Thursday, February 22, 2007

Updates and Suchlike

A post of bits and jots, relating to older posts:

We had a repeat visit from the squirrel in our fireplace. The cats couldn't have cared less the second time because the squirrel was old news. It turns out that if a squirrel falls all the way down your chimney, he'll open your flue from the impact, which I suppose is better than having him stuck in the chimney itself. We have to get a new thingie put on top of our chimney pipe, but the bad weather has meant nobody wants to go up that high on a ladder placed on ice. Hopefully now that it's thawing we can get a new chimney thingie.

Now that I know how to handle fireplace squirrels, I was very blase the second time. Although I briefly thought Mr. McGee was going to accidentally skewer it with a fireplace poker and that just would have been gross.

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Speaking of my darling husband, he is indeed wearing a fedora around town and he looks terribly dashing. 1952 suits him. When he comes home from work in his fedora and overcoat with his briefcase in hand, I feel like I ought to meet him at the door wearing pearls and a hostess apron with cherries on it with a martini in hand and dinner in the oven. Or maybe vacuum in high heels. Too bad he's both the cook and the vacuumer.

Tomorrow is Mr. McGee's 30th birthday. He's being surprisingly non-neurotic about it.

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We had our pictures from our archaeology vacation turned into a coffee-table photo book by Blurb.com, and it is spectacular. Totally reccommend it.

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As mentioned in the energy-saving post, we bought a Smart Strip. The principle here is that all most of your peripherals and anything with a transformer or a remote control (or a clock) draws a slow but steady sip of current even when they're off. With the Smart Strip, you plug a "control" device -- here, my CPU -- into the red outlet, and anything in the white outlets can only be turned on and is only allowed to draw "sleeper" current when the red outlet device is on. My speakers, monitor, printer, and cell phone charger are all plugged into the white outlets and are only allowed to draw current when the CPU is active. When the CPU is in sleep mode, it shuts everything else off. (The control device has to draw less than 15W, I think, when asleep. It comes with a very specific manual to help you figure it out. Anyway, it works with my 2002 Dell.)

We installed the Smart Strip when our bill reset for the month, so this month's bill was our first with the Smart Strip active, and it has made a SIGNIFICANT impact on our electricity usage. It'll pay itself off faster than advertised for us. I'm so pleased with it that we're planning on setting up the TV and all its peripherals on the same sort of strip.

On a side note, we've also noticed a slow but steady drop in kWh consumption since we started installing compact flourescents last year. (We install them as the incandescents burn out.)

1 comment:

Chimney Balloon USA said...

I liked your account of the falling squirrel. Maybe you can put a chimney balloon in above the damper and just bounce the little critter right back out again next time. Of couse they may find that fun and invite their little squirrel friends to a chimney bounce party at your place.