Lifehacks lately (Summer 2022)

What’s life these day but problem-solving and trying to come up with the most elegant solutions? Here is a round-up of problems lately around the house and the resolution.

Problem: This actually isn’t lately at all. Last summer was the first for extended heat waves, “heat domes” and – mostly – parents of two working from home 80-100% of the week while our southwest-facing top-floor (I heard that is the worst) soaks up the sun during business hours. We have windows that open outward and there’s no plywood or plexiglass hack-it-your-self solution.

Solution: Nylon air conditioner window seal kit that we got on Amazon (like this one). NPY found out about it and I installed it after watching the video that the product produced cross-referenced with other people’s video’s. Because of course NPY throws money on it wondering if it would work and I’m the “artistic” one capable of not f-ing it up. Portable Danby air conditioner purchased from Costco pretty early on (June 2021) before they sold out. How did we survive seven summers in the condo before without AC?! The answer is that summers before haven’t been so hot. Global warming is real.

Problem(s): (1) For like a year, a deep Ikea Trofast bin housed a smaller bin, topped with a large Bodum bread box I hadn’t started using, and miscellaneous crap and in front of our freezer door. Not really in the way but drag the Trofast bin away when I needed to open the freezer door; (2) Counter top is a disaster with bread in the fruit basket, a large Ziplock bag of takeout chopsticks and cutlery, and other miscellaneous crap; and (3) break unsightly housed in the fruit basket.

Solution: Ahead of Baby’s birthday where NPY’s family was invited over for the weekend, he did a “clean-up” of the counter which was either throwing things away he didn’t know what to do with or putting it on the floor so it’s not on the counter. Not the solution. But I had a niggling idea to start using an Ikea kitchen cart… A couple of days later, NPY and I were at Ikea on a rare day off together and the kids were in daycare or camp. For carts, there’s the Instagram and craft room darling R├ůSKOG, and elegant NISSAFORS; there’s the ultra cheap and flimsy VESKEN; and I checked and double checked dimensions that it would fit the breadbox and decided on the mid-quality HORNAVAN. The large bread box, one week I discovered it holds two loaves of bread. Sometimes it’s empty. Sometimes it’s full with two loaves of bread. Sometimes it’s full of Chinese pastry. Open stuff I don’t want to put into the pantry like Kiddo’s chocolate syrup for milk and my Organika electrolyte/collagen powder and our hojicha powder that *pouf* spills and gets everywhere, have a hope in the cart and not the counter. And the Ziplock bag of chopsticks and cutlery (sigh). It rolls away easily when I need to open the freezer and to vacuum that corner of the kitchen.

Problem: The modern-looking faux leather dining chairs we bought in 2014 are peeling/flaking looking unsightly, leaving flakes all over the floor and sticking to sweaty bare legs.

Solution: What to do? Order some new dining chairs in a rush and with supply chain issues currently, nothing at Structube where SIL and MY got their chairs is even in stock until the fall. And how to ditch our dining chairs? I would have to book a van from the carshare and take them to the dump in North Vancouver. The frame is just fine and it’s a style you can’t re-upholster and what about choosing fabric that is classic? What about the idea of making my own chair covers because ours is a cantilever frame and not the standard four legs with high back? But what if the “standard” chair covers on Amazon actually fit the bill? And they do! NPY and Kiddo voted on the colour and I’m somewhat surprised – but shouldn’t be – that Peacock Blue won out over gray, charcoal, black, camel, navy, etc. They happened to have a $3 or $5 coupon and are machine-washable too!

Problem: Kiddo was given a beautiful ukelele (Denver brand) for his birthday. How to store/display it in the living room/playroom?

Solution: Following a set of instructions, hanging it from a 3M Command hook with weight capacity of 7.5 lbs where the ukulele is about 1 lb. The website gave the suggestion of looping two elastic hairties together to form a longer elastic and looping it around the tuning pegs. Pretty much out of Kiddo’s easy reach and definitely out of Baby’s reach. I’m hoping that by not tucking it away, we don’t forget about it as much. It’s not hit by direct sunlight as it would be in the living room and is one of the first things you see when you enter our home.

Problem: Kiddo attends school every day and especially with Covid, he gets a shower (actually, a bath) from NPY every day. He’s going on seven years old and I think he looks like a big-ass baby lying down in bathtub and it’s a waste of time to fill a tub, soap him up and then two rounds of rinsing him off. Plus, he is playing with bath toys too juvenile for him. Baby started attending daycare every day of the week and her showers are showers with me holding her since I got tasked with her and after she outgrew the baby tub, it was showers with me. It’s too much for me to shower every evening and then dry off myself and her and the whole rigamarole. Both of our showers are standard small stalls. I have tried to shower Kiddo and that is what NPY was doing for a while and he had a terrible angle with his shower being behind his bathroom door. I hear much heart-breaking cursing at Kiddo as water was splashed everywhere and NPY thinking Kiddo still wasn’t clean. The bathtub in the ensuite bathroom was only a bath tub with no waterline to hook up a shower.

Solution: I spied for a while an elegant hand held shower hookup to a bathroom sink or bath tub faucet and sat on the decision for months. I wasn’t entirely sure it would fit our spout. I wasn’t sure I could remove the thing I needed to remove in order to install the diverter. You know, reading through all the Amazon reviews and getting worried about this and that. But one day less than a month into Baby starting full-time daycare, I saw the hand held shower was on 25% discount and my frustration with the current system outweighed my anxiety it was possibly $40 wasted if it didn’t fit. I show my dad and FIL a photo of the diverter and asked how to get the mesh off the spout and FIL came through with the how-to and tools. It was a cinch to install and Kiddo and Baby are showered and cleaned to our satisfaction and in half the time.

Problem: Oddly, as set by me, Kiddo and Baby’s closet doesn’t have a chest of drawers, drawers or shelves. I used to keep his socks and underwear in a couple of small boxes in a tray but he’s getting bigger – the socks and underwear are bigger. He needs to take responsibility for some of the continuous laundry I’m doing and if I let go of control of perfectly folded and rolled underwear and socks, then he can have it.

Solution: What we do have plenty of is underbed space under his daybed-opened-to-king. So I got those organizer sets with many slots and let him fill them with underwear and socks. He puts it away, he knows where to get more. It’s easy to access.

On this day..