Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Window Display on Pennsylvania Avenue

It feels like we were just looking at it. The old fashioned Christmas windows were up and running in the Coldwell Banker storefront on Pennsylvania Avenue. They were setting it up a couple of weeks back. It’s got to take quite a bit of time as there are four good sized windows with many different tiny moving parts. There is something magical about it - probably because it looks like decorations from my childhood and in a very traditional style. The large variety of colorful ornaments hang from the ceiling by wires, lights and ribbons. The snowmen soldiers stand at attention as Santa Claus heads out on his sleigh. The reindeer are festively dressed and dance with the penguins. One of the windows is very specific to Capitol Hill and the neighborhood landmarks - Folger Shakespeare library, Hill Center, police and fire station, Splash car wash, Nationals park. Ice skaters, snowmen, trains, and all things Christmas are showcased in the fourth spot. I could stand there for a while watching and observing all the interconnected pieces. We will need to walk this way again before the year ends. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Echogear Four Outlet Pivot Plug USB Port Surge Protector

We just don’t have enough plugs to go around! What with all the iphones, iPads, other peripheral gadgets like accessory heaters, batteries that need to be charged for my new robot cleaning toys, Embr Wave and Apple TV remote, something had to be done. In our tiny apartments it makes the matter even worse because there aren’t a lot of plugs to begin with compared to our lovely midwestern house that had plenty of space - and plugs. So I searched Amazon to see what was out there and came across an item that garnered a lot of praise and was relatively inexpensive at $19.99. The Echogear on wall surge protector with 4 pivoting AC outlets and 2 USB ports was exactly what we needed to increase our outlet capacity. It arrived the other day and I was not sure how to fit it in place. But after checking the question and answers it became very obvious. The extra “anchor” screw was throwing me off. You can use it to improve stability, but if you plug the gadget in to the bottom outlet, the “false” prong slides in to the top outlet and that arrangement seems to work. So rather than use outlets in the kitchen for electronics, this surge protector is in the best spot. Now let’s hope we don’t blow a fuse! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

RabbitAir Minus A2 Air Purifier

We decided it was time to “clean up” the house with as many robotic features as possible. So we researched and got a Euvy vacuum cleaner, an IRobot floor mop, and a RabbitAir Air Purifier. They all come with apps so you can control or monitor the action. Yesterday we set up the RabbitAir unit in our bedroom. My husband has what we think are allergies, and lately it seems I am following the same path. We also live in an 1890’s building with very poor air quality. The HVAC system is building wide and we have little control over it. We watched the You Tube video about setting the system up - getting all the filters just right - syncing it up to the app, and then placing it on the small armoire at just the right height. The air quality indicator started off as “bad” and after a few auto cycles it changed to “good.” You can get a filter specific to your needs - germ defense, pet allergy, toxin absorbent, odor remover - that are placed along with the charcoal, HEPA, regular and pre filter in the filter case. The app shows the status of the unit, and you can control a variety of options. All I can say is that my husband had a comfortable night’s rest for the first time in weeks. So, we used the vacuum under the bed, wet mopped under the bed, and set up the air purifier. Here’s hoping all of these gadgets do the trick. If nothing else, it’s fun using them. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

iRobot Braava jet 240 Mopping Robot

I don’t know anyone who likes cleaning floors, but I know someone who likes gadgets - me. Putting those two things together = iRobot Braava jet 240 Mopping Robot. I searched the internet for the best floor cleaner and read the reviews on Amazon. The unit arrived with a rechargeable battery pack, and six cleaning pads - two each for dry, damp, and wet mop. There is also an app that manages the critter. After reading the instructions, I decided to try a wet mop out on two bathrooms, the kitchen, and under the bed. So I moved away the rugs and paraphernalia, attached the wet pad, filled the tank with warm water, placed the jet on the floor, pushed the clean button and watched it go to work. It is amazing how the mop finds its way around the tightest of spaces and around chair legs. It actually did a decent job. You just release the dirty pad directly in to the garbage and empty the water tank when you’re done and recharge the battery. Next time I’ll try the damp mop on the wood floors. You can set up a “virtual barrier wall” to keep the unit contained in a specific area, or to break up a larger space in to smaller parts. You do need to have the mop head pads on hand. But for our money we think it’s worth it. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Redbubble English Springer Spaniel Sticker

It’s the season for presents and one of the gift ideas is a custom pet portrait. It’s not the easiest time of year to set aside time to paint and the orders are already coming in. I’ve been creating digital portraits for six years. That’s why I really appreciate when my art gets noticed on my Redbubble, Fine Art America/Pixels, Zazzle, and Amazon Merch websites. The items are already available for purchase, and I get a notice whenever that happens. But all these items are created based on my custom pet portraits. Someone in Arizona recently purchased a sticker of my English Springer Spaniel. He was one of the first commissions I received - all the way from Australia. To be noticed - out of the millions of images on line - still amazes me. To be noticed and liking the painting enough to purchase it is doubly heartwarming. So thank you for the commissions and thank you for noticing all the sweet animals I’ve had the opportunity to paint. The feedaback I receive is priceless. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Diamond Ring Treasure Found on Walk

My husband used to find a lot of change whenever he walked on the National Mall. When I was working, he walked me to work at the Library of Congress, then continued on. A few times he found dollar bills, fives, and even a twenty! Then there was also an angel pin he picked up once. The other day we were heading in the usual direction and he saw something shining on the sidewalk by the house office building. He bent down and picked up a small ring, shaped like a heart, and loaded with diamonds! Of course, I knew it wasn’t real - but maybe it was? I put it on my pinky finger, but it was too big. Then I put it on my ring finger. It fit, but it kept getting caught on everything. That to me means that it is more than likely not of high quality! So I wore it for an afternoon and then put it in the junk drawer. The ring actually looks like a kids ring. One of our friends really did find an authentic diamond ring while on vacation somewhere. That one was real and worth quite a bit. I’m not ever in the market for another ring or any jewelry, but wouldn’t mind if we found something worth keeping. I kinda like my simple wedding band the most. And that’s all the gold and diamonds I need. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Weatherproofing a Drafty Old Window

Before we left our Midwest home to move to DC twelve years ago, we had literally renovated the whole place from top to bottom. That renovation included updating and replacing all the windows. We no longer had to hang and remove storm windows every year and everything was finally toasty and warm in winter. Then we moved here to an 1890’s building that was updated with the cheapest windows you could possibly have. In one unit we have honeycomb shades with a second layer of blackout shades. Even with that the howling north wind blows right through. But what’s even worse is the large window in our bedroom. Unfortunately this window only has regular old wooden blinds that have no insulation and barely close off the elements. You can’t use the typical 3M window weather barrier on it because of the shade and it is recessed about a foot in from the wall. We don’t intend to ever put up heavy drapes, so we got some weatherproof tape and foam strip to see if it would make any difference. I spent the afternoon taping the lousy window up - hardly making a difference. That included stuffing some old towels along the bottom. This window is very difficult to open and close and just simply needs to be changed - along with all the others. Perhaps we make get sick enough to do something about it. My husband sleeps closer to the window. So I guess we’ll have to wait until he’s had enough - and it’s not even winter yet.