Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday afternoon coffee post

We have some high ceilings here at the mountain house, and so a couple weeks ago DH did a lighbulb-changing run for me and replaced some burnt out bulbs that I hadn't been able to get to around the house. He replaced them with CFLs, which are supposed to last 7 years or something like that, according to the TV commercial.
Well, last week I was sitting in my office working at night, when one of the 2 bulbs in the ceiling fixture started flickering noisily. I ignored it for a while, assuming that it was not the new bulb, but the old one of the pair that was now also dying. Eventually the noise became alarmingly loud, and I looked up to see the fixture had filled with black smoke. I could also tell it was coming from the new CFL bulb. I ran over to the light switch and turned it off.
I had never heard of this kind of thing happening before, so I did not know if I had a problem with the actual light fixture, or the bulb. Not knowing what else to do, I Googled "light bulb" and "fire". Several hits came up, and I noted that every single one referenced a CFL bulb. Since I am trying to be a stickler about sources and not believing every single thing I read on the Internet, I tried to drill down to a reliable source to tell me exactly what happened. I ended up on the official UL website, the company that certifies light bulb safety. Their site described exactly what happened in my house, and pronounced it "normal" for a failing CFL bulb. They went on to mention that circumstances leading to a fire are not normal, but the fact that they even mentioned specific symptoms that WOULD lead to fire also lead to me to believe that they are very aware of such possibilities.
I don't think black smoke coming from an electric fixture is acceptable in my house, however "normal" and "safe" it's supposed to be.

I'm also annoyed that the bulb lasted 2 weeks, not 7 years, and that the bulb contains mercury, as all fluorescents do, and I'm 6 months pregnant and for all I know breathed mercury vapor as the smoke poured out.
DH and I will continue to look into energy saving light devices, but for now, we're relying on the good old incandescent.
Our second attempt at canning beef was successful. This time, DH set it up outside on our deck, and we used the base of a turkey fryer and propane as the heating element. That way we did not have to release beefy-smelling steam into our house and listen to the rattling for 90 minutes. I think he did 13 or 14 quarts, and none of the jars boiled over, all sealed as they should.
The next day I intended to make applesauce. Now that we have a food processor, I thought it would be simple. I roasted a bunch of apples, then dumped them in the food processor and hit "chop". Nothing happened. Aargh. It's a Wal-Mart brand food processor. That's why I bought it actually, not for the brand, but the price of course. I never had a food processor before and when they came out with this appliance series, I though the price made it worth the risk. We bought it back in October and have used it about once a month and like it very much, until now. It has a 2-year warranty, and luckily I had saved the box and the receipt and the warranty info. I checked the user reviews on the Wal-Mart website, and noted that a lot of people had problems with the motors failing on their new machines. Hm. The warranty said I could call customer service number or simply take it back to Wal-Mart. I drove to Wal-Mart, where they told me they could not help me after 90 days from purchase and I'd have to call the CS number. I pointed out that is not what the warranty states, but they insisted. So I have to call between M-F. Rather frustrating, especially since I really do want a food processor. As I've mentioned previously, my blender doesn't cut it, and I think that there is no such thing as a good blender anyway. So, if I want to puree fruit (like, for baby food, for example), I really need a good food processor. Well, I'll call CS this week and if it all seems too difficult, perhaps I could just buy a new food processor and use the new receipt to return the old one.

We've had a little bit of sun the last couple days. Day before yesterday it was sunny and up to 59 degrees at the bottom of the mountain. That was the day I went to Wal-Mart. People were wearing shorts and tank tops. A typical Oregon move, which my first year here, I thought was funny, but now makes perfect sense to me.
Later that day DH went to a park that is just a few miles down the road. I'd said I wanted to go to check it out on a dry day, so we finally went there. It's called Mill Creek Park. Mill Creek is very beautiful. We also live on a creek, called Gooseneck Creek. Gooseneck Creek is bound by weeds on both sides. It's very "natural" looking. To get creekside you have to wade through weeds and mud. Mill Creek is bigger and where we were, was bound by a mountain on one side and river rocks on the other, so it's very neat and clean and makes you wish you had an innertube to float in, even though all water in Oregon is unbelievably cold. It was so lovely, I wished it were sunnier and warmer so I could be content to just spend the whole day there. It even has a little waterfall.

The park is pretty small, and had some creepy moss-covered ruins. Through various clues and our powers of deduction we figured out that the park had once been a lumber mill site, and the ruins were from the actual mill. It was such a delightful find, and just minutes from our house, I just don't know how I can wait until July when it finally will be warm here.

When the days are dry, we leave a door open so Zack can play outside. He tracks in red mud all over my white bedding. One time I was working in my office when a cat walked in that is not Zack. It's a gray cat that I recognized that Jack used to fight with. I think it lives in the house up the hill behind mine, but I'm not sure. At any rate, it was pretty bold just walking through my house. I was barefoot and didn't have a broom handy so I wasn't ready to break up a cat fight, so I just calmly asked it what it was doing here, and it ran back outside. Gray Cat now hangs around my deck all the time. So far no cat fights, but I don't think Zack likes him very much.

Zack likes to sit smack dab in the middle of the kitchen floor where it is most inconvenient for me.

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