Sunday, January 23, 2005

A better heated mattress pad?

We've been trying out this heated mattress pad, and it's been working great. Particularly since our bedroom's outdoor thermometer read a low of -17.1F recently!

We didn't have a heated pad before, so I don't really have a recent comparison. However, this one seemed particular good since it uses DC, not AC (wires are imperceptible; <19v), Queen size) at Ithaca's new Bed Bath & Beyond store. For me, a mattress pad heating from below always made more sense than a blanket heating from above.

Other features we like: When you initially turn it on, this one initially goes into high heat, regardless of the heat number setting, so bed is comfy when crawling in even when set to a low number. Also, has a 10 hour automatic shut-off, and controller makes absolutely no clicking sounds noise I've heard from others. Can apparently can be washed regularly (without changing its shape), but we havn't tried this yet.

New home office space.

Last weekend, we turned our "formal" dining room into a study. This required Oliver re-routing the coaxial cable, which provides us broadband Internet access. The cable was just long enough, fortunately.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Ridding house mice.

We've been having a bit of a mouse problem. We now believe some of Indy's (our dog) psychotic behavior may be triggered from mice within our home, perhaps from their squeaks. We got rid of our 22 pound cat, Marbles, a while back (thanks for taking him, Keene!), largely because he introduced as many wild animals (both dead and alive) as any domestic mice he might have caught. :-)

While shopping for anti-mouse paraphernalia yesterday, I had Peter describe how he would design a "better mousetrap", and as luck would have it someone already had. So I obviously had to buy it [Victor Tin Cat repeating mouse trap, $16.]. Peter's idea was a trap with one-way doors. We placed this all-metal trap (with some peanut butter as an attractant, apparently optional) under our oven last night and caught two mice! Amelia and I had seen one under there this past week during a frantic morning chase, and I had only expected a single mouse. I guess we saw only the tip of the iceburg.

Once you live-trap mice, what do you do with them? We decided to release these two mice several miles from our home, but I recognize that this transporting thing may get old. Let me know if you have any better ideas, please.

Also, I got another live trap [Tomcat Multiple Catch Mouse Trap, $16], this one all-plastic, that sweeps mice into a chamber with a clear plastic cover. This is the type one must wind up, so in some ways not as elegant as Peter's passive one-way entry design.

The third type of trap I bought is more cruel. It's sticky paper [Tomcat glue boards, 2 small boards for $3] , and apparently the trap basically suffocates because as a stuck mouse attempts to escape, the glue gets over its face. It's non-poisonous, so that's a plus. I haven't tried this one yet. I guess when you catch mice with this trap, you put the mouse and stick paper in the trash.

The last product I bought to help address our mice problem was some mouse poison [Just One Bite pellets, $1/small bag]. When bought in the form of pellets within a sealed paper bag, one can lay out the bags and they will be opened by any hungry mice around giving one feedback on whether there are any mice around. Apparently the ingestion of the poison results in mice getting thirsty before it kills them. The idea is that the soon-to-expire poisoned mouse will go find water, and one hopes that they try doing this by heading outside and not by crawling up within the walls. Since it's winter now, I'll try this one at our lawn tractor in our shed. In the spring/ summer, we may try this indoors. However, our basement is perhaps too wet to make this a good solution for use within the house, especially considering our concern for our kids and dog.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Peter's preschool.

Two items of interest related to Peter's preschool. First, they took and posted a picture of me showing Peter's preschool mates what a "real" firefighter looks like up close! (I did this on December 9th.)

Second, at the above web site, they have posted photos of Peter's class wearing various capes. Here's the context, per one of the teachers:

By clicking onto this week you will be able to see photographs of the children engaged in one of the research studies conducted last semester. This research was part of an ongoing project that explored the relationship between children and the clothes that they wear. The children were observed during multiple outdoor playtimes to determine whether the cape that had working pinwheels integrated at the wrists inspired the children to get more physical exercise during outdoor playtime. Their physical exercise was measured by pedometers. Although the photographs provide no scientific data in regards to the study one can certainly gain the impression by looking at the photographs that the children enjoyed the play that came from wearing the capes.