Fluffying up America …

one family at a time.

Fluffy Mail, originally uploaded by dfb.

I haven’t made much of this, mostly because I was busy studying and then getting ready for Sprout, but we’re one of many couples who are choosing to use cloth diapers. We made this choice for a number of reasons, most notably: 1) we are trying to limit the number of chemicals (including plastics) in our home; 2) we are trying to limit our landfill waste (it fits the reduce, reuse, and recycle theme); and 3) I have long railed against synthetic clothes so using cotton diapers a simple choice over disposable synthetics. There are downsides of course such as the extra work, washing, up front costs, bulkiness, and soppiness of cloth on our kid’s skin.

I’m posting this to encourage anyone else who may be considering fluffing up their family and using cloth diapers. Using disposable diapers is not inherently a bad thing, it just isn’t the right choice for every family. The same goes for cloth diapers.

Other things we’ve done over the past few years to live what we consider a better life are: live in a one bedroom apartment (keeping, even with a kid); discard teflon and aluminum cookware in favor of cast iron and porcelain lined steel (old dansk kobenstyle from an aunt and uncle); turn off junk mail with the post office (which reminds me to do it again) and opt-out of credit report sharing; walk and use public transportation when possible (hard in suburbia); switch to vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils for cleaning supplies; and buy local as much as possible. There is more we can do, but this is a start. 🙂

Cheapest gas in town?

Cheapest gas in town?, originally uploaded by dfb.

This Shell station seems the cheapest gas in town (several cents cheaper than watered down Arco). There was a line two and three cars deep when I passed by after work and again two hours later, after dinner.

A few days ago, it was $4.05 for the cheapest regular gas. I expect we’ll be paying $5.00 or more by the end of summer if the price of oil remains high.

Update (04/30/08): There was a line this morning as I went to work. The [literally] no brand gasoline station down the street sold gas for the same price.

Digital Converter Box is here

I used the analog to digital converter box coupon card this past weekend. So now we can still get TV after the super bowl when the transition to digital television is complete. It is an RCA brand converter box.

[flickr]photo:2535060951[/flickr]

I don’t generally shop in Wal*Mart (ruthless and toothless); however the converter box cost $10 after the coupon ($50 retail price). That beat the $65 charged by Radio Shack for a no brand item.

The nice thing I found out about this box is that it includes a V-Chip intended to let parents filter out inappropriate content from their youngsters. It is likely that most people who rely on the government coupons to purchase a converter box will not have televisions built since 2000 when the V-Chip was mandated. The program is still a boondoggle, just not as big as I had previously made it out to be.

In case you still are not aware of the television transition, these are the dates you need to be aware of:

  • January 2, 2008 – Digital to analog converter coupon program becomes available. * Coupons are now available.
  • February 17, 2009 – Last day for analog broadcasts.
  • February 18, 2009 – Analog broadcasts will be turned off. Televisions will need a digital tuner, digital-to-analog converter box, or cable/satellite subscription.

You CAN have a sense of humor in the gov’t

There is a widespread belief that government bureaucrats lack senses of humor and that individuality is discouraged when in the ranks of government. The folks at the Social Security Administration (SSA) disproved that last week in a press release.

“For reasons likely to puzzle baby name experts around the world, American parents have become infatuated by names, particularly for their sons, that rhyme with the word â??maiden.â?Â  …  Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter indicated that the agency would resist any legislative efforts to standardize the spelling of these names.”

SSA Press Release: Pop Culture Makes Mark on Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names List

SSA tracks the most popular names born in the U.S. through registrations for Social Security numbers. It publishes its list annually. You can see the most popular names for the past 130 years on its web site.