Category «Updates From My Life»

Why is it Only Cold in the Bathroom?

You get up in the middle of the night. Nature is calling. Your feet hit the carpeted floor as you leave the warm covers of your bed. You get to the bathroom and your feet go into shock. Why on earth did you forget your slippers. You didn’t remember how cold it can be in the bathroom, especially those freezing floor tiles. Too bad our house doesn’t have radiant heated floors like the new ones. I guess they didn’t invent them soon enough. Why is it only cold in the bathroom? It is the nature of the hard surfaces to retain the cold.

So you stop getting up in the middle of the night. You also put down an area rug but the dog thrashes about in it and it ends up in a ball in one corner. So it is practically useless. So now what. It is time to get a space heater for the bathroom. The central system in our house has ducts in the bathroom but they don’t seem to work. Maybe they were just closed tight. Opening them didn’t help. We could spend a bundle fixing the heating system but it was better to save money and get the space heater.

These little heaters are gems. They are safe as long as you don’t get them wet. They turn off automatically after so many hours so they don’t overhead. You can remove their covers and dust them off in seconds. Like fans, they tend to get very dirty. But they are worth the trouble if you want a warm bathroom. Make sure you have a convenient outlet. Some people keep them on the sink countertop so they don’t trip over them when it is dark in the middle of the night. Wherever you put it, be careful and warn the kids. This is not a toy. A bathroom doesn’t require a huge unit which makes it less cumbersome to move about in your space. They are portable so you can easily take them to a cold bedroom in the winter. I found a good spot near one wall in the bathroom near the outlet so virtually no cord was showing. It was out of harm’s way in this nook and cranny so we kept it there permanently.

Someone has to remember to turn on the unit at bedtime in deference to those who will be rising in the middle of the night. If it stays on (and you can program it how many hours), the room will also be warm in the morning when you are getting ready for your day. It is a treat to enter a warm room the first thing when you get up. Why not put a space heater in every bathroom in the house? It is practical, cost effective, and sublimely utilitarian. I bought a quality unit so be sure to do your homework before you make your purchase.

Garage Sale Weekend

Stuff is clutter. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have too much and the usual storage spaces and closets are full to the brim. You start packing things up to donate or recycle. The owner of the items protests a lot. Some people are hoarders and can’t part with the past. Me, I hate all that bric-a-brac hanging around. It is useless to say the least. The best idea I had to dispose of it was to have a garage sale. My daughter and her friends could help. First they would gather together old clothes and toys and sort them so we would keep anything important or essential. This would leave plenty left.

It was a big job cleaning out the garage so we could display our best for sale items. This was a weekend multi-person project. The garage was dusty and grimy. Maybe we should do the sale on the front lawn. But we needed a lot of space for tables for all the little things that needed to be spread out. So we set about the task and got the garage in shape. We used some empty shelves to stack up clothing in neat piles. That didn’t last long after the first few customers started rifling through.

I started to get a chain of lookers because I had put up flyers in the neighborhood. With my electric staple gun, it was an easy job to post them on bare walls and telephone poles. I also gave some to store owners so they could put one in their front window. It was nice of them to help out and I give them credit for a good turnout. One of my daughter’s friends stood in front of the supermarket and handed out more flyers. The store was frequented by locals so they were the perfect target.

People come early to garage sales: as early as 7:00 am. They want first pick. That was the good news for me. By noon, most everything was in a shambles and I vowed to hand on for one more hour. The last buyers trickled in and most of the toys and clothes were sold. Each item was not more than a few dollars, but it adds up and we made a nice profit. I promised my daughter we could go on a shopping spree with our proceeds since she was such a good sport about dispensing with old things. Either the toys were for a younger age child or the clothes didn’t fit, but for the most part everything was in decent condition and most people got a good deal. I feel a little guilty about not donating any remaining items to the Salvation Army, but frankly there simply was nothing left. I promise that the next clean out the closets session will go to charity. Kids grow fast and their clothing doesn’t last forever. I know some kids exchange clothing and this may pertain to your family. It just gives you several options when the stuff starts overtaking the house.

There but by the Grace of God go I

Everyone has their secret story to tell. You hear all kinds of horrors, you can’t imagine. It is not that I like to pry. I belong to a single parent support group and the women are not loath to share. They reveal some very tough situations and how they survived. Money is a big issue as well as an ex who does not cover the agreed upon alimony. Then there are numerous tales of how hard it is to raise children alone. I can sympathize although I try to make do the best I can. I am grateful that I am not in the same boat as many of the other mothers. The group helps everyone learn to cope and telling your story is a way to relieve stress. I wish people would report happier times, but I guess they are few and far between. I can’t imagine that there aren’t happy single parents out there making a success of it.

The worst story I heard from a mother was about her dangerous ex. It is sad that she feared him and felt unsafe most of the time. He had to come visit his daughter so she could not restrict him from the house by law. She never welcomed his visits in spite of her daughter’s need to see him. He was a nasty sort who had a criminal record. Someone you can never trust. She never wanted to leave her child with him and insisted that they visit in the house. There were often words between them that were more than intimidating. If she were not available on a day they agreed upon, he was hostile and belligerent. I am so lucky not to be in this kind of situation. I can hear the other mothers thinking there but by the grace of God go I. The kind of woman who joins a support group is usually someone in a dire situation and they need moral support. I was the least traumatized of the group. When I heard that this woman with the evil ex had a concealed carry holster for women that she always wore to protect herself, I was not surprised.

Of course, she has yet to use it but she did say that one time during a terrible argument with her ex, he threatened her life. While she was not sure he meant it, she brought out the gun and set it beside her. She didn’t point it at him as that would have been aggressive. She just wanted him to know that she lawfully had a weapon. She said the tactic worked and she didn’t hear many more tirades pouring forth from his mouth. He was taking her seriously. He promised to be better behaved, perhaps himself in fear of his life. People do rash things when they are angry. It was time to call a truce between the two of them. The weapon served as a symbol of retaliation and a deterrent.

Handywoman

Are you a do it yourself kind of person. Do you revel at repair and renovation projects and are proud that you have the skills to execute the tasks? I am, but frankly I have no ability to handle electrical wiring, plumbing, or appliance repair. One thing I know, is that I can paint. Who doesn’t have an area that is getting drab and peeling. Every house needs a fresh coat of paint. It’s a big job that requires a ladder, which can be dangerous, so you often need a handyman for the job. I was willing to try out for the role of handywoman and give it a go. A couple of indoor rooms would be no problem. As for the exterior, I would need a professional. But I don’t have the money in my household budget at the moment so hiring someone was not in the cards at present. I would do the interior and put off the exterior until I had saved up enough. I could always ask friends and family who were experienced with painting to help. I would have to offer big favors in return such as some lovely home-cook meals or other treats.

I started to clear out the rooms to be painted well before the designated day. I piled everything up in boxes in the garage. I wanted plenty of room to move about with the paint sprayer I rented for the job. I was told, and know for a fact, that this is the best answer to tackling large areas. I have used brushes before and rollers, but you can smooth even surfaces with a paint sprayer for home use. It would work inside the house or out so I could rent it another time when I decided I had the right help for the exterior. The house was going to look fabulous, but for the moment that applied only to the inside. I had selected a beautiful pastel color for one room, and a brighter primary color for another. I wanted variety: each room to have its own personality. With the paint sprayer it took only two days of work per room. Then I had to allow sufficient drying time. After the new paint smell had dissipated, the room was ready to reassemble. I wanted to make the “new” rooms a little different and moved the furniture about. I then wanted to decorate the walls but was hesitant to hang anything on the pristine surfaces. But the rooms needed personality. I decided to limit each room to two items each. It could be a bulletin board, a framed painting, a crafts project, or a mirror. This was going to take a lot of thought. It was easy to paint the room. That was a no-brainer. Now decorating was another sort of task. So I assembled some possible wall pieces and tried them out in different positions. I finally made my choices and at last, the rooms were done. It was a very productive project.

Tired of Playing the “What’s That Smell?” Game

We rent a house. Many people have lived there before. You can imagine them cooking or doing some cleaning with strange products that have a strong smell. The reason is that the girls and I are always imagining we detect odors. We often ask what smells funny, but we can’t find a cause. It could be the moldy walls and the ancient layers of paint leaking smells. It has become a game in our house, but frankly it is disturbing. I want a clean air environment and have to solve this problem. Anyone who owns or rents an old house knows what I am talking about.

I then found out about an air purifier with a hepa filter. I did a little research and agreed that this would work. Hepa filters eliminate 99.97% of the allergens and pollutants from the air without producing more harmful byproducts in the process. You can now enjoy the great indoors. They are quiet and won’t bother your sleep with its light white noise. You can count on quality – top rated hepa air purifiers produce totally clean air. You get peace of mind knowing your unit as long-term reliability and is easy to service. The machine is smart! It tells you when it’s time to check the filters. They are great for bedrooms, offices, living rooms, basements, and more to take care of dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, allergies, bacteria, and odors.

So we installed one of these marvels as soon as was humanly possible. We chose a popular brand that promised effective air cleaning. That was what we needed with an emphasis on odor reduction. From the day we started using the air purifier, we noticed the difference. Now it runs virtually all of the time. I suppose that wastes electricity but it is well worth it. Living with clean air is essential to good health and well-being. I don’t know why we put up with the smalls for so long. We were just about to paint the interior thinking that it would freshen things up. But odor sneaks up on you from anywhere, especially bathrooms and kitchens.

We are protective of our new air purifier and make sure it is always in good running condition. If it needs a replacement filter, then by all means it gets one. Who knew how important something as mundane as an air filter could be. Do we miss our “what’s that smell” game? Not at all. We used to think it was funny and it was done in a mocking tone; but now it no longer applies. I recommend an air purifier to anyone with a similar problem. It beats lighting scented candles all the time as they are rather intense fragrances. You can plug in things to disguise odors and you can spray the house daily. But why not go the easy route and get an air purifier. It is the modern solution to the odor problem.

Maybe Making Friends?

I encourage my daughters to make friends at school. There aren’t girls in the neighborhood like when I was a kid and other children my age were right next door. We would meet every night after dinner and play in the yard. It was a regular routine. It was easy to have friends no matter where you lived. Nowadays parents are loath to have their kids out of their site for even a moment. They are so indulgent and protective. The children stay in the house glued to video games or the TV. I like the way I grew up much better.

As a result, I was happy to accept an invitation to the house of one of my girl’s classmates. This was an unusual request and we didn’t get many. I told her to be sure to promptly accept. I knew the classmate had a wonderful designer house and I was looking forward to taking a tour. It was nice that as a parent, I was invited. It’s a good way to get to know one another and maybe make some real friends.

On the day of the visit I made some freshly baked cookies and wrapped them in a colorful box. We arrived at the designated time and were warmly welcomed. I politely commented on the house and ask to take a tour. The answer was, of course. It was a large house so we went outside first to view the huge pool and barbecue set up on the patio. This is where we were going to have dinner. The yard was full of flowers and trees and was so inviting. Then we returned to the house to view the individual rooms. There were four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a gourmet chef’s kitchen, and a giant living room that was rather formal.

I could see why. There was a rec room or what is called a family room in the basement that was where casual get-togethers take place. It had a home theater set up with an oversize plasma TV. I could see that this was where the kids hung out. I could also see that it was where the adults played. By that I mean that I spied a large wine fridge against one wall where there was a wet bar and shelves filled with glasses. So everyone in the family had their needs met. I asked if they collected special wines to fill the fridge and was told, why yes. How did you know. I could see a very expensive imported bottle on the countertop. No doubt there was more like it in the wine fridge. Our hostess asked me if I would like a glass of wine. I was tempted even though it seemed early to be indulging. But I agreed and soon some cheese and crackers appeared. It was a lovely gesture to share that fancy bottle of wine with me. The girls had cookies and milk.

What Happened When I Asked for Help

I wish I could give each of my girls a new bike. That would be a luxury. I would have to do it every couple of years so you can do the math and calculate the expense. So we resort to sharing in this family. Some of the old bikes are better than others so there are often little squabbles as to who gets first choice. If a good one is not available, there is always walking. I used to walk everywhere in the neighborhood when I was a kid. It was usually not far to run an errand to the grocery store or to visit a friend for after-school fun. My brother always had his eye on the bike and rather than argue, I just let him have it. Since I didn’t have a new bike of my own for a few years, I had to be compliant. When I finally got one, I was ecstatic. I know my own girls would be if I indulged them in the same way. Sooner or later, it is going to happen. Kids depend so much on their bikes in spite of the problems they encounter with the hand-me-downs. Not only do the bikes look old and need painting, but the tires don’t hold air well.

My girls complain often about how annoying it is to use a hand pump so often. It is almost a daily chore. We have an old hand pump that we got at a garage sale and we could do better. One day, one of the girls was parking her bike in the driveway between our house and the neighbor’s. He saw the condition of the thing and you could hear his mental criticism. He is a friendly man and came over to inspect the tires that at that moment were ready for air. He then saw the hand pump and scoffed. You know, he said, I have just the thing for you. How about I go get my home air compressor. It will do the job faster and more reliably. He proceeded to exit and only came back ten minutes later with the item. He showed us how to use it. It was made for such jobs. Wow, we need one, I exclaimed. No problem, he answered. You can borrow it any time. I will leave it out in plain view in the garage and when your tires are starting to go flat, come and get it. You now know how to use it.

And use it we did. The tires were always a problem and I vowed to get some new ones. Meanwhile, we borrowed the air compressor as if it were our own. Life got a lot easier and there were fewer complaints since taking care of the tires was now easy. I felt a little odd about having my kids in someone else’s garage, but the neighbor reminded me often how pleased he was to be able to help out.