Month: November 2015

Super-duper Air Conditioner Filters

Here’s another thing I had been assuming and it turned out not to be 100% true. As a person with a wide range of allergies, I believed I was doing only good by using the highly rated and very dense air conditioner filters that catch almost everything.

When I had the ducts cleaned, the tech pointed out how hot the air handler was. He said that when it has to pull air through the very dense super filters, it works much harder (and thus uses more electricity), runs hotter, and shortens the life of the air handler.

The super filters cost many times more than the simple ones. By using the simple ones I’ll save on air filters, save electricity, and potentially save on not having to replace the air handler sooner than necessary.

What really helps my allergies is having the ducts cleaned. I have to do that at least every two years, or I notice much more allergy trouble. I don’t notice that much difference with the filters.

“Can You Break a Fifty?”

That’s what I should have said. Alas, I didn’t say that, and was nearly robbed of forty dollars.

My current paying guest paid his rent all in fifties. I set out that morning knowing I needed to break one, to give him change. After enough of the day went by that I wasn’t thinking about fifties anymore, I drove through a fast food place and paid with a fifty, because that was all I had.

When I received change from a ten, at first I was confused. I told the cashier I gave her a fifty. She immediately replied, “No ma’am, I don’t have any fifties in my drawer.” Now that I think of it, that may have been a literal truth – she was gone from the window long enough to go into the back and put it in her purse.

I counted my money and determined a fifty was gone. I mentally reviewed my day and realized I had not had a ten dollar bill. I parked and went inside and repeated that I gave her a fifty.

“No ma’am, I don’t have any fifties in my drawer.”

After I made an ugly scene and dialed the police, a different employee gave me the missing forty dollars. There was no manager on duty. If all the employees had been in it together and stuck to their story, I would have been defenseless.

From now on (until I forget), anytime I pay with a large bill, I’m going to say, “Can you break a fifty?” That way we all know I’m handing over a large bill and there’s no room for confusion, error, or con artistry.

Question Everything

What I’m questioning today is the assumed value of the goods at dollar stores. Recently, a Dollar Tree opened near me. At Dollar Tree, everything really is a dollar. I went looking for witch hazel. It was a dollar, but it was six ounces. At WalMart it’s $1.44 for sixTEEN ounces, a far better per-ounce price.

I suspect that inflation has made it very hard to sell a wide selection of goods for just one dollar. Stores like Dollar General that will set a price above one dollar are more likely to have items I need that are a good value for the price.


Call Around!

Recently a friend needed to have a tire patched. She called a tire chain. They wanted $30 just to patch it. She could have bought a decent used tire for that! So she called another tire chain, and they would patch it without charge.

When I junked my car-before-last, I called three different junk yards. One offered $200, another $210, and the third $300. Maybe I should have kept calling!


The Dire Rear

Until recently, one of the few commercial products I could find no substitute for was Pepto Bismol and its generic cousins. Serious Googling led me to the idea of tea. In this case, when I say “tea,” I mean what we meant when I was a kid, what is now called “black tea,” to distinguish it from all the fancy teas currently afflicting our nation. The difference is that black tea is fermented.

After I tried it and it worked, I dredged up a memory. When I was in grade school my aunt tried to give me tea as a diarrhea remedy. At the time, I’d never had it, didn’t like it and wouldn’t drink it. Now, I don’t mind it and am grateful to have found this alternative.

Among its advantages: you can order it in a restaurant or drive-thru, it’s inexpensive at the grocery store, nobody has to know why you’re drinking it, and it’s eligible to be purchased with EBT, where OTC medicines are not.

Tea works for diarrhea, but has no special effect on intestinal gas. For that, try 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda stirred into six ounces of water. Do not take  baking soda if your stomach is overly full with food or drink. Baking soda can also help acid reflux. For acid reflux, also try chewing gum for half an hour after meals, to increase the flow of saliva.