Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I Bought A New Mattress

I pride myself on being able to sleep just about anywhere. I've slept on concrete, I've slept on beaches, I even slept on the peel-and-stick tile floor of my old college buddy's rank-ass basement. I've slept through earthquakes, fire alarms and tornado warnings. As I get older, however, the physical cost of sleeping on something without any back support has begun to take its toll. For the last eighteen months, I've been sleeping on a memory foam mattress which felt more like it was a mattress topper than an actual mattress. It was fine if I was star-fishing in the center of it, but, it just wasn't working with two people sharing it. We were both waking up with horrible lower back pains. Mine was so bad that I couldn't stand for more than 30 minutes in the morning without my legs going numb. Clearly, it was time for a new mattress.

I've been bombarded with advertisements from a number of different mattress companies like Purple, Casper, Nectar, Sleep Number, Tuft & Needle and Puffy. At some point, amid all the Youtube ads and pop-ups, it all becomes noise. I did some research and decided that a hybrid coil-memory foam would work best for my need for both comfort and support. I soon settled on the Pressure Relief OEKO-TEX Certified iCoil® Hybrid Mattress by Zinus. I've had a good experience with Zinus box springs, so I figured I'd give one of their mattresses a try.

I want to give a pro-tip to those of you whom are going to buy a Zinus mattress: The cling wrap is what keeps the mattress compressed, not the thick plastic covering. I found this out when I pulled open the cling wrap in the living room only to find that the mattress was beginning to expand. I quickly yet very awkwardly maneuvered the mattress through the hallway and into my bedroom. I starting singing "What's gonna work? Teeeeeam work!" in the hopes that my teenage daughter would take the hint and lend a hand. No dice. But, with a little elbow grease and a lot of gumption, I got the Zinus mattress through the door and onto the bed.

It took about 48 hours for my Zinus hybrid mattress to fully expand. In the interim, I found that the middle rose up faster than the sides which made sleeping arrangements a little odd. But, once that was done, the Zinus Pressure Relief OEKO-TEX Certified iCoil Hybrid Mattress became great to sleep on, but even better to wake up on. Not only have I slept better, but I haven't had any of the back problems that have plagued me for the last several months.

At around $700 for a king mattress, I find that the Zinus Pressure Relief OEKO-TEX Certified iCoil Hybrid Mattress hits that sweet spot of affordability vs benefit. And, with a 100 day no-risk satisfaction guarantee, it's well worth trying if you're in the market for a hybrid mattress.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Ale Horn

This Is What An Ale Horn From AleHorn.com looks like!
Ale Horn
Honestly, I think that my home suffers a lack of quirky barware. Sure, I have a few beer steins and number of Red Lobster glasses of every size and shape, but those options just aren't quirky enough for the over-the-top beer group parties that I'm hoping to start hosting again once the pandemic is behind us. Enter the ale horn, from AleHorn.com.

Have you ever wondered what beer would taste like if you drank it from a mug crafted from a bovine horn? Have you ever wanted to drink from a vessel worthy of being drunk from by Bro Thor? Yeah, me either. Still, an ale horn sounded like it would make an interest gift for my siblings this Christmas and it's never too early to do research. So, I bought one. The folks at AleHorn hand craft their Viking-style drinking horns from 100% ethically sourced bovine horn and also offer custom engraving including custom logos. I didn't go all out and have my family crest engraved on the front. I just went with my name on the handle.

The first thing I noticed about my ale horn was how light it felt. The weight is somewhat equivalent to that of a plastic cup of the same size. That's not really a bad thing, I just figured that the bovine horn material would result in a heavier tankard. I like the look of it, as it has plenty of natural marks that add character; my mug looks like it has a few stories to tell. But how does it drink? Will it make your beer taste weird? Some beers taste weird enough on their own, but, after sampling a few different beers in mine, I can tell you with confidence that the taste of your beer will not be affected. And the handle helps the tankard fit snugly in your hand while you drink. That being said, I do think that ale horns are best suited to thicker, heartier beers than, say, lighter beers. But, overall, I'm pleased with the result and will be ordering some more, this time with a prominent logo on the front.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Clovis Prays With A Scammer

A robo call with an automated voice called Clovis looking to sell him some shystery-sounding "final expense" coverage. Clovis quite liked the lady that he was talking too and thought that he was scoring some points. Unfortunately, he got transferred to an actual "live" rep who rained on his parade. Clovis told the rep that he wanted to be transferred back to Samantha, and that the rep wasn't his type. Clovis eventually asked the rep where he was from and was told Australia. Clovis didn't believe him and said that they should pray to Jesus together for forgiveness. After a very heartfelt and moving prayer, Clovis got kicked from the call.

Monday, April 20, 2020

I Had A Buffet Table Delivered

One of the few good things that has come out of this whole "shelter-at-home" order for me has been the fact that I have been able to spend a lot of time re-decorating my house. Since Day 1 of  me buying the place, the dining room has needed some attention. I was content to use the small dining room table and chairs that the previous owner had left behind until I could decide what kind of decor I should go with. Once it became clear that I'd be hosting more and more large get-togethers, it became vital for me to deck out the dining room. I went with a French Farmhouse inspired theme and picked up a great looking table and some chairs to go with it. In order to complete the look, I purchased the Gracie Oaks Jaydin Sideboard.

It took a while to get a delivery date confirmed, and, once it was, I was told that the delivery company could not bring the sideboard into my house, but still could assemble it before delivery. No problem. I recruited Jason to help me bring the thing in and put it in its proper place. Jason arrived just before delivery and we sat there in my dining room wearing our COVID-19 masks. I looked at him and remarked "How the hell did we get to this point?".

"This is the darkest timeline...." he replied with a sigh.

My house is very hard to find, so, of course, the delivery driver called me to get better directions and Jason and I ran out of the house, our faces covered in cloth masks, to wave down the driver. The driver dropped off the buffet table, un-assembled, and headed right out. Whatever. Jason helped me drag the box into the dining room while I sang "What's gonna work? Teeeeeam work!", much to his chagrin. I had the Gracie Oaks Jaydin Sideboard put together within 20 minutes. It, of course, looks great. My barware goes in the middle and my dinnerware goes on the ends with my Fiestaware occupying a place of particular pride on the right, ready for my next dinner party. Whenever that might be.



Gracie Oaks Jaydin Sideboard
Gracie Oaks Jaydin Sideboard

Monday, April 13, 2020

Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona Coffee aka Whipped CoffeeEaster morning was notable for two reasons this year: 1) The Easter Bunny, in a flagrant defiance of the state's "shelter at home" directive, trespassed onto my property in order to hide eggs for the kids to search for. He wasn't subtle about it either! 2) My girlfriend made up a batch of dalgona coffee, known throughout social networking sites as the most addictive, delicious coffee trend this season.

Also known as "whipped coffee", the fad known as dalgona coffee first blew up on Tik Tok before taking the rest of the world by storm. And it's no wonder that the stuff is so popular right now; with so many "shelter in place" orders in force throughout the country, the drive to stay indoors and experiment is high (I even experimented with a new chicken and noodles recipe). Plus, this stuff looks like a poop emoji sitting on top of a billowy cloud of milk. What's not to like?

You can find a lot of similar recipes out there for dalgona coffee, but we went with the one suggested by Delish.com. Some dalgona coffee recipes often call for the use of a milk frother, but we found that using a hand mixer, or, in our case, the Kichen Aid mixer, was a better option as it produced a more consistent coffee dollup that floated on the milk better.

But, how does it taste? It's good, and, overall, I like Dalgona coffee. I found it to be very filling and it did inject enough of a caffeine jolt that, after our own Easter egg hunt, my daughter and I decided to hide eggs around my best friend's yard before he awoke. I figure, if I can't torment my best friend in person, at least I can torment him via a socially distant means. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Innr Zigbee Smart Plug

In my continuing quest to eliminate most of the wi-fi smart home devices from my smart home setup, I had to consider what to do with my wi-fi smart plugs. Since I have to switch out some of my home's electrical outlets, I briefly thought about replacing some of those outlets with GE smart outlets. However, that would likely involve a lot of wire stripping to get access to the neutral wires, so I ultimately decided against doing that. Instead, I went with the Innr Zigbee Smart Plug. The most important feature of this plug is the fact that it's compact enough to keep from blocking off any adjacent sockets.

I ended up purchasing a total of 4 plugs and each one of them connected to my Samsung Smart Things hub quite easily. The Innr Zigbee plugs have been installed at each end of my house and have had no problem staying connected to the Smart Things hub. And, that's really all you can say about these things: They pair easily to the hub and they stay connected. And I prefer using Zigbee as opposed to Wi-Fi for smart plugs, as there are fewer connection issues involved.