Being the savvy financier that I am (read: cheeeeeap) I'm a fan of finding ways to cut back costs. A recent electric bill caused both my husband and I to consider keeping defibrillator paddles near the desk where we open our bills. It was outrageous! I immediately started to rack my brain for ways to save some dough on our electricity. We're pretty good about turning lights off and have started to convert high usage lights to high efficiency bulbs. That being said, drastic measures were in order. I realized that while this summer has been pretty brutal, my pansy ass had gotten way to comfortable using the AC while living in Florida. Growing up, we had a nice house with lots of windows, and no air conditioning. Where there nights that were sweaty and somewhat uncomfortable? Sure. But it was nothing that a fan and liberal application of cornstarch before bed couldn't cure. So I resolved myself to not use the AC anymore unless the temperature was going to be higher than 95 for at least 4 days in a row according to the forecast. And this was more for Alex's sake, as he gets pretty cranky in high heat. Anything less than 4 days and we could either sweat it out or go to locations that have the AC on. The trade off is that all the fans stay on most of the time to keep the air circulating. I have this crazy feeling that the energy used on fans may be a bit smaller that running AC to cool an entire house with an attic and basement crawl space. Luckily, the two rooms we use the most; the living room and the master bedroom, have nice new Hunter Douglas fans. They run quiet and spin fast enough to lift a helicopter off the pad.
The other rooms have fans as well, but those two are the Cadillac fans of the house.
Another way to save money and cool off is to take a dip in our fancy new 6' pool. That would be 6' across, not deep. It folds up very nicely and you don't have to fill it with air, so it's a winner. It's just deep enough for Alex to stand up in to his belly, so I get pretty cool when I sit in it with him. For days when we don't get a chance to go to my mom's pool, it's a nice treat. You just have to remember to fill it up with the hose in the morning so its not absolutely frigid by the time we get in.
Alex loves to get in and splash his hands on the surface of the water or lean back on mom and kick his legs. His favorite is to be held up in the standing position so he can jump up and down.
Another dramatic cut into the electric bill cost less than $10 to get set up. The last time we went to the grocery store I purchased fresh line and 100 wooden clothes pins. Don't get me wrong, I love my new washer and dryer. They are energy star appliances but with as much laundry as I do, it just made sense to hang the laundry out for free on those hot uncomfortable days. I strung the new line, converted a pillowcase into a pin bag and headed out with my basket full of water heavy clothes. I used 2 pins on each item and hung one line at a time the first time, but then I started to remember watching my old babysitter, Charmaine David hanging clothes. With economy of motion, she would grab a handful of pins and used 3 pins to every 2 pieces and daisy chain a third of the way down the back line. Then the middle line, and the front. There is something cathartic about hanging clothes out to dry and being good at it. It's a basic basic thing that just feels good. My clothes smelled great, my towels and sheets were a bit "summer line dried" crunchy and Alex's cloth diapers got a little sunbleaching action. I'm getting good at pulling the items back off and bagging the pins quickly. My bed smells like summer. So what started as a means to save some money has put a silly little spring in my step by repeating the basic natural process of many many laundresses before me.