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an update from Italy

We have had a wonderful two days in Rome. Friday we were surprised to find Patti had booked us in business class seats! So we had a late but very pampered flight to Rome. Saturday we arrived in Rome around 10am. We got through customs quickly as they merely glanced at our passports and stamped them. We went to baggage claim only to wait 45 minutes and then find out our luggage had not made it. We filed a claim, they said our luggage would show up Saturday or Sunday, and went on our way to the city. We hastily checked into the B&B and ran to the Vatican for our 2pm reservation.

Angels and Demons both have Airplane Wings

Public relations is such a fragile thing.  A company can spend millions polishing and maintaining its reputation, only to let you down when it matters most.  Another company can treat you like crap repeatedly, consistently cutting corners in a heartless bureaucracy, and then in one beautiful, human moment make you want to sing their name from the rooftops.  In this particular moment it may still be premature to say which company is which.

an update

If you were relying on this site to keep you up to date on our lives, you'd think nothing had happened in the past few weeks.  On the contrary - we spent a wonderful week in New York at the YAI conference and in New Jersey visiting Uncle Dave and Aunt Elizabeth; we spent a week in Manley, NE preparing for the wedding, and we got married!  We just haven't had time to blog about any of it.  So stay tuned.

Dehumidifiers: a cautionary tale

Comfort-Aire BHD-651-DBack in September, I wrote about our frustration in trying to follow Consumer Reports' guidance in buying appliances, including a dehumidifier (pictured at right).  Then in November I reported on the energy consumption of our appliances, including the dehumidifier, which was

Water Management

We didn't notice when we bought the house that the entire back yard slopes toward the house.  Nor that several of the neighbors' yards are higher than ours.  The result is that during a heavy rainstorm, like the one last night, the neighborhood's water wants to get into our foundation.

Sheet mulching assessment

The most common question that Jessie and I got about our house during the winter was, "What exactly are you doing in the front yard?"  They'd never seen anyone intentionally bury the yard in 6-12 inches of leaves before.  Here's what we were doing, and why, and what worked and what didn't.

Static Eliminator - reusable dryer sheets

Static EliminatorI like to dry laundry outside whenever possible, but Jessie's not into scratchy towels, nor ragweed, and the weather doesn't always cooperate, so we wind up using the dryer about half the time.  Our high-efficiency dryer is fantastic, but it can whip up a lot of static.  My anti-static gun was not helpful -- you'd need at least one extra arm (or a very atte

A Walk to Remember

On Saturday Jessie and I went out for a walk, something we don't do very often... we walk to the store, we walk to church, but walking without a destination is rare.  Actually we had a destination, but it turned out to be closed, so in effect we didn't.  Anyway, what's notable is that we saw a lot of unusual things, bordering on surreal:
  1. A potato.  In somebody's lawn, by the sidewalk.  Not a potato plant, just a potato.

Electromagnetic Field Survey

image of a cell phone tower from gmu.eduMany of my friends in Fairfield, Iowa, are in an uproar right now about a new cell-phone tower that, unlike the existing two towers on the outskirts of town, is near homes and a few blocks from an elementary school.  Here's some of the existing press about the controversy:

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