Thursday, February 9, 2012

In the heat of it


(originally written July 13, 2011)
Yep, we’re still waiting…
With the clock ticking down to when we will find out if everything is approved to set a closing date – I’ve been driving myself crazy with anticipation. So many plans, so many ideas and considering our ancient apartment building has lath and horsehair insulation (no joke) so sweaty.
You know how if it’s hot outside and you leave your car windows rolled up all day and you leave to go somewhere and it’s SO freaking hot in your car you can barely stand it? That’s what our apartment is like despite opening the windows, running the ceiling fans and all of that. We seclude ourselves basically to our bedroom where our only AC unit is.
Good insulation not only keeps your house warm in the winter, but cool in the summer. I’m REALLY hoping we get to move before the August heat sets in. I will probably melt otherwise.
While we’re going through this process – our landlord decided to put our building up on the market. At first we had quite a few people coming to look at it, but not many have come lately. Since Garry went back to school we haven’t had the time/energy/ambition to keep up with cleaning. Womp womp.
Over the last few years I’ve been trying to find more “green” alternatives for cleaning. Unfortunately I’ve come to two conclusions: green cleaning is either expensive or it doesn’t work as well. A lot of popular brand “green” cleaners out there work great, at a price. For someone who is trying to keep a clean house and stay on budget that’s difficult. I tried making some of the homemade cleaners and, I’ll be honest, no dice for the most part. So what’s a girl to do?
I’ve been a fan of Method cleaners for a while (I’ve used a few products of theirs) and figured I would try to use them a little more sparingly. On top of that, I purchased some cleaning cloths to replace paper towels. We will still buy them to clean up things like cat hairballs (which is inevitable if you own cats) but hopefully it will cut down some costs and the amount of cleaning product we need to use (no need for dusting spray – which I use more than anything else). I also purchased some natural sponges (the ones that you can sanitize in the dishwasher) and I’m hoping that will cut down some costs as well since we tend to go through those buggers pretty quickly. I’m hoping to find a greener alternative to my magic eraser sponges (I’ve tried baking soda on a sponge – just not the same) which are probably my favorite cleaning tool on the planet. LOVE them. As of right now - no dice.
Also – the vast majority of the house is hardwood floor. My answer - steam mops! They’re much more sanitary than using a regular ol’ mop and more environmentally friendly than swiffers (you can go through 5-6 pads to mop an entire floor of a house which is super wasteful) with their washable covers… y0u better believe we’ll be crossing our fingers that someone will get us one of those bad boys as a wedding gift!
Maybe I’ve been watching one-too-many episodes of Lawn Crashers while at the gym (I’m telling you watching HGTV right before moving is a BAD idea for me), but I’ve been dreaming of gardening. I don’t really know if I have a green thumb or not, but luckily for me I have enough friends that do and can guide me along the way.
I’ve been taking stock of what veggies we use most and hoping I can ease our grocery bill a bit by planting what we tend to use. We cook a lot of Tex-Mex so there will be loads of peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes. We don’t eat tomatoes on their own – so they will be made into salsas and pasta sauces (which we use quite a bit). I’m thinking of some squashes too (especially butternut – my favorite!) and tons of root veggies (potatoes, carrots, parsnips) as those grow pretty well in our climate and I cook with them a LOT. If all goes well for a few years, I may build a little greenhouse and have a winter garden as well. We’ll have to see. I’m also planning some blackberry and raspberry bushes for wine-making. Maybe a fruit tree too if we can manage it. Can you imagine blackberry pear wine? Mmmmm…. yum!
I won’t lie – I get a little jealous of my green-thumbed friends who have meals made from items fresh from their gardens while I’m climbing through people at the grocery store to get to the peppers that have been handled by umpteen people and cost a fortune (almost $4 a lb for red peppers at my store). It would be nice to walk into the yard with a little basket and grab what I needed for dinner that night right off the vine. *sigh*
But we’ll start small next year with a few items and probably some herbs to ease into it. We’ll be cultivating what we plan on doing landscaping-wise as well in the back yard, so if we fail as gardeners, at least we can put some pretty perennials in that we don’t have to do anything to and we won’t lose out on a ton of money and time from trying to do too much right off the bat.
Okay, I’m rambling… back to work