Monday, October 29, 2007

The Programmable Thermostat

This past Wednesday I went to Home Depot and bought a programmable thermostat. I was going to install it, but made the mistake of e-mailing my landlord about it as a courtesy.

To which he freaked out.

I was seriously regretting forgetting that it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. *sigh* However, after some e-mails back and forth, he was over today to look at it... and he installed it! YAYAY!

Since it was 40 outside when I woke up this morning and a nippy 63 degrees in my apartment, I think I'll be using the heat sooner than I anticipated. (If it dips below 60 inside during waking hours, the heat is ON.)

I haven't needed the heat or the air for a few weeks, but I'm looking forward to the prospect of getting to program the thermostat to keep me comfortable!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The iRobot Service Department

When I finally opened the box to my Roomba, I was really excited to get started. I wanted to set up the invisible walls and get my living room vacuumed because it NEEDED to be vacuumed. As I'm checking the Roomba's moving parts and making sure that I know how to clean the brushes, one of the pieces snaps. Broken. Arg.

I registered my Roomba on their website and then placed a request with iRobot for a new part since OBVIOUSLY it was defective and NOT MY FAULT. I was prepared to go back and forth with many e-mails and phone calls on this subject. The first response I got from iRobot was very polite, apologized for the defective piece, and informed me that a replacement was already in the mail. This was all on a SUNDAY! Beautiful.

The only catch? They sent it via UPS. I had never had anything shipped to the apartment via UPS, so I was wary. The following Tuesday, I had a knock on my door. It was the UPS guy. He had the new part for my Roomba. He left in such a hurry, I don't know how he got in the building!! Maybe he has a key? (which would be weird) Maybe a neighbor let him in? (which would be doubtful) I still have no idea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Bakery Discount Store

I'm not really sure where this sort of store comes from or how you can search for one near you, but if you can find one, they are really amazing. My experience is only based on going to 2 different stores in 2 different states, so your mileage my vary.

On to the tale!

I have never been one to pass up a deal. When I lived in Rochester, Minnesota I was lured into the local Bakery Discount store by huge signs that proclaimed half price baked goods. Sounds too good to be true? Not really. I just had a similar experience here. There is a bakery discount store about half a mile from my apartment. I had been meaning to visit there for a few months (even more since it is close to my job as well), but they seem to only be open very short hours and never when I was thinking about stopping in.

Not so today. Although the place looks a little shady and is set back from the road more than the other stores around, once I had parked and entered, the store was clean and non-shady on the inside. The best part? Tons of signs that said "$1 each" or "50% off marked price" These words are beautiful to me.

I ended up getting bags of tortilla chips - a local brand that I trust - for $1 each. I can go through a bag of these a week when I eat them with a taco salad, so this is definitely a good thing.

I also got salsa (2/$5) which was on my shopping list for this week. The price was comparable to what I pay in the grocery store when salsa is on sale - and the jars were larger.

I managed to get through the cookie aisles with only a few things - all trusted brands (safeway and a few local brands) and all items that I was thinking about buying at the grocery store this week.

The last thing that I bought was actually an investment in my career - donuts to bring in to the office. They are seconds from a local bakery that is pretty well known in the area for very good donuts. The price was less than $3 for a baker's dozen. And my co-workers are extra happy with me today, which will make my life easier during the rest of the week.

You can look forward to a post about my Roomba and one about my couch in the coming days...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Mail, a follow-up

(Note: This post is a follow-up to the post entitled The Mail. You may want to read it first.)

I brought the bag of mail to the post office and the postal worker behind the counter said he would do what he could. The next few days, the mail for the previous tenant stopped, but then it started up again. I did some research and found that not only is it a federal offense to open someone else's mail, but it is also a federal offense to dispose of someone else's mail. So, what's a girl to do? Well, here's the information I found at

For other misdelivered mail items (such as letters):

  • If the mailpiece is delivered to the wrong location:
    • Don't erase or mark over the information, or write any type of endorsement on the mailpiece.
    • Place the item back in the mailbox or hand the item back to your mailperson.
  • If the mailpiece is delivered to the correct location but the recipient on the mailpiece does not reside at the address:
    • Write "Not at this address" on mailpiece.
    • Don't erase or mark over the address.
    • Provide the mailpiece to your mailperson or drop into a Collection Box® receptacle.
Along with the mail marked "Not at this address" I also put a note explaining the situation to the mailperson (apparently this is what they want to be called?) and letting them know that I am the new current resident. I haven't had any misdelivered mail since!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The FedEx Problem (and the Solution)

Last week, there was a Woot-Off at For those of you not familiar with Woot, they normally sell one item a day until it sells out. At midnight CST, they put a new item up for sale. Items for sale range greatly, but usually are electronic in nature. During a Woot-Off, when an item sells out, a new item is put up for sale. Sometimes items sell out within a matter of seconds. It can be quite addicting.

Anyway, during the last Woot-Off, I purchased an iRobot Roomba 4296 Remote Scheduler Robotic Vacuum. Vacuuming is one of my least favourite tasks, so having a robot to do it for me is especially exciting. Unfortunately, Woot is currently shipping via FedEx. I didn't realize this until I received my order tracking information in my e-mail inbox yesterday. There is nowhere at my apartment for FedEx to leave this package, so I gave their customer service department a call.

I had researched on their website that they do have a "hold at location" option available so I asked if I could have this done. Unfortunately (again), since the item was shipped FedEx Ground, the closest pick-up location is an hour and a half away. Driving that far (3 hours round trip) is just not an option. I asked if there was any way that I could have the shipping address changed to my work address. Of course, I could not do this through FedEx, the original shipper was the only one who could do this.

Fortunately, Woot's customer service e-mail address must be checked by approximately 1,000 trained monkeys, because I received an e-mail saying that they had changed the address with FedEx within an hour of my original e-mail being sent! YAY!

Note to self: When ordering from Woot in the future, list my work address as the shipping address.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Waiting

You may have noticed my lack of posting in the last week (or maybe you haven't). This was due to the fact that I went completely off-line so as not to be spoiled before I received my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I ordered my copy from and it was to arrive on Saturday, July 21st - money back guarantee! The only catch - my mailbox isn't exactly huge, and there is no place for the postal delivery person to leave packages. My only choice was to watch out the window all morning for the mail delivery truck and go outside and get my box when it arrived.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when the mail will arrive - especially on a high shipping volume weekend. So, I watched and I waited. I decided that the mail would probably not come until after 9:30am, so I did sleep in a bit. Then, I had to figure out some things to do in the kitchen (so I could watch out the window). First I did the dishes from the night before, then I packaged up the bulk chicken I bought so that I could freeze it. I started running out of things to do, and then I decided to make brownies! My first dessert baking in the apartment! I used a mix, but I didn't have anything to grease the pan with, so they ended up sticking pretty badly. Just as I was putting the brownies into the oven, the mail came!

The postal woman was very nice and when she saw me standing by the mailbox, she guessed right away which package was mine. It was great that I was able to be productive before my 12 hour reading marathon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Pots and Pans

Last night, my boyfriend and I went to Kohl's because I need pots and pans and they had them on sale. This was listed in the circular for the week:
Farberware® 15-pc. Classic Cookware Set plus Bonus

Reg. $199.99

thru Jul 22
BONUS 11”/4.5-qt. DEEP COVERED SAUTE PAN with the purchase of a Farberware® 15-pc. Classic cookware set. A $79.99 value.

Now, in this case, "BONUS" is synonymous with "FREE", don't you think? Anyway, it took us a little while to find it in the store and then lug the 2 boxes to the front counter (thank goodness I brought the slave-labor boyfriend along). The cashier rings it up, and proclaims, "That will be $155.98" My "bonus" gift had rung up as $55.99.

Sigh. Why must I do all the work? I had her check the circular (which, she flipped through every page knowing full well that the kitchenware is on page 47 out of 50) and of course, she was further confused by the wording. So, she calls over her supervisor and they look at it together. Turns out you have to do something special in the register (press "free gift") that our cashier didn't know about. Apparently, she'd been ringing up the "free gift" luggage sales all day, as well.

And this is why it pays to know what you're buying and how much you are supposed to be paying for it!