7 Quick Takes about FitBit, couch rejection, and an important lesson about letting your spouse know if you leave pipe valves open
I hope everyone has emerged unscathed from the cold front that swept through pretty much everywhere earlier this week. Our own temperatures dipped well into the “People Who Live in Fear of Scorpions in their Beds at Night Should Not Have to Deal with This” range, and we had to make sure to keep all our faucets dripping most nights. I forget what houses in the northern climes have that prevent ice from bursting their pipes, but whatever it is, we don’t have it here.
On Tuesday morning I was standing in the kitchen when I suddenly heard water rushing. I followed the sound to discover a small river bursting from our outside spigot — which is not what you want to see the night after a hard freeze.
I called Joe at work but he didn’t answer. Then I called Yaya, my mom, and my dad, and they all agreed: our pipes burst. There could be no other explanation.
I called off homeschool for the day, canceled plans, and set about dealing with the emergency. Yaya rushed over to find the water shutoff valve while I tried again to get in touch with Joe, who was stuck in client meetings. Yaya and I couldn’t find the valve, so we called my dad. I blew up the phones to try to find a plumber who could get here within the next few days while Yaya started preparations for us to be without running water. My dad arrived and resumed the hunt for the main water valve.
As I picked up the phone to call another plumber, my dad walked in looking mildly startled. He explained that the pipes hadn’t burst; someone had turned on the outside spigot. I asked all the kids if they had done it, but they all said no. (Nobody even asked if it was me, since it would not occur to anyone that I would be outside and messing around with water in freezing weather.) Yaya and my dad left, all of us scratching our heads about how this could have happened.
A while later, Joe finally got out of meetings and called me back. When I explained what had happened, he said, “Oh. Yeah. I turned the water on.” Before he left for work he’d tested the spigot and nothing came out, so he left it open in case it helped the ice move. He forgot to mention it, and evidently it all came loose just before he went into his marathon of client meetings.
So…that was an eventful start to our week.
We finally got a new couch. To refresh your memory, Joe and I made the fateful mistake of buying a white living room set when we were first married. We also managed to get a model that has non-removable cushions and secret crevasses that open up to an interior pit that serves as a collection pool for crumbs and dust, also known as Carpet Beetles’ Delight.
Even after we dealt with the carpet beetle feeding trough situation, it was getting so hard to keep it looking clean that we considered getting rid of the couch even before we could afford a new one, perhaps throwing some pillows on the floor and telling people we’re in a Japanese phase.
Mercifully, my mom offered to help us replace the couch as a Christmas present, and we went to Ikea and got a new living room set. Here’s the before and after:
It is startling how much of a difference it makes to my wellbeing to come downstairs each morning to a nice-looking living room.
We were left with the prospect of figuring out what to do with the old couch, so we called Salvation Army to offer it as a donation. When the truck arrived to pick it up, I was giddy at the prospect of finally having this albatross out of my garage. But the driver took one look at it and refused to take it.
It tells you a lot about our lives that the furniture that was at the very center of our home is not good enough for the Salvation Army.
My birthday is this weekend. The main reason that is noteworthy is because I got a FitBit One as an early present! It’s a little device that you put in your pocket or clip to your clothes and it gives you all this great data about how active you are, how many steps you take each day, etc. You can even give it weight loss goals and it will dynamically recommend calorie intakes based on your activity level.
Between looking at my friends’ data and browsing the #fitbit hashtag on Instagram, I was startled by how low my step counts are. In fact, it’s kind of impressive that with six kids I’m managing to log only two or three “active” minutes per day. It makes me think that I’m using this thing all wrong. I need to stop going against my nature and start setting goals that I can actually get excited about, like how few steps I can take each day.
I can see it now: the kids ask me what’s for dinner, and I respond by pointing at my FitBit and saying, “You guys are on your own tonight — trying to keep it under 2,000 steps today.”
Oh my gosh. I just had the BEST idea EVER. You know what we need? An app that combines InstaWeather with FitBit, so that you can post pictures to Instagram that contain both weather and activity data. I know, I know, you thought that it could not possibly get any more exciting than Instaweather — I didn’t either. But why confine ourselves to adding only one type of data to our selfies? If it’s thrilling to let people know that your picture was taken when it’s 58 degrees with 68.4% humidity, how much more thrilling would it be to let them know that you also climbed 4.3 flights of stairs so far that day?
Some enterprising app developer needs to get on this immediately. I want InstaFitWeather available for download by next month.
While we’re on the subject of great gifts, one of my favorite things that we gave the kids for Christmas was this shadow puppet set:
Anything that entertains kids of all ages at night without involving glowing screens is a huge win in my book.
Hallie and I are going to have some exciting updates about the conference pretty soon! We’ve had some logistical issues to hammer out, which took a particularly long time since we both had zero bandwidth during Advent and Christmas, but things are back on track now and we should be able to release all sorts of great details soon. I’m excited!
Hope you all have a great weekend.