1-A-Week: Week 24 & 25: Cut the cord

Jun 28, 2011 by

I actually cut the cord a few years ago.  I was getting so tired of hearing the home phone ring.  I would never answer it because it was only a wrong number or someone trying to sell me something despite being on the no-call list.   Anyone who really wanted to reach me would just email or use my cell phone, so I finally did it.

I cut the cord.  I got rid of my home phone service.  My wife and I both had cell phones anyway, so why did we need another line?

Its been one of those Best Things Ever that I’ve done.   I’ve never needed a home phone since and do not miss paying all that money for something I never used.

I almost went with a VOIP system to keep the home phone, but use my internet as the connection, but instead I just got rid of it altogether.

Except I never got rid of the phones.  I put them in a box and just found them the other day.  So my 1AW for last week and this week is to get rid of all my old land line phones.

I’ve been having great success getting rid of my old stuff on eBay and making some cash doing so, so I’m putting my old phone on eBay for someone that could use it.

If you still have a home phoneline in addition to your cell phone you might want to look and see if you still need it.

  • Are you using it?
  • Could you just use your cell phone and eliminate that monthly bill?

I highly recommend cutting the cord.   One of the best things I’ve done and I wish I had done it sooner.

Ben…

1AW is a project by which I’m getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore. Doing at least one thing per week helps me reduce the clutter in my life and make room for what is truly important.

What are you getting rid of this week? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Almost got eaten by a wolf last night

Jun 27, 2011 by

I love a good adventure.  I love when things happen unexpectedly and you have to improvise your way out of a situation.  Keeps you on your toes and you never know whats going to happen.

Here is the story of our latest adventure.

Late Saturday afternoon my wife says, “we should go camping tomorrow”.  That was all I needed.

I grew up in the woods in Washington and love the outdoors.  I could go camping for months and would love every minute of.  My wife grew up in southern California and despite the awesome natural resources out here, she did not grow up camping as I did.

So when she mentioned camping, I already had the plans and was putting them into action.  I got up early on Sunday and went out shopping for our food.  We were only going to go out for one night, so we didn’t need much, but I got some trail mix, beef jerky, cup-0-noodle type of  dish for dinner and then I got really fancy and grabbed some brie, summer sausage and some good crackers.  I also grabbed a small pack of Famous Amos cookies as they are her favorite and they will be a nice desert up at the top.

Side note: Camping makes everything taste better.  Backpacking and camping makes it taste 10 times better.  So if you bring crappy food it will taste great.  If you bring great food, it will taste amazing!

I get our packs all ready to go.  Her’s only has her sleeping bag, her clothes, water and some food.  Its pretty light, but that’s good because the hike we are going to do is a fairly difficult one.  Its not super long, but threequarters of it is all uphill switchbacks.  We are backpacking up at Taquitz near Suicide rock and we are going to hike up the Devils Slide if those names help you get any description of our hike.  My pack is a bit heavier as I’m carrying the tent, water purifier etc, but that’s OK.

We drive out there and start the the hike around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.   It was hot out, but hopefully it would only get cooler as the sun was setting.  We had a great hike up and stopped as needed on the steep switchbacks.  We actually made really good time and reached the saddle junction area where the trail then splits off in many directions.  We continued on to skunk cabbage meadow area where we were to camp.  We passed a stream were we were going to get some water, but we decided to setup camp first and then come back and get water.

We hiked for a bit more and passed another trail junction and we kept going on our trail.  Then things weren’t looking like I had remembered them.  We missed a turn somewhere and we had gone too far.  Luckily I caught this fairly soon, so we headed back and saw the cutoff which is not well marked.  We decided to get water now and then setup camp so we hiked back up to the stream, got our water and then found the not well marked cutoff again and found our way to a nice spot to camp.  It was flat, but had some nice trees and a big log to lean against.

We got unpacked and first things first, put on our flip flops.  Our feet were happy, and we started to setup camp.  I setup the tent and got the sleeping bags out and setup in the tent while my wife started to put on her layers of clothes as she said she was cold.   It was not cold out.  I continue making up the camp and break out the camping stove to start boiling water for our dinners.  I get the water started and then break out the brie, meat and crackers.  I only brought a Gerber camping knife and its VERY sharp, so I proceed to cut myself oh so slightly on my finger as I’m cutting the meat and cheese.  I didn’t think it was bleeding, but apparently it was so I then proceed to get blood all over one side of the cheese.  Very classy.

But we are camping so I bandage up my finger with some climbing tape and cut the bloody part off the cheese and its all good.   Actually it tastes AMAZING and I am a genius for thinking to bring it.  So we are now resting and snacking and all is well.

 

We also brought “juice boxes” from Target which are an amazing invention and are great to take everywhere for those that love wine.

So my wife is happy drinking her “juice boxes” while sitting in her camping chair and eating her crackers and cheese.  She pauses occasionally to put on more clothes as the sun sets. It is still not cold at this point either.

The sun sets and we break out our only source of light which are our headlamps.  They are perfect for camping as they let you use your hands for doing things vs holding a flashlight.

I finish boiling water for my dinner and sit down to eat my noodles.  As I begin to eat, my wife starts the “Did you hear that noise?” game.  This is not a fun game for anyone to play so I ignore this and keep eating as I’m very hungry from our hike.  We continue eating and snacking and are having an all around great time.  My wife even says to me “Why don’t we do this more often?”  Those are words of joy to my ears.  I could do this all the time, and we should.

Then it all goes bad. Really really bad.

Its dark at this point and we have our lights on as I’m finishing my dinner and are probably going to get ready to go to bed early.   And then she sees it.

Well she doesn’t see it per se, but she see’s its eyes reflecting from her headlamp.  ”Somethings out there!” she yells.  ”Its watching us” she proclaims as she jumps to her feet.  I desperately want to ignore this too and keep eating my soup, but I stand up to look around and see this beast.  I see the eyes, and thats about it.  Its VERY dark.  It walks around and back out of site.

My wife is convinced that the creature knows that we can see its eyes with our lights so now its just looking away to better sneak up on us.  The wife is on full patrol lookout now and we see its eyes again pop upon the other side of our campsite and its pretty close.  This time I can see its eyes and make out the general shape of a dog.

“Looks cute” I think.  The wife disagrees.

It watches us for a few seconds and then disappears off into the darkness again and I continue to finish my soup.  My wife has other plans.

“Thats it, we’re leaving!” she exclaims and like a good husband I simply say OK.  I quickly new that she was not going to get any sleep that night, which would translate into me not getting any sleep that night.  I could tell she was freaked out and and that we would both be miserable, so we packed up.

Well first I was going to finish my soup as I was pretty sure it was just a coyote and it was smelling our food but had little interest in bothering us.  My wife remained on full patrol scanning the entire campsite with her headlamp and yelling at me to stop eating and start packing.  This went on for several more bites as I tried to finish my dinner.  We then began to pack up to hike home…in the dark.

I packed up the sleeping bags and tent as she continued her vigilant lookout all the while her reminding me that I should be moving faster.  With the bags and tent backed up I’ve never seen my wife get ready so fast.  She had her stuff in her backpack and it up on her shoulders in less than a minute as I continued to get the rest of the campsite packed up.  I packed everything up and was still snacking on trail mix and such as I went along.  This did not please my wife.  ”Why are you still eating!?” she would ask as she would remind me to hurry up before we were eaten by the “wolf”  I really just wanted to eat the Famous Amos cookies I brought up, but she politely told me, ” you can eat them in the car, lets go!”

Sidenote: We also just watched the very stupid new Red Riding Hood moving on Netflix the night before.  Avoid this film.  Its very bad.

So all my wife could think about was that stupid wolf from that stupid movie coming to devour us, and all I could think about was that it wasn’t a wolf and that we were fine.   But then I thought, It would be really stupid to get attacked by a wolf while the last thought in my head was, “its probably not a wolf”.  So we got everything packed up and headed out on the trail.

Now the main trail was very well marked right up until the point where we get off the trail to camp.  That cutoff has some rocks and pine cones to mark the turnoff, but from then through the meadow, its not the best marked trail.  So my wife drunk and freaked out and me drunk and leading the way head out into the darkness with only our headlamps which are sufficient, but you can only see 2 feet in front of you and not exactly where the trail is leading.  I think we’ll be OK if we can make it back to the main trail so we march forward.  Its very hard to tell at this point if we are on a trail or just walking through the woods in some random direction.  I of course don’t say any of this, but with great confidence keep saying, “yeah its just right up here”.

With my great tracking skills we make it to the cutoff point and I feel much better.  This trail is better marked and we continue on.  I’m very impressed with my outdoors-man skills at this point, while my wife is convinced we are being followed and hunted by the wolf.  We keep up a VERY brisk pace as we head down the trail.  There are a couple points at which we have to cross a stream or the trail looks like it goes off in either direction, but I quickly find the right route and keep us going.  There are still two more trail junctions we have to get through to get on our main trail down the mountain.

We quickly pass the first without too many problems.  The second one seems a bit further away than I remembered it being, but we found it nonetheless.  I’m continually trying to calm my wife down reassuring her that nothing is following us and that we are on the right trail heading in the right direction.  I’m doing a lot of guessing on the latter part.

We find the main trail downhill and the switchbacks.  Its at this point that I want to stop and rest and grab some ibuprofen from my bag as my legs were looking forward to a night off sleeping vs hiking this whole thing again.   My wife then espouses such nuggets of wisdom such as “you can stop all you want when we reach the bottom”.  I love her.

We then proceed down the switchbacks and head back to our car. We still have A LONG way to go at this point, but we are heading downhill and I can see the lights of Hemet off in the distant.  Hemet is a beautiful town, from far away and in the dark.   Close up and in the day, its a horrible ugly town, but at night and from far away, beautiful.

There are a couple more points at which the trail looks unfamiliar, but we keep moving and I’m just happy looking at the stars and keep walking.  My wife is convinced we will never see the car again, but she figures either way we are either camping in the woods but she will just walk all night.  After one final missed turn we re-found the trail and then found our car.

We had quite the adventure and the “wolf” did not eat us.  We drove home and slept in our own beds and woke up today very tired and sore and I’m ready to do again tomorrow.  Not sure if I can talk the wife into it.

Ben…

p.s. I never did get those Famous Amos cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Thing Ever – Kitchen edition

Jun 25, 2011 by

This is the first in a new series I’m posting about the Best Thing Ever that you’ve done.  You know those things you do and then every time you look at them or use them you think to yourself,

“Why didn’t I do this years ago?”

Those are the inspiration for the Best Thing Ever series and I want to hear about yours.

This is the kitchen edition

What is the best thing you’ve ever done in your kitchen?  I love my kitchen and have done a full remodel on it, but the best thing I ever did was the pull out drawers.  These things are so tremendously useful I can’t believe I waited so long to do them.

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If you have cupboards in your kitchen with all sorts of random items stuffed into the back of them that you haven’t seen or used in years, you should look into getting some of these slide out shelves.  They are worth it and you will be so happy you did from that day forward.

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I built mine with my neighbor Don.  He is much better at woodworking than I am, and he has all the tools ;-)  And yes I did run the LA Marathon.

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Here we are cutting the wood to make them.  They were very easy to make.

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Here are some of the finished drawers setting up for the glue to dry. I made 8 of them and installed 7 in the kitchen and one in the bathroom vanity.  That is how much I love these things!

So that is my Best Thing Ever for my kitchen.

What is the Best Thing Ever that you did in your kitchen?  Share your best ideas with the world and help make everyone’s lives a little better.

Ben…

Send me your feedback and I’ll put it all together for everyone to learn and get inspired from.

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Best thing you’ve ever done

Jun 23, 2011 by

You know when you have those things you do that after you do them you stop and think,

“why didn’t I do that years ago?”

Its those things that each time you use it, or look at it think,

“I am so happy I did this!”

I have a few of those things and I will share them with you, but I also want to learn from yours. What awesome thing have you done that has become one of your Best Things Ever that you did?

Let’s spread the joy and knowledge and share those with the world.

I’m going to break this out into a series of posts so we can get specific advice/projects in different areas, but please send me any and all projects/ideas etc that you consider your Best Thing Ever.

I’ll get this started with the kitchen. I love my kitchen and I love to cook.

Here’s the Best Thing Ever I did for my kitchen.  What about you?  Any good kitchen projects that you are happy with?

Please share in the comments or drop me a note and let me know so I can feature it here on TrulySimple.

Ben…

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Garden update & What is this thing??

Jun 23, 2011 by

OK, I’ve been meaning to do a garden update for a long time.  So here we go…

CORN!!!  I have corn!!!

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I tried to corn last time, and it all grew, but only got about 3-4 feet tall and then promptly turned brown and fell over dead.  This time I have several ears that are almost ready to eat.  It didn’t grow super tall again, but its looking much better this year.  I love corn.

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I am trying really hard to get better at planting less veggies as its just my beautiful wife and myself and we can’t eat or give all this stuff away fast enough.  I like cucumber, but don’t know that many things to do with it other than salad.  So this year I only planted one plant.  That one plant then took over the entire corner of this box and shows no signs of stopping.

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I have many many cucumbers growing very nicely and will be figuring out what to do with them besides a salad. Any ideas?

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Finally got some beans to grow.  Those have been elusive until now.  Also planted more peas as I LOVE them when I’m out in the garden.

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And I cut down almost all of my artichoke plants and they are already starting to grow back.  I love it when I don’t have to re-plant anything.  Lazy garden FTW!

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Same thing here, peppers are coming back nice.

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Basil coming in.  I’ve missed having fresh basil for a long time now.  I need to have it all the time.

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Here is the lone carrot.  Not sure why I only have one carrot, but behold, here it is.

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Also tomatoes didn’t come in crazy like last year.  I did get one plant and it is taking off huge.  This one plant will probably supply all the tomatoes we need.

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Yellow squash.  nice.

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and yes more zucchini.  These things are growing like nuts.  Just pulled out another 12+ pound one the other night.  Made it into zucchini noodles for pasta.  yummy.

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And the beets grow huge in my garden again.  Started eating these again and they are yummy.  Dwight would be so proud.

Now its time to play,

What is this thing growing in my garden????

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OK, what is this thing? Is it a weed?  Is it a plant? Vegetable?  Its growing near my strawberries, where I planted a few things, and then forgot what I planted.  Nothing grew, so I put the strawberries there, but then this thing grew up and it looks like its something, but I have no idea what.  Any ideas?

Ben…

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Here are my garden helpers.  And by helpers I mean they sit out front and bark like idiots and everyone that walks by.

 

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