Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Apartment Life Updates

Back when we first moved in...

Here are a few small things that have been happening recently to make my limited free time at home in our apartment a bit more enjoyable, in between my busy days - and nights, and some weekends - at the office this month:

Apartment Cleaning

Over the years, I've spent lots of time thinking about whether to finally, finally hire someone to come clean our apartment. Our living space isn't large, and there simply aren't that many surfaces to clean. When K and I work together on one of our "big cleans," we're mostly satisfied with the fruits of somewhere between two and three hours of labor from each of us. There are times when maybe two hours of work from just one of us is adequate to get our home mostly in shape to be seen by guests. It wasn't until this year - when both of us were simultaneously "billing significantly more than 2,000 hours a year"* busy at the office for the majority of the year - that K and I finally decided it was time. 

And even though we made that decision in September, we didn't actually get around to calling the company we were interested in hiring until late November. We had our first appointment with someone from Si Se Puede this month, and she did an excellent, very thorough job. Their price for cleaning our one-bedroom apartment was $120, but because it had admittedly been a very long time since K or I last did a "big clean" (and also because we aren't very good at it), the work took a little over six hours. We tipped $60. 

The New Trash Can

One of the only areas in which I think I can be considered particularly "frugal" by any real standard is in the area of furniture, small appliances, and other items for the home. Back when I cooked almost every meal for myself in school, I was perfectly satisfied with a fairly bare-bones set of items for the kitchen. These days, our household can go an incredibly long time before replacing fairly mundane and inexpensive items, such as cutting boards or oven mitts.

Note that I don't actually think of these practices as a good thing. The amount of money saved, if any, is extraordinarily small, especially when compared to things we regularly splurge on, such as rent and food. Plus, it's clearly not a good idea from a kitchen safety standpoint to wait on replacing noticeably warped cutting boards, or oven mitts where the protective silicone layer is... starting to peel off. It's just an illustration of our personal quirks and preferences. I get a bit of decision paralysis when trying to identify something like the most functional and "best" new cutting board or oven mitt to buy.

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Our old kitchen trash can, from back when K was in school, had not been working well for over a year. The lid wouldn't open fully anymore, and it was a pain to empty out. I do find trash cans to be a fairly expensive genre of item, and that was one of the factors leading us to delay in purchasing a replacement. Well, after struggling to empty the trash can for more than a year, we finally made the decision to buy a replacement, opting for a 30 liter rectangular step trash can from Simplehuman. And I must say, I'd almost describe it as life-changing, to finally have a trash can that is easy to empty and opens and closes smoothly, after struggling with our old one for so long. We should have done this much sooner!

Lounging Clothes

One of my Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale purchases this year was a pair of Naadam cashmere tracksuit joggers in the brown-gray neutral "timber" shade. It was an arguably impulsive purchase: I'd been browsing other online shops for cashmere sweatpants and joggers a few times this winter, but I hadn't been serious enough about the idea to add any such items to my Pinterest shopping wishlist. The very substantial 50% off discount for Cyber Monday was probably a big factor in my decision to buy. (During Cyber Monday, the joggers were final sale, so it was a risky buying decision.)

I've really been enjoying these joggers. Since the package arrived, I've worn them practically every evening to lounge around the house and as pajamas. I wouldn't necessarily say that cashmere sweatpants are especially practical, as I think other sweatpants are arguably more comfortable (no risk of the itch factor some get with wool or cashmere) and potentially warmer (the fabric on the Naadam cashmere joggers isn't especially thick, though I think it's a reasonable medium-weight). I also can't yet speak for how these will hold up with frequent wear and/or after washing. There's been a little pilling so far, mostly in the thigh area, but that's expected for the material, and it hasn't been too noticeable or extreme. But I've been enjoying them, and I find them comforting in this busy period at work where I don't get as much time to relax at home as I would like! 

* He'll have billed a little over 2,400 for 2019, mainly due to a trial. I'll likely come in right around 2,100 hours, which isn't at all extreme by biglaw standards, but is still substantial enough to make for a fairly busy year. Plus, my workflow was a bit less steady and predictable than his, so I had several weeks-long periods where I was on track for 2,400 hours or more

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