9 Days of Green: Borrow, Share, and Be Neighborly

The hardest concept for new America to grasp I think is the idea that we don't need everything. I have to fight it myself a lot. It comes from my mother, she is somewhat of an artist, but she is even better at preparing to be an artist. Whenever she starts a new project she becomes a collector of all the stuff needed to make that project happen. She was into making her own soap for a while, but I think she collected enough forms, molds, and equipment to give Dial a run for there money. When she was younger, she had all of the supplies to be a great painter, tool leather, and die shirts. For me, I gathered every tool I ever need to fix bikes, string lacrosse sticks, and work wood. Reality is that not everyone of us is Norm Abrams and we don't need everything for everything. Know what you like and then be able to share and borrow with others.

For instance, snow blowers are not a necessity here in KC but can be real nice to have every 3 years or so. So if you have one great, but don't be afraid to let someone borrow it or if you are that afraid of someone hurting themselves then do it yourself. I borrowed my neighbor's non-working mini-tiller for a week while I redid my side yard, I fixed it and returned it in better order than it came to me in.

Both of these examples are good to point out how it is good to be neighborly as well. Sure you may not get along with everyone and that is fine, but you would be amazed at how cool it is to find out about the people around you, share desserts and vegetables from gardens. Call it living the Golden Rule or just call it being nice, it can save you a lot of money and increase your self worth significantly. So share what you have, borrow what you can, and always be nice to your neighbors.

Here's a clip of my neighbor recorded yesterday:

Yes, this is actually what my neighbor sounds like. The "two chicks at the same time" guy is his name in our household.


Looking to Save Money

MJ has been working hard with his new business, so he hasn't really had the time to focus on ways to save more money and share with us. But luckily, his girlfriend has been working on finding ways to reduce household costs with her friends, and has unveiled her own stimulus plan.

Nation's Girlfriends Unveil New Economic Plan: 'Let's Move In Together'

However, I'm not too sure that MJ is fully behind her plan.


Slacking pretty bad...

Will have some updates this weekend. Sorry, sorry, sorry, it's been a busy week.


9 Days of Green: Repair & Maintain

"They don't make them like they used to."

How many times have you heard this phrase, let along said it. I tend to think a lot of my green ideas are abstract and this one is no different. If something is broke fix it.

This opinion was developed over my time as a manufacturing engineer and as a amateur bicycle mechanic. Repair stuff that is broken and maintain what is not. You want some of your home bills to stay down, maintain you HVAC system. Old or new these systems run more efficiently with clean filters, fans, and sensors. Have an old car that runs well, try adding synthetic motor oil with the next oil change, you may be surprised what your gas mileage is afterward. Bicycles can run and run as long as they are cleaned every year. Heck your home has probably needed an update here or there, did you throw your home away or did you get that new roof, added insulation, or paved driveway.

It is really simple and probably an afterthought that we need to repair things when they break down. I know that after moving into this house my washing machine and garage door opener failed on me. Myself or my girlfriend was ready to purchase something new, thankfully we didn't because a couple of trips to the parts center and some elbow grease later, we had everything up and working. By keeping what we have running, working, and used, it is one less thing to throw away fill up a landfill, or use energy to melt down, not to mention all of the resources and energy to produce a new product.

Electronics are probably my most hated product in terms of maintenance and repair. Most electronics are not very repairable, can require a significant understanding of circuits, can become obsolete rather quickly, and may have the worst warranties in the business. I wouldn't know what to tell you to do with them other than use them as long as you can before your needs change or the machine dies. I know a lot of people know how to repair old radio tuners and kitchen electronics, but the ratio of those compared to the number of tossed equipment definitely isn't favorable.

When faced with the dreaded repair versus buy new arguments, think of it this way. First, what will the life of my product be if I do this repair? Second, what will be the total cost of purchasing and using the new equipment? Then, compare the results. My dad kept cars way past their prime, his reasoning was sure this repair costs a lot but it is cheaper than car payment. I always thought that was a good argument. Realize too that simply maintaining equipment constantly will keep things running longer than you would ever think is really possible. Whether it is a repair or simple maintenance, continued usage of your old stuff can keep numerous other materials and resources safe from harming the environment.