Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Simple Blessings

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone — isn’t that the old saying? We almost experienced that last week. Our beloved cat, Charlie, became suddenly ill a week ago Sunday. My husband rushed him to the vet — the kitty was experiencing kidney failure due to a tear in the old pipeline. We (well, mostly my husband) spent 5 days carting Charlie back and forth from our regular vet to the nighttime/weekend emergency vet. On Friday, our vet told us that we should seriously consider giving up and putting him down. I was seeing improvement in him visually, even if the vet didn’t see it in his bloodwork, so I declined, hoping to give him just a little more time over the weekend to heal. We spent the weekend visiting him at the weekend clinic and praying for healing. By Sunday, his blood levels were finally reflecting the improvement I had seen in his demeanor a few days before. Monday, after another day at his regular vet’s office, he was able to come home, with a catheter helping to bypass the tear and allow it to heal. Today, Wednesday, he went back to the vet to have the catheter removed, so we’re now hoping for a quick recovery from the dehydration, lack of food and general illness that has accompanied his near-death experience. I think he’ll bounce back nicely once he’s home for good, with no tubes and not confined to a cage 24 hours a day.

It was a horrible, traumatic week, between the cat’s illness, me being pregnant and having constant morning sickness, a demanding toddler who also required a trip to the doctor and now daily breathing treatments, and a husband who is overworked and probably underappreciated. Add to that a never-ending to-do list and the often silly demands of everyday modern life, and I understand now how I got so jaded.

But now I have a renewed hope and thankfulness that I didn’t have a week and a half ago. I’m still busy as sin, but I’m trying to take time out each day to really enjoy the blessings I’ve been given, from a husband who worries about our pets and visits them at all hours in the 24-hour clinic, to our beautiful son who is growing into a little man before my eyes. I have a miracle cat, who cashed in one of his nine lives but came out kicking, and another beautiful kitty who is (knock on wood) healthy and happy.

I hope, in the future, it won’t take another week like that to get me to count my blessings.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs 101

At the top of the “going green” to-do list, you will almost always find “change your lightbulbs to CFLs.” But do you really know what makes a compact fluorescent bulb so special? Here’s a little primer on CFLs.

A compact fluorescent bulb (aka CFL) is an energy-efficient light bulb that has longer rated life and uses less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs. Modern CFLs typically have a life span of between 8,000 and 15,000 hours and last approximately 8 to 15 times longer than an equivalent incandescent on average, thus requiring that fewer bulbs be purchased. For a given light output, CFLs use between one fifth and one quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent bulb. Two things affect people’s satisfaction with CFLs: the color of the light produced by the bulb and the amount of light produced. CFLs produce varying shades of white light.

  • “Warm white” or “soft white” (2700K-3000K) provides light similar to that of an incandescent bulb, somewhat yellow in appearance.
  • “White,” “bright white” or “medium white” (3500K) bulbs produce a yellow-ish white light, whiter than an incandescecnt bulb but still on the warm side.
  • “Cool white” (4100K) bulbs emit more of a pure white tone.
  • “Daylight” (5000K-6500K) is slightly bluish-white.
  • Red, green and pink bulbs are primarily for novelty purposes.
  • Yellow is well suited for outdoor lighting because it does not attract insects.

The K measurement denotes the correlated color temperature in Kelvins. Color temperature is a quantitative measurement — the higher the number, the cooler and bluer the shade.

To convert incandescent to fluorescent: take the incandescent watts and multiply by .25 to get a comparable fluorescent replacement.
Example: 60 watt incandescent x .25 = 15 watt CFL

Disposal notes: CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury. Find out if your community recycles CFLs or collects them with other household hazardous waste. If not, place used CFLs in a sealed plastic bag and place with your regular trash. If a CFL breaks, carefully sweep up the fragments (do not use your hands) and use a paper towel to wipe up any remaining glass shards. Do not use a vacuum. Ventilate the area to disperse any vapor that might have escaped the bulb. Place fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow normal disposal instructions for your community.