Cyber Spring Cleaning

I spend more time on my computer than I like to admit – some significant portion of which includes deleting junk email. Just sifting through it in the morning is a daunting and unwelcome task. I worry about missing something of actual value. Also, I kid myself that I will heed the consumer-craving chants and save my butt boucoup bucks on stuff I actually don’t want or need – so I don’t delete them in hopes that they will “come in handy” later. But, in actuality, I don’t feel like buying ceramic cookware, bridesmaid dresses, comedy club tickets, what-have-you today or really ever, and certainly not on a regular basis! This barrage of spam (all my fault, I signed up at one point or another) clogs my brain and slows me down. It’s time to purge. So, I unsubscribed from over 30 websites that send me a frequent email (some twice daily, those succubuses!). Here’s a running (somewhat embarrassing) list of those who got cut, just to keep it real and to also check back in case I get a rogue email from one of them:

Refinery 29
Starr Hill Presents
ThinkGeek
Farm Fresh
All You
Funnybone
Shutterstock
Redbox
Rent the Runway
Toys ‘R Us
Babys ‘R Us
Healthy Touch
ShareBuilder
Mighty Nest
CMP Publications
Mother Earth News Online
Loverly – Like I really need to be tempted by BHLDN more…
Seraphine – No longer preggo, gotta go.
Beyond the Rack – Have already unsubscribed several times…grr
Organic Gardening – Didn’t sign up for these, although it sounds cool.
Swiftpage E/Pumpone – Seriously, no idea what this even was, glad it’s gone.
Outer Banks Sporting Events – Been getting theses since my first marathon!
Pinterest – I’m not that into pinteresting.
WHRO – I don’t need news about the news.
Prevention – What the heck is this?
Antiques Roadshow – I signed up to win tickets, not a mess o’ emails.
World’s Best Cat Litter – A little embarrassed about this one.
Project Feederwatch – Sorry birdies.
Food Lion – The worst email offender.
Zulily – Tied with the worst email offender.

It’s amazing the shameless groveling and lengths these companies will go to to orchistrate your unsucessful unsubscribing. Tricky pre-checked off buttons that say “It’s not too late to change you’re mind” and “On second thought, include me in promotional emails” that look like you’re doing something other than unsubscribing abound. Some show you the same screen twice, always with the options you don’t want checked…I’m assuming because they know how “double click” happy we all are…if you double click “save” you’ll be right back where you started…getting their emails. And almost all had the perennial “please click here to continue shopping.” I wasn’t shopping, thanks. No second thoughts and careless double-clicks here. Sayonara.

The ones I couldn’t bring myself to completely unsubscribe from because I do actually use their offers sometimes for sales, inspiration, and such (petfood, World Market, Groupon), I created a filter called “Almost Junk” in which they will be shunted. Then, if I have a mind to go buy something at Michael’s or order one hundred pounds of dogfood, I’ll check that folder for the most recent deals. I’m feeling cyber-lighter already!

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Ack! Don’t forget to label bottles!

Our car is a mess. A complete mess. Whenever we drive to see either of our parents, I always make sure that I clean it out for fear of one of our moms saying “Wow, you really need to clean out your car!” It’s not disgusting/unsanitary – no moldy growths from food scraps or anything – just full of papers, junk mail, an empty seltzer can or 5, coffee mugs, etc. So before we pack up the car with 13 loads of laundry, I go outside with 2 bags – one for the recyclables and one for the trash. Which normally turns into 4 bags. Sometimes 7. And then 2-3 trips back to the house carrying in coffee mugs or water cups. But it’s “clean.” I never have time (or the desire) to vacuum, wash the windows, wipe the dash, hose off the rubber floor mats, etc. Getting the trash out is enough.

But it never fails – whichever house we go to, the respective mom almost ALWAYS make some direct or indirect statement about the cleanliness of the vehicle. If only they could see a before picture…

So the other day, L decided that while I was working with one eye on my computers and the other eye on WV she would REALLY clean out the car. She removed ALL of the crap that was inside, vacuumed, washed windows, the whole works. The only thing she didn’t do was wash and wax the exterior (lazy, right?). She even found a bottle of windshield washer fluid and refilled the reservoir because it was bone dry! What a keeper! I didn’t even think we had any washer fluid because I distinctly remembered finishing off a bottle last summer and didn’t recall going to the store to buy more.

Later that night, I took the dogs out for a walk and noticed a windshield washer fluid bottle on the floor of the entryway that had a tiny, tiny bit of a fluorescent yellowy liquid in the bottom of it. While we were on the walk, the wheels in my head began to turn. I’ve never seen fluorescent yellowy windshield washer fluid. And as mentioned before, I didn’t even think we had any. What could it be?

Not Washer Fluid Aha! Last summer, I flushed the radiator of L’s car before we sold it! And since I’m frugal, I don’t buy the 50/50 solution for $10.99, I buy the same volume of fully concentrated stuff for $12.99 and cut it with water. But to be able to make my own 50/50 mixture, I have to pour 50% of the fully concentrated fluid into another receptacle, then add water to both. The empty container that I had at the time was an empty washer fluid container. I figured that since I take care of all the routine maintenance things, I’ll take one look at the bottle and know instantly that it’s not washer fluid when I see it at a later date…

I got back from walking the dogs, then came upstairs to tell L my discovery. She was feeding WV, and I walked into the room and said “I made a mistake a while ago that you unknowingly perpetuated.” She was completely confused and had no idea what I was talking about. I explained to her the situation, and that it was entirely my fault, that I should have labeled the container. She felt so bad though. She had been extremely helpful in cleaning out the car, and then going above and beyond to refill the washer fluid reservoir! How was she supposed to know that the liquid inside the bottle that said windshield washer fluid was not, in fact, windshield washer fluid?

I did a quick search to see if anyone had done this before and what could be done to fix it. I was prepared to completely disassemble the entire washer fluid system. Most of the posts in the search results were of the opposite problem – washer fluid in the coolant overflow reservoir. But nestled in the second page of results was a little post from our friends at Car Talk explaining what to do. Click and Clack save the day, again!

$1.62 for some flexible tubing for siphoning (not using my beer siphoning equipment) and a few minutes of letting gravity do it’s work and the reservoir was empty. And I didn’t have to take anything apart! (Getting to all of the components was going to be doable, but difficult and time-consuming). Refilled with windshield washer fluid, and now I’m good to go! (And if you ever need to siphon anything that you don’t want to ingest, PLEASE pre-fill the siphoning tube with water and let the water flow start the siphon)

So the moral of the story is that communication is key. Whether it’s written or verbal. Or nonverbal, for that matter, if you’re competent enough to know exactly what your wife is thinking without her having to say it. It would have taken me mere seconds to cross out “Windshield Washer Fluid” and write “50/50 Antifreeze” on the bottle, and would have saved a lot of time (not to mention the antifreeze/water mixture that I took back to the auto parts store for proper disposal). Could I have used that fluid again, or was it more advisable that I take it back to the store for disposal?

And now, a little joke to tie it all together:

Q: What’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind as it crashes into your windshield?

A: It’s ass.