than my old 100-year old windows. While no one is quite sure how long vinyl replacements will last (since they have only been around for 30 years or so), I think they can certainly last the lifetime of the homeowners. I’m hoping that manufacturers continue to offer us better technology and better features in the future.

Thanks for reading!

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How to Move With Less Stress

January 24, 2012

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One of my pals on Facebook recently moved across the country. He mentioned that his “car was on the ferry and the boxes on the plane.” Oh my word, I have never moved out of state but it must be so stressful!

There are ways to alleviate a bit of the stress of moving. Here’s how:

1. Mercilessly throw away your unused and unwanted items.
Those old business suits from the 1980s that don’t fit you anymore? Get rid of them. Chance are you’re not likely to squeeze into them again, and even if you were you’d probably want something much more modern. Consider donating those old Tupperware containers, collection of floor lamps, and stuffed animals from your youth.

When it comes to children, avoid throwing away their things. The move is stressful enough for them, and kids become very emotionally attached to their possessions. So don’t throw away their stuff unless they really, really want to rid of it. Making the kids feel secure and relaxed is well worth the extra four or five boxes of old toys.

2. Purchase packing boxes.
I can’t believe that I, the Frugal Queen, am telling you to BUY boxes for you move! But I have moved quite a number of times in my day, and locating recycled boxes is very stressful, especially when you can’t find any. Many stores crush their boxes almost as soon as they get them, so if you get recycled boxes, you often have to rebuild them with glue or duct tape. In my opinion, your time is much better spent packing and preparing for the big move, not duct taping junky old crushed boxes.

3. Rent a truck.
If you have a lot of stuff, it is much, much better to rent a truck to haul your stuff. Everything is packed into ONE or two vehicles, which makes locating stuff so much easier later. Believe me, the last thing you want to experience is rummaging through minivan after sedan looking for the lost “binky” in some box or another. If you have to transport a vehicle, learn about the car shipping process and get a handful of reasonable quotes from several businesses. A website like CarTransportQuotes.com can help.

4. Research your moving company.
If you hire a moving company, look them up online. Get references, call former customers. Get a complete picture of the company. There have been too many stories of people whose possessions were stolen or delivered in terrible condition from a lousy company.

5. Take time to relax.
Moving is tiresome, stressful, and exhausting. Make a schedule break and get away from the site for a while. For example, if you are going to spend one entire week packing and moving, schedule a lunch break at the park every day at 1pm, or go out to dinner every two days. These moments help to break up the monotony and stress of moving, and get you out of the mess for a while. I know, going out to eat is expensive– but moving IS expensive. Your mental and emotional health is just as important as Aunt Ethel’s dishes in bubble wrap, you know. You can opt to eat out at simple places, too– a burger joint or a pizza place. It doesn’t need to be expensive but it does need to be relaxing.

6. Invite friends.
If you have a large family or a ton of stuff, make your packing and move a community event. 🙂 Invite a friend over, one each day. Friends and family can really help lighten the mood as well as lend an extra pair of hands. Make it fun, too– treat your friend or family member to a little lunch or dinner.

7. Give yourself plenty of time.
There is no stress like hurry. Give yourself lots of time to pack and move stuff. Prepare for unexpected things, too, like a rainy day or a sick kid or a delay with the moving truck. The extra buffer of time can really make a difference.

I hope these tips help you. Moving can be such a stressful time, but with a little TLC and preparation, you can make it into an enjoyable experience for you and your family.

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Old Windows vs. Vinyl Replacement Windows

January 16, 2012

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In a previous post, Plaster vs. Drywall, I battled the snob appeal regarding plaster and lath walls. In this post, I’m once again picking up the sword and combating the “old windows versus replacement windows” argument. As an old house owner and a person who has lived in old homes all my life, I’ve had my share of old windows experiences. Most of them have been bad. Yes, people, I HATE old windows. New windows rock.

I love old stuff as much as anyone. My favorite old house style is Federal style, so you know I’m an old house lover. My own house, a Greek Revival, was built in 1855. I have researched the history of the building and its original owner (and owners after that). I know that of the original windows to my house, only two remain. Both are in terrible condition.

Garage Window

One of the original 9/6 windows, behind a storm window.

The other windows to the house were replaced in 1910 or so. Most of those windows are still in place. They are BARELY in place, but they are all still here. The house has a total of 15 windows, and only two windows had ever been replaced since 1910, the kitchen got an aluminum replacement window in 1972 and the upstairs bathroom window got a crank-style Anderson window in the late 1980s.

When we moved here, we could only afford to get 5 windows replaced, the ones that were broken or cracked. We got very inexpensive vinyl replacement windows. They’ve been in place since 1997. Even though they were the cheapest window we could get and even though they are over 14 years old, I LOVE THEM.

Yet among the “old house experts,” old windows are somehow superior to new ones. Old house folks are always saying that old windows are better than new ones because… well, just because. Old windows look better, they say. They say there is no difference with heat loss between the two, that old windows are more historic, and they are just “better.” I say: BAH.

So I’m here to debate the “old window” snobs. I think new windows are great, and old windows — especially MY 100+ year old windows — need replacing. And there’s nothing wrong with replacing old windows with new ones.

Snob appeal says: When it comes to insulation factors and heat loss, old windows play a small part and do not lose THAT much heat.

Reality Check: What planet are you from?!

My old windows rattle, shake, and leak. Cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer blow through the holes all around the frame. True, the glazing on parts of the window is flaking off (another problem with old windows) so air leaks through some of the windows (but glazing is not the problem with some of the others). Old windows are made of glass– thin, 1/8-inch thick glass. This house has 15 windows that are 32 inches by 62 inches– that’s 13.78 square feet of windows for the entire house. Which means that approximately 207 square feet of the walls here was covered by 1/8-inch glass. Brrr. Just yesterday with temperatures falling into the single digits, the old windows were caked with a thick layer of ice. The ice melted during the day and water was everywhere. I have to lay a towel on each windowsill to prevent the water from running all over the floor. Even with storm windows on some of the old windows, we still get thick ice on the glass. So for me, ALL my old windows, the ones that have storm windows and the ones that do not, develop thick ice on the glass when it gets cold. None of my vinyl replacement windows have EVER developed ice, not ever.

oldwindowicile

My old window. Don't let the snobs tell you there's no measurable heat loss difference between old and new windows!

Vinyl replacement, on the other hand, has two panes of glass in each sash. When we installed vinyl replacement windows in our dining room, the change was remarkable. Before, my hair would blow around at the dinner table on a particularly blustery day; new windows stopped that. Before, we could almost hear our neighbors in their homes discussing with each other how to kill my flower gardens and hack at my trees; after the new windows were installed, I live in blissful ignorance of their schemes. Windows will never really be very good at keeping out the extreme temperatures, no matter what kind of material they are made from. But vinyl replacement performs better than the old glass. That’s a fact.

Now let me temper this argument with a few points. YES, storm windows installed over old windows help reduce heat loss. YES, vinyl replacement windows will most likely not last 100+ years. Old wooden windows were *usually* made from “old-growth” wood, the hardiest and strongest part of the wood. I don’t know if the original builder of my home made his windows from old-growth. This home was always a “middle income” home in a “middle income” community. The biggest expense the owner made was to install black walnut trim in the living room (which, incidentally, had to be removed because it was soaked with lead-based paint from other owners who had painted over the wood!). Everyone’s mileage may vary because everyone’s house and windows and weather is different.

But in my experience, I have noticed a considerable difference between the old windows and the new. The old windows would stick in the summer and freeze up in the winter. The glass is thin. In all the windows, the glass is so old that is has melted and has drooped from gravity and weather changes. Some people like this kind of “character,” but I don’t. I like to SEE out of my windows, thanks.

Snob appeal says: Old windows look better than vinyl replacement windows. It’s better to keep your rotten old wooden windows than replace them with vinyl windows.

Reality Check: I don’t care how ugly vinyl windows look, rotten wood windows look worse.

It’s true that most “old house” building materials were build with better quality than the trash manufactured today. But there does come a time when you just have to say goodbye to certain things. Moldy plaster and rotten windows are some of them, in my opinion.

I KNOW! I KNOW! I am going against the entire old home snob community when I say these things! But please realize that I am addressing the 99% of us who are middle-income and who own non-state-historic-site houses. We just don’t have the cash to pay for elaborate repairs to old windows or spend millions on new custom wood windows. Those days are gone. For most of us old-house homeowners, vinyl replacement windows are terrific. They are more weather-resistant, easier to clean, have screening, and open and close easier.

Snob Factor: Vinyl replacement windows might look ugly and out of place in an old home. Old windows have more character and appeal.

Reality Check: Character and appeal are code words for “expensive” and “high maintenance.”

I am all for curb appeal and beauty in an old home. But just because SOME replacement windows look ugly, it doesn’t mean that ALL replacement windows are ugly. I have seen some wooden windows installed improperly and look horrible. Just because a window is wood or old doesn’t make it beautiful by default.

I think that my vinyl replacement windows look great. If a millionaire dumped brand new, gorgeous wooden windows into my lap, I’d take it. Heck, yeah. But that hasn’t happened, and I have some kids that need to eat. So we buy vinyl replacement windows and they look pretty good!

DiningRoomNewFlooring

My 14-year old vinyl replacement windows still look fabulous! This photo taken after we had gutted and were restoring the room, in 2010.

 

Snob Factor: Removing painted old windows contaminates the house with lead dust.

Reality Check:
Painting new coats of paint does not cover the lead, it chips off and exacerbates the lead problem.

Lead paint removal is a touchy topic. Every state regulated lead-based paint in old homes differently. Here in New York State, a homeowner can remove lead-based paint articles VERY CAREFULLY from the home. If you hire a contractor, expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the high-tech removal and disposal system.

I have tried both methods: leaving the old windows with their lead paint AND removing them for vinyl replacement. Removing them — WHEN DONE CORRECTLY and SAFELY — is much, much better than keeping the toxic articles. I sleep better knowing that those old time bombs are out of my house and far away from my kids.

Most windows in old homes were painted with oil-based paints that contained lead. You try to slap new paint onto those old windows, that paint is going to come off in no time. And every time you open and close the window, the paint is scraped and lead dust goes into the air. I don’t care what the “experts” say– all that opening and closing the window removes the new paint and just makes dust spew everywhere.

I personally believe it’s best to get rid of the stupid things altogether. No more dust, no more peeling, no more painting every couple of months…. Old windows that are coated with lead-based paint are best removed, in my opinion. The windows MUST be removed safely, however. Make sure you know your local regulations. Some towns even offer financial aid for the removal of these toxic items.

So if you decide to replace your crummy old windows with vinyl replacement, I say good for you. Don’t let the Window Snobs influence you! Shop wisely– get high-quality windows from a reputable company and install them properly. They will last a long time. Mine have.

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Building My Home Office

January 9, 2012

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I’ve taken the teeniest, tiniest leap into building an official home office here. I’ve been working at home for over 3 years now, with a little desk and bookshelves showhorned into a corner of the living room. It’s so messy and my living room has become engulfed with stuff that I’m desperate to organize.

Well, I finally found some inexpensive kitchen cabinets suited for a home office. They are Aristokraft, in saddle oak. They are very plain, and are made of particleboard. But I don’t care– I don’t need a solid wood desk and the simple style suits me. The cost of the three cabinets with countertop was a fraction of the price of a new desk (one of those cheapo Chinese-made junk desks).

newdesk1

All I’ve got done so far is the bottom half. Eventually, I will build the top hutch portion when I can wrastle up the funds. For now, the base will have to do. Livvy likes it. 🙂

The area looks quite empty and sterile. Oh, I have plans, though! I am going to build my own hutch. It will have two narrow bookshelves and a pair of cabinets. Eventually, I will create a huge built-in bookshelf along the wall. I intend to convert the room (living room) into a library, with big wall bookshelves and a gas fireplace.

newdesk2

I also plan on installing crown molding along the top of the ceiling and placing LED white lights in the tray. It will give the room lovely ambient lighting.

The garage, once I have renovated it, will become the new family room where we will have sofas and chairs and the family’s huge assortment of musical instruments.

But before I rebuild the garage into living space, I have to build a barn in the backyard, to hold our power tools and auto equipment. Oh yeah, I’ll be busy for a long time. And then , of course, I still have to renovate the upstairs of the house and the downstairs bathroom….

Sheesh, who knows, maybe by the time I’m finally done renovating, I’ll be too old to maintain such a big house. I can then turn around and sell the place for a nice profit. It sure would be nice to enjoy the fruits of my labors here, though. I’ve spent most of my years living in a dumpy house!

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Find the Kitty Friday

December 30, 2011

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My daughter snapped this on her cell phone. Where could that skulking kitty be?! She’s doing it rite! LOL

FTK_12302011

Well, another year is winding down. I haven’t been thinking of any thoughts on renovation lately until about a month ago. It was about that time that I really “let” my desk “go.” I have always been a neatnick with a super-tidy desk, but I’ve been SO SO busy the past few months (since October, really) that my desk is a SHAME. A cryin’ shame. I even took a photo for you to see how bad it is. lol

cryinshame

The desk is actually one of the best ones I’ve ever had, The thing is solid wood, an old teacher’s desk from the 1940s. But it’s not exactly computer-compatible, as you can see. I just juggle way too much stuff on this desk, and with all the paperwork for the home business, I’ve run out of places to put things.

Which leads me back to thinking about renovation again. I’m going to create a built-in bookshelf and desk system in the living room. We have tons of books, most of them in boxes, still! I think my living room will look beautiful with some elegant shelves and a nice tidy area to work. I’ve ordered a few base cabinets and am waiting for them to arrive. Once they finally do, construction begins. I will have to reroute one wall sconce light and make a bit of a mess with the existing furniture, but we can handle it. I think I’ve finally got a vision for the room. It will probably take us about a year to or more to finish it, as it also involves removing an existing gas heater and installing a gas fireplace to a more central part of the room. Because a large portion of this room is my “home office,” I can deduct some of the expenses on my taxes. Thank God.

Anyway, I’ll have more updates about this later. I intend on building my own shelves from wood, so the project will certainly take some time. But when it’s done, it will look and function SO MUCH better. And the new shelves will give Livvy all sorts of amazing new places to hide!

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Is Emergency Preparedness A Pipe Dream?

November 5, 2011

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I’m reading this very old book, Historic Storms of New England. It was written by Sidney Perley and published in 1891. His narratives go back to the first recorded natural disasters of the year 1635, a mere 15 years after the Separatists (English Pilgrims) landed on the shores of Massachusetts in 1620. The book is amazing, it tells of earthquakes, strange appearances in the heavens, blizzards, hurricanes (although they were not called hurricanes back then), meteorites and other strange events and storms. Some of the stories include eyewitness accounts (one family’s devastating shipwreck is heart wrenching). In most cases, such natural catastrophes drew people closer to God.

As I’ve been reading the book, oddly enough, New York and New England have suffered a year of unusual weather and natural disasters. This year alone, we’ve had THREE devastating floods, an earthquake, two hurricanes, innumerable tornadoes and — a mere week ago — a freak October Nor’Easter that dumped 32 inches in Maine. I was shocked to read the blog of one of my friends. who reports that in Connecticut they STILL have no electrical power. Cindi at moomettesmagnificents.com/blog/survival-guide-102-in-connecticut-irene-was-a-dress-rehersal-for-alfred-day-5 has had to throw out all the food in her two refrigerators and freezers. News reports say the storm killed 8 people and cut power for at least 4 million households. Wow. Cindi said she has a generator, but there is no gasoline available, so they are out of power completely. Because of the immense snow and downed trees, travel out of the area is impossible, So they are stuck in the disaster zone. Wow.

Backyard Snow2

It won't be long....

And that got me thinking.

My husband and I have discussed “emergency preparedness” before. We have two sump pumps that work day and night to keep water out of our basement. We’ve experienced numerous floods (so many I can’t count anymore), but only once did we lose power in all our years here. If we lost power — especially during a heavy rainfall or hurricane — we’d be inundated with flood waters. So we discussed getting a generator, thinking this would solve our problem. But after reading Cindi’s situation, I wonder if that’s really the cure-all we originally thought. In a natural catastrophe, the gas stations may not pump gas. Then what?

So I don’t know what to do. I feel rather frustrated because everything in our society is SO reliant and integrated with the electrical grid. It makes me feel uneasy. I like to have a contingency plan, but there really isn’t anything. And I thought, “Well, we could get a wood-burning generator, right?” But our chainsaw needs gas to cut that wood. We have SOME wood in the back, but I don’t think we would have nearly enough. And where would I store it? If another flood rages across my land, all the wood is down the pike.

I’m beginning to think “emergency preparedness” is a pipe dream. There’s only *so much* you can do, because no matter what, you are reliant on other people and groups in the community being prepared, too. Which, as we see with the numerous disasters this year, few communities are. I do wonder about my own community. Are they so busy building sidewalks and shopping centers that they forget the other things, too? Like BOATS, lol.

Hm. What do you think?

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