Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Singcall Wireless Calling System

Having worked in health care for thirty years, I know what a call light means for a patient. Having been a patient, and seen loved ones as patients, I know what a call light means. When you need help, there has to be a way of letting someone know. The same concept appplies when you are in a restaurant, but I never thought about it until we went for Chinese food at Wild Ginger in Great Falls, Virginia. At the end of the table was a button about the size of a coaster. On it read "please press the button if any service needed." Since we were well attended to, there was no need to push the button. It's made by Singcall - a wireless calling system. Perhaps they are everywhere, but this is the first time we noticed. I can see the usefulness when you want to get the waitstaff attention for any reason. Have any of you had experience with this? I'm guessing that if you are an attentive individual, you probably don't need to rely on someone having to buzz you to get your attention. But things can get busy and this device might avoid potential problems. Anyway, it's interesting to see what else will be introduced that we got along without before - for better or worse.

Monday, January 30, 2017

HP Instant Ink Service

A few months ago I got a new HP Envy 5660 Printer to replace my old printer that no longer worked. The new printer has two ink cartridges; the old one had five. I use the printer primarily to print 8x10 photos of my digital art portraits that are mounted on foam board and hung at the Wagtime shop "gallery wall." The ink cartridges that came with the printer were about done, so I replaced them with the two that were delivered to our house when I signed up for the HP instant ink service. One of the things I found most annoying was having to go to staples or wherever to buy ink for the printer. I picked the plan that allows for fifty printed sheets a month - typically more than we would use. When I replaced the old cartridges with the new ones, the ink replacement process started - I got an email from HP immediately. So, HP will know when it is time to replace my ink, and send it to me. The old cartridges were placed in the recycle bag that was sent and returned in the mail. So I ended up printing 31 portraits and 10 business card sheets. I have a few more items to go until I hit the "quota." I also had a promotion code for no service fee and should be getting a couple months with no charge. So far, it's working like it was intended. The idea is not to run our of ink, and save money on very expensive ink. Let's see what happens.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blomus Bioethanol Fireplace

We had two fireplaces in the Midwest. One was a wood burning fireplace that we eventually had converted in to a gas fireplace. We found the wood burning fireplace a hassle - especially if we needed to leave the house unexpectedly - and it was messy. You can't always wait for a fire to quit. When we converted our tandem garage in to a family/tv room, we had a gas flame fireplace installed as a part of the remodel project. We used that fireplace all the time. We loved the remote control and it was well suited for the winters in the Midwest that seemed to last most of the year. And, it was a room we spent most of our time in. We also used the gas fireplace as a place to warm water when our electricity was out because our water heater was electric! Luckily, that didn't happen very often. So, when we moved to DC we missed our fireplaces because it can get as cold - and snowy - here as much as there. So we invested in a Blomus bioethanol corner fireplace that sits in the perfect spot of our tiny condo. We used it recently and it does the trick. You do need to fill the reservoir with ethanol, light it with metal tongs, and regulate the height of the flame. The flame lasts a couple of hours, brings in additional warmth, and most importantly, the ambiance is soothing. This set up beats the flame video on the TV set, and it can be turned off by closing the top of the reservoir. It's not the same thing that we once had, but it comes pretty close.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Subaru Ice Silver Paint Repair

When you live in the city, you can't expect your car to remain unscratched - especially if you have to park in the street. That is the case for us and one of the biggest things I miss about living in the Midwest. We had a two car garage and a long driveway. So we found ourselves with a back bumper that got a bit scratched. That's not so bad because it was the rubber part. But the section above the rubber also got dinged and took the paint off in three tiny spots. What makes it even worse it that it's on our one year old Subaru. Of course, this never happened with our eleven year old Subaru. So I ordered a Subaru Ice Silver paint stick to see if we could mitigate the damage. The stick comes in four parts - a scratcher to smooth out the damaged surface, a thin application pointer for small scratches, a tiny brush for larger scrapes, and a rubber brush to clear coat and finish it off. We wanted to keep it from rusting or getting worse, but the end result isn't that hot. I don't think we smoothed out the edges well enough. I know it would cost a bundle to have this repaired at the dealer, and I suppose we will ask them to give us an estimate the next time we go there. So in the mean time we will just live with it. So it took about a year for us to have the first ding to our new car. I wish it would have been a little longer.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Another March in the Neighborhood

We just went though Inauguration last week followed by the women's march. We attended both as is typical for us. We love going to the Mall regardless of the event to check out living history. Where is a better place to do it? So, we headed out this morning for our usual walk past the Capitol and Smithsonian museums. We eventually got caught up in the crowd heading towards the Washington monument for the march on life.  It was quite cold today with an unrelenting wind, but we were dressed for the weather and continued heading west to the stage area where the White House could be seen on the horizon. We haven't walked to the Washington monument since the MLK anniversary a couple of years ago - we saw Anthony Weiner there campaigning for whatever it was at the time. We then headed back down Constitution Avenue against the crowd direction. Then we passed by the Supreme Court where all the news media was setting up for the end of the march activities. It was a longer walk than usual, but a very active one. Wonder what the next one will be?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Corner Bakery Cafe Compared to Other Hill Stops

Sometimes when we walk in the morning we stop for breakfast. That way, we don't have to think about making it when we get home and settle quickly in to our typical afternoon routine. We oftentimes go to the sculpture garden on the mall. We usually get a salad, soup, and either a blueberry muffin or cinnamon role. We routinely go to Pete's Diner just up the block from where we live. They know us so well we get a Christmas gift every year. A couple of weeks ago we tried the West Wing Cafe. It was interesting. Yesterday, we were going to go back to the West Wing but stumbled across the Corner Bakery Cafe on North Capitol Street. It was the more typical order at the counter and someone delivers to your table affair. We got an egg dish and pancakes. It was filled with mostly working folks. We were probably the only two retired people in the place. It was an ok experience. It seems the one of a kind places usually beat out the chains. It was good to try it, although I'm not sure we would go back. Pete's is now closed for a of couple weeks to do some renovations and upgrades. We just hope they don't make it look like all the other places on the hill. They have a very distinct space, which is one of the reasons we like it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

LaFont Eyewear From Voorthuis

Well, it took theee times to get it right. FINALLY! I ordered new glasses three weeks ago at Voorthuis in Alexandria. This would be the fifth pair of glasses we bought from them. We selected frames from LaFont in a color that I would not have thought of - blue and copper? They were thinner frames, but pretty. When we went to pick them up the first time, the prescription was wrong. It was my husband's. The salesperson was very apologetic and we thought the issue would be resolved. When we went to pick them up the second time, the prescription was wrong again - it was my husband's - again! This time, a different salesperson told us the doctor wrote the incorrect prescription, and there was a lot of blame going around. It felt like we were the ones at fault. So this time, we were not looking forward to the encounter, and if they were wrong again, I would be asking for a refund. The mean salesperson was otherwise occupied, and the nicer gentleman - who actually was most helpful the last time - took care of us. I was finally able to put the new glasses on and could actually see! So, in the end, it worked out but it was quite the hassle for what is supposed to be a joyful experience. However, we were not offered any compensation for this ordeal. Some folks need to learn more about customer service. And this is from people who rarely complain. All we can say is my husband and I worked in health care - he as a surgeon and I as a nurse - and there is no way we would get away with something like that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

USPS Special Delivery Sweater

On a recent trip, my husband forgot one of his prescription medications. So we stopped at an urgent care clinic in a very small town in Florida and got a new prescription for it. That was a long and drawn out process. On another road trip he forgot his walking shoes. So we stopped outside of Chicago at Northbrook Mall and picked up a pair. He needed them anyway. When we went to Virginia over the holidays, he noticed he came back home without one of his favorite sweaters. We usually don't unpack completely when we travel. But this time we put everything in the dresser and didn't check very thoroughly before we left. I think one of my clothing items is still there. But at least this time it was found by our family members, and immediately mailed back to us via USPS. It was one of the few packages we got in the mail over the holidays. I always use my very old type written list to remind me of all the things I need to bring on a trip. My husband uses his noggin. His philosophy is that we can always get what we need if we forgot something. But it's so inconvenient. Luckily it's usually not a big deal. But I still like using my list.