Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perfect for the Holidays--

If you're planning ahead for holiday parties for the office or home, consider the Berkeley City Club. It was the setting for the Tea Collection Holiday catalog, so it must be perfect.....

I'm President of the Club this year, and with our stellar new general manager just arrived from Napa County, Laura Bourret, we're ready to meet your every need.

Contact me at kennedy@maureenkennedy.net or Laura (at 848-7800) to schedule your holiday event or to house your holiday guests in Julia Morgan's "Little Castle."

Calling All Gardeners---

The Merritt College Plant Sale is coming up October 1st and 2nd! They have great stuff--I got some marionberry plants for Inverness from the spring sale.

Search "Bay Area Fall Plant Sale" for upcoming sales at UC, the SF Arboretum and beyond. Bay Nature has not published its list this fall!

If you're reading this before my October quarterly newsletter, consider a run to Bolinas this weekend for the fall tea and plant sale to benefit the Inverness Garden Club (I'm secretary of the Scholars Fund of the IGC). It's scheduled for Saturday the 17th of September--tea available in the afternoon--and is located as you enter Bolinas.

The Furnace Filter Story---

Literally, I've been driving around town today thinking, "there must be a killing to be made on self-filtering furnaces. Everybody needs new filters and no one installs them." (Did you know your furnace efficiency can go down 25% with a dirty filter? I found that out. I wasn't thinking that.) "It's just like the old 'pierce with metal funnel and make a mess' oil cans before someone came up with the self-funnel idea--messy, dirty, but essential. And look at that elegant fix. I bet that guy is a quadrillionaire now." But I've found the next best thing to a self-filtering furnace.

Last week I sat down and made a couple of home maintenance appointments--had Harry Clark come and service my furnaces, and scheduled Gorilla Gutters to clear my gutters and downspouts. Every inspection I've been involved with (unless the furnace is new and the asbestos is gone) concludes that the filter is dirty and the furnace should be serviced. Tell me straight. Is your furnace filter clean?

Harry Clark replaced the filter in our basement furnace (disgusting....), but didn't have the unique filter for the attic furnace. It's like that line from What Movie Was It?? Sex and the City? where someone says, "but I hired her as my personal assistant. She's supposed to deal with this stuff. And at the end of the day she comes to me and says 'I don't know how to find an [insert your essential item here]'? UGGHH. I don't think so."

Do you know where to find a 12" by 30" by 1" pleated furnace filter? Not at Ace. Not at Home Depot (they have 10" and 14" but not 12" by 30"....).

Then I ran into a client at Mulberry's--she said, "I change my filters regularly. I get a reminder from my filter provider! I order on-line." Now that's a revolutionary idea! The internet making life immeasurably better.

So I went to AirFiltersDelivered.com just now and ordered the right filters for both furnaces and paid no shipping, and will have fabulous air quality for at least the next three years. And then I'll get reminded by my air filter provider to buy more and replace them. Amazing. Try it!

How Much Energy IS that Refrigerator Chewing Up?

I'm providing feedback to the NorCal Solar Energy Association on its Resource Guide, and noticed a cool feature they reference in their energy efficiency discussion. Click here to get to a cool lookup function for your refrigerator. Enter the make and model number, and you can see the kilowatt-hours your refrigerator is estimated to consume annually. My SubZero I'm sure consumes way too much compared to the American average (reconfiguring the kitchen would have cost much more than just putting a new SZ in the opening from the old), BUT, I can see that a 2000 model consumed about 80% more energy than our 2004, and it consumes about twice as much as the latest model.

Maybe the best approach is to check your fridge's usage, and then do a quick check of your favorite on the web. Across the state, 20% of total residential energy usage is related to refrigeration--

Emergency Prep Month---

I used to update my trash can/earthquake barrel every year or two, but with two of the boys off at college, I don't have the image of kids with too-small pants up to their knees and open at the waist to spur me. But that barrel is just waiting for me to do the update; I know it. If you're in the same situation, or if you don't have a barrel yet, you have two options:

--contact my colleague Nina Johnson (simply-organized@sbcglobal.net), personal organizer extraordinaire, and ask her to help you get organized on the emergency prep front. Or,

--click here for detailed notes from her wonderful blog to drive your own gameplan.

We haven't had an emergency around here for a while, but you can't be too prepared!

Emergency Prep Month--Let Nina Johnson Help You--

I don't know why but it's been a few years since I updated our trash can with earthquake supplies. I used to be focused on taking out the too-small clothes for the boys and putting new-old ones in the barrel, but now with two of them at college, it's almost a non-issue. But those barrels do need updates. If you don't have one at all yet, you have two options:

-talk to my colleague Nina Johnson, personal organizer extraordinaire (simply-organized@sbcglobal.net), to have her help you get organized; or