Odds and Ends

Wherein the author discusses hypermiling, decapitation, pipes and wall hangings. In other words, thoughts that are too long for twitter but not long enough for a complete post.

When gas crept up and over the $4 mark, I heard a lot about hypermiling (and more here and here). I gave it a whirl. Not the dangerous stuff like drafting off trucks or coasting with the engine off. I kept to more practical things. Instead of highway driving at 70 mph or more, I decided on 58 mph with cruise control whenever possible. I discovered my car’s momentum will carry me through most exit ramps without the need for more acceleration or hitting the brakes. I’ve figured out that coasting in to stop signs and slowly starting up from stops is good.

And I can do all of this without being an annoying old woman on the roads. Using the car’s momentum instead of braking all the time doesn’t slow me down more than the brakes would have. The highway speed, well, yeah, that’s gonna annoy someone behind me who wants to go faster, but I stay in the right lane and leave the 2-second buffer from the next car so people can pass.

What does this get me? Instead of 315-330 miles on a tank, I’m getting 380-400. That’s a “free” trip back and forth to work. And it lowers the risk of speeding tickets.

I don’t want to pay speeding tickets. I’d rather spend my money on continuing to improve the house and backyard. Maybe something to feed the local predators instead of the bunnies that live in the back pines. I know they’re being eaten because a couple of nights ago Eckie kept pulling at her leash to get to something in the yard. I came out to get her and saw a dead furry thing.

I’m thinking it’s a squirrel that dropped dead from West Nile and should I call someone when I get closer and see it’s a rabbit. I know this because of the large hind legs and cottonball tail. Not from the long ears because the dead thing DIDN’T HAVE A HEAD. I don’t know if Eckie scared off whatever killed and/or dragged dead bunny to the back yard or if Glenn Close couldn’t find a way into the kitchen. I’m just happy that it was 18 inches beyond Eckie’s reach on the leash. And two days later, bunny corpse was gone. Meal for a fox or owl or whatever. Zombies had already taken its brains.

I’m in such a loquacious mood because I’m once again trapped in my home by a plumber. It’s the third and final installment of the repiping adventure. I’m replacing my copper pipes (many of which have been here since 1956) with PVC. Along the way I got a new kitchen sink installed and the plumber is putting in new bathtub hardware as I type. By the way, if you have an older home and want to replace said hardware, make sure the faucets that Lowes and Home Depot carry will fit through your thicker-than-fiberglass wall. Mine didn’t, so I’m using whatever faucet the plumber had in his car. He’s been here since 8:30 this morning. It’s now 2:00. I have run out of things to amuse myself.

So I’m also searching the Internet for things to put on the newly painted living room walls. I’ve hung a couple of pieces but still need some large artwork for above the couch and TV. Large single pieces or pieces that can form a set. Sad to say, the needlepoint U.S. map may not make it back up. Not sure where to put it. I’ve got some photos I took in Chicago of an architecture display but they printed more green than they looked on my computer monitor and more green than I wanted so I’ll have to reprint them or give up on that idea. Although I like them.



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