Monday, April 7, 2014

Double Duty

I said duty... Seems like lately we've been doing some shaving talk on here. Whether it's not shaving in Movember or reviewing razors, we've know our way around a pretty face.

So, recently, I had the opportunity to test out the Schick Hydro. I was lucky enough to get 2 free samples of this product as part of a promotion on Crowdtap. Side note: I should do a blog on Crowdtap. They are awesome. But  digress.. I gave one of the razors to my neighbor and I was ready to start this new shaving challenge.

If you aren't familiar with my face, I have kept it pretty consistent for the last 2 years in the way of facial hair. I keep a short beard and when it get's long enough to be annoying I trim it down and the circle of beard continues. I keep my neck closely shaved and life is pretty good. I shave in the shower because I feel this gives me the lease amount of irritation. However, some issues arise and I have to manage a couple different shavers in the shower. I've gotta get the beard trimmer out when I want to knock down my beard when it's too long. It does a great job but it lives on dry land and I don't want to mess it up with the shower going. I'll trim up the beard in the shower, cast it aside to it's dry dock, and then start the water and the rest of my shave.

The Hydro that Schick sent me pretty much solves this problem. (Check it out on the left). This bad boy is known as the Hydro 5 Groomer and it is amazing. I've got a pretty awesome razor to shave my neck and now I just flip it over and there's this magical groomer that can trim my face however I want it with the water running. The Trimmer on this works just fine. I don't keep my beard long enough to fully utilize the guard on it. I like that it's pretty small to get in places that are hard to reach, and it's got enough power to navigate through my rugged manly face hairs.

What is kind of overshadowed by the cool trimmer is the actual shave you get with the Hydro 5 side of things. The shave is great so far. The shave is close, smooth, and just short of mystically epic. It is a great shave.

So, as always, the SFA doesn't get any money for this. So, you can Google search for it if you want to buy it. I did put together a quick Amazon link below. Regardless, you can find it there for purchase (which you should).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boiling Point

That's rusty water and calcium all over the place
Recently, I've had some unfortunate circumstances occur with my house. It is and on-going ordeal that involves a 31 year old water heater, a Home Warranty company, my insurance company, a restoration company, a construction company, and 3 different plumbing companies. It is still going on after almost 2 weeks but I am finally at a point in my sanity that I can write about it without insulting any of the companies above.

I received a call from my wife that our basement was flooded potentially from a toilet. After racing home, and squishing through some wet carpet, I discovered that my bathroom, while having an inch or 2 of standing water in it, was intact and it was my Hot Water Heater that was the culprit. It was the original hot water heater in the house and was 31 years old. It died a death where the water inside had finally rusted a hole through its steel chassis and relieved all 55 gallons of itself in my basement. Funny enough, it was right next to the basement drain, but absolutely zero ounces of water made their way there. Instead the water found refuge in my finished area... the carpeted part... where my kids like to play... where we can't hear them and it makes the house quiet.
The current state of hell that is my basement
When surveying the impacted area, it was very real to me that I had no idea where to even start with this. I called a few restoration companies and finally settled on one that didn't work for/with the insurance company, and would fight for me if need be. So, within a day or two, a claim had been filed with my home owners policy and the drying had begun. With that issue being taken care of now, I could focus my time on getting hot water into my house so my wife and I didn't have to drag our 4 children around to random homes asking for running hot water.

We had moved into our house a little over a year ago and we purchased a home protection plan. You know that thing you never use the first year, but need after it expires... Luckily, we decided to renew the plan when it was up and are covered (in theory). Working with this home warranty company is where I am going to take this post. I'm not going to go into the 30 or so calls I've made to them, their utter lack of response, or pretty much their desire to do nothing to make my situation right. That post would take about 17 pages and I'd get frustrated. I'm going to take this post to reflect a little bit at how angry I got at people. Why did I get so angry?

I'm not a mean guy. I might tell my kids they can't watch TV or have dessert some days, but not mean typically. I turned into a mean guy with this experience. I yelled at people. I insulted them. I didn't like it and I felt terrible after scolding people on the telephone. Even the one person that cared to call me back, I wished that she find a new job because her company was that terrible. But why did I get so angry?

It was baffling to me that when I started dialing the number to the Warranty company that I could just feel the anger growing and it didn't matter who answered the phone, they were going to get it. After about 4 days of this, it had impacted my life outside of the basement. There was added stress at work, at home, everywhere I went.

Finally on day 5 or so, I made the affirmation that I was done being angry about this and getting it resolved without yelling was the priority. And with that small change of perspective, life got better and things started moving in the direction of fixed. It was pretty cool. I've never really been one to look at a situation other than the way I saw it and I've surely never changed my attitude in hopes things would be better. I've always just gutted a situation out and moved on.

Anyway, this post probably has no meaning to you or you life but has been a good dump of my brain to sort of recollect my feelings and what made them better. So stay positive WOULD YA?

Just keep in mind that if you do purchase a Home Warranty and need to use it, it might not be be as straight forward as you would think, but give them patience and take some breathes and it might work itself out in the end.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Am I Becoming a Blender Snob?

Almost 10 years ago, my wife-to-be and I created our wedding registry.

Like true, non-domesticated idiots, we registered for some stupid stuff. We chose some oblong plates that have a tendency to push any liquid toward the middle. So, if we're having a steak, vegetable and baked potato, everything is soaked in meat juice about 10 seconds into the meal. (I honestly don't mind. She does.)

While perusing the small appliances, we dutifully scanned a blender. It was an entry-level $25 model. Not a fan of margaritas (I had to look up how to spell the word just now), I couldn't see myself ever needing a blender.

Over the years, the blender bit the dust. It was probably because we used it more as a food processor than actual blender. Not a big loss in my opinion...until now.

Last month, I read an article in Businessweek. It was about Vitamix blenders and how they've become all the rage among affluent health-conscious, smoothie-consuming adults.

Hey, I tend to think of myself as health-conscious. I want to be affluent. Smoothies sound delicious. I shared my dreams of being a smoothie hippie with Tiffany. She scoffed at the idea of shelling out $400+ for a blender.


Then the perfect blend of smoothie components hit at just the right moment. First, I checked around online and realized the Ninja blender comes close to the Vitamix in blending affluence at a fraction of the cost ($99 vs $400).

Next, on a whim I bought a smoothie at an airport smoothie bar. It was delicious. Finally, Tiffany tried making a milkshake last week with a cheapo replacement blender and was disgusted with the results.


We are now the proud owners of a Ninja blender. Yesterday, I tossed in a couple of oranges (cut into about eight pieces), three scoops of orange sherbet, a handful of frozen strawberry slices, two cups of juice and two cups of ice. After about a minute in the Ninja, we were enjoying high-quality airport smoothie bar smoothies.

The Wolverine glass adds an extra bit of affluence. (I'm just showing off at this point.)

As we push into the green, healthy smoothie game, I can't help but wonder if we should have spent the extra affluence on the Vitamix. The three-blade design of the Ninja blender is impressive, but people speak about the Vitamix in hushed tones. I feel like we need to own a blender that's discussed in hushed tones.

One sip and he said, "Oh, I like this!"

Anyhow, if you've got some smoothie tips, please share them with us. We're complete noobs here. Also, don't bother plying me to go with non-GMO, organic ingredients. I'm a blender snob, not an ingredient snob.