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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Under the Sea

I sure missed boating this summer. With hubby's illness, we just didn't get out. We're hoping to go back out on the water next year. In the meantime I've been enjoying a lot of my friend's pictures and videos. Some of them get the coolest pictures with their waterproof cameras that can take pictures under water. That's so amazing, and it's like looking into an alien world that you'd never know existed just sitting on the shores, or in a boat. I would really love to get one of those to take out on the boat next year and have been trying to find waterproof cameras at the source so I can save a little bit of money and still get a camera that can get those awesome shots. I think the Illinois River would be really interesting to see from below the water line.

Lake Michigan would be even cooler, and now that I live closer to it, we might actually splash the boat into those cool blue waters. Most of the pictures I've seen from friends who take underwater shots are from those that live on the oceans, and that is amazing, but there's a lot of life under the surface of Illinois waters too.

Winter's Comin'

It is so cold here today. What is with this weather? First we have a summer that is so hot the surface of the sun was jealous, now we have early winter cold in the middle of September when it should still be really warm. It is suppose to bounce back up to a pleasant end of summer/early fall temperature in a few days, but burrrrrrrrrr for now. I am in a rush because the furnace here needs to be replaced, and I somehow need to make an extra $2400 on top of regular bills before it gets so cold I have to haul out the space heaters again. Last winter I used them, but the electric bills were pretty high, and it was still pretty chilly in the house. It was liveable though, and I suppose if I gotta make do another winter, I will have to make do.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Couponing in the Not to Extreme Way

Do you use coupons? There's quite a craze thanks to the TV show on couponing, but that is a really extreme way to do it, and takes a lot of work. Most people aren't going to go to those lengths, and that isn't really the way coupons were meant to be used. However, not using coupons is just as foolish as being extreme.

Coupons represent cash values... they're like money. Why wouldn't you take advantage of saving money on the items you'd use anyway? My favorite place to shop is Kmart. It's right down the street from me, and has great sales and deals all of the time. Along with those deals, I collect kmart coupons both online and from my local papers, and only use the ones that are for products I really need or would buy anyway. Doing that saves me several dollars every time I go to the store. In these trying times, why wouldn't I want to save as much as possible?

I don't go to extremes, or stockpile for the future. I just use the coupons to buy products I need at the time. I don't have the space for stockpiling, and I think that when it's done in an extreme manner it's actually selfish. However, using a coupon or two to buy a couple items isn't foolish or selfish, it's smart.

Shower Wall Repair

Tile repair around tubs and shower stalls can be intimidating, but it is the most important thing you can do for your home. Catching problems early will help reduce the costs of extensive repairs. You can do the job yourself, which will also save you a great deal of money in labor. It is a good idea to replace or repair loose or broken tiles as soon as possible to avoid water damage to the backing behind them, but if you find soggy drywall behind your tiles don’t panic. You can still solve the problem and prevent further damage.

Remove all loose or damaged tile. You can pull off very loose tiles, but use a chisel to get to the one still semi-stuck to the wall. Once you have all of the loose or damaged tiles removed, use the chisel to gently pry off at least one more row of tiles all the way around the soggy area. For really stubborn tiles, reach behind the drywall and score it with a utility knife to punch out the tile. Pull out the wet drywall with your hands, and use a handsaw to make a solid, fresh edge on the portion of the exposed wall that is still in good condition.

Scrape off grout, caulking and mastic. Never use a sander as that can release harmful asbestos that might be present. For hard mastic, place the tiles in a large pot and boil for several minutes. Remove with a pair of tongs, and then scrape off the mastic with a putty knife.

Cut the cement backerboard to match the size of the new opening in the wall. Use roofing nails to secure it to the wall studs.

Use your trowel to spread mastic evenly across the backerboard, and place tiles on top of the mastic. Allow the tiles to dry in place for at least three days.

Add latex additive to powdered grout and use your trowel to press it into the joints of the tiles. Remove all excess grout with a damp sponge. Wait about three hours and buff with a soft towel or cloth.

Seal the top of the tiles to the ceiling, or bottom to the tub if the repaired area is in that location, with silicone caulk.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Mattson's Steak House in Burbank, IL

Don't GOOOOOOO! It's been around forever. Well, as long as I can remember, and that's a long time, but I've never really been tempted to go there. It's never been that impressive from the outside. Just and average family restaurant type thing. Well, today I was searching for some place new and interesting to eat around here, and came on their website. Wow, it looked delicious. High priced, but hey, it's a steak joint, and I really don't mind paying a high price for good food.


I'm not usually too hard on restaurants, but I have to say I was completely under-whelmed for the most part, and in some cases completely disgusted. First of all, it's cafeteria style, okay, well the salad bar and hot side's bar is all you can eat, and they bring your steak and potato choice out to your table. The food bars were not at all impressive, just average, but what's worse, the food in general wasn't very good. I will admit that my steak was buttery soft, and good, but my hubby's was tough and sinewy (New York Strip should be one of the best cuts). The corn bread was very good, but that's the only two things I liked. I had steak fries and while they were nice and thick, the edges were rock hard, the vegetable medley from the hot bar was tasteless, and the carrots were rock hard.

I've never not went back to a buffet line at least once, and I've never turned a blind eye to a free desert even if it is only soft-serve ice cream, but I did this time, and left a good portion of my first serving on the plate.

Do yourself a favor... skip Mattson's Steak House at 81st and Cicero in Burbank, IL

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A Dollar Isn't Just a Dollar

I bet you didn't know there was more than one kind of silver dollar? I sure didn't until we found a lot of old silver dollars when cleaning out my mother-in-law's house. The fact is, just any old silver dollar isn't necessarily going to be worth much, if any more than it's face value, although it still has that. There are specific types of silver dollars, and even within those types, specific years or "mints" that are worth more than others. It is a very complex and interesting thing once you start to learn about it. It really makes you appreciate the intricacies of coin collecting, and what makes something worth more than it normally would, and what really makes them worth a lot more than others.

The Right Foot

As bad as my back has been, I haven't really done much work in the past week. That, along with moving, and getting the yard here in shape over the past two months (hum, can we say--back pain problem) means I haven't been really focusing on my work as much as I normally would. It's a new month now, the 1st of September, and I am really going to re-focus myself this month and get back on track. With the exception of this last week, it really hasn't been 'bad', but it just hasn't been up to par, I have to prioritize a little better, and spread out the work here, once I can do it again, a little more so I get my job done too.

Making the Most of Garbage

I've used composters before, but now since I've moved to a new, smaller property, I'm back in the market for something more compact than I've used in the past. The best thing about composters is that they are an eco-friendly way of making use of your biodegradable waste products without filling up landfills and also giving you the opportunity to make your own grounds better. Since I am very determined to make the most of this small property with both flowers as well as a few vegetables and herbs a composter will come in very handy here.

Dealing with Back Pain

I am limping around like an 80 year old woman this past week. I threw my back out again. It's something that happens regularly enough to be a fact of life for me, although it's been a few years since it happened last. In fact, this morning, talking with my husband he was worried that it would be something needing surgery, and I reminded him of a time over 20 years ago when it was so bad I couldn't even stand up, and he had to get me down the stairs in order to go to the hospital (no easy feat because of the way the stairs were situated). It's not something new. It just takes time to resolve itself, and at least I can get up even if I look like a bent up old woman when doing it. It can take up to 6 weeks for this type of back problem to get better, and it's a long time, but there's not much you can do about it when it happens except go with it, and deal with it.