Thursday, January 28, 2016

That One Time

Did I ever tell you guys the story of our old neighbors and carbon monoxide near-poisoning?

It's a terrible one.

So there Caleb and I were, minding our own business a year or so ago in our old apartment, when our carbon monoxide detector went off.

Feeling perfectly fine and not drowsy in the slightest, we checked everything - opened a window first, of course, and the doorways to the rest of the house. Actually, Caleb did all this. I went out to the car with Claire, who was only 3 or 4 months at the time. On my way out the door I stopped at the first floor neighbors' home (these are not the terrible neighbors of past stories). I let her know what had happened, told her she and her kids might want to get out and get some fresh air, check their detector, etc.

I was met with, "Oh, uh-huh, well maybe..." and a look that basically said "We don't see the potential deadliness of this situation and we're not super concerned." She did check her detector for me, and it was out of batteries - had been for a long time, apparently.

After checking everything, and testing and re-testing our carbon monoxide with no further alerts, we went to bed that night with the windows open (and trust me, it was freezing outside).

We called the landlord the next morning. In retrospect, we should have called him that same night; lesson learned for the future. He came within a few hours to check out the house.

After inspecting several things, it was found that the basement apartment had a faulty furnace and had been putting out carbon monoxide.


We lived on the 2nd floor, 2 floors up from the basement.

The basement-dweller obviously did not have a functioning carbon monoxide detector either, and who knows how concentrated the carbon monoxide was in the lower two levels before it rose to our level and got concentrated enough to tip off our detector?! It's a miracle he didn't die!

Crazy times. I was reminded of this experience after reading about several people dying the last few days across the East Coast from carbon-monoxide poisoning - either in their cars while shoveling out (exhaust pipe covered), or in their homes when the outlets for CO were covered by snow.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Case You Weren't Sick of It Yet, More Snow Stuff

A non-vital package from Amazon was supposed to be delivered last Friday, and has yet to show up. It's still on the radar (not lost), but keeps getting delayed, probably because they think they can't get down my street. Not angry or anything, just interesting to me how long it's taking.

This was taken on Monday, 2 days after the snow stopped. Most of the cars had already been dug out (the snow was originally covering the cars completely, from the drift), but the roads hadn't been plowed.

There's nowhere for the snow to go. All the houses touch (no yards), and front doors open to sidewalks, which touch the road. There are not very many green spaces in these neighborhoods. Right now dump trucks are being loaded with snow from all over the city, and it's being taken to the football stadium and dumped. That's going to be a fun mess in a few days/weeks.

Here's someone who was probably contracted out by the city. They hired hundreds of private plow owners for the weekend.

Here's Claire, standing in the middle of a street, looking adorbs per usual.

City schools have been cancelled since Friday, and are closed again tomorrow. Caleb walked to school this morning (which finally opened today) and walked through streets that still had not been plowed. Then he came home after his first class because the rest were cancelled, as they were broadcast classes and the other campus is still closed.

There's only room for one car to drive down our street right now. All the cars that have gotten out are maneuvering ever so carefully around huge mounds of snow to get into "their" parking places. Did you know that once it snows here, you own your parking space? Once you shovel out, if you have to go anywhere, even if you're gone all day and don't need the spot for 18 hours, you can put an old folding chair or your trash cans in your spot and it is legally yours and cannot be touched by other people or they will be prosecuted in a court of law.

Okay, not really, but for some reason people seem to think that here.

I get it - you don't want to do all that work and lose your spot. So don't move your car. Because there are several restaurants, a coffee shop, a barber shop, and a market on our block and people need to come and go throughout the day. And they can't if there are streets lined with folding chairs and no cars (no joke). I should take a picture tomorrow.

Anyway - back to the huge mounds of snow.

It has been quite warm (not swimsuit warm by any means), and at this point, there is really no point to having these huge mounds of snow surrounding the cars when the street has already been plowed. People are just being a little lazy. If they would just finish shoveling around their cars, more cars could fit on the street and they wouldn't need to worry so much about saving their spot.

So tonight after the poopsie was in bed, Caleb wanted to go to the gym and work out, but decided to just finish shoveling everyone's cars out instead (just a few in front of our house). No joke. I'm seriously dying in here laughing to myself.

This has been a fun experience.

Mainly because the power never went out.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 4

We're on Day 4 of being confined to the house, and ice cream rations are running low.

Things Claire has learned in the last week or so:

Saying "please" and "thank you" (She likes to sign thank you while she says it).

Picking up her books and putting them back in the basket. I'm going to have to remember to reinforce this every time she takes books out or she will likely forget about this one. She likes to take books and hurl them across the small room in every direction until she finds the one she's looking for.

Other fun things from this weekend:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

So Maybe I've Been Brainwashed

East Coast Storms.


But maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to see their side of things.

Think about how many people storms like this one affect. This one is supposedly affecting up to 85 million people (different articles say different numbers). That's just over 27% of the entire United States population.

When a huge storm hits Utah, even if it hit the entire state at once, it would affect less than 3 million people. Larger geographical area, but a ton fewer people.

Then you have to realize all those people are crammed into a smaller geographical area, with tons of people living a lot closer to each other than the 1/4 to 1 acre lots all over suburban Utah. And street parking. If a car goes out of control here, there is no bank to crash into. The driver will crash their car into other cars.

Yeah, I know that that's going to be the case in most metro areas, which are not unique to the East Coast.

A ton of people rely on the public transportation system here to get to their jobs, to get their groceries, to get anywhere. And all those systems closed last night for the storm.  Then the mayor got up and said after 6PM last night no one is allowed on the city streets unless they have chains on. And if it gets worse they'll just ban everyone from driving.....which makes it really hard to go to work at Walmart if you're still scheduled.

Ok. So here's how my day went yesterday.  I was feeling a little nervous about the storm, because I realized that I have become a little pansy.

Caleb called his employer earlier in the week to find out what the plan was for Saturday (he was scheduled to work). They laughed and said they were already planning on having the pharmacy closed. Then his school closed campus at 1PM yesterday. We had lots of bread and peanut butter in case of power outage, a Redbox movie, and plenty of ice cream. The important stuff.

We had watched the parking situation on our street, had the car's tank completely full, and parked it right in front of our house so we could watch it and dig out easily if needed.

Then we got a call that someone needed to be checked on in the ward for heat, on the other side of the city, and right now. The snow had already started, and I was frustrated (and feeling admittedly unChrist-like), but off Caleb went.  After getting all the way out there and finding out that they did not have any heat, he drove back to our house (a 30-40 minute drive), got our space heater, drove back, and came home. Had to park blocks away, but thankfully made it back without incident.

Yes, I have become a pansy about driving in snow.

We watched the snow pile up last night, had a hard time sleeping, and then found a mouse in our room late at night rifling through some bags. And the child got up 3 times. So that was fun.

This morning, all was quiet out, Caleb had been up for hours working on schoolwork since he couldn't sleep, and Claire had spent the last three hours of the night sleeping on me. I looked outside and it was painfully obvious no one was going anywhere anytime soon. Probably 8-12 inches had fallen all together. Then I turned on the news.

That's where things just got ridiculous.

They covered the storm from 4-8PM last night, then again at 10 until who knows when. When I turned on the TV at 9, they were covering it, and each time I've checked the television today the news has been on, "covering" this record storm.

Except what exactly is new? There's snow on the ground.

They have probably 5-10 reporters scattered over the state, and they just take turns going between them all, saying what's going on where they are, cracking jokes, swapping stories of how they got stuck driving to their destination, etc. Occasionally they go to Al Roker who chats with them about everything, occasionally they'll grab the mayor and chat with her, and if there is any car who looks like they might get stuck, they zoom up on them and make fun of them and say they shouldn't have been out in the snow.

Every 2-3 minutes a reporter says "STAY HOME, DON'T COME OUT, STAY OFF THE ROADS!"

That's the moral of the story I guess.

And then there was this:

That's when I lost it. I'm sure she is a very nice lady and reports very professionally, but this get-up just cracked me up. Even better was when she was handing it over to the next reporter, and he ALSO had on huge ski goggles! I tried to get a pic but was too slow. They were both on the same screen looking hilarious. Caleb and I were laughing so hard we were near tears.

And here it is, after 3PM, and the snow is still coming down hard. Some cars are disappearing in the drift. We've almost hit our average yearly snowfall in the last 24 hours. The average is somewhere like 20.5" for Baltimore, and I think we're close to 18" right now.

Carry on!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fighting a Losing Battle

Right before making some lunch I started putting away some dishes I had washed by hand last night and left to dry on some towels on top of the stove.

I picked up a bowl and a cookie sheet and found a ton of mouse droppings underneath.


How on earth am I supposed to get rid of these guys?!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Factual Arguments

I've seen a commercial a few times in the last week, promoting milk.

It goes something like this:

There are 2 kids in the last round of a spelling bee, and one is asked to spell "lecithin", with a caption underneath explaining that it is an ingredient commonly found in almond milk.

The kid can't spell the word, and the last kid is brought to the front, and asked to spell "milk", with the idea that milk is the only ingredient in milk.

The kid successfully spells the word, wins the spelling bee, the day is saved, yada yada yada.

You are then told to drink milk, because it has ingredients you can spell.

This commercial, and many other arguments like it, drive me absolutely crazy.

First of all, I can spell "lecithin".

Whether or not something is healthy or good should not be based on how easy it is to spell. That's absolutely ridiculous.

Other arguments/rationales I've heard against different types of food: if you can't pronounce it, it's bad. if it has chemicals, it's bad.

Pronunciation: takes time, not everyone can't pronounce unusual words, and most foods that are healthy (most fruits and vegetables, for example), have scientific names that the average Joe might have a hard time figuring out how to pronounce.

Example: Cabbage's scientific name is brassica oleracea.

Chemicals:  literally everything on earth is made up of chemicals. Also, anyone who has taken a chemistry class should have picked up on this fact.

I am all for eating things that are healthy for my body, things that help my body perform to its best ability, and learning about what those things are.

But it needs to be done with the right information, in the right way, not with illogical arguments and not by teaching people the wrong way to discern whether something is good for you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Sweet, Sweet Haul Yesterday

****warning: bragging ahead****

It had been a good while since hanging out at my favorite thrift store (about a month), so I decided to take Claire and head out yesterday morning. We needed a booster seat for the kitchen table, so I crossed my fingers that I'd find one.

Not only did I find one, but I had 4 from which to choose. None were in awesome shape, but we'll be getting rid of it when we move anyway, so I took the one in the best shape....and kept shopping.

All in all, I went home with:

1 booster seat
1 play shopping cart
3 tops for myself, all in like new condition (Eddie Bauer, the Limited, New York & Company)
1 cardigan, like new (Ann Taylor)
1 pair of blue jeans for myself, like new (Banana Republic)
2 pairs of jeans and a sweater in the next size for Claire (Osh Kosh, Carter's, etc)
A new and sealed 1000 piece puzzle
2 pairs of church shoes, pretty good condition, for Claire in the next year or so

All for the low price of.....


On top of that, I used a gift card that I purchased on my last trip. They had a Christmas deal going, purchase a $50 card for $40.

So I actually paid $43 for everything. And I don't plan on going back for a month or more, because I can almost ALWAYS find stuff like this, which is incredibly dangerous. Hopefully I can wait until just before we move in May and do a stock up on things we need.

I'm hoping the quality of the clothes I purchased helps them last longer than what my clothes usually last. I've realized recently that my clothes are usually the poorest quality of the house! Why? Because I feel bad buying nice clothes for myself. I buy nice brands for Caleb (mainly for school and work), and I buy nice for Claire because it's so much less expensive thrifted, but I always skip out when it's for myself. Which is probably a generally good practice, saving money. But then I feel sad when I go to my closet and all my clothes look, feel and fit terribly. Yes, I am that superficial.

Monday, January 11, 2016

This Makes Me Want to Rip Up My Diploma

powerball meme

I've seen a few people posting this on Facebook.

And this is what I have to say:

harry potter no unimpressed maggie smith mcgonagall

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Go Buy These

Can I just tell you about the most useful impulse purchase I ever made?

Slipper socks.

Ones that look like these puppies:

They're better than slippers, because you don't have to grip them with your toes to keep them on. I wear regular socks underneath them, too, so they don't get quite so gross so quickly. The rubber grippers make it safer to walk around on the hardwood floors in my house, too. You also don't look like you're wearing slippers if you go outside, and it doesn't quite look like you're wearing just socks either. Not that anyone's probably looking (or caring) anyway.

I bought the pair I have (much cuter than the ones above) for something like $4 at a Sears some time around black Friday during my sophomore year of college, more than 6 years ago.

They are so awesome.

2016 Elections

I think it's safe to say at this point I'd be a better candidate for president than any who are currently running.

I know it seems every election year people are discouraged at the options for president, and maybe it's just me, but this year seems particularly depressing.

Did you know I met someone this last year who found out I was from Utah or was a Mormon, and said, "Yeah, Mitt Romney, he seems like an outstanding guy. He would've made a great president - almost certainly better than our current one. Still wouldn't vote for him if I could do it again, though."

At least he was honest?

Monday, January 4, 2016

What a Wonderful World

The Best Part of My Day happened when the TV weather forecaster said, "Well, this is January, when the weather is pretty much as cold as it's gonna get!...and it's very cold out there today! In the 30s all day today, in the morning it will feel like single digits. But don't worry everyone, it will get warmer at the end of the week."

I could get used to this "winter".

I've finally realized just how much I'm really not a winter kind of girl.

But not a summer kind of girl either.

Unless we're in the Caribbean at the beach resort the whole time. With slushy drinks.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It Finally Happened

You know when you're watching a show or movie, and the main character is dreaming? And in their dream they ask other people if this is a dream, if this is real, and please pinch me?

I always thought that was impossible to actually experience.

Last night I had a crazy dream. So crazy, my subconscious was convinced it was real.

I woke up in the hospital, or maybe just after leaving the hospital, with twins - a  boy and a girl.  In my dream, I was just waking up from the very night in which I was dreaming - there was no separation of time for me.

I was absolutely flabbergasted - how could I have just had 2 kids?! I never knew I was pregnant, these babies looked like they were full term, and I wasn't in pain!

Caleb and everyone else were equally confused, though excited.

I kept asking everyone, "Are you sure this isn't a dream? Really?"

The medical professionals just kept assuring me I had had a deep sleep (I just read this article yesterday) and was able to give birth during the deep sleep, and that the babies were healthy, congratulations, etc.

I was completely convinced that these babies were mine and I was awake and everything was good. I was totally and completely convinced that childbirth is awesome and this should happen to everyone.

I was quite surprised when I did wake up.

Because, obviously, I am not pregnant nor have I given birth to twin babies lately.

Good grief.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My eBay Experiment

Once Upon a Time,

I was pregnant and had nothing to wear. I had a super kind friend who gave me all her maternity clothes to wear, since she had just had a baby and didn't need them at the time. I feel really bad, because other than a couple other things, those were all the clothes I wore throughout the whole pregnancy and probably wore them out really bad.

Sorry, friend. I need to give her some clothes for her next pregnancy.

So, some time last February, a Facebook yard sale post popped up in my newsfeed, offering 50 maternity items for $100.

I thought things over and jumped at the deal.

Over the last year I've been purchasing maternity clothing lots from Facebook yard sale sites and Craigslist. I go through everything, keep what I would like, and sell the rest. I've inventoried everything so that my new maternity wardrobe is FREE for myself. I list the remaining items on eBay for my cost price + shipping costs. Some items get more bids and I make a few quarters here and there. I've made a little bit of money, but not enough to consider it a moneymaker.

I've stopped purchasing clothing, because I've got enough awesome maternity clothes.

And the other clothes are taking over my house!!!!!

I almost always have items listed on eBay, but I've STILL got 200-300 items sitting in my house waiting to go. I know, it's excessive. But I don't want to lose money over this whole deal, so I'm not donating them until it's time to move again. ;)

I've had a lot of fun the last year or so finding awesome maternity clothes, taking them off other women's hands, getting my own wardrobe, and helping other pregnant women find just what they're looking for for a great deal, too.

I highly recommend this method, if you have the time (and space!) to invest.