My Own Personal Sun

The one thing I can’t stand about working around computers all the time is how cold my office space seems to be. That’s all well and good for the computers, but I am always waiting for penguins to come walking out of the server room! Wearing a coat and gloves is not a practical way to dress for my job, not to mention a violation of office dress code policy. Now that it is warmer out, I think they’ve made it even colder, and I’ve finally had enough. I decided to talk to management. They were very supportive and listened to my complaints. They agreed to let me have a space heater for my workstation as long as I kept it low enough that it didn’t bother any other employees and put it on a programmable timer so that it was only on during work hours. Also, I had to purchase it myself and it would be inspected regularly by the maintenance department.

Well, that’s just fine, because I can make sure that I get something that works well—unlike the bargain basement quality stuff they usually buy for us here. This part, the part where I can go home and look online to find information on products and features reminds me why the internet is worth using. After a long day at work sometimes it can be hard to remember. Because let me tell you, there is a lot of information out there, some of it is completely useless. I automatically eliminated any fuel burning heaters, as I’m sure my coworkers would appreciate me not asphyxiating us all in my quest to remain at above sub-zero temperatures. You would think this would make my decision easier, but there are all kinds of electric heaters, too. I finally decided on an infrared heater because it basically works the same way as the sun: instead of simply warming the air, it radiates heat that the objects in its path absorb. Once the object absorbs the heat, it warms up. It doesn’t dry out the air around it and it seemed like it would be an energy efficient choice. I settled on a model after researching some must-have features and reviews. The whole process, from idea to research to purchase, took me about two hours. Order placed, I turned in for the night.

The heater showed up a week later and I brought it in to work. Whenever anyone asked what it was, I told them it was my own personal sun, which usually led to a conversation about infrared heating. My coworkers may or may not have been bored by the explanation, but oh well. It turned out that it warmed not just my desk, but the desks of several coworkers too. It seems that everyone else was cold as well, but that nobody was sure what to do about it. We decided to relocate the heater to a more central location where it would do the most good and have adopted it as the office mascot.

Not Your Daddy’s Wine Opener

I was looking for a really useful, well-designed, no-fault wine bottle opener for my next party. I hate the little coil of metal with a tiny plastic top. They cost less than a dollar and are worth far less. You inevitably break the cork, which then descends to the bottom of the hapless bottle. I don’t think the upscale all chrome versions are that great, either. While they are sturdy and do the job, you have to exert a lot of pressure, also risking destroying the cork (which gets enmeshed in the metal coil never to return again to earth). God forbid your hand should slip and an accident of any import happen.

So what is a guy to do? Whether I am going to use this thing or a hired bartender, I want it to work fast and efficiently. I don’t want the embarrassment of downtime with guests patiently pacing in front of the bar like bulls pawing at the ground waiting for the matador to arrive.

As most enterprising Internet-savvy people do, I went online in search of the latest, greatest wine bottle opening gadget. I found one, and it is not your daddy’s wine opener, as described above. It is, in essence, an electric machine fashioned for the modern host. It is made by Waring, of kitchen appliance fame, so it has to be good. At under $40, it is affordable if it comes through. It looks high tech enough and will be pleasant to view on the kitchen or bar countertop. It is sleep, made of chrome, and easy to handle.

These electric openers come cheaper, but reliability is my middle name. This baby can open fifty bottles at a crack on one full battery charge. That’s right, no cord to get in anyone’s way. The operation is almost mindless. You turn a switch and voila! I love the brushed metal finish and believe the reviewer who says that it is easy to clean. I’m sure there are similar models with a shinier finish. Not one to be too matchy-matchy, this one is a winner and my pick.

It comes with a charging base of course, which is a good place to house it when it is not in use. But at a busy party, I imagine it will be playing hooky far from home. As an aside, it gets a full five-star rating from more than twenty customers. I give a lot of credence to what the public says as they have neither an axe to grind nor a promotional duty. So, my wine opener is a one-touch marvel that does its job in mere seconds. No broken cork sliding into the hell of the bottle sediment.

I suppose the expense would be unjustifiable if I didn‘t have guests for parties. When opening one bottle, you can make do. But when the going gets tough, there is a solution. It doesn’t take up much space and stores efficiently. Put it next to your wine rack or cool as the case may be. I also can’t think of a better gift for a wedding, birthday, or special holiday. It is practical enough to almost be a household requirement.

New Information (to me at least)

News flash. There is important information about sleep patterns that we didn’t all know. For one thing, there are people who are sleep deprived showing certain symptoms. They walk around confused and befuddled during the day and blame insomnia. They can’t remain alert and at attention. Their memory seems to be slipping Sleep disorders are more common than you think. They can range from the simple inability to fall asleep and the inability to go back to sleep to waking up frequently during the night.

It is unpleasant to feel tired and irritable for no cause of your own. The body is rebelling. It could be that stiff worn-out mattress or a bad pillow, as simple as that. It could also be negative thoughts that populate your mind during the late night hours causing tension and anxiety. Without the distractions of one’s day, they seem to dominate when they come to the fore.

Other causes of sleep disturbance are teeth grinding (curable at the dentist), allergies and colds, apnea (a type of breathing interruption), snoring, bladder problems (called nocturia), and nightmares. Once you find out what’s bothering you, it can be addressed with one or more solution.

I myself found out some degree of insomnia came from the wrong pillow. Thus it was a condition and not a disease to be feared. I sleep on my stomach, which is not the most prevalent position. Pillows are made for people who sleep on their backs for the most part, but some enterprising person has thought about the alternative. There are now memory foam models that can accommodate the face without smothering the sleeper.

First find out what type you are: side, back, or stomach sleeper. Then look at the myriad of choices for each. I chose the Sealy Posturepedic Stomach Sleeper pillow (they call the PostureFit) in the standard size. One was enough. It was a bargain at about $30 on Amazon. It was shipped right to my door. I love the 300 thread count cotton sateen—super smooth and sleek. Plus the thing is filled with hypoallergenic polyester (they call EnviroLoft). I selected soft density for my sleep style, but there are others available. Read the testimonials and you can learn what is best.

I find that as soon as my head hits this cushy number, I am asleep in minutes. That is a godsend for a former insomniac who got bored counting sheep. There is nothing so frustrating that letting your mind race through the night as you beg for sleep. All the problems of the day seem to appear instantaneously, as well as those from yesterday, and maybe tomorrow. Insomniacs are worriers to be sure and they use all possible fuel for their mental fire.

If this pillow isn’t to your liking, I do have another alternative with a hole in the center. It is the PillowMed customizable orthopedic sleeping pillow created by medical professionals for maximum comfort and health. At twice the price, I suppose it has twice the value. It is said to help alignment of the body while you sleep and to reduce neck pain, sore muscles, headaches, snoring, and more. Stomach sleepers can revel in its efficacy. Just open the four chambers using the zippers supplied and fill with the amount of stuffing desired. A side benefit to ladies, sleeping this way reduces wrinkles!