Home Water Softeners, Whole House Filters, De-Stressing & A Few Shopping Finds

Welcome to the 486th Metamorphosis Monday!

This past week while I was out of town was definitely a challenging one. It all started when I had a plugin update appear on the dashboard of the blog that turned out to be a bad update. You may have noticed some issues last week with Between Naps On The Porch.

In the process of trying to fix the issues the bad update caused, my hosting company actually compounded the problem while trying to help. They ended up deleting 3 posts, including last week’s Tablescape Thursday. Ultimately, they had to bring in their Systems and Restoration team to undo everything a previous technician had done.

Things were almost back to normal with the blog when I left Ohio last Tuesday to return home. Once home, I found a letter and big box waiting for me from Comcast. The letter stated,”A technical issue with the Wireless Gateway in your home was recently identified by the manufacturer” referring to the modem/router device Comcast provides for my high-speed internet.

The letter went on to say that I should swap out my old router for the new one as soon as possible because if I didn’t I could “lose all internet access on 5-29-18.” It was not without a touch of dread that on Friday evening I dutifully followed the instructions that came with the new device and changed out my modem.

I promptly lost my internet connection! 🙁 After talking with 3 different techs at Comcast that evening, none of whom could get the new system working, an appointment was scheduled. A repair guy came out Saturday and after trying 3 different devices, he couldn’t get it working either. Arggg. It turned out that Comcast was having a problem on their end with their provisioning equipment, so they were unable to “provision” the new device.

I finally have internet service again! What a mess this past week has been! Stresssss! Just wanted to share a bit about what happened this past week in case you noticed missing posts for a day or so while my hosting company was trying to revert things back and undo the damage done by the bad plugin.

 

Before and After: The Difference a Water Softener Can Make When You Live In An Area With Hard Water

With all that going on this past week/weekend, plus being on the road traveling back home, there wasn’t much time for anything else, but I thought I’d share one issue my son and dil solved this past week in their home, plus some recent purchases I’ve made and/or will be making for my own home.

My son and dil have a Bosch dishwasher. They were having problems with glassware coming out looking cloudy/dirty. After a bit of investigating, we realized that the issue wasn’t with the dishes not getting clean, because even after hand washing, they still looked cloudy and spotty. The problem turned out to be that their water softener was no longer working correctly and the cloudy, spotty glasses were a result of the very hard water that’s common in their area. I’m not sure if all of Ohio has hard water, but their area definitely does. The local water company verified that their water hardness level is 12, which is considered very hard.

I have never dealt with hard water issues before. Georgia has fairly balanced water. The water hardness level in my area is a 1. I don’t even use Jet Dry in my dishwasher and the glasses come out looking great. I didn’t think to take a photo of their glassware last week, but here’s a photo from online that shows how their glasses looked.

 

They replaced their 10-year-old water softener with this unit below that’s a water softener and whole-house filter, in one. They purchased new glasses and the new glasses are coming out great now–no more hard water etching/staining.

They are also using a rinse agent to further help with the drying process since today’s dishwashers don’t have a heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher to help dry the dishes.

 

If you have hard water in your area, you may want to look into adding a Water Softener unit to your home. From the reading I’ve done, it extends the life of your hot water heater and also helps protect your other appliances that use water, like washing machines.

 

Whole House Filter

A whole house filter cuts out a lot of the chlorine taste and odor in water and is supposed to be better for your skin and hair. Yesterday I drove over to a local Lowes to purchase a Whole-House Filter for my home. I don’t need a softener, just wanted to purchase a filter to eliminate a lot of the chlorine taste we have here in our water. Unfortunately, the Lowes I visited only had two units in stock and both appeared to have been opened at some time, so I decided to wait and visit another location. I don’t like buying open boxes.

This is the whole-house filter I’m thinking of purchasing. Anyone have this filter in their home? Have you noticed a big change in the taste or smell of your water. It has good reviews online.

I have such dry skin, I thought this would help, especially during the winter months. One of the things I really like about this unit is you never have to change the filter, it’s self-flushing. Love that!

Note: One thing to note, I read that whole-house filters actually eliminate more chlorine from the water than the units that are both a water softener and whole-house filter. Interesting, huh? Not sure why it works out that way.

 

Some Recent Purchases

Recently I gave my son and dil an umbrella I had purchased but never used.

Pagoda Umbrella for Outdoor Table, Outdoor Dining 2

 

I loved the umbrella but it just didn’t match the cushions that came with my outdoor furniture.

Deck Makeover with Painted Deck Rails, Hampton Bay Oak Cliff Furniture

 

They make several that would go with my existing cushions. This umbrella is on sale here: Umbrella.

 

But, I still like this one the best. lol

Pagoda Umbrella for Outdoor Table, Outdoor Dining 2

 

So when it went on sale recently, I bought it again. lol  Now I just need to find chair cushions to match.

Am I crazy? I just like doing everything the hard way, I guess. I’m tempted to buy the red one and use it for now until I can find cushions to go with the blue and green one. I just love green and blue together and love this particular umbrella!

Pagoda Umbrella

 

The green and blue umbrella also goes well with the chair cushions I purchased recently for the porch. These aren’t outdoor cushions, but it’s nice that they coordinate.

 

This weekend I also purchased a new base for the umbrella. My old base worked well under the table I used to have on the deck before, but it was way too large and bulky to fit under the new table. This is the same one my daughter-in-law has and it works great with their table/umbrella, so I think it will do the job.

Granite Base for for Outdoor Umbrella

 

My favorite place to stop for bathroom breaks when traveling is Cracker Barrel. Their bathrooms are always so nice and clean. Plus, I love browsing their store as I stretch my legs. I picked up six of these pretty aqua shell napkin rings on my way home from Ohio this last trip. They are much prettier than this photo depicts, the lighting was a bit harsh last night when I took this picture. Look for these in a beach table setting real soon, maybe this week. They were only $2.99 each.

Aqua Shell, Bead and Bell Napkin Rings

 

Yesterday I stopped by Marshalls to shop for cotton bed linens for summer. While there I saw this cutie. I had seen one almost identical to it while shopping in Pier 1 recently and barely passed it up. My resolve melted when I saw the discounted price tag: $16.99.

Screened Covered Server for Outdoor Dining

 

It’s perfect for grilling out…just place a platter inside and as the hamburgers and corn come off the grill, they can go inside where they will be safe from pesky bugs.

Rattan Server Plate with Screen Covering for Outdoor Dining

 

I noticed it’s currently on sale at Pier 1 for close to the same as what I paid in Marshalls. You’ll find it here: Tray with Net Cover for Outdoor Cooking.

 

This was near the entrance to Marshalls. If it had been my size, there’s no way I could have resisted! Sooo cute! It just needs a basket on the front and it’s perfect! lol

Adorable Schwinn Beach Cruiser Bike

 

After a week of technical blog issues and losing the internet for the weekend, I de-stressed with a glass of ice water and a good book last night on the porch. If you follow BNOTP on Instagram HERE, you would have seen this picture. I had the fans going, the music playing and the stress of the week melted away. This is pretty much where I intend to live this summer, right here in this spot.

The book I was reading was Living in Luxury (available HERE) by the CEO of Sotheby’s Int. Realty in France. Love following his Instagram which is pretty much a fantasy feed featuring beautiful homes, antique cars, a cute dog named Bertie and some very dapper dressing. You’ll find his Instagram feed under alexander.kraft, in case you want to check it out.

Evening on the Porch

 

Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

 

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Metamorphosis Monday

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Comments

  1. SharonFromMichigan says:

    I understand totally the dish drying thing with the new dishwashers. We have a new GE and I use the heat/dry setting, but the dishes are still wet when the cycle is complete. We learned a trick that the women at our church use with the commercial Bosch washer: after the complete cycle is done and the finished “tune” sings, we crack open the dishwasher door and place a folded clean towel on the top of the door so that the dishwasher is cracked open a little. While the heat is escaping, so does the extra condensation that makes the dishes still wet inside. No drying agents needed! Of course you need to be home to do this, or not asleep 😉

    • That is so interesting, thanks for sharing that! I have Kitchenaid and it’s quite old but still works great! I know the next time I have to buy a new dishwasher, it won’t have the heating element.
      The Bosch dishwasher that my son and dil have has several different settings that are supposed to increase the drying at the end. When I was there visiting, I just ran it on the “normal” setting and they came out dry each time. I think the main difference that helped was using the Jet Dry that we added when we were trying to figure out why the glasses were so cloudy and spotty looking. That was before we realized the water softener was no longer working. Apparently, they only last around 10 years and there’s was right at 10 years old.

  2. What a nightmare week Susan! It scares me when I have technical issues, mainly because you realize how dependent you’ve become on internet, cable TV, things that were not even invented not to long ago, and they have taken over our lives! Glad you finally got everything fixed and settled…I can’t believe you bought the same umbrella after giving yours away!

    • lol I hadn’t intended to, but I just that one the best even if it doesn’t match my cushions. Maybe it’s going to look better than I think. It goes perfectly with my son and dil’s outdoor dining set.
      Yeah, I could definitely do without all the technical issues! I’m going to be afraid to do plugin updates after this last experience!

  3. Susan W says:

    Please tell me what kind of birds come to your meal worms. I spent $30 ordering some about a month ago and have not seen anything eating mine.

    • Many of the birds that come to my feeders eat them, including bluebirds, chickadees, tufted titmouse, wrens, mockingbirds and this year a robin has figured out that I put out mealworms and keeps visiting when I put them out.

      As with any new feeder or new food, you sometimes have to put it out for a few days before they learn to trust it and come to eat.

      The Bluebirds have me trained now. Yesterday, every time I came down to the kitchen, a male bluebird would come and land on the dish where I put both live or dried mealworms, depending on which I have. Apparently, he was not interested in the dried mealworms I had out because he would just look at me and not eat them. After he did that 3 times yesterday in the morning, I drove over to Wild Birds Unlimited and purchased some fresh mealworms.

      As soon as I got back and put them out, both he and a female bluebird came down and gathered up as many as they could cram into their mouth, taking them to the bluebird house in my backyard, so they apparently have babies in there. They were not at all interested in the dried mealworms for their babies, but wanted the fresh mealworms. So they have me trained well. lol

  4. What is that saying?…when it rains, it pours….So sorry you have been experience blog and internet issues…they truly can be a total nightmare!…glad you go the issues resolved….thanks for the advice on softeners/filters….we are exploring many options in the near future when we move forward to build our “right-sized” home. Thanks for hosting Susan and have a great week!!!

    • Exactly! I kept thinking of that famous Churchill quote about when you’re going through hell, just keep on going. It’s the wasted time that kills me, all the stuff you should be doing but can’t do. Arggg.
      Thanks, Shirley! So exciting that you guys are doing that. I keep waiting for the perfect home to come on the market in Ohio but so far, no luck.

  5. Sheila Montgomery says:

    I truly enjoy your posts-love your shopping ones as we have similar tastes. I admire you for all the travel that you do.

  6. Internet problems are the worst, aren’t they? Even if I didn’t have a website, I would be lost without online access. So frustrating. Glad you’re up and running again…and thanks for the umbrella inspiration. My three are so faded, we need new. And the kids in the sandbox? Adorable!!

    • Thanks, Kim! My grandchildren came home just as I started taking pictures and they love playing in their sandbox. I need to take up all my son’s old Tonka Trucks for them to play with, although they are so big, they would fill up the sandbox. lol

  7. Hi Susan
    I was wondering where you purchased the umbrella stand. I love the shape of it and size.
    Secondly, don’t you just love Wild Birds Unlimited? I help pay the rent there!!! LOL
    My birds love food from there too.

    • Thanks, Terri! I purchased it at Lowe’s. I started to order it but was concerned what shipping would cost since it’s so heavy, so I ended up just driving over to a Lowe’s to buy it in person.
      Yes! It’s embarrassing how much I spend in that store each month, but my birds love their Choice Blend so much! What I usually do is buy a bag of Choice Blend and a 5 lb bag of no mess with the peanuts, and I mix the two together in a big container I purchased at Wild Birds many, many years ago. I figure that way the birds that are unable to crack the sunflower/safflower seeds, can enjoy the shelled no-mess sunflower seeds. And the woodpeckers love the extra peanuts. That combination brings a huge variety of birds to my feeders, but it’s expensive. When I was in Ohio for three weeks, the feeders were empty during much of that time, but they all came back as soon as I filled them up again. They bring so much joy into my life, it’s worth the expense. I know you feel the same way! Does ou WBU also carry puzzles and the fun Solmate Socks? I occasionally buy those, too. So yeah, I think I pay their rent! lol

  8. Technical issues are the worst. My stomach always drops like a boulder when I have to upgrade equipment and update my site. Kudos to you, Susan for sticking with it and remaining calm! I hope things continue smooth now. The responsiveness of your site now is great. Very quick, so it was all worth it. 🙂

    • I know! Same here…especially since I was totally dependent on my hosting company to fix stuff. I’m so glad it’s loading quickly, that’s is music to my ears! Thanks, Helen!

  9. Charlotte says:

    I am so sorry your week was so stressful. So glad you were able to relax on your beautiful porch. Sometimes I hate computers and all that goes with them. I love Cracker Barrel too, so many cute things and good prices. Have a great week!

  10. Linda Page says:

    Of course you like stopping at Cracker Barrel!! What’s not to like?? I love shopping there after a holiday or season as they really mark their merchandise way down. Love the napkin rings!!

  11. OH Susan , all of your pictures are showing up with the P or Pinterest on them! Is this something new or something on my end? Love both umbrellas by the way!

  12. Wow! Interesting! I had issues this weekend with comcast also. My phone, my internet and my TV all went down on Friday. I checked with neighbors and they were all ok. So, because I was the only one down I had to go on a wait list. They did arrive at 4 PM on Saturday and they had to install a whole new line. Isn’t modern technology wonderful? I’m not blaming Comcast. They give great service. But it is SO frustrating when EVERYTHING quits.

  13. Whew ! Getting back online is so important and so stressful. Thanks Susan for hosting today with all the issues that had to be solved (eventually!).
    Joy

  14. Jane Kelly says:

    Question – Do you know where I could find a reading lamp that is water proof? One that could be used on an open deck or patio? I don’t have a cover over my deck or patio & would like to be able to read in the evenings without having to carry a lamp in & out every night.

    • Ummm, I wonder if the one that I have on my screen porch would be okay outdoors.

      I just looked them up where I purchased them and it says in the ad that they are waterproof and “perfect for patio, porch and deck” so that sounds like it would be okay.

      You can see the small table lamp I have here: https://amzn.to/2Lhjw82

      This is the floor lamp I use on my porch: https://amzn.to/2KI8EPl

      Both of those lamps are right by the screens/windows on the porch, so they do get wet during blowing storms. So far they are working great.

      Where would they be plugged in? You probably need to make sure the outlet stays dry where they are plugged in.

  15. Our closest town is named…Mineral…uh-huh…imagine our water and we’re septic. 🙁 We are “Cracker Barrel” gold card holders…or diamond… 🙂 We actually drive out of our way (not too far) just to find them…and their coffee to go isn’t too bad. Maybe we’ll bump into you there someday… franki

    • lol I did get an iced coffee on this trip and it was good.
      Sounds like you have some seriously hard water there, too. The water company told me that the area where my son lives is atop a big lime aquifer. Lots of water…but lots of lime, too.

  16. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Maybe all that reading and getting outside was just what you needed, i hate technical problems. Your grandchildren are growing so fast, they are certainly cute. I love your new umbrella,lol, who cares, life is too short not to enjoy even the little things.

  17. Thanks so much for hosing each week!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  18. Susan you are just too funny! I really do love that umbrella. The table I ordered came damaged so we decided to just build one come fall. I think I may have to just break down and buy one of these umbrellas myself. I love the green and blue as well. There is just something so soothing about those two colors and I use them all the time.

    • I know, I’m pretty obsessed with color combo, too. You’re so right, it is just so soothing.
      Oh no, sorry your table came damaged. I can’t wait to see what you build, I’m sure it will be way better!

  19. Kathy Gilbert says:

    Which Marshall’s

  20. So sorry about your internet troubles. Way too stressful when this happens. Another thing to get sad about is that Classy Flea is closing it’s doors soon due to owner retirement. I am so sad and know you probably will be too.

  21. Joyce Fowler says:

    This is probably a dumb question, but where do you install the water softening unit? I think one might be a good addition to my home. Also you probably already know this, but Solmate Socks have an on line store. I have ordered from them several times.

    • The one that my son and dil have is connected to their plumbing in the basement. Theirs is near their washing machine but I think sometimes they are near the hot water heater. Thanks, Joyce! I have ordered from them, love their socks and how long they last! 🙂

  22. Beatrice says:

    The high heat finish-drying cycle has baked the minerals from the water into the glass. That’s why I don’t put Lalique or Rosenthal in the machine at all, and the everyday Rogaska only gets a wash and no dry cycle. We had the same problem when we lived in Alsace, where the water was 9. You can try soaking them in vinegar solution or–better yet–commercial de-calcium solution for drip coffee makers, but don’t expect that to work for the worst stains. When we moved here, where we have snow-melt water, I threw out all the glasses that couldn’t be salvaged with vinegar or de-calc.

  23. Susan, wow so much packed in one interesting post! The plugin thing really rattled me. I’ve only been blogging six months and get so frustrated with tech issues, by not knowing the right questions to ask sometimes. The worst issues are those where I assumed I did something wrong and I didn’t! I assume the software, etc. work fine. Would u mind sharing which plugin caused the problem?

    • It was the Social Warfare plugin, the one that creates the share icons at the foot of each post. I reverted back to the old version for now since it worked properly.

  24. Lol, Susan, my mother used to say, “If there’s a hard way to do something, you’ll find it.” I completely understand about your umbrella dilemma. The blue and green combo is so pretty and soothing. I think I would buy the red one and use it with your existing chairs and cushions, and then go buy a new table set for the other part of the deck with the blue colors, lol. Or maybe the pergola would be in the way. Grrr. Decisions. Well, I love the blue and green one best, too. So yes, even though you’re a teensy bit crazy, I am too and I commiserate. 😀

    • Oh, yeah–I’m really good at that! Ha! I hope I’ll eventually fine cushions or maybe I can have the rust ones recovered with a Sunbrella fabric or something similar.

  25. Kathleen says:

    I like the blue and green umbrella as well. Rust seems to say “hot” to me and not as welcoming. A long time ago we had a water filter installed at our main valve into the house but the filters were way too expensive to keep up. We have well water so I’m sure our water is hard. My dishwasher is four years old and I have a heating element in the bottom. I did notice if I don’t choose sanitize cycle the dishes still have moisture at the end. We have an instant hot water heater and it is still going good after ten years, but now I’m wondering if a filter would be beneficial. My washing machine/dishwashers have all lasted over ten years without one. Seems like that is the best you can do these days, even for a refrigerator. Great post and I also noticed how big the grandbabies are getting. Where does time go?

    • That’s it exactly…rust feels hot to me, too. And it’s hot enough here during the summer without more hot! lol
      Sounds like you guys may be okay if you’re hot water heater is still going good after that long. What I read online indicated that the hot water heats suffer more than any other appliances if the water is hard since it heats the water up which apparently makes the mineral/hard water issue even more damaging/worse.
      I know, they are growing quickly! Scary!
      Thanks, Kathleen!

  26. Ann pauley says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’m on a little bit of a panic since I was informed of climbing hills and mountainous
    Terrain during my upcoming pilgrimage trip to France in June.
    Can you pleease suggest what kind of hiking
    Boots might be practical to wear?
    Any suggestions would be helpful!
    Thanks,
    Ann

    • The hiking I’ve done lately was light hiking, so I just wore some good walking sneakers, but sounds like you will need something more suited for real hiking. Ann, do you have an REI near you? If so, I would check with them. I would not buy any of the really heavy hiking boots. They’ve come out with nice light ones in the last few years. You don’t want a bunch of added weight.
      You’ll need to decide if you want the low type or the high-top type that offers ankle support. You may want to try on both to see what feels best. I prefer the low type, just find them more comfortable.
      The Obox Sawtooth look really cute in this article: https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/staff-picks-best-hiking-boots
      Here’s another article that may help: http://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-hiking-boots-women-reviews.html
      Wish I had more info for you. If I see anything else online that I think will help, I’ll let you know.

  27. Kathy Gilbert says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love the bicycle you highlighted. I think the size would be perfect for me. Can you tell me which Marshalls location has this bike?
    Thanks,
    Kathy

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