Sunday, February 26, 2017

Thankful Sunday--February 26, 2017

I am thankful for my Christmas cactus. 

Several months ago, my father-in-law gave me a large Christmas cactus he no longer wanted. I was happy to get it because it was a houseplant that wasn't harmful to my cats. We enjoyed its vigorous blooms before Christmas, but recently is when I've been the most happy to have it.

You see, as part of the staging to sell our old house and as part of setting up our new home, we got two new rugs. They both made the rooms they were in more comfortable and attractive, but they smelled. Meaning they gave off volatiles that had that chemical, new carpet smell.

We hadn't had a new rug in years, so I didn't even think about this problem when I bought them. We got the first rug and put it down in the master bedroom as part of our staging. Each time we would enter the house, the chemical smell hit me. My mind would go into worry mode as I imagined that no one would buy a house that smelled like this. Ward, who was not as sensitive to the fumes, said that it was better to have the house smell like we just painted it (that's how it smelled to him) than to have it smell like a house that had cats living in it. After the cats moved out, we had been pretty successful in eliminating any trace of them.
The first offending rug.

However, we had to do something. To get rid of the smell, we kept the windows open even though it was freezing outside. We vacuumed. We used air filters. Only slight improvements. I researched and found that some houseplants were supposed to absorb the offending chemicals. They were mostly tropical plants that disappointingly were poisonous to cats. So instead, I moved my cactus into the room. There was an improvement after adding it and luckily, by the time we were ready to put the house on the market, the smell was much better.

We thought all was well until we moved the offending rug to the new house. There when it was shut up in a little used bedroom, I started to smell it again. Not as strong as before, but there all the same. We opened the windows for a few days and that helped some. However it was getting pretty cold, so I shut the windows and moved the cactus into the room. The next day there was a definite improvement. There was not doubt about it. That plant really made a difference.
The other offending rug.

That's where the plant stayed until we got a new rug for our family room. I tried to do smarter shopping this time, and while the odors from this rug were much milder, they were there all the same. The cactus moved into the family room and is currently doing it's thing. I don't even notice the smell anymore. The cats come by every once in a while and nibble on the cactus, but no harm is done to either the plant or the cats.

So for this Christmas cactus and it's magical odor-elimination-powers, I am thankful.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thankful Sunday--February 19, 2017

The crowd was looking at a pair of bluebirds in a tree.

I am thankful for new discoveries.

Ward and I are now proud owners of only one house.  So for the first weekend in a long time, we don't have to do house stuff.  There is plenty to do, but none of it is time sensitive like the chores of the last six months have been.

We decided it was time to do a little more exploring in our new neighborhood. While doing this, we found an Audubon bird sanctuary only ten minutes from our house and we went on a bird walk there
Saturday morning.
I never found the bluebirds, but the sky was nice.

Ward had to encourage me to go because the thermometer read 29F and I had no desire to go out in the cold for two hours. Have I mentioned I don't like cold? After a couple of prods, I started layering up and stayed quite warm during the walk. Actually, too warm. In only a couple of hours, the temperature rose 30 degrees. But that's what layers are good for--peeling off and cooling down.

I learned a lot of new things about birds, but I didn't see many. It was a low bird count day, but that was not the main problem. It's my untrained eye. I can see the birds when they perch on our feeder, but spotting them in a distant tree? By the time I figured out which tree they were talking about, the bird had flown away. I knew I was in real trouble when the leader said to look at that flock of cedar waxwings and I couldn't even find the flock. However, I did spot a small plane that was flying over. And no one even pointed it out to me. I consider that my great find for the day.

Despite the lack of bird sightings, it was quite an enjoyable morning. It is definitely someplace we will go back to and explore the various trails there.

So for this first of many discoveries we are going to make in our new neighborhood, I am thankful.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Thankful Sunday--February 12, 2017

I am thankful for empty rooms.

Friday, we moved the rest of the things from our old house to our new house. It's really good to have all of them in one place. Now it's time to make our new house a home. :)

Note: The actual closing is on Wednesday and we still a few more things to do for that. But we are only one step from the finish line. Yay!