Friday, May 20, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #20

Happy happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've had an awesome week and are ready for some tomfoolery to get into.  We slowly got back into formal exercise this week after taking vacation off and my body is none too pleased.  I originally intended to exercise while we were gone but honestly felt like my body just needed a break from it all; plus the 'walkable neighborhood' had no sidewalks and we did not feel safe walking the roadside.  We haven't weighed in (that comes tomorrow) but I have "vacation boobs" which means instead of looking like balloons 10 days after the party as usual, they only look two days after the party so I have to enjoy that while I can.  But definitely have some chub rub in places I didn't before so we need to get back on the horse full blast.  

Now let's blast into...

How Exercise Improves Your Gut Health—And the One Thing You Need To Know To Take Advantage  (Good info to know if you're trying to craft a routine to maximize results!)

How To Do Good Mornings Correctly, For A Stronger Core & Lower Body  (Honestly, I will take 100 of these over 20 squats any day!  I don't know that I would want to do them the way the chick in the picture is though, I'd probably use these instead.)

3 Ankle-Strengthening Exercises for Happy Hips  (These are so interconnected and it really does make a huge difference keeping up ankle mobility!)

Changes to Make in Your Marriage, According to Experts  (We can vouch for pretty much all of these now, though we certainly haven't perfected them.)

Dri-Pak Soda Crystals for Cleaning Coffee Stains on Mugs (I will save you money and time because it's something you probably already have...MAGIC ERASER!!  Swipe, swipe-done!  No need to let anything sit for any amount of time.  Or sprinkle some baking soda on a sponge and swipe it before putting it in the dishwasher!)

Renter-Friendly White Kitchen Redo for $180 - Before and After Photos  (I'm always looking for ideas for my mom who is in an apartment with limited funds.  I LOVE this look and for a great price too!  Personally, I would go with this more 3D version of peel and stick tile backsplash.)

‘That’s it? It’s over? I was 30. What a brutal business’: pop stars on life after the spotlight moves on  (This is a friggin' AMAZING article!  If you're into 70's-90's music and you read nothing else, read this one.  We got the audiobook to listen to on a future road trip.)

50 Heartwarming Posts From The 'Wholesome Meets The Internet' Account To Lift Your Spirits Up  (Your heart needs this right now.  Also, #5, so sweet as well as many others.)

Well, our arbor was supposed to arrive Thursday but since the label got ripped off of it at FedEx on Tuesday, it won't be delivered until Monday.  Sounds logical.  *hard eye roll*  It's going to be a hellscape weather wise so it wouldn't have been a particularly fun build out there anyway.  I suppose at some point we should make a flower run but it'll have to be during the week since the weekends are a madhouse at every nursery in a 30 mile radius.  Therefore I suppose our only plans are not melting.

Any plans for you this weekend?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Hump Day Poll: To Dunk or Not to Dunk?

Cookies- Dunk into milk?  Chase with milk?  No milk.

I don't have cookies much except around Christmas but for me, anything dry like an Oreo or these one cookies we like from Hawaii are dunkers.  Anything else is a chaser but only when I'm done, not like chew, drink, chew, drink.  (That just seems like a waste of cookie to me because you're immediately rinsing it off of your tongue.)  Sometimes no milk but I'd say 70% of the time with milk and only 1/2 cup because I can never finish a full glass for some weird reason.

How about you?  Cookies- Dunk into milk?  Chase with milk?  No milk.

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Welcome Back Suckers Weekend Recap

Howdy y'all!  I hope you had a great weekend.  It was our first weekend back from vacation.  I'll do a separate post about that.  It was hotter than hades to welcome us back after having been in our ideal weather of 55-60 degrees and breezy which was literally not cool to return to.  Neither of us were ready for that and it looks like we're in it until winter, just like I said we'd be.

We were thrown back into adulting by having had an issue with our network on day two of leaving so we were getting no security updates because there was no internet.  This affected several things that made you just want to scream.  Nothing you want to do more than deal with a network problem after an 11 hour drive.  We checked the radon monitor and yep, the initial home test I recommended that everyone do whether you think you have radon or not was confirmed after a full month's worth of data at 5.8.  We had to get paperwork submitted to the HOA to get that ball rolling which will be about $1100.  The Mr had to take in his car to Hyundai to FINALLY get a fix for his 'hey your car could randomly catch on fire' issue they've known about for three months and they came out with a laundry list of stuff he should get done.  Funny how we have a dirty air filter when it was just changed.  They did recommend the brakes getting done and we thought the price of almost $1000 sounded insane and called around and it was pretty much the going rate.  The knocking hot water tank after a thorough flushing is going to have to wait for replacement next year.  (FYI- a "no flushing needed" hot water tank is a load of sh*t.  Flush the hot water tank once a year)

That birch arbor we put up in 2020 to keep us entertained and we hoped one day covered in shade, needs to come down since it caught a lovely case of varnish fungus rot or some nonsense.  

It was a jerry rigging kind of year so we did what we thought would last and it didn't for as long as we hoped.  I ordered a metal one that looks like it'll just fit the loveseat and we'll have to start over.  The wisteria came back but the jasmine they said would if I kept it protected, didn't.  Lucky for us though because the wisteria isn't super established and I had to hack off all of the dead jasmine.  Of course the arbor isn't set to arrive until this week or next depending on when they decide to ship it.  Obviously because we are us, we'll need to loosely assemble it to make sure the loveseat fits because if we put it together completely and it doesn't, I'd be taking a long walk off of a short pier.

Then the Mr decided he needed some kind of switch for his new ceiling fan since the installation basically killed one of the two working light switches from having to cap it.  Well, it was basically a two hour ordeal and having a color blind man working on electricity doesn't fill one with confidence especially when he didn't take a before pic of what it looked like if he'd have to go back to the original.

Vacation vibes...killed.  

At least it wasn't as stressful as this time two years ago.

That moved us into the weekend.  It seems like every year there is some big undertaking needing done on the patio to get it together.  We've already had to replace the furniture covers this year and they weren't that old.  I guarantee in 6-8 weeks, we won't even go out there if this heat keeps up the way it has and any flowers we buy will be crispy.  Tale as old as time...

Sadly, the arbor didn't take much to come down.  We were both sad to see it go because it was done at a time when we needed some hope (and everyone else got to the metal arbors that would fit before we could) so it kind of symbolizes something to us.  We also had to put it together in the garage so we weren't on full display, a piece was cut wrong and thankfully I had a spare birch pole randomly hanging around to cut to fit and then we had to carry the fully assembled arbor under the cloak of darkness around to the back patio hoping our nosy neighbor wouldn't catch us.  Always an adventure. It's weird to see the space without it now.

But we're looking forward to getting the new one up and giving the vines a spot to establish.  Fingers crossed.  It was a two shower Saturday for sure and the Mr promptly napped after his and thankfully my headache went away.  We did a few random geocaches that evening and weirdly enough found the future grave of my 3rd grade teacher at one of them.  That was a trip.  On Sunday, we did a little more work on the patio.  If you have cedar fencing, you know they gap over time.  Well, when you have nosy neighbors who we've literally caught peeking through them, you make a solution.  This backer rod foam is perfect to go between gaps and I use these pot scrapers to work them in without damaging the wood.  So that was my fun for Sunday.  The Mr did some patio work and got our pics hung up out there.  I'll take pics of it all when we've got the patio together and hopefully done.  

We got a month of Peacock Premium Saturday night so I could watch Maneskin's performance on Eurovision (heal up soon, Damiano!) so we had streaming access to Firestarter with Zac Efron which we watched last night.  I only saw the original about 5 years ago but still didn't remember enough to know if it was close to the original movie or not.  It was okay.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it but wouldn't steer anyone away from it either especially if you read the book or want to see how it stacks up to the original.  I will say John Carpenter's scoring skills are still on point.

That was that.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, May 13, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #19

Howdy do all!  I hope you had a good week and are ready to party hardy this weekend.  (Okay, us either.  I don't know the last time I partied hardy.)   It's probably gonna be a bummer weekend for us because we're home from vacation and back to reality which is neighbors we want to smack (but jail is a deterrent) and construction on all sides of us we hoped would be further along than it is.  I'll likely do a recap next week when I've got my brain settled back into a routine.

Now let's settle into...

5 Simple Hamstring Exercises (Plus 2 Great Stretches) to Strengthen and Lengthen the Backs of Your Legs  (Great stretches!  My hammies seem to always be super tight no matter what I do but these slant boards help for sure with that and ankle mobility.)

Is Ultra-Filtered Milk Actually Better for You Than Regular Milk? (We get it for more protein and less sugar.  Never tasted any difference.)

My Nonnegotiable Daily Nature Practice For Stress & Anxiety Relief  (We've got these mats and I have to say it does help with inflammation that I can visibly see.)

Are Expensive Eggs Actually 'Better' for You?  (I've started getting organic eggs through Aldi which are $2 cheaper than at big box stores and only $.20 more than the eggs we used to buy.)

Here's How Plant-Based 'Meats' Stack Up, Nutritionally  (I can't do the jackfruit thing but you'll have to pry Gardein's meatless meatballs from my cold, dead hands.  The Mr has several times asked "are these beef or vegan?"  Pretty good coming from a formerly picky eater!)

15 Slow Cooker Seafood Recipes for a High-Protein Dinner (OMG, some of these look sooo good!  Time to bust out the slow cooker.)

10 Ways Women Can Advocate for Themselves at the Doctor’s Office  (It is IMPERATIVE for anyone!  I don't go to a doc's appt (especially a new one or for a new issue) without notes regarding symptoms, how long they've been going on, what I've done to treat up to that point.  Not only does it help them but it's something in writing they can refer to for future appts.  I can't tell you how many have said they LOVE it and wished more patients did it.  If a doctor is offended by that, leave.  They aren't going to give you the care you deserve.)

How to Keep Your Sense of Humor As You Get Older  (It's REALLY hard but I need these tips for sure.)

30 Times People Were Saddened And Disappointed By Celebrities, Shared In An Online Thread  (#14 doesn't surprise me at all.  I bet the people who passed by Betty White are kicking themselves now.)

Not sure if we've got anything on tap for the weekend since we spent so much time in the car coming home.  Maybe we'll start to get the patio cleaned up and ready for planting.  I should probably consider bulbs because I truly hate wasting so much money on annuals but then again I want blooms all summer.  Something to ponder but if anyone has suggestions on long flowering plants, chuck 'em at me in the comments!

Whatchu got going on this weekend?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hump Day Poll: Let's All Go to the Movies


What could movie theaters do to improve the experience of going there?

My answer will tell you why I don't go to them anymore:

1)  Cell phone jammer.

2) One of those clear igloos so you don't have to hear or be near other people and watch your movie in peace.

3)  Duct tape ushers for the mouths of those who insist on talking the whole time or if you're seeing an old movie in the theater from saying out loud every line of dialogue until I have to give you the death stare so hard that you physically get up and move.  (It's happened and that's the last time we went pre-Covid.)

Hence a few of the reasons we rent.   Cheaper than bail.  😁

What could movie theaters do to improve the experience of going there for you?

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Monday, May 9, 2022

Things to Check When You Rent a Vacation Home

We have rented private homes direct and through the main vacation rental companies you've seen on TV.  We've rented well over 50 homes from Hawaii to Maine in price ranges from $150-700/night and the more you pay, the more expectations you have of cleanliness and general upkeep.   Regardless of price, there are some issues you are likely going to run into no matter how much you paid for it.  I've got some tips for you on what to look for when checking in and what to potentially expect so you can get to relaxing sooner.  I'll warn you that this is going to sound like I'm ragging on cleaning crews/property managers and I suppose to some degree, I am. I have yet to rent a place in the past 10 years that hasn't had cleaning issues or general issues of some sort that had us unable to enjoy the place for the first night or two except for one and thankfully that was the place we rented for our 25th anniversary last year.

Here are the things we do now the second we walk through the door because we'll either be pleasantly surprised or grossed out and I'd rather get the grossed out stuff out of the way.

1. Check the sheets

One thing we've learned over the years is more often than not, cleaning crews wash sheets in the most harsh, perfumed detergent out there.  If you are sensitive to smells or prone to itchy skin from strong detergent, you need to bring your own detergent, strip the sheets (and towels if need be) and get them in the washer as soon as you check in so they'll be ready for bedtime.  I asked for and received this awesome sleeping bag style bed liner.  So many hotels have horrible scratchy sheets or the aforementioned harsh detergents in rentals and this makes it so even if the texture is horrible, I know I have a set of sheets that I can sleep on that have been washed in my free and clear detergent.  I hate that we have to bring an extra bag for these but it's that or break out in hives.

2.  Wash the dishes

If you think the heathens before you didn't just do a rinse on their plates the morning of checkout and that the cleaning crew checked to make sure that wasn't the case, I've got a bridge to sell you. Grab at least 4-8 plates, bowls, glasses, mugs and silverware and run them through the dishwasher the first hour you're there so they're ready for dinner.  (This is of course assuming you don't open the dishwasher and either see a load of dishes for you to put away or even better, a load of the previous renters dirty dishes.  It's happened.)

3.  Check your network

If the homeowner has video cameras on site, they are supposed to tell you.  (It can go against some rental companies terms of service if they don't.) This article tells you how to do a quick sweep of the network to make sure you're not being watched or digitally spied on without your consent. 

4. Look in nooks and crannies

Check in corners, behind furniture, etc for mouse traps, ant traps and similar items.  This means they aren't likely keeping them at bay but have an active problem especially judging by the age of said items to make it LOOK like they're addressing it.  A place we stayed had ancient looking ant traps but very alive and modern large ants in the kitchen.  Terro ant traps are the only things that work pretty quickly and they take it back to the colony to spread the love. I should just buy them before every trip just in case and will do so especially if we're staying in the country.  We also had a wasp infestation there which was fun.  Bring some painter's tape with you (it doesn't stick when you peel it off) so you can temporary fill any gaps while you're there and remove before you leave.

5. Locate the cleaning products

Nothing is ever cleaned to my satisfaction, okay maybe like three homes we've rented.  This is from a woman who is not a great housekeeper herself.  But I resent paying $100-500 for a cleaning fee to come into a place with cobwebs clearly visible in common places, surfaces that look like they were barely wiped and my biggest pet peeve, grubby little handprints all over the windows.  I know you see them, cleaning person!  I should not have to spend a second of my vacation washing windows, spraying down tubs, etc and yet regardless of the nightly rate, I still find myself doing at least some light house work which is not the way to kick things off.  So locate the cleaning products as soon as you get there, if they aren't locked away because chances are, you'll need at least one.   If they're locked away, run to the store and grab a good multi purpose wipe, cleaner and paper towels just for cleaning.

6. Bring earplugs

Earplugs are a must!  The last place we stayed had me in tears and was NOT the way to round out an anniversary trip.  One thing listers are really good at are angles, especially if they're right on top of other neighbors.  These people also added other pictures to the listing just before we rented that, had I seen them, I NEVER would've rented the place.  I know they weren't there because the Mr reviews my rental selections for his stamp of approval and he agreed, some of the things were not shown.  The thing about older homes is many keep the original glass in tact for either historical or financial purposes.  This allows several issues from easy pest entry to my favorite... hearing the neighbors screaming demon spawn (kids) and their devil hound which barks in a way that makes you feel it's being rewarded to be that annoying.  You could also be in a flight path, have neighbors that don't appreciate dealing with renters in their neighborhood so they purposely rev engines or other less than idyllic behaviors that will spoil your chances of a relaxing time or good night's sleep.  At least you can be prepared while you furiously search for other accommodations and pray you luck out. (We, unfortunately, did not.)

These are annoying things to have to check especially when you're spending your hard earned money on a rental but if you address them as soon as you drag everything in and before settling in, it will make your first night that much easier.  As someone with high rental expectations that is constantly getting let down, just assume you will have to do some light cleaning and be prepared because sometimes it's heavy cleaning.  Also immediately alert the renter to anything within the first few hours of check in because they can try to blame broken ANYTHING on you if you don't tell them.  I can't count how many reviews have property owner responses being snarky and nasty saying "if you had told us, we could've rectified this!"  (But also be prepared to have your vacation interrupted unless you don't mind service people being in the house when you're not there.  I'm not one of those people and we lost 2 hours last year to 100 years of calcium build up being chiseled out of our quarantine rental on our last full day.  Good times.)

Did I miss something that you check when you check into a rental?  Feel free to share what helps you too!

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Friday, May 6, 2022

What I'm Reading This Week #18

Top o' the Friday morning to you all!  It's the end of another week which (hopefully) means time for stuff we want to do over what we have to do!  We've been enjoying the weather and are relishing our mid-Spring weather for now.  I've got thoughts about some projects I might want to get on before things heat up in the garage.  I think we can still put up two shelves on the sides of our over the garage door shelves so they butt up like corner shelves.  I'm all about maximizing every square inch out there that we can.  Even considering putting some lesser used small appliances out there that I'm not ready to part with like my ice cream maker.  Gelato Fiasco has a great dark chocolate noir sorbetto that we love but doesn't ship well and only tastes right home made.  Hmm, might have to bust that out soon!

Now let's bust into...

How Often You Wash Your Pet’s Bowl Can Impact Your Health  (Might be something to think about for those with pets.  I would think having an extra set you can rotate out every other day might help too.  I know we'd probably do that if we ever got another one.)

How To Actually Let Go Of Someone & 14 Signs It's Time, From Therapists  (Reaaally hoping a friend of mine stumbles onto this.  The light at the end of the tunnel is a train, sister!)

How to Trick Your Computer (and Your Boss) Into Thinking You're Still Working  (Okay, I'm not condoning not working if you're still working from home.  However, when you were at the office, you weren't spending every single second of every work hour pounding the keys.  You were chatting with co-workers, going on a bathroom/smoke break, etc.  Be aware that the ol' open a document and put something on a key for infinity will give you away if your micromanager is tracking keystrokes, which many are.  This mouse mover we got allows us to 'drop the kids off at the pool', grab a snack or just take an eye break away from the screen without your chat going to "away."  WORTH IT!)

6 Sites Where You Can Buy (and Sell!) Your Used Camping Gear  (Perfect if you want to see if you like camping without investing too much or if you've got unused gear to unload.)

Get Happier by Rereading Your Favorite Books From Childhood  (I have to say this works.  I have a copy of The Ghost of Windy Hill on my nightstand.)

We might do a little road tripping this weekend.  I've got some geocaches loaded up in case we get the itch to go out exploring.  Definitely have to get it in now before bug and sweat season is in full effect!

Anything fun planned for the weekend?

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