Jan 26 2011

recycle freecycle [day 246]

Freeycycle is the modern day dumpster diving, without having to touch a dumpster or trash can.  From the freecycle site: It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on ‘Browse Groups’ above the search box. Have fun!

I had my first free items from freecycle.org a couple of weeks ago.  Three empty 5-gallon paint buckets from Home Depot.  I really needed just one, but the others will come in handy too, as I need to get rid of most of the paint I’ve been hoarding for years.

A few days ago, I got 3 lamps from freecycle.  One of them being a really cool, ultra-modern lamp, but needing repair to the on/off switch.  I haven’t repaired the lamp yet, but I can use the electrical from one of the other lamps that was missing a shade.  This lamp was not cheap and is probably the nicest lamp I own now.  The other small lamp, also missing a shade, will be my new energy efficient light in the nook on my staircase.  I ran electrical to that a couple of months ago since there was electrical in the closet underneath the stairs.

I’ve also gotten rid of things that I don’t need anymore.  Clutter is not my friend, so this made it easy.  I had some fence boards that I had no place to store.  Someone on freecycle was getting as many fence pieces as possible so he could build a new fence.  Smart dude, as he probably saved $5k and kept a lot of wood out of the landfill.   Continue reading

Sep 28 2010

how did I not know it was there?! [day 124]

Today I decided to do a little bit of landscaping now that the weather is a bit cooler.  Frying in my yard is not at the top of my happy list.  I started pulling weeds in the front, working my way around the house.  When I was over by my bedroom window, I heard a buzzing noise.  Very puzzled by this, knowing I didn’t leave anything on in my room, I got closer and listened.  It sounded like a very noisy fan in my room, which there is not one in there.  Next thought… what in the world did the kids do in my room??!  As I got a little closer, I found the culprit.

Between my bedroom windows, on the brick, was the largest ball of electrical tape I had ever seen.  Under it?  An outlet with a plug and cord coming out of it.  I followed the short cord to a box hanging on the brick.  An outdoor lighting timer.  A timer for lights that I took out right after moving in the house.  Four years ago.  Apparently there were two timers, as I never saw this one.  I really thought after all the landscaping and home improvements that I knew this place inside out and backwards.  Now if you know me, you know my immediate thought.  I’ve been paying for this stupid thing to run for four years?!!?! How much did that cost?

Yes, I calculated it.  Not an easy task either, since the kilowatt hours for these are not listed.  I had to use some formula I found on a website to calculate the voltage into kilowatt hours.  My estimate?  $57.82 for the four years.  $57.82 wasted, as the wires were attached to nothing.

How could I not know about that after living here four years?  What else have I missed?  I spent some time looking around my house, behind all of the bushes, to be sure I found everything there is to find.  I didn’t find any more outlets, but I’m still looking for the door to the secret room where they hid the money.

Aug 23 2010

air, water & destructoboy [day 89]


So I realized yesterday that I need to replace the air filter on my air conditioning unit.  It’s about a month past due, and quite frankly, looks like a year past due.  My house is so dusty, I don’t have dust bunnies, I have dust elephants.  I found some filters on Craigslist, not used, but not retail either.  I’m really hoping to get these, as they’re the only ones listed in my area that are the right size.  Clearly they aren’t a toiletry or food, but are necessary to keep my energy use down and keep my AC working properly.  I will keep you posted on this one.


Well, Joe, my amazing destructoboy has struck again!  (photo: Joe helping with the kitchen remodel)  His career started early, as his first act of destruction was trying to hide poop in an electrical outlet.  Then he moved on to bigger and better things like melting all of the PVC pipes on the pool heater.  It didn’t take much thought to figure out who clogged the bathroom drain with toys when the Draino wouldn’t work.  He admitted it.  I’m giving it one more try at the unclogging process and then he’s paying for the plumber to come out and fix it.

Jul 31 2010

light bulb! [day 65]

We went to see Despicable Me the other night and loved it.  My kids and I try to get one good line from every movie, and then we pretty much wear it out.  Our line from this movie is “light bulb”.  When Gru has an idea, he tilts his head, and with a somewhat devious look, says, “light bulb” with his funny accent.  So we say it a lot around our house, along with “…give me my angry wig!” and about 20 lines from Spongebob Squarepants.

Yesterday, while cleaning my house, I looked at the light fixture in my laundry closet (it’s clearly not big enough to be considered a room).  It was very dim, partially from needing to be cleaned, but I was pretty sure it was a two bulb fixture with a burned out bulb.  Just a little history on my lovely house of 3+ years, it’s had all kinds of electrical problems.  My garage door opener will still fry any type of light bulb in less than 24 hours, my GFI trips at least every two weeks, my heater trips the breaker about twice a week in the winter and I have about 10 plug outlets that won’t hold plugs.  I wanted a fixer-upper and I guess I got what I wanted.  After removing the glass bug holder off the fixture, I discovered a missing bulb.  There was one energy saving bulb on the other side, so I went to find another bulb so I can better see my laundry mountains.

This is where I realized I have no extra bulbs and many of the bulbs in my house have not been switched over to the energy saving type.  Now here’s a time where I would just go out and buy what I need.  How do I get used bulbs?  I’m sure they must have some at the resale shop.  Maybe I can trade something I have for some light bulbs.  I pulled an energy saving bulb out of a lamp that I don’t use very often.  I got the ladder, started screwing in the bulb and had instant fireworks! Yes, one more electrical issue to add to the list, no to mention a fire hazard.  The wires are all burned on that side of the fixture, so now I need to replace the whole thing.  Thrift store, here I come!

I need a “light bulb” for light bulbs.  Are they a need?  How do I buy them used?  I will keep you posted on my light project.  If you have ideas, please post them.  :)

I thought you guys might like to see some of my non-electricty light bulb art: