The Laundry – Part 2 – Sorting

This all started out as One post. Then I saw how long it was getting, and I’m like, ain’t nobody readin’ all that at once. Not even me!

So here’s the 2nd of 5 parts. And this part recently changed. A lot. Due to the fancy shmancy all-in-one washer/dryer.

It’s amazing how much effort goes into doing the laundry. Then again, according to my bestie Ren, that’s probably because I put the hyphen in anal-retentive. Just like it should be.

Anywayz. Here’s how I sort the Laundry:

  • Sorting – bleachable whites, lights, reds, darks, and dark darks; further divided into cotton/cotton blends, microfiber, poly/nylon/spandex, bamboo, and lingerie/infused fabrics as needed
  • Towels – each bathroom gets its own set of sorted piles
  • Bed linens – each bed gets its own set of sorted piles; each sheet set is one load, as is each blanket or comforter
  • Furniture linens – each piece of furniture gets its own set of sorted piles, and the throw blankets get their own sorted piles
  • Clothes – each person gets their own set of sorted piles, and fabric weights are further divided to help balance the washer and generate less static in the dryer

Small loads of the items bolded above can go into the all-in-one amazeballs thingy. This thing is awesome. Put in a couple outfits. Walk away. In two to three hours, they’re washed and dried. I’ve also used it’s bulky setting to wash small area or runner rugs  like towels, these don’t dry well in it


The Laundry – Part 1 – The Products

This all started out as one post. Then I saw how long it was getting, and I’m like, ain’t nobody readin’ all that at once. Not even me!

So here’s the 1st of 5 parts.

It’s amazing how much effort goes into doing the laundry. Then again, according to my bestie Ren, that’s probably because I put the hyphen in anal-retentive. Just like it should be.

Anywayz. Laundry. Part 1.

Here’s the list of products I use:

  • Ammonia – sanitizes without fading colors
  • Bleach – sanitizes, and brightens whites and fades colors
  • All Free & Clear detergent – more powerful cleaning without adding any fake or chemical scents or color additives that so many people are allergic or sensitive to
  • Shout! color-absorbing sheets, aka Color Catchers – can mix colors, including whites, with little or no color transfer
  • Downey Free – softens fabrics in the rinse cycle without adding any fake or chemical scents or color additives
  • All Free dryer sheets – still have a light scent even though the company says they don’t; softens fabrics in the dryer without adding a lot of fake scent, although these still add a lot of chemicals because, well, almost all dryer sheets do
  • Aluminum foil sheets – removes most of the static buildup of drying multiple fabric types together
  • Control Freak dryer sheets – softens fabrics in the dryer without adding fake scents; in fact, these neutralize scents; like most dryer sheets, these add chemicals to the clothes
  • Vinegar – sanitizes without fading colors or damaging fabrics such bamboo, microfibers, or infused nylons or polyesters, and also softens fabrics
  • Dawn original – removes grease and food stains, such as the infamous trail of food down the front of shirts; note this is the original Original, not the 2x “Original”!
  • Lysol spray – sanitizes the laundry baskets so the clean laundry stays clean when transporting
  • Lint sock – keeps the lint from getting into the home’s main drain
  • Drain catcher – keeps the lint from getting into the home’s main drain
  • Lingerie bags – keeps items safe from snagging on other clothes, or from getting stretched out
  • Citrus powder – sanitizes without damaging fabrics such bamboo, microfibers, or infused nylons or polyesters, and brightens whites; may bleach items that get exposed to sunlight
  • Baking soda – removes odors and softens fabrics in the washer
  • Rubbing alcohol – remove pen and marker stains
  • Hydrogen peroxide – remove blood stains
  • OxyClean – improves stain removal; can add vinegar and baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to the wash cycle instead of the name brand
  • Washing Soda – improves stain removal, or use to make your own detergent
  • Borax – improves stain removal, or use to make your own detergent
  • Fels Naphtha, plain Dove bar, or XX washing bar – spot treat, or use to make your own detergent

Solar Energy

Decades ago, we had solar thermal on the south side of the Michigan house.

This did two things for us. First and foremost, it protectected the south wall. This added layer of insulation kept both floors cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. Given that my bedroom is on the south side of the house, I kinda miss it. Second, just having the panels on the house kept the heating bill down in the winter, even if they didn’t create any heat themselves.

But this sytem was installed in the 70s, and a nasty storm ripped those panels right off the house in the 00s. Except nobody made anything like those anymore, so we lost the “free heat” because they had to be replaced with plain old siding.

Which brings us to this year.

Now about half the roof is covered with sleek and shiny solar panels that create enough electricity to power the whole house, except for things like the gas furnace, stove, water heater, and fireplace.

It took a month or so to get the initial quote, then a few months to prep the property (fix the roof, remove the trees), and over a month to install because equipment needed to be ordered, permits needed to be pulled, and installation crews needed to be scheduled.

After all is said and done, a huge surprise was how noisy the power grid’s electricity was. Suddenly my shoulders, neck, and head aren’t tense all the time. The house is super-quiet because the solar power is pretty close to a perfect sine wave. Mom used to complain about the 60-cycle hum all the time. I finally know what she meant. She would’ve liked this, I think.

We sized the system slightly above our needs for three reasons. First, the system is never going to be 100% efficient. Second, we have backup batteries to store excess power so we can run on solar power at night, cloudy days, and when the grid goes down. And third, to sell back any excess power to the electric company for credits that can be used to lower electric bills in the winter months when the sun is lower or snow might cover some of the panels.

Yes, this was expensive. We’re looking at about a 15 year return on investment (ROI). But we also get a 30% tax rebate, meaning Dad can cash in some of his long-term investments without the tax hit. That’s a pretty big deal to a retiree.

These panels shade the roof, too,  keeping the heat down in the summer, and protecting the upstairs from winter winds. Which is great because the dying trees that used to do this have been removed from the backyard. The eldest was getting scary, dropping ginormous limbs every storm, sometimes on the house.

Funny thing is that the homeowner’s insurance will keep repairing the house, but not spend a couple grand to remove what causes the damage. Seriously, penny-wise and pound-foolish logic.

The good news is that the cost of felling the trees is included in the total solar installation cost to calculate the tax rebate because these needed to be removed to increase solar panel efficiency. Et voila!

The ground-up stumps of very large 40myear old trees also give our gardens tons of mulch, saving hundreds on packaged or bulk options while providing a uniform appearance. Major added bonus!

Yes, we covered quite a few intertwingled things today. Things that don’t normally seem related:

  • Old people need money, and they need to get to their savings without losing it to a greedy government (taxes).
  • Harnessing the sun’s energy should be easy, but it’s expensive and time-consuming (took months to plan, purchase, and install solar, and the ROI will take over a decade).
  • New systems often need to be over-sized to be correctly sized (roof solar panels and batteries).
  • Sometimes having trees is a bad thing (shade + oxygen = damage + repeated repairs).
  • Efforts to save money today may backfire and cost more in the long-run (paying for repairs but not to remove the cause).
  • And sometimes repairing things is a step backward because the step forward we took before is no longer available (loss of prior solar system).
  • Gardens need mulch to keep the ground temperature more even and hold in the moisture.

Cabin Stairlift

it’s finally fully installed!

Before this, Dad drove the golf cart up & down the hill. Outside. Making it quite the production to get around in there.

Been doing that for decades, and always told me it was no big deal.

Except the thermostat is halfway down. Ya know. On the landing at the switchback part. And laundry’s A bit of an issue. And there’s always that little thing called weather.

Suddenly he can go between floors all willy nilly, meaning he realizes how limiting the old golf cart method had become.

And he’s got a bath lift for the bubble tub. Holy crap, it’s a whole new world! He’s no longer afraid to use the spa tub, and he gets pain relief in it as much as he wants now. Such as relaxing just before bed like he used to be able to do. Back when he could go downstairs to the tub and upstairs to bed shortly after. Without having to go outside to use the golf cart to switch floors.

Yep, it’s (almost) his house now. Who knows? He might even go crackers soon and get window treatments so folks can’t see into his bedroom, and the sun doesn’t sear straight onto his eyeballs at dawn.

But that’s a rather advanced topic and might take awhile 🤡

Updating the Cabin for Dad to Stay

Now that dad’s happy at the cabin, and :: gasp :: dating!

Looking at installing a stairlift. And a bath lift. Getting housekeepers. Even finding doctors in the area. Wow!

We sold the other lot so that he could afford some things for the cabin and up here. Yes, I miss that lot. That was my lot. It’s the one I loved. With the flat area, and bit of a meandering inlet to the lake, lots of trees, pretty trees, … but that’s over now. Someone else is building on it. Ah, well. Proof that not all dreams can come true.

But this post is about dad, so, back to that.

He’s happy. Every time I talk with him. It’s wonderful. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve heard him this happy. Of course last time it was with mom. When I was young. Like I said, it’s been a long time. Hopefully they were at least that happy when I wasn’t around to see it. A lot.

This cabin was their dream retirement spot. They designed it themselves. Now he’s updating it for himself. He’s learning to make it all his own. And he’s trying to make his life his own.

This is very hard for him. And I’m very proud of him. I’m happy if he’s happy, and he seems really happy, so I’m happy.

Dad & Jim in TN

One of dad’s best friends for the past several decades is a motor cycle riding, tool & die, and guitar playing roughneck dude who loves to pretend he’s both god’s gift to whatever the conversation is about, and that he’s some of kind of “bad ass”.

Yes, the area is gorgeous. Jim loved the music room and thought the place was gorgeous. However, he discovered that he was definitely not the best guitar player ever. This was a major problem for him. He spent a great deal of time trying to justify why he actually was better. When he couldn’t, Jim declared he was bored and it was time to come back home.

Dad stayed here for about a week, remembered how much he didn’t like winter, and then headed back to the cabin.

That’s when he discovered that his best bud hit on some of the married women. That are dad’s friends. As are their husbands.

The really good news is that these friends recognize that the problem lies with Jim, not my father, and the cabin-area friendships have stayed in place. Not so much with the long-time friend.

See, mom never liked Jim. Then it occurred to us that just maybe he’d made moves on her. Given her personality, she’d never tell dad, likely out of fear that dad would get very upset, and some physical stuff might happen. Charges might occur, and so on. Yeah, she could be a bit paranoid, but hey, she grew up in a fear-based home, so it only made sense that she would be, too.


Which takes us to our next post …

Catching Up is Hard to Do … Again

Hello, readers!

Sorry for the VERY long delay in writing. So much going on, mostly good.

You’re about to see a lot of stuff to hopefully catch y’all up.

Short versions:

  1. Dad went to the cabin with his friend for a couple weeks, then brought his friend back up north, stayed here back for a week, and then travelled back to the cabin. And maybe kinda sorta has a girlfriend.
  2. Tons of things happening to make the house more “old fart” friendly. Meanwhile, now that he’s staying at the cabin more, he’s also converting that to be “old fart” friendly.
  3. The roof’s been redone (I think that was already posted?), the siding’s been done (also already posted?), and the air conditioning’s been fixed (broken when the siding was done; also written about?).
  4. Alex is in the process of moving out. Thank goodness he’s planning to come back for a bit when my surgery/surgeries happen later this year, and probably next year.
  5. There’s been some health stuff … panic attack in the MRI, left shoulder fell out of the socket, lots of PT, new doctors, dental challenges, and so on.
  6. Spring has sprung, and I need gardening help because, well, I can’t physically do it. Probably going to have to get professional help this year to make things look as nice as I’d like.
  7. Jr’s doing better, but clearly the dentist’s eff-up took some time off the puppy’s life, making each day both precious and precarious.
  8. Work has had some specialer challenges.
  9. The finances are finally getting settled from all the years off of work or being under-employed, and then being effed over by the disability insurance carrier last year.
  10. Haven’t had much time to help Lauren help me sell stuff on-line, so all this crap is still eating precious space, and not bringing in the desired cash.
  11. Including all these old photos. Had a buyer, but then there are so many that the company’s owner can’t figure out a price. I’m like, buy what you know about now, and we’ll figure out the rest later but hey. Anyway. Looking for new buyers for those, too.

There you are, all caught up-ish. Look for full articles for more details coming soon!