November 27, 2011

Gift Card Hoarder

I've become a bit of a gift card hoarder. Not sure when this started or why, but I've collected a fair number of gift cards over the years - given by friends, clients, etc. I have Crate & Barrel ($100), William Sonoma ($100), Barnes & Noble (unknown), Cheesecake Factory ($50 or $75), Home Depot (unknown), Whole Foods ($25). Probably a few more kicking around. I also have a couple of free massages and a free Shiatsu session. Just never got around to taking advantage of 'em.

Not exactly sure what this is about. There may be a sense of unworthiness going on - like I do not deserve what might be considered as luxuries. There may be a sense of insecurity - saving these for a rainy day (I think there are websites out there where one can convert gift cards to cash). There may be an unwillingness to step out of routine - these are often not places I would typically go. And there may be a sense of frugality - I live pretty close to the bone in a lot of ways; I shop for necessities and do not often shop for fashion, for decor or for pleasure.

Anyway, an encounter with a friend last night who is 100% my opposite (she can not wait to spend her gift cards) encouraged me to do a small unreasonable. So I popped over to the Crate and Barrel website last night to use my moolah. God forbid I actually go to the store and join the holiday shopping madness....

Picked up:

* Some terra cotta mixing / serving bowels
* Some casserole dishes (baking or pot lucking
* A hanging cooking pot rack (I have copper bottom cookware that would look good out, and a dearth of cabinet space)
* Some lotion / soap for the guest bathroom
* Some candle holders for tea lights / votives.

All came to $114, most of it was on sale, and shipping was free.

My token nod to the holiday shopping madness. Perhaps a visit to the William Sonoma website is next :)

November 07, 2011

A Long, Cold, Dark, and Wasted Week

I lost power here in New Britain for most of the past week. Power went out early in the storm (Saturday afternoon, around 4 pm) and returned Friday evening around 5 pm. Here's a brief synopsis.

As soon as power went out, I ran out to find some propane canisters - I've stopped bringing the stove and lantern to my folk fest so I was out - and was able to pick up a couple. I also had (coincidentally) gotten a full tank of gas the day before, which helped a lot in the first few days.

At first, I was fairly well situated. I have a bunch of camping lanterns (LED based, they go forever) and a propane stove. My house is all electric, but the hot water tank held up for a few days. And although the house got cold, I opened up the blinds during the day to solar heat, and had a bed dog. So all in all, not so bad. I was able to make my morning coffee and oatmeal on the propane stove, cooked a few simple meals, and got the rest to go. The yoga studio had power through Tuesday morning, so I grabbed showers on Sunday - Tuesday when I was there to work, practice, or teach. On Sunday, I cleaned out the fridge - tossed a lot, and put the rest on ice / snow in the cooler on the back porch. It kept cold fine all week. And at least I got the fridge cleaned out.

Of course I had my iPhone, and the networks stayed up, so I was able to communicate, commiserate, and see everyone's struggles via Facebook. Definitely a 2011 spin on the "great power outage" - back in the day we'd only have newspaper and radio....

Nights were pretty cold but with an extra blanket and a warm dog, I was fine. And WNPR was my savior - I had no battery powered radio, but I cobbled together an old AM/FM armband thing I used to use when I roller bladed with a battery powered speaker I use for my iPod - and had plenty of radio all week. I'm going to invest in a couple of small battery powered radios when all this is over...

Tuesday morning, the yoga studio lost power. And that evening, something snapped. I realized I was falling behind on work, my main client was getting antsy, so I packed my desktop into my car and took Elo up to MA to visit grandma (who had power and internet). I stayed up there two nights - getting caught up on work, taking a few warm showers, and taking care of a lot of mom's little chores (programming two remotes, installing her casino software on her new computer, flipping her mattress, etc.)

I came back Thursday - my ex Zippy got power back so I assumed I was not far behind, but alas, no. So I set my office back up in the dark, and hunkered down. Thursday night slept at home. Went out to balloon Friday morning (too windy) but we did watch the Farmington fired department roll past in force en route to an apartment fire near Brickyard Road. But when my CL&P "power restore" time came and went (Friday morning, 8:30 am) I decided to punt once again; packing up Elo to stay with Zippy Friday night. I ended up working off my room and board by lopping, chopping, and chainsawing a large tree branch that came down in his yard.

When I got back to the condo Saturday morning, power (and cable) was back, judging from the thermostat timers it was restored Friday night at 5:00 pm. The weekend was busy (balloon chasing, tree cleanup, hiking) so I'm really just getting my life back together now.

West Hartford Yoga remained without power as of yesterday - I teach 2x today so we'll see if there is power this morning. But slowly, life is getting back to normal.