Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Room

Over a year ago, we had the back wall and part of the roof removed from our house . It was not a cosmetic choice to renovate, but rather one that was prompted by a phone call from our neighbor the winter before during a really wicked windstorm.

"Hi, this is your neighbor across the road. Your roof is blowing off."

It wasn't the entire roof, but rather the roofing material, and yes, it all blew off. The part that was most annoying - other than losing our roof, was that it was less than ten years old, but was supposed to be good for thirty years. Someone lied to us. No, we don't have any recourse. Sometimes we feel a little like Fletcher, Jim Carrey's character in the movie Liar! Liar! when he's dealing with the impound yard:

Fletcher: You - -LIAR! You know what I am going to do about this?

Motorpool Guy: what?

Fletcher: Nothing! Because if I take it to small claims court, it will just drain 8 hours out of my life and you probably won't show up and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway; so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!

So, we started looking for contractors, and finally got one to take off the roof.

Then, we spent several months trying to get it insulated, but ran into a bunch of issues with that, because it got cold, the room isn't heated and wasn't insulated, and there's this thing called condensation.


Blown-in insulation doesn't stick to wet walls.

In the meantime some really awesome things happened. I entered a contest sponsored by the Biddeford Savings Bank for $500 to go toward a renovation project ... and I won!

More than a year later, we finally had the drywall delivered. This weekend, we're putting it up.

I am thankful.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Special: Recycle/Reuse

There are so many products we could buy to allow us to live a greener lifestyle. Some in the "green" community call those things "greenwashing", and the point is that it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to live more lightly, more simply and more frugally, if one is also purchasing things.

I mean, yeah, okay, it does save money to bring one's own water in a reusable water bottle than it does to purchase a plastic bottle of water. I wonder, though, what did people do before there was bottled water and reusable water bottles. Oh, I remember ... public drinking fountains, or bubblers (depending on the part of the country from which one hails). Do those even exist anymore?

I used to like the cute little reusable plastic cups for cold beverages. I started bringing my own iced tea with me wherever I go. What I don't like is that keeping them clean is really tough. Mold (or something yucky and probably toxic) grows in the threads of the cup and the lid, and get under the seal, and then, since most of those cups are double insulated, sometimes the two layers come apart ... and then, well, it has to be replaced. Planned obsolescence much?

The reusable coffee cups are similar. I haven't had a reusable cup that I've been able to keep and use for the long-haul - and by long-haul, I mean every day ... forever.

So, I found a different solution, and I keep modifying the solution and improving on it.

It involves the plastic straw from the useable plastic cups, a reused glass jar (and I purchased that brand of sauce specifically because the jar lid was the same size and style of a standard canning jar), a reused plastic lid (and I bought that brand of salad dressing specifically because it came in a glass jar, it was organic and gluten-free, AND it used a jar with a lid that was interchangeable with a standard canning jar) ... and a drill.

The lid for the salad dressing is black plastic, but fits perfectly on any regular canning jar. So, I drilled a hole the same size as my straw, et voila, a reusable cup that is easily cleaned and reuses a bunch of stuff that might have been considered trash.

I love that many of the products I can find at the store use packaging that is so easy to keep and reuse. The jars are especially useful, and if I changed the lid, moving the hole closer to the rim, for instance, I could have it serve double duty as a coffee cup and a cold beverage cup.

Hmm ....

I wonder what I can reuse to make a sleeve to hold the jar when it's filled with hot coffee ...?

*Note: I haven't found a jar, yet, that fits in my car cup holders, and glass or metal straws would be better, but for now, I have a completely reused reusable cup and I'm really happy with it.