Thursday, February 25, 2010

Braggin' Rights Indeed!!

Before I'd even opened the mailbox today, I smelled something heavenly! I recently ordered some bath supplies from a new friend and Etsy seller, Braggin' Rights Bath, and today I received this delicious-smelling set of goodies in the mail. YUMMMMM!!! Tracy, the creator of all these goodies, makes the cutest and most fragrant bath and spa products. I ordered some organic cotton body cloths, lavendar soap with crushed roses (oo la la!!), energizing bath tea (yes, that's right, tea for my bath!), and the best of all: chocolate milk bath. I CANNOT WAIT to take a bath this weekend! I will definitely be making an afternoon of it after church on Sunday: A nice long soak in a tea bath with a good book and a pint of ice cream (I LOVE eating ice cream in the bath!!) followed by a pretty pot of tea (to drink) and more of that good book. What a lucky girl I am!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Squirrels and Carbon Monoxide

My sister's comment on yesterday's post reminded me of something I meant to tell you all. Michele and I do have a carbon monoxide detector in our home, but just one and it's upstairs. Our furnace guy advised, and I advise you all, that there should be one near EVERY fuel burning appliance or at least one on every level of the home, including the basement. Ones on the living level, like ours, are great for detecting CO coming through the ductwork, but not much else.

And, on a lighter note, Sara shared this link with me to support my intense dislike of those cute fuzzy-tailed rodents. This post rocks and I join with the author in saying "Game on!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Delightful, Carroty Surprise

Last week's craziness ended on a positive note. As I mentioned after installing the new water heater, we discovered the chimney was backed up with squirrel nests. Well, after a consultation with my doctor, she believes that most of the health issues I've had over the past year were likely due to chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. So, our flooded basement revealed a life-threatening problem. I told the doctor that as of Thursday I felt so much closer to my regular self - I'm sold that the problem was poor ventilation and am grateful that it was taken care of before it became a tragedy! (Michele suggested that the squirrels were trying to kill me so that they could have my garden all to themselves, but I won't follow the path of that conspiracy theory.)

Right on the tails of this hopeful report from my doctor came a package from my sister. She made me a carrot key keeper! Isn't it just the cutest?! It coordinates so well with my bag, but I think I may make myself a new one. A friend gave me a couple yards of carrot fabric that has been waiting for the perfect project. I think I just found it! Thanks, Kym!! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sanity, and Water, Is Restored to the Wescott Household

The Wescott household now has a new water heater and a clean and newly lined chimney. The old heater's tank wasn't really leaking - for some reason all the water that was flowing in was just flowing right back out instead of heading itself into the tank or maybe the gauge that tells the tank it's full wasn't working and it was overflowing. So, the tank was full to the brim and, once disconnected, 40 gallons of water came gushing out of the darn thing! The repair guy was pretty fast, but not fast enough to avoid at least partially swamping the floor again. Thankfully, he cleaned up this time! Now, about the chimney: after the new heater was installed, the repair guy called us down to show us how to light the pilot and told us in about 30 minutes we'd have lots of hot water. Ten minutes later he called us back down to show us that there was a problem: the fumes weren't venting up the flue! Oy vey! This was actually a problem we had with the furnace two years ago so we had the chimney cleaned out, a new furnace installed, and the new vent changed into a sidewall vent. So, I called ten chimney people and finally found one who could come out tomorrow. Well, the furnace/water heater guy said tomorrow wasn't soon enough and we made one more call and got a really great group of guys to come out within the hour. They very quickly hauled out the old liner - and the squirrel nests (have I mentioned that I don't like squirrels - dropped in a new liner, replastered the chimney above the water heater flue, and installed a new chimney cap (which they advised hadn't been properly installed previously!) Michele did make it home for all this excitement so it's been great having help with the clean up. Thankfully, the clothes seem to be washing up very nicely, so really we only lost a few small appliances and a bit of my sanity. But I am proud of myself that I took care of it on my own yesterday. Challenges help us know what we can handle, though I'd be content with a an absense of calamity for the rest of the winter. Seems easier to handle emergencies in the spring, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Six Inches is About Six Inches Too Much

I wish this post was about the snow, but no, it's about the ankle deep water I found flooding our basement when I got home from work today. Just lovely - the kitties had to take a canoe to get to their litter boxes! Our hot water heater decided it didn't want to function properly anymore - it probably heard me talking to my dad about how we planned to buy a new one with our income tax return. Now, besides the pesky water there were two issues with the basement being full of water: 1. I tried every shut off valve I could find and only the MAIN SHUT OFF valve worked to get the water heater to stop spewing water, so I am currently unable to even flush the toilet right now (wouldn't be a good idea to visit me tonight.) And 2. I've sort of neglected to do the laundry for a few weeks, but yesterday I gathered it all and sorted it, guess where. Yes, you guessed it: on the basement floor in front of the washer and directly in the line of fire (or line of water, but you get what I mean.) I'm hope, hope, hoping that they're not ruined. I have about four weeks of clothes, so if three weeks worth are ruined that's really going to make it hard to class it up at work.

Now, I'm not one to wallow in self pity, so I thought I'd share with you what I'm grateful for today:

1. It's just the basement - I'm still sheltered and warm.
2. My friend Deb cancelled our dinner plans tonight (because she had a plumbing problem so maybe it's contagious?) so I got home when the water was only at 6 inches - imagine if I'd come home late tonight!
3. My morning smoothie was extra good today - I decided to add banana and it put it over the top.
4. As I was shopvacing out the water and hauling out sodden boxes and ruined appliances I found a brand new pair of gardening gloves - still in the bag! Very exciting!
5. Michele comes home tomorrow - she took a load to Florida, got stuck in the bad weather in Georgia, so hasn't been home for a few weeks, so this will be a treat.
6. The basement is more organized - got rid of all those boxes and storage - it was just taking up space!
7. I don't have to clean the kitchen - no water is an awesome excuse for a messy kitchen.
8. I'm getting a new hot water heater!
9. I was super productive at work today (which is good since I need to take tomorrow off to deal with the hot water heater!)
And 10. Well, I have my health. Oh and the Olympics is on! What fun!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snuggie-licious, Daddy Edition

You may have noticed a comment on my last snuggie post from my dad requesting a snuggie of his own, so I whipped one up for him and sent it on its way. I used that pattern I talked about - it truly is just a blanket with sleeves! Gloria, my stepmom, altered it for him by enclosing the bottom so he doesn't get a draft on his feet and I think he's going to have her elasticize the sleeve ends so that they don't fall into his soup! Two alterations I may incorporate into my future snuggie. How fun! Well, I think my dad looks adorable, don't you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Swift Kick Seems to be Working

My battle against junk mail seems to be succeeding. I usually come home to an empty mailbox, except the good stuff that I actually rejoice over: Vegetarian Times, Fitness, Yoga Journal, American Patchwork and Quilting, and Clean Eating magazines and Netflix. I was surprised that it worked so quickly. The websites advised that it would take weeks, but I noticed a reduction after just one week! I thought it was a fluke, but it's been consistent. If you're at all interested in living a little lighter on the earth, think about reducing your junk mail, too.

Photo source for attribution. The author or licensor of this image does not endorse my work or me and their image is protected under an attribution license.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Home-Lovin' Bread

I made bread yesterday - real yeast and flour, rising bread. My sister makes bread all the time, but this is a second time in my life kind of event for me (zucchini and banana bread count as bread, but I'm talking about yeast-kneading-rising kind of bread.). At work on Friday, I had this fleeting thought: "Mmm, I would love to make some sweet potato bread. I wonder if I can find a recipe for sweet potato bread." And, of course, through the wonders of google, I found about a million recipes. I chose one at random: Sweet Potato Prune Bread. The uniqueness of that combination was right up my alley, though I decided against the prunes because I didn't have any at home. I went with apricots (because I 1. have a HUGE bag of them, 2. LOVE dried apricots, and 3. couldn't resist the orange theme of the apricots with the sweet potatoes - hey, it IS my favorite color!) This bread couldn't have turned out better if it had been made by someone who knew what she was doing! It is DELICIOUS!! If you decide to try the recipe as written, I'm sure it will be amazing, too, but I did make the following 3 substitutions: used soy milk instead of skim, apricots instead of prunes, and maple syrup instead of honey. My version is vegan, which excites me because my very favorite vegan friend, Cindy, LOVES sweet potatoes and this will definitely be something I make for her next visit! For now, I'm trying to save some for Michele (who will be home for Valentine's Day!!), but it's so good, I'm having a hard time staying away from it!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mouthwash Woes

As part of my new dental hygiene regimen, I've been following up my brushing and flossing with rinsing with mouthwash to kill all those pesky germs that cause gingivitis. Well, my toothpaste and mouthwash of choice are both Crest ProHealth. Since I've been paying more attention to my teeth lately, I quickly noticed that I was getting some increased staining. I honestly thought it was related to the copious amounts of tea I drink, so I didn't really think twice about it. Well, at this recent dental appointment, the hygienist noticed, too and immediately asked if I use Crest ProHealth mouthwash. I thought she was about to compliment me, so I quickly said "Yes, indeed, twice a day!" She said, "well, that explains why both the front and back of your teeth are so incredibly stained. The flouride in Crest ProHealth is very staining. I'll have to work hard to remove these." When I mentioned that I also use Crest ProHealth toothpaste, she said it's the same deal. She told me to switch to Colgate Total toothepaste and Listerine. So, I just happened to have a sample of Listerine - the blue one, not the original yellow - and started using it that night. I numbs my tongue the minute I put it in my mouth. After 30 seconds of swishing, I can't feel my tongue or the insides of my lips and cheeks. I thought it was a fluke, but it happens EVERYTIME I use it. It only lasts for 10 to 15 minutes, but it's really uncomfortable! I've been asking around and searching online, but no one I know has had the same experience. I have found a few accounts of something similar online, but no one states whether or not the numbness will stop happening. Michele says it's from the amount of alcohol in Listerine and I'm sure that has something to do with it. Not being a drinker, I wonder if the 21.6% alcohol numbs my mouth, does whiskey, vodka, and other strong spirits numb people up, too? Food (or drink) for thought, indeed!

Friday, February 5, 2010

August's Pay It Forwards

As many of you remember, in August I held a Pay It Forward giveaway and 10 lucky recipients were "chosen" to receive a gift. Well, for some reason I committed myself to sending those gifts by the end of 2009 (just four months!!) I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking, because the original rules of the contests I'd won said that the sender had a year to send out gifts. As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I did not reach my December 31 deadline, but I have not forgotten and I am working diligently to complete something very special for each of the winners. Rest assured that the 10 luckiest of lucky people will be receiving something uber-cool soon. Because I like to plan and enjoy time-bound goals, my tentative date of completion is May 1 (still shy of the one year mark, but about five months later than originally promised. Hopefully the awesomeness of the gift will make up for its tardiness!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Thanks for all the lovely congratulations on my blogoversary!! I can't believe it's been a year and yet I can't believe it's been ONLY a year! So much has happened since the beginning of this blog. I've been looking back through the posts with amazement and laughter. We've defintely come a long way! Thanks, everyone, for joining me in the adventure!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whoo Hoo! It's My Blogoversary!

More correctly, it WAS my blogoversary on Sunday as three of you guessed!  One year ago, I started While the Cat's Away to keep myself out of trouble while Michele was on the road. That hasn't really worked, but it's been a ball! Well, as usual, I cannot choose between the winners, so, Cindy, Sono, and Sara, congratulations! You've all won your choice of a set of hot pads, a picture frame card, two mini gift bags, or two Love cards. Email me at thequiltedhouse [at] aol [dot] com and let me know what you'd like. And now, all together:

Happy blogoversary to me!
Happy blogoversary to me!
Happy blogoversary dear While the Cat's Away!
Happy blogoversary to me!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Mixed Review: My Post-Dentistry Report

OK, so maybe my expectations for my dental appointment were a wee bit high. There was no exclaiming in the aisles, no pictures were taken, no billboards made. My hygienist commended my efforts, but because in all the insanity of 2009 I somehow forgot to go to the dentist, my at home efforts didn't do as much as I'd thought. I had no cavities, though and that's a good thing. I do have to say, however, that I am not convinced that regular dental care, brushing, flossing, and mouth washing will stop gums from bleeding if you POKE THEM WITH A SHARP INSTRUMENT! I mean, really, isn't that the nature of the human body? We bleed when you poke us with sharp things. My hygienist assures me that if I keep up on my dental care she'll be able to impale my gums on her instruments of torture and no bleeding will commence. I'll believe it when I see it - hopefully at my 6-month checkup.

Flossing Appreciation

As you know, one of my goals for this year was to floss regularly. Well, I have flossed at least once a day everyday this year and am feeling pretty proud of myself. In about an hour, the true test of my success comes: a dentist appointment! This is what I expect to hear:

Dental hygienist: Oh my goodness, wow! I can't believe how amazing your teeth and gums look! I've never seen heatlhier gums! Sean, Phyllis, Cara (other hygienists) come over here and look at Michelle's gums!

Dentist: WOW!! Can we take your picture? We want to put your smile on our billboard!

I deserve at least a balloon or sticker or something, right? I mean, come on! I've flossed between 33 and 66 times this year!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Leaning Tower of Reading

I love to read - it's one of my favorite things to do. I find myself constantly in search of a good book to read and in constant fear of being without one, so I tend to have a few books laying in wait for me. Kind of like the book version of Elizabethan ladies in waiting. I am actually between books right now, but the four on the top of the stack are new acquisitions from the library, so I'll likely start one tonight. Ahh, nothing's better than starting a new book. Well, OK, chocolate is, of course, better, but other than that, nothing.

Hey, don't forget to try your hand (or mind) at my "Can you guess what today is" contest!


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