Journal Style Posts

I Knew It Was Too Good To Be True

Upstairs ac is definitely NOT fixed. Woke up to the upstairs being sweltering HOT. The unit is still freezing up. I have no idea why either. I talked to the company and they will be back out next week to get this thing fixed properly. We thought it was just low on freon. He added 3 pounds of freon so it was definitely low, but it is still freezing up and that’s NOT good especially since it will be 105° and possibly higher this weekend. We will be letting it thaw every couple of hours and turning it back on in order to keep it cool enough upstairs to be comfortable.

The downstairs unit is working perfectly. No complaints there. We are going to inspect a riding mower tomorrow to use while waiting for the new deck to arrive. It’s an older model mower, but not ancient. As long as it runs and cuts the grass, I don’t care. It’s cheap enough to lay out the funds without having it hurt our budget. Also, having two mowers means two people can now at the same time, making 10 acres worth of mowing happen MUCH faster.

I honestly don’t mind mowing. I put in my earbuds and play music while mowing. I zone out and the only negative is the possibility of sunburn I wear pants and long sleeves because mowing makes the bugs angry and I don’t enjoy mosquito bites. Plus, the long pants and sleeves protect me from projectiles like pebbles or small sticks that were missed. I have been hit by pebbles wearing shorts and it’s not fun.

I am trying really hard to not stress myself completely over this whole air conditioning issue. It’s not easy since I thought it was fixed and it was no longer an issue. I seriously hope this is the end of the breaking spree. I will probably start smashing things myself if anything else breaks.

Another lovely thing happened today. We set up an appointment with a company that sells and installs water softeners and whole home filtration systems. We have well water, which means we have hard water and even with a really good carbon filter, we still get sand when filling the tub sometimes. (usually after heavy rains)

Well, the appointment was for 5:00 pm because this company would only make the appointment if my husband was home, even though I handle the finances and I am the final say for all expensive purchases. (Only because I make the budget and know whether something will cause us to struggle financially if purchased at that time.) Well, Hubby was home, he was a bit irritated by the sexism exhibited by this company, but he agreed that it was worth looking into a different option for filtration and softening our water. 5:00 rolls around and the technician is now late. 5:15 and the technician is now a no call-no show. So, I call the company and they had canceled the appointment yesterday without informing us. Um…. okay….

The representative starts to ask me about rescheduling, but another technician won’t be in my area until December. Then, this was the kicker, they wanted me to mail a copy of the deed for our property to prove we owned our home. I started laughing at the representative. I went ahead and told her to remove ALL of my information from their system to include my name, phone number, email address, and my address. I told her we would DEFINITELY NOT be rescheduling this appointment and that this was both unprofessional and highly discourteous of their company to cancel an appointment without contacting the customer to inform them. I also told her that there was no way in hell I was sending a copy of the deed for our home, especially when that information is a matter of public record and can be pulled up on the internet in less than 5 minutes. Proving ownership by providing a copy of the deed to our home is absolutely ridiculous and I sincerely hope people don’t actually do that.

We found out about this company from one of those scratch off game mailers. I didn’t care about the mailer, we actually wanted to see what we could do to improve our water quality. I drink the water from our well daily. It tastes amazing and I filter it a second time through the fridge. (I don’t want to have sand in my cup.) This company offered to test our water at no charge, which was a major bonus considering that test costs anywhere from $150.00 to $350.00 depending upon the number of contaminants they actually test for and if you test both before and after filtration. Our well was tested last year and aside from minerals and sand, it is safe to drink, it’s just hard water.

In case you live in Oklahoma, I don’t recommend this company at all. I started reading reviews online after the technician never showed and apparently this is common practice for this company. It’s just shady and unprofessional in my opinion. So, we will purchase the kit to test our water, then, we will find a water softener and maybe another option for a whole house filtration system at Home Depot or Lowe’s, the small hardware store in town, or even the Co-Op. We have a whole home filtration system in place and I just purchased a new type of filter for it, which is supposed to filter all solids, bacteria, and contaminants. We will test the tap water and the water from the well prior to filtration. I want to know if the well is contaminated in any manner because it isn’t difficult to decontaminate a well. I have to pour chlorine or bleach into the well every time we have an extended power outage or when the well has broken in the past to decontaminate it so, I know exactly what decontamination consists of. The bleach or chlorine is flushed through the lines and the well pump by opening all of the faucets after allowing the chosen form of chemical to sit for a specific amount of time, which is based off of well diameter and depth, and then letting the water run for like 10 minutes. So, not only is the well sanitized, the plumbing for the entire house is sanitized at the same time. We test the well every year just to be safe. Our neighbors have a well that is not as deep as ours and they have dealt with contamination multiple times since moving in. Ours is over 100 feet deeper than theirs. So, flooding does not affect our well as much as it affects theirs. That is definitely a bonus. We also do not have a well house, everything is in the basement. We have not had any issues with pipes freezing up or anything of that nature because the basement isn’t as cold as it is outside in a well house. I did teach my awesome neighbor my pool noodle trick (they work rather well for quick pipe insulation and are much cheaper than the black ones at the hardware stores) she also knows how to avoid a burst pipe in case it does freeze. They are new homeowners too and have never dealt with these issues either. We learned these tricks from the guy who has fixed our well when it broke in the past and from simply talking to people about having a well.

In case I never specified, this is the first home I have ever owned. For hubby, this is home number two. However, even his first home did not have a well, a propane hot water heater and an electric one, multiple ac units, and acreage. So, this is all new to him as well. We are learning as we go. When I registered our basement as our storm shelter with the city, they handed me an entire packet with well decontamination instructions (including a chart for determining how much chemical to dump in and how long it needs to sit and be flushed through the lines.) numbers to call after a tornado for assistance in removing fallen trees or other debris, radio stations to tune to during tornado weather for regular weather updates, television channels, web pages to visit if you still have internet, resources for clothing and food if your home is destroyed or damaged during a storm, and all sorts of useful information. They had an option to donate to continue producing this packet, I donated. I was amazed at how much information was included. One of the best things was a map that shows the topography of the surrounding areas (it is a county map) it shows low lying areas, higher ground, water sources, etc. As someone who is constantly trying to be better prepared for every possible scenario, this map is amazing. I have several maps of Oklahoma and one is a topographical map, but having just our county, enlarged, is really nice.

I registered our basement because I want to make certain that emergency services knows that we may be in our basement after a tornado. They keep a list in ambulances, firetrucks, and police vehicles. All emergency response vehicles have a copy of the registry. Because there is an old storm shelter just behind our home, which floods, and is NOT safe to use as a shelter, I registered our basement because I don’t want to be trapped and they are assuming that we were not home because the other dilapidated shelter is empty. That would suck.

As it is tornado season, hurricane season, and monsoon season in different areas of the United States, I would like to remind anyone who is reading, that having a storm kit, 72 hour kit, or a grab and go bag, can save your life. I highly recommend having all three, with 72 hours of supplies for everyone who lives in your home, including your pets, as well as an extra kit or two for anyone visiting your home when an emergency happens. Even if you don’t have visitors, these extra supplies will come in handy during an emergency situation.

If you don’t know where to begin, I have written three posts on emergency preparedness and they can be found at the links below:

Emergency Preparedness Part 1

Emergency Preparedness Part 2

Emergency Preparedness Part 3

It is always a good idea to be prepared for every emergency situation that happens in the area where you live. Those emergencies may be different than they would be here in Oklahoma, but a majority of the supplies are the same. Seventy-two hours worth of food, water, and clothing, sources of light, warmth, ways to cook, things to beat boredom and to ease anxiety, a source for news and weather reports, and first aid. Specific items for different emergencies such as ways to stay warm during a blizzard or severe ice storm are definitely necessary. Pay attention to the seasons and make sure that you swap out children’s clothing often as they grow quickly. I recommend using clothing that fits loosely for children just in case you forget to change out the sizes. For example sweat pants for winter, two pairs can be layered for extra warmth with a pair of tights/long John’s for girls or long John’s/baseball compression pants for boys. Do your best and starting somewhere puts you one step ahead. I began with my storm kit. Then, I made 72 hour kits for everyone, including our animals, then, I made those 72 hour kitsch into grab and go bags, which have everything already to go in case of emergency evacuation. Don’t forget the sunscreen year round and bug spray in summer.

I realize I tend to start my posts talking about one subject and tend to end up on a completely different subject by the end of my post. There is a reason why this happens. I write a blog post the way I would speak to someone. I write in a conversational manner. Some posts will stay completely on subject, but others will fall under journal style posts and they will go from subject to subject because I am writing them in a specific manner. I do hope this doesn’t deter you from reading my blog. Until next time…

Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead, Homemaking on the Homestead

Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead Part 3

It’s 2:30 in the morning and insomnia is keeping me from sleeping, yet again, so, I am writing the third part of my Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead series. This post will focus on the Household Binder. I realize this may not seem like an emergency preparedness item, but it really is and I will explain how to create one as well as why it should be a part of your emergency preparedness plan. This will explain everything and you will know how to create your own by the time you reach the end of this post.

First, I am going to give you a list of supplies, some of which are necessary, while others just make the whole process more enjoyable. I will differentiate between necessary and optional with an asterisk next to the necessary items. Almost all of the necessary supplies can be found at Dollar Tree stores and are generally inexpensive no matter where you purchase them.

Supplies for your Household Binder

  • *One 3-ring binder (I used a 1 inch binder)
  • *Clear plastic page protectors (these are plastic sleeves for sheets of paper)
  • * Tabbed Dividers (you can go with the inexpensive paper ones or the more costly plastic ones. It doesn’t matter which ones you use.)
  • *Paper (either notebook paper or printer paper or both.)
  • * a pen or pencil
  • Dry erase markers
  • Colored pens
  • Pocket folders with 3-ring holes pre-punched
  • A 3-ring hole punch
  • Washi tape
  • Stickers
  • Highlighters
  • Printer
  • Printed pages (this will make more sense as I continue)
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Now that you know what supplies you need, we will get started on what a Household Binder is and what goes inside.

A Household Binder is an organizational tool for your home. It helps you to keep track of everyone’s schedule, favorite recipes, important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, and so much more. I am sure you are still wondering how this related to emergency preparedness and I promise I will get to that, but first, I am going to give you a list of sections and pages for your Household Binder.

Sections

  • Finances
  • Calendar and Important Dates
  • Pantry
  • Housework
  • School/Work
  • To Do
  • Babysitter
  • Pets
  • Medical
  • Shopping
  • Holidays
  • Emergency Preparedness

Pages

  • Babysitter checklist/Letter
  • Seasonal Task List
  • Holiday Gift List
  • Holiday Budget
  • Household Budget
  • Monthly Bills (due dates, amounts, and who to pay)
  • Monthly Calendar
  • Weekly Calendar
  • Yearly Calendar
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Internet Account Passwords (for paying bills, children’s online gradebooks, etc.)
  • Master Grocery List
  • Master Pantry List
  • Master Freezer Inventory
  • Master Fridge Inventory
  • Master Pantry Inventory
  • Household Member Clothing Sizes
  • Emergency Kit Inventory Checklist
  • 72-Hour Kit Inventory Checklist
  • First Aid Inventory Checklist
  • Housework Schedule
  • Laundry Schedule
  • Spring Cleaning Schedule
  • Holiday Menu
  • Birthday and Anniversary Budget
  • Address Book
  • Phone Book
  • Pet Medication Dose Tracker
  • Map of Child’s School (in a sleeve)
  • Child’s Class Schedule (in a sleeve)
  • Emergency Escape Routes
  • Household Fire Drill Schedule
  • Household maintenance Records and Schedule
  • Copy of immunization Record and Immunization Schedule for Children
  • Pediatric Over the Counter Medication Dosage Charts (for Babysitter or Parent who doesn’t normally do this)
  • How to for Spouse or Significant other for running things while you are away.
  • Current Shopping list (workable)
  • Current To-do list (workable)
  • Bills to pay (in a sleeve)
  • Daily Schedule (workable)
  • Weekly Schedule (workable)
  • Weekly Menu
  • Monthly Menu
  • Daily Menu

Now, you have a pretty good idea of what a Household Binder is and what it includes. If you noticed, there are pages for sitters and pages for your spouse or significant other, which will give them the information they need to do things they don’t normally do. For example, if you are at work, in a meeting and unable to answer your phone, the dosing chart for fever reducer is in the household binder. So, if your little one suddenly starts running a fever, the person caring for him or her can now accurately dose your child. Say you are unexpectedly hospitalized and unable to pay your bills, your spouse or anyone you trust can open that binder and successfully pay your bills for you while you are unable. If you have to suddenly leave town, your most used recipes are in this binder as well as a daily schedule, a weekly schedule, and if necessary, a monthly and yearly calendar and Schedule can be included as well.

If you have started building a stockpile because you became obsessed with couponing, you can keep a running list of what is in your pantry, when those items expire, and you can even chart put where everything is located in your pantry. A master pantry list allows you to go through the pantry and ensure you have your most used pantry items stocked up in the pantry, but it will also tell you what is missing when you can’t figure it out by looking in the pantry.

A maintenance schedule reminds you to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, have the chimney cleaned, air filters changed on schedule and the central heat and air units serviced, which keeps your family safe and helps save money on electric or gas bills.

Those optional supplies like dry erase markers allow you to write on the plastic sleeves and then just wipe them off when you are finished. Washi tape and stickers are simply for decoration. Colored markers, pens, pencils, and highlighters allow you to designate a specific color for each member of your household, making appointments much easier to distinguish with a simple glance. (You can color code your entire house to make life even easier. One color per person and that color is applied to drinking cups, tooth brushes, bed linens, underwear if you have multiple boys or girls, etc. Just let each one pick their favorite color and color code everything possible.)

I do hope this post was helpful to you. A Household Binder really is a wonderful tool and it falls right in line with being prepared. I strongly recommend including the emergency kit checklists. Check your kits twice a year. The best way to remember this is to schedule those checks on the dates for Daylight Savings. This doesn’t work if you live somewhere that does not participate in daylight savings such as Arizona. If you live somewhere that does not participate in daylight savings, check your kits on your birthday and your significant other’s birthday, or on your children’s birthdays. If you are single, use your birthday and Valentine’s Day. This way, if anyone asks what you are doing (and you don’t actually have plans) you can easily say, “I have a date, it has been planned for a year.” You will be telling the nosy person asking the truth and if they ask with who, just say, “someone important, but I am not at liberty to say” again you will be telling the truth because this date is with your emergency preparations and the important person is yourself. Keep the nosey buggers guessing. 😂

Until next time…