Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring/Summer Projects.

Since Em's gonna be spending 4 days/week working through July, I decided to make some work for myself in the "home improvement" area for the same period of time combining cheapskating, environmentalism, and fun (my three current favorites). Spring cleaning is definitely getting that "need to break a few eggs to make an omelet" look as I start project after project around here. Like a butterfly, I'm jumping from one to the other, but eventually it'll all come together, I think. Speaking of butterflies, we have some bushes in bloom that have attracted bees and butterflies like crazy. No. 1 enjoyed the butterflies landing on her when she sat outside until the bees started to land on her, as well. :-) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Continuing in the garden news department, the Egyptian Walking Onions Diane sent me last year are doing something again this year. I have no idea when to pick these things or what to do with them outside of watch them grow. You might notice in the pic that last year's mint is coming back as well as weeds & grasses, so I need to get out there a period of time each day to engage in garden management tasks. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Speaking of gardening, as part of my Spring/Summer make-work project, I'm adding to our inside plant collection. Left alone, Em would be happy to have a home overrun with pothos (pronounced POH THOSE). I intend to mix it up a bit and have been combining that thought with cheapskating to get a few new starts going. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This part of the projects started when I found a sprig of that purple striped leaf plant laying on the street during one of our walks. It probably broke off while moving the plant somewhere, but I knew from experience that it would grow roots and develop a new plant, so brought it home and stuck it in a beer can full of water. Then, I saw a Grape Ivy on sale at Kroger outside the store, pinched off a 1/2" piece and put it in my pocket. <-- I STOLE it! I'd feel guilty about the theft except that I know that these plants NEED to be pinched off to keep their fullness. THEN, I went outside to seek out that ivy I'd worried might be poisonous last year. It's something that many folks grow indoors but grows wild outside here. I found it in my backyard & pinched off a stem of it, as well. THEN, I saw the long trail without leaves on a pothos & couldn't resist the prune. Next step in this department will be moving our dying rubber trees to a location in the backyard. Rubber trees grow outside here and these guys REALLY need a change. Spring cleaning with Herbie has been moving along at a snail's place because it's boring. Vacuuming the corners of the walls is necessary to get rid of the brown recluses, but we've been entertaining the thought of getting the walls painted for a while now. So, combining cheapskating, environmentalism, and fun, I've begun a series of experiments using milk paint. I chose a wall that was small and self-contained (albeit smack dab in the center where everyone can see it), mixed up some old powdered milk with water and slapped it on the wall with a rag. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket There are several things wrong with this "paint". I'm not sure if it's because the dry milk is so old or not, but it has an odor that's slightly offensive to me. I'm thinking of adding vanilla to mask that odor, so I'll wait to see if that helps. 2nd: It has a yellowish cast to it (as perhaps you can tell by the photo) and we're really into more of an off-white wall color. We don't do other colors, so I've moved on to pigment considerations and more milk paint "recipes". I tried washing that stuff off the wall today, BTW, using earth's enemy Tide and it didn't come off. So, I need to overlay it with a pigment of milk paint more acceptable to our tastes. I'm thinking that I can add small portions of off-white paint to the mix and have a gallon of touch-up paint left by the builder. That'll be part of today's experiments in "How to make a house look like EVERYBODY lives there". 'snew with y'all?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Didn’t want y’all to forget about Earth Day because it’s VERY important that we do what we can to shrink our personal carbon footprints. In case you didn’t know, Home Depot is offering one free CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) to all customers today, so I sent Em over there to get one before he went to work. Who Knew switching just 3 most frequently used light bulbs could result in something like a 500 lb reduction in my carbon footprint? I forgot where I read that because I’ve been reading about all kinds of things I can do personally to lesson my impact on the Earth’s resources. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket When Home Depot isn’t giving the things out for free, the CFL “bulbs” cost money, but there are many, many ways to lessen your impact on Earth that actually save you money. No. 2 can tell ya what a cheapskate I am, but I get a lot of tips from fellow cheapskaters. Dawn C. has a number of personal favorite tips for being both frugal and green in her Greening Your World 101 . Thank you, Dawn; you’ve introduced me to several new avenues of cheapskating. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Diane (damn her!) introduced me to Colin Beavan’s experiment, which led me to feel guilty because I wasn’t doing everything I COULD be doing to help out the environment (or even save money) Some of you may have heard of Colin in the terms of No Impact Man . I’m NOWHERE ready to try the stuff he’s trying and since I’m 17 years older than he is, I think I can truthfully say I’m never going to be ready to try the stuff he’s trying. I want to have some fun on the downhill slide. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket We DO recycle and I’m working on less impact; I really am. I have a composter in mind, but it’s expensive and I have that cheapskate thing going. In addition, No. 1’s car broke down this week and I charged half the expense of the repair to my CC while she charged half the expense to hers, so I can't afford to buy anything else until that gets paid. While North Texas isn’t the best place to get around without a car, I have several grocery stores within walking distance and cloth bags as well as a new rolling cart: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I'm hoping that BobbyG, my Chicago friend who's involved in saving the great lakes will agree to blog here once or twice/month on conservation/environmental issues. I think we all need to think about the effects of what we do a little bit more. I don't think we need to go crazy or adopt Colin's way of life; I just think we should think about walking more, turning the lights off more, using less, blah blah. Think about it! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, April 02, 2007

Viva la Diva- The roommate's birthday experience.

Yesterday was my roommate's birthday and in recognition of my heterosexual lifemate's date of birthing, I had a few things planned. First was the morning party. After work on Friday night, I came home and decorated the apartment while she was sleeping. I didn't get to blow up as many balloons as I wanted since after working over 40 hours in 3 days at the bar, I was a little tired. The first part of the day was a success. Apparently, she had to pee at about 8am, and awoke to the surprise. She told me in the morning that she wondered why Tony (the boyfriend) jumped up with her (he knew about the surprise) and wanted to know where she was going. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket There was all sorts of fun stuff scattered, also. I got a few of those party toys that we like to play with occasionally, too. And no birthday would be complete without a silly hat and a feather boa. :) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Next was the birthday breakfast. Tony had said that he would cook for us, and we watched Breakfast at Tiffany's in color while we ate. Immediately following was the trip to the Nail Salon to get mani/pedi's. Now we were starting to run out of time, and I realized that I don't have a nice pair of dress pants that doesn't have bleach stains on them from the bar. We made an emergency stop at Kohl's on the way back home. This made me really think of you Mom and your 3 hours in the thrift store. I myself am NOT a shopper, and I rarely try clothes on in the store. I've gotten to be a pretty good judge on what I like and what I think will fit me and for the most part have success at buying things that fit. Anything that was too small usually just got sent to No. 1. Now that may be a problem. But I still keep stuff for her to dig thru when she does come out this way. I was in and out of Kohl's in less that 15 minutes with 3 tops, a pair of capri's and new shoes. One top was on clearance and casual, two dressy shirts that both matched the capri's and a pair of capri's that turned out to be a tad too big, but luckily came with a cute cloth belt. After that we probably got ready in half an hour with BOTH of us having to shower and we headed to dinner. Dinner was at a Greek restaurant that had belly dancers performing that evening. This was all a surprise for Jenny and we had 12 family/friend members meet us there as part of the surprise. Dinner was great and went off successfully. After that, we headed to the nearest bar/club. That turned out to be a lot of fun. I can't remember the last time I went out dancing with my girls and this was one to be remembered. For some reason when I was wearing the purple feather boa, I felt like I was invincible and auditioning for that show, "So you think you can DANCE." I was a dancing fool like no other and loved it! Come midnight things were starting to get ugly. The boyfriend got extremely drunk and irrational so we decided to relocate. We came back to our town so that we could go to the nearby bar and drink without the worry of driving. We closed down that bar, and things started to get uglier. Another friend's boyfriend decided that he hated everyone, flipped out, and wanted to leave. After a lot of yelling and irrational anger, I decided to try and get my police friend involved to see if HE could calm him down. I walked to the police station (around the corner), but they were CLOSED! Oh no! I walked a couple blocks more to see if he was patroling his usual spot, but he wasn't. (Keep in mind now that I myself have had a couple drinks and left my house with only my keys.) I find a payphone and decide to try calling the police. It was completely unproductive and went something like this: I don't know the number to the police station, so I dial "O". Operator: Hello? No. 2: Hi. Can you please get the (insert town name) Police for me? Operator: Is this an emergency? No. 2: No. (I really couldn't call it an emergency in good conscience since no one was hurt. I was just trying to be preventative.) Operator: Then can you please deposit 35 cents? No. 2: For the police? Operator: Yes. No. 2: But I don't have 35 cents. I just need to speak with the police. Operator: But you must deposit 35 cents in order to be connected. I hung up. That did me no good. I finally go back home and find the irrational boyfriend and his girlfriend had left and my roommate had found my police friend and told him I was out looking for him. We settle the situation. Everything seems to be winding down. We make and eat a pizza. THEN!!! Jen uses the bathroom and the toilet overflows. Water is everywhere. We realize that we don't yet own a plunger. As soon as we get THAT fixed, our FIRE ALARM goes off. Mind you, it is now about 5am and our alarm is connected directly to the firestation since we live above a store. A few minutes later, my cop friend is back outside our apartment. Then the fire marshal shows up. Then a big fire truck shows up and 2 fully dressed firemen have to inspect our whole building. Nothing. They can't figure out what happened. My poor cats already had a big problem with balloons all over the house, and are now hiding under Jenny's bed from the horrible noise our fire alarm makes. We finally get everything settled and get to bed around 5:30-6am. WHAT A NIGHT!!! Jenny was very upset at this point and felt like her birthday was such a burden. I made sure to remind her that everything that went badly happened after midnight and technically was NO LONGER her birthday. I'm just thankful that in the end no one got hurt. And of course today, my boss tells me that I should just stay at work all the time because bad things happen when I take a day off work. :-) Wow. That was a really long story. But what a night! And these are the days of my life...