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Squirrels ate my wires, MSRPs are meaningless, and more.

Every other Thursday, I write a miscellany post, full of things just a bit too small to warrant their own post.

In this week’s edition, we have pesky rodents, a brownie recipe, a great article from the NY Times, and more.

Squirrels enjoy snacking on wires.


I mentioned on Facebook* the other day that squirrels had gotten inside of my van’s hood and chewed several wires.

(You don’t follow me on Facebook?   You’re missing out on SUCH exciting things, like hearing of my van’s rodent infestation!   😉 )

First, my radio stopped working and then the next week my VSC/ABS sensor warning light came on.   I opened my hood, and lo and behold, a vast collection of sticks and leaves greeted me.

I brought my van in to get looked at, and sure enough, they found chewing damage.

Darn squirrels.

Luckily, I heard that car insurance does actually cover rodent damage, and I discovered that our deductible was only $250 (I could have sworn it was $1000!).

Since a claim like this doesn’t increase our rates, we went ahead and filed, and that means this repair job is only costing us $250 instead of $750.

They checked ALL the other wires in my car to make sure nothing else was damaged, and thus far, all is well aside from the initial damage.

(Apparently Toyota uses soy-coated wires, which smell appetizing to rodents. So, we shall see if this happens again!   Please no, dear squirrels.)

I updated the not-from-a-mix brownie recipe with a PDF.

This week, a reader let me know that my easy brownie recipe didn’t have a printable PDF.   Oops.

I’d posted that recipe early on in my blogging days, when I had no idea how to make a PDF.   But I fixed it up now, and there’s a link to a handy-dandy printable now.

homemade brownie bites

These are seriously easy to make.   If you can operate a spoon and you have 10 minutes, you can get a pan in the oven.

(A great recipe for beginning kid bakers!)

List Prices Mean Nothing

A reader shared a great article from The New York Times about how list prices have essentially become meaningless.

It’s Discounted, but Is It a Deal How List Prices Lost Their Meaning - - Google Chrome 392016 10808 PM

When everything is discounted all the time, then you can’t rely on the discount percentage to let you know whether or not you got a bargain.

Fortunately, if you’re the sort of shopper who looks at how much you’re spending rather than how much you’re saving, then the useless MSRP/list prices won’t throw you off.

And luckily, in the internet age, it’s pretty easy to do a quick look-around to see if a price is a discount or not.

Quality Pays in the End

I love the graphic American Giant sent out this week, comparing what happens when you buy one sweatshirt and wear it for five years vs. buying a new one each year.




I feel like my American Giant hoodie is going to last a lot longer than five years, of course (I believe I’ve had mine for 3 years already).

But the point is that one expensive item is usually cheaper than five cheap ones that need to be replaced frequently.

And that’s true whether you’re talking about clothes or cookware or appliances or tools or really anything that you’d like to use for a long time.


And that wraps up this week’s edition of miscellany.   I’d love to hear your thoughts on these tidbits.

(especially if you have a rodent wire-chewing store.   Help me feel less alone!)

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Sunday 10th of April 2016

Still the BEST brownie recipe Ive made!!! They are my go to whenever I need to make a quick snack for the kids activities or a party!!!


Friday 11th of March 2016

I bought an American Giant sweatshirt a year ago because of your blog and I love it. Its made so well and I'm sure I'll have it for a long, long time. However, I'm still wearing a sweatshirt that I bought in 1998 from Target. My puppy at the time chewed a hole in the pocket and I never wanted to get rid of it because of that( he passed in 2012). I only wear it around the house when I'm cold, but I still have it. I still have a lot of sweatshirts that were made abroad. Furthermore, when I do get rid of clothes, I freecyle them or donate them to goodwill. I hope that other people are buying them and using them. I think AG's ad is somewhat misleading.


Thursday 10th of March 2016

I do believe that washing clothing has everything to do with the breakdown of the fibers. I try to buy quality clothing and I've had my levi jeans for 20 years now. The fraying on the pocket and the leg openings are normal I would think. There are certain brands that last us a long time.

I think that MSRP is useless as well. With haggling in this day and age (even in major stores), I don't think that ANY price tag matters. It's gotten to be that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

On the same subject, I've heard that a high FICO score gets you low rates on loans, mortgages, etc. I disagree. I've never noticed some incredible low rate for ANY loan and we're over 800. Besides, when we meet Peter at the pearly gates, is he going to CARE what our FICO score is? Does the highest score win?


Thursday 10th of March 2016

Thanks for the brownie post. I have it pinned on Pinterest, and use it often ;) So good and quick, and I like that it only makes 8x8 pan. I buy the small boxes of instant coffee bc the recipe uses so little, but the taste is worth it. A long sleeved shirt from Old Navy, bought in October as needed for a vacation outing (airboat ride in South Louisiana--a must do)...the shirt already has a hole! It will be kept for many years as a layering shirt, but still!


Thursday 10th of March 2016

We learned the quality issue with cookware. We have had to replace our non-stick pans every few years. I've been growing more and more concerned about ingesting the coating on non-stick cookware, but I thought that it would be impossible to cook things like omelets on anything else.

Boy was I wrong! I bought a heavy stainless frying pan from Ikea. It's rated as good as the All Clad pans and cost only $45. I learned how to season it and how to cook with it so things don't stick and don't burn. I am in love--wish I'd known this 30 years ago. This is BETTER than non-stick and I fully expect to leave this pan to my kids in my will.

I also dug up old cast iron pans my husband had before we married. I didn't grow up with my mom cooking in cast iron, so I had to learn how to season and use those, too. I like them very much, although the stainless steel pan is more versatile. Now that I have the new stainless and the cast iron pans well-seasoned, I feel like I have all brand new set of cookware for a total outlay of $45!


Thursday 10th of March 2016

I can't tell you the number of times I've thought, "Why didn't I realize this in my 20s? All the money I've wasted between then and now!"

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