Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day & A Question

"May I ask you a question" asked my husband, standing a few feet behind me.

"Sure" was my response, mentally preparing myself for something in depth - maybe a question related to the allocation of our retirement funds or the rate on our mortgage.

"Do you have a theory about hanging wet towels?" he asked, his eyes lifting over my head, focused behind me on the chocolate brown towel I had just draped over the shower rod.

"Um, no.  Why?" was my response, caught off guard by his question.

"You put them up there, scrunched together.  I keep having to straighten them out so that they dry evenly.  It puts off washing them just a bit longer.  Saves money.  Might make for an interesting blog post."  And then he walked away.

Yet, I cannot argue with him.  An evenly dried towel is less likely to smell musty, delaying its washing and the use of resources to turn it clean and fluffy once again. Life with an engineer; efficiency jumps out at him everywhere, and usually saves us money, treads a little more lightly on the earth, and or improves our health.  As we celebrate Earth Day, founded by Wisconsin's very own Senator Gaylord Nelson (an aside, my husband advocated for naming our son Gaylord, he is that big of a fan of the environment and Wisconsin, but the name did not end up on the birth certificate....) I will leave you with a few of the ever efficient quirks I have picked up in the nearly nine years of marriage to an engineer.  Give them a whirl if you find yourself on a frugal path in life:

  • always cover the lid when a pot is on the stove -- this reduces the amount of time, and energy, required to bring it to a boil, etc.
  • when using stainless steel pans, turn the burner off a few minutes before the item is done cooking.  Those pans hold a "great deal of thermal mass".  Stay tuned, my better half has brought home a multi-meter (I think that is what it is called) to measure the amount of energy held in a pan on a burner that was turned off -- future post in the making;
  • never run a fire place when the temperatures are too cold, you are just sending heat up the chimney.  His formula (of course there is a formula!) is not to use the fireplace when the outside air temperature is 20 degrees colder than the inside temperature (we keep ours at 62 degrees, so no fire when it is 41 degrees or colder  outside), and your fireplace does not have a heatilator;
  • run the air conditioning, with the windows open, when the outside air temperature is colder than the inside air temperature; and
  • hang damp/wet towels evenly and near a vent air source when possible!
Have a wonderful Earth Day, and keep it frugal for the other 364 days of the year too!

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