Friday, March 21, 2014

"Crunchy" headlight defogging

We drive a completely paid off Mazda Protege that I bought brand in 2003.  My baby.  We have taken good care of it and it is a great car!  But... it is starting to show its age.  I have been thinking that my night vision is getting really bad because I have a hard time seeing while driving at night, but, after further consideration, I think it may just be time to de-fog the headlights.  They have gotten pretty cloudy, indeed.

After our last road trip we decided it might be time to do something about this.  The car wash place where we go offers this service for $45.  My hubby did some research and found out he could buy the supplies on e-bay for around $20.  We live on a budget (see my post on Nerd vs Free Spirit) so I didn't really like the idea of spending all this money to restore our headlights, even though it now seems to be a safety issue.  Hubs and I were talking and he offered that maybe toothpaste and baking soda would accomplish the same goal (I love my crunchy guy!).  I did a little research and found a lot of "home remedy" articles agreeing with him!  I took my research and his idea and we set to work (which means he did all the work and I got out the camera- thank you, honey!)

First, I went around the house and collected some toothpaste samples.  We use "crunchy, hippie" toothpaste, and I didn't want to "waste" it on this project.  Plus, all the recipes call for a white paste, and not a gel or anything else.  We (my husband and 4 year old son)  squeezed out all the paste into a bowl and mixed with baking soda and water to form a thick paste.  We then filled a separate bowl with water for the rinse and collected some old rags, a sponge and a toothbrush.  Ready to rock!

The basic process is, apply paste in circles like a wax, then rinse with damp cloth.  Repeat until you are happy with the results.

This first step took a whopping 5 minutes for one light and definitely made a difference (though I'm not sure you can tell it in the picture.)  But, I had also read that you could follow up with a vegetable oil polish for extra shine, and our 4 year old volunteered to apply the oil, in circles with a cloth.  Definitely improved things even more!  (Side note: we do NOT cook with vegetable oil, very bad for you, and I did not buy this oil, inherited it and it has come in handy for a few projects around the house...)

End result: shinier, more clear headlights ready to light our path!  We still need to take off the light covers and do the same process on the inside to get the full effect, but for a 15 minute 2 cent fix, I'd say job well done!  Yay for crunchy home remedies that work!  (And yay for hubby who gets as excited about this as I do!)  Let me know if you try this out, and if you have a crunchy home remedy that I should know about.  = )  Happy crunching!

Nerd vs Free Spirit

I have long considered myself a free spirit.  Those who know me would well concur.  I set my own pace to life, generally stray from the pack, and do my own thing to my own tune, dancing along the way.  I even have the t-shirt.  You can imagine how shocked I was to recently discover that I am actually a nerd.  Yup.  Fully so.  Scored 100% on the nerd test and everything.  How is this possible?

You see, hubs and I are in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and he believes all people are either Nerds or Free Spirits, or on some continuum between the two when it comes to money and how we deal with it.  There is a quiz to see where you fall to help you figure out what your role is and how to play off each other's strengths, and to balance each other's weaknesses. Without hesitation I was straight down the line full on Nerd.  Wow!  It is true though.  I LOVE balancing the checkbook.  I get a sort of giddy delight when everything balances out the zero.  I like to be right and I like to be perfect and I like to be in control, traits that can be hard to manage in life, but apparently come in quite handy when it comes to mundane things like budgeting.  I say mundane a little jokingly here, apparently most people don't like the "B word".  Did I mention I love spreadsheets, too?  Columns, sums, color coded areas.... mmmm, almost as good as a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning, or any morning for that matter.  = )

Ok, so I'm a Nerd, big deal.  It gets crazier.  My husband, the tie wearing business man financial advisor who loves analyzing and researching things with names like "prospectus" (eeewwww), he, HE is a Free Spirit!  I know, totally nuts, right?!  Surprised us both.  But here again, we see deep truth.  At our home, I am the one who keeps the checkbook, I check our bank balance and manage the upcoming bills, I make and relish in the budget spreadsheet and email him the "everything's good" report.  And here's the great thing: he is grateful for it.  You see, he has his hands full with running his business, helping families realize their financial goals and dreams.  He is an amazing big picture person.  He takes care of our long-term needs like making sure our family is protected with proper life and health insurance coverage, and putting plans in place for college and retirement.  He helps me to dream big, to let go a little and enjoy the moment, to splurge on little treats every once in a while.  And I am grateful to him for those things and the balance he brings to our marriage.

So, at the end of the day, I am happy to say, that overall, I am a Free Spirited Nerd, or a Nerdy Free Spirit, seeking the balance that makes life work, staying present in the moment while ever striving for the best.  Whoever you are, Nerd or Free Spirit or somewhere in between, rejoice, celebrate your strengths, and find someone in life to balance you out.