THE WHOLE-HOUSE MAKEOVER
Here are the projects I came up with so far:
We have the EcoMetro guide, which is full of eco-friendly coupons for local businesses and products. My plan had been to put aside the amount we saved using it, and use that money to buy another one, and put THAT money aside, and see how much we can make on it - buying stuff that we would need anyway, of course. So far I think that's added up to about $2, between being too busy to try new grocery stores and in too straitened of circumstances to buy most things in general.
But now we can afford to buy things like... someone to come over and clean our house. It only makes sense that if everyone in the house is working all day, we trade the time that would be spent cleaning for money that gets someone else to clean. Especially if it's at a fair wage with non-toxic products.
There are three coupons for this in the Guide: two for a discount on the initial mega-cleaning, and one for a discount on your second visit when you sign up for ongoing cleaning. We plan to use all three, in order, and then sort out what to do in a more permanent ongoingwise manner. Someone's coming over tonight from Home Shining to give us an estimate.
Which sounds awfully drastic, to me, although I know from my own experience cleaning people's houses that it is a lot easier to gauge how long it will take in person than with people's vague mumblings about how clean it should get in which rooms. It's just that I don't CARE how long it takes; I'd much rather say "Oh, how much is it per hour? And we have a $25 discount? Okay, then just do what you can for x hours and we'll be ecstatic about whatever you do."
- AIR FILTER
Seven cats and an old, badly sealed house (you can literally see daylight between the window frames and the windowsills in some places) equals quite a lot of dust. Also: smells, and not from the window frames.
FROM THE CAT BUTTS.
(Not to blame the cats entirely.)
Tonight (cleaner is coming at 7, but Annie will be home by then) I want to go to Kohl's on the way home from work and return some stuff, the money from which can go to an air purifier. I have researched four, and I'm eyeballing one with a permanent cleanable filter for $41. Maybe we even get two of it. I wish they made them in fancy colors.
- GET RID OF ANNIE'S SPARE DESK
For the love of god would somebody come take her desk away? I don't want to call Uhuru for it because apparently they have a habit of coming four hours late to the time that they said they'd pick things up. And the other place I called never called back. And nobody responded to the Freecycle ad. Do I need to put it on Craigslist? Does anybody want a large, multi-level, wide, blonde-colored desk (pressboard, natch) with drawers and filing cabinet space and a pull-out keyboard tray? You haul.
- ORGANIZE THE CLOSET
I researched how to do this and apparently the easiest way is going to be to go to ikea and get a bunch of modular closet organizing things. First: measure and design. I realized that I really want my stuff to be folded on shelves, so that I can see it in attractive chunks instead of having to dig through drawers and an overstuffed rack of hangers to find it. If it were in chunks, when we splurged on fluff-n-fold we could just put it away instead of UNfolding half of it and hanging it up. And it would be a lot less effort to sort it into office/fun, or by color, or both. Plus also we could get little stick-on-the-wall lights so that we could actually see things in the closet for once. Plus if we do it right, we can close the closet door all the way like in days of yore.
- MAKE PLANTS BETTER
I need a big plant for my office - and by office I mean cubicle - because right now anyone who comes in can sit and watch me for fun while they are waiting. And it is not uncommon, when the receptionist steps away to show someone where to go, for another customer to walk in and be like "Hi! Can you help me?" and it is moderately rude to say "NO."
Also I want some little plants for on top of my shelfy thing and desk and filing cabinet. And I have a long rectangular pot that I can use to transplant some of my seedlings, but I think I need more pots and a bunch of dirt.
We have a ton of coupons for discounts on plants at local nurseries, too. That would be nice, for the yard or porch or office or kitchen. I hung up a plant in the bathroom and promptly killed it. Maybe a cactus this time.
They have one for $30 at Target and I want it. Why not just get Cola to come over with her notebook barbecue? Because I need a lid to make ribs. I have the best recipe for ribs and by god I am gonna make it. Probably repeatedly, until I get the hang of moderating the heat of coals. Rib parties!!!!
And then I can put a padlock on it when I'm not using it, and a sign that says "Ha ha downstairs people, if you won't let us use the dryer you paid for then I'm not letting you use my barbecue."
- NEW LITTERBOXES
No, I don't know why this is below a barbecue on the priority list. Oh, yes I do, it's because I factored in cost and the cost of six new litterboxes, with, I figured, carbon filters or engines that clean the litter for you or whatever, would be much greater than the cost of a barbecue. I've been reading this page on "The Litterbox From Your Cat's Point of View" though and I think we can implement some easy fixes to reduce stink and encourage Bluebird to leave the poor floor alone. I think the key will be to clean all the boxes twice a day, buy extra-large extra-deep boxes, and switch to a clay litter which will be less dusty. And which we might be able to buy in bulk.
- ROOMBA SCHEDULER
Very much so. Seriously, if we can't be mature and grownup enough - or underscheduled enough - to sweep the floors regularly ourselves, then we need to pay the price. And the price is around $300 for a floor-sweeping robot that can be set to clean when we're not home.
- RUG FOR MY CUBICLE
Also, to declutter some pix and posters from the house and move them to my cubicle at work. I think I could even get away with a bathmat or entryway rug in here. Just to dress it up a little bit and make people want to come in. (The rug says "Come in!" The giant plant says "GO THE HELL AWAY.") This is an easy fix too, but one that's low on the priorities because, hi, what the hell do I need a cubicle rug for? It is, however, higher on the list than my dream of going to Sacred Well and paying a couple hundred for an enormous standing chunk of amethyst for my cubicle.
But not a LOT higher.
- COIL-LESS MATTRESS
Because now they're saying that the coils in your bed act as conductors or something for the EMFs or radio waves or I didn't read it that carefully and promote cancer. And now don't you feel silly for a few years ago when you thought I sounded crazy for talking about the EMFs? Sure you do.
(EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, for the record, don't cause cancer but are correlated with it because they speed up cell reproduction. Which increases the likelihood of mutation, for one thing, but also means that you don't really want to be around the EMFs if you already have cancerous cells that you'd like to have stop multiplying. There are other factors too: as with light, EMFs follow an inverse square law, so they drop off dramatically with distance. This is why you don't huddle next to the microwave for warmth, people. That and the fact that if your microwave heats up that much, you have a big problem. There was a great article in the New York Times a little while ago about this, but I can't find it now.)
Actually, according to the comments on that Scientific American blog post, their whole article might be crap, so we might want to focus on reducing EMFs and energy usage in general instead of on the coils in the mattress, at least for a while.