Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by for the transcript of Episode 32. If you’d rather listen to this episode than read 8,000 words, you can click the player below or learn how to get them on your phone (for free) here.
Sherry: Hey guys! This week’s episode is brought to you by Minted, an online marketplace of independent artists that uses design competitions to uncover the art that its customers love the most.
John: But as we learned from talking to one of their artists, there’s another side of those competitions too. More on that later in the episode along with a 15 percent off discount code.
[ad music ends, intro music begins]
John: I’m John.
Sherry: And I’m Sherry.
John: We like home stuff.
Sherry: We like talking.
John: And we like the occasional game show sound effect. So welcome to kokokara Has A Podcast. Where we have deep and not-so-deep conversations about DIY, design, and life at home.
Sherry: Today we’re sharing how a local realtor reined in one of my harebrained renovation ideas. We divulge each other’s weirdest household habits, and we share what well-loved cleaning gadget did us dirty.
[intro music ends]
John: Hey Sherry!
Sherry: Hello John…. what are we doing here? [laughing]
John: We are recording a podcast, and you’re telling us what’s new.
Sherry: So, my friend’s a realtor and she was actually dropping by to get John and I to sign a book for her, and she hadn’t seen our kitchen and being a realtor, she was like “Oh, so did you go with this or that?” And I was like “Do you want to see upstairs? We finished the bonus room.” I suddenly wanted her to talk me through the whole house. And she said “Sure I don’t have anything to do.” And it was actually perfect timing because I’ve been thinking a lot about redoing our master bathroom – not that it’s happening imminently!
John: It sounded like you were going to say, “Because I’ve been thinking about putting the house on the market.”
Sherry: No! No, no, no – NEVER! She even said that. She’s like, “You know you’d get so much more!” She was saying that a comp in the area puts our house at $200,000 more than we paid for it.
Sherry: I know, I didn’t even tell you that.
Sherry: I know, it’s amazing! Well, one of our neighbors has a very similar house, and it sold for full asking price.
John: [sarcastically] And it’s gold plated!
Sherry: Well, it’s not even brick, so she said ours potentially could even be worth more because of our location and the brick siding might add more value to it.
John: Hmmm! I’m gonna stew on this!
Sherry: [laughing] But I’m never selling! But anyway, she said …
John: What if we sell but we don’t move out of it?
Sherry: [laughing] That’s a good idea. We convey! Isn’t that what they call it?
John: Right, exactly!
Sherry: All the light fixtures convey – and us!
John: You get the appliances and the humans.
Sherry: [laughs] Exactly! But anyway, I took her up to the bathroom and I was like, “We’re going to redo the bathroom at some point we think this year. What do you think about these two options? We know we’re knocking down one wall to open up the two smaller bathroom areas into one big bathroom.”
John: Yeah, it’s kind of like compartmentalized with a vanity area and then the shower/toilet and a secondary vanity.
Sherry: Right, and we’re like “Why isn’t there a double sink?” There’s one sink separated by a wall with another sink, so it’s very cramped feeling and broken up. And there’s a door in the middle of everything swinging and messing everything up.
John: It is lacking flow.
Sherry: Exactly. It doesn’t make much sense to anyone who sees it. So she was like, “Yeah, this makes no sense. Definitely take that wall down.” There was no debate. The debate happened when I was like, “So sometimes I dream about having a big soaker tub.” Because I actually dream about having a jacuzzi because I like all of the hotness.
Sherry: So since a hot tub doesn’t seem very likely I keep thinking, “Well, do I just want a bathtub that I can make really hot and lay in it like a lizard?” But the only way that we could fit a bath and a shower I think is to steal our walk-in closet. So therein lies the debate. I said to her, “Would you – this is just your opinion, I’m not going to hold you to it – but do you think it would take away from the value of our house if we took the walk-in closet away, put a big soaker tub with like a chandelier, maybe even popped a window in there to add more light and made one a giant bathroom but then we’d lose the closet?” So what I was thinking with the closet is we could do built-ins sort of around the bed, not dissimilar to our first house.
John: Right, kind of like our first house.
Sherry: Exactly. We did wardrobes on either side of the bed back then so the bed looked built in – it was in a nook. It was cute. And I think that helped sell the house. I mean, it was extra storage.
John: Yes, but that’s a house that only had one tiny closet, not a walk-in closet.
Sherry: Right. And that’s exactly what she said to me.
John: Oh good!
Sherry: She said, “In this neighborhood, people want a walk-in closet in their master. And it’s what they expect. It’s normal for the neighborhood. It’s not an extra to have one – it’s expected. And if you took away the master walk-in closet to have a tub … some people don’t even use a tub.”
Sherry: “So most people would prefer the walk-in closet over the tub. And I think you’d hurt yourself resale-wise.” She said, “In the city in a smaller house lacking storage, it might be a selling feature to add built-ins in the bedroom to have more storage.” And she even pointed out in our son’s room where we added some built-ins, that was still value-adding because there was a small closet in there.
John: Right, his is not a walk-in.
Sherry: She just said in lieu of a walk in closet, it does not equal that to add built-ins around a bed in a master because people want to walk in, they want a different zone, they want a place to put all their shoes out of the way – yada, yada, yada. So she said it was not even close. I sort of thought she’d walk the fence – like she’d say, “Either one would be great. I trust you guys, it will be great.” So it was kind of funny when she was like, “Don’t do it!” [laughing]
John: Well, I’m glad she put her foot down on it.
Sherry: To me, it’s essentially like we stay with the footprint of our shower/tub now which is not a soaker tub, it’s not big enough – which is not a solution to me. I’d rather just have a shower in that space than the tub.
John: Right, me too.
Sherry: So I think I’m back to, “Let’s make a really nice closet with systems and built-ins, and that will feel nice and luxurious.” And I’m sure once we knock the wall down in the bathroom that divides the two sinks that will feel bigger. The light will flood into both spaces, and hopefully we’ll be satisfied even if it’s just with a shower and we don’t have a tub.
John: I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a hot shower.
Sherry: Yeah, I know. And I can make it super hot.
John: You do make it super hot. Well on the flip side of being hot [Sherry laughs] my “What’s New” is about being cold.
Because I mentioned a couple of episodes ago in passing when we were talking about resolutions that I like to do these micro month-long resolutions instead of yearly ones because that’s too long of a picture for me to kind of wrap my head around. That’s why I do Aquatober where I just drink water in the month of October, because I can handle it for 31 days.
And the thing I mentioned is that I’m doing this thing this month, in January, where I’m trying to run every single day. It’s something I did a couple of years ago just randomly where I was like, “I need to get back in the habit. What’s going to force me to keep running?” And so I said, “I’m going to run at least a mile every day. I’m not doing these long crazy runs, but I’m at least getting out there for around 10 minutes and running a mile.” And the thing that has been nice about it for me is as someone who enjoys running but doesn’t do it as much as I would like to, it gets me over my excuses. Because if I do it in January, I sort of have to overcome any hesitations about going out when it’s cold or dark or rainy and also making sure I have the gear to do it as well so that I’m encouraged the rest of the year to get out even if it’s after dinner or if it’s a little bit colder than I’d like it to be.
Sherry: Didn’t you once run around a hotel or something because you had to get your mile in? [laughing]
John: Did I?
Sherry: I feel like we were out somewhere, or you were on a business trip somewhere and you were like, “I got my run in but I couldn’t go outside.”
John: It turns into a lot of like “the kids have gone to bed, and we’re trying to wind down – Sherry, just give me 15 minutes. I will be back!” [laughs]
Sherry: He just dashes out the door. Fifteen minutes later he’s back. It’s fine. I’m always like “Put the flashing light and reflectors on!” Because that’s my fear because it’s very dark.
John: When I did it two years ago, it was enough reason for me to make sure I had a good reflective jacket and I had a light to put on my shoe. Those are things I didn’t have so they were reasons why I could make excuses to not run.
Sherry: Right. And now you’re super bright and easy to spot!
John: Yeah, well and last year I tried to do it but I got sick a few days into it, and I’m someone who once I break a streak I have trouble getting back into it. I want by the end of it to be able to say I did the WHOLE thing.
Sherry: You want the glory or you’re over it.
Sherry: It’s like when I served you a Sprite at a wedding and I broke Aquatober for you, you couldn’t just get back on the wagon and act like I didn’t break it.
John: Oh, you ruined Aquatober! You broke my year when I was trying to do a year!
John: I had made it to June!
Sherry: You were like, “Oh well, I broke it. I better have seven more! Glug, glug, glug!” [makes gulping sounds]
John: Exactly! Like “well, here we go!”
Sherry: [laughs] And so the streak was broken.
John: Well, enough of my weirdness because I have a quiz for you, my dear.
[old school quiz music]
This is the part of the show we often call “What’s Not” because I like to give Sherry a list of things in a certain category – some are real, some are fake., and she has to tell me what’s real and what’s not.
Sherry: And I’m reasonably bad at it.
John: I think you’ll be good at this one. Maybe. Ah, spoke too soon.
Sherry: [laughing] You think I’ll be bad at this one?! Lay it on me, honey!
John: I turned back on that decision quickly. This comes from an article from Elle Decor because they did an article recently based on a study from Zillow about the most regretted home improvement projects.
Sherry: Oh, like people do them and then wish they hadn’t?
John: This survey by Zillow said that one in three DIYers end up with regrets after attempting some common upgrades.
Sherry: That’s a big percentage!
John: I’m like “only one in three?!”
Sherry: Oh see, I’m the opposite. I’m like, “Really?!” I feel like once people are outside of it – like they get through it – they’re happy they did it. It’s just in the middle that they hate it.
John: Well they rounded up the top 10 most regretted home improvement projects. I’m going to give you five. Only four are real, and you have to name the fake.
John: Number one: refinishing cabinets. Number two: hanging wallpaper.
Sherry: These are both yesses.
John: Number three: installing hardwood floors.
Sherry: I don’t know…
John: Number four: adding a backsplash.
Sherry: That’s easy! Really?!
John: And number five: building a deck.
Sherry: I think adding a backsplash is the plant. Of all those, adding a backsplash is easy. Everyone at home – if you are listening – if you are wondering if you can add a backsplash, you can do it. You can completely do it. I feel like that is on a different plane than the rest of them. You also can paint your cabinets. I just hear from lots of people who don’t like it. But I’m saying: adding a backsplash.
John: You are saying something… that’s wrong! [womp womp sound effect]
Sherry: Oh! Wait, don’t tell me! Don’t tell me! It is… what was the one before adding a backsplash?
John: Installing hardwood floors.
Sherry: Yeah, let’s do that one.
John: No, let’s not… because that’s wrong, too. [womp womp sound effect]
Sherry: [laughs] You thought I’d be bad at this and you’re right.
John: I’m right!
Sherry: What is it?
John: Hanging wallpaper.
Sherry: Really? So, people don’t regret that?
John: Well, I can’t say that. It was not on the list.
Sherry: Oh, okay.
John: I added that. It’s actually the one thing on the list I think we haven’t done.
Sherry: No we did it for the second book!
John: Oh you’re right! We DID hang wallpaper!
Sherry: And it wasn’t hard so I should’ve known that.
John: I DIDN’T regret that!
Sherry: It’s not hard, guys. Especially if it’s pre-pasted so it already has the glue on it, and you just activate it with a wet sponge. That’s what we did. And we only did an accent wall in a very small room, but it was super simple.
John: [laughs] See, I remember all these other things because I had little regrets about them. I didn’t regret the wallpaper.
Sherry: Oh, so what are your regrets?
John: You really want to talk about my regrets building a deck? [laughs]
Sherry: Oh, that’s true! I knew the answer to that one. Also, irrigation system?
John: Or installing hardwood floors?
Sherry: Oh, I liked the hardwood floors. What do you regret?
John: Um, that it killed my back? There’s a post about this, Sherry.
Sherry: I know you didn’t like doing it, but you don’t regret the outcome.
John: I don’t regret doing it. No.
Sherry: I thought it meant like when it’s done you’re unhappy with the finished product.
John: I don’t think that’s exactly what they’re implying. But they do give some detail on why these things made the list. Do you want to hear them?
John: So refinishing cabinetry, they said it’s something that people regret because it’s challenging for people who aren’t fully prepared for the time commitment.
Sherry: Okay, that’s what we always try to tell people. Dude. It takes forever. And we also say, “Don’t do those shortcuts. Don’t go on Pinterest and read about how to paint your cabinets without sanding. You should sand.”
John: Right. Exactly. Installing hardwood floors: they said it can be costly and time consuming if you don’t pay attention to detail like removing or undercutting doors and baseboards.
Sherry: Of course.
John: So I think a lot of these share the theme that they can take longer or they can be more complicated or they can have some hiccups if you don’t really take your time with them. That’s why people are regretting because they think they’re going to be fast and easy. They said for adding or replacing a kitchen backsplash, people regret it because not prepping the surface like fully removing old tiling or grout can lead to sloppy result.
Sherry: I don’t know about this…
John: And then building a deck they said since safety and support are so key to it, large projects that take more than weekend are probably best to hire at a pro.
Sherry: Which you might agree.
John: I totally agree with that.
Sherry: Right. You’re glad you did it but you’d never do it again. Right? Is that where you are?
John: Yes. I’m glad I did it but I would not want to do it again. That’s what a lot of these things probably would be. You know building a deck, refinishing cabinets I don’t mind doing, but it’s not something I look forward to doing.
Sherry: All of this is sort of annoying because there’s minutia involved especially the prepping and the early stages of taking a room apart to put it back together.
John: Yeah. So I’ll put a link to the full list on kokokara.info/podcast in this episode’s show notes. There we’ll also put a poll. Remember how we do those?
Sherry: Yes! We need to bring the polls back! We want to hear from you guys.
John: I’ll put all 10 of these things on here, and you guys vote for the ones that you’ve regretted if you’ve done them.
Sherry: Right. So biggest regrets – we’re going to find out which one wins.
John: Okay, what do we have next?
Sherry: We have a question we got from a girl named Casey via email. We thought it would be a good one to answer because it has to do with the quirks of living in your home. She says: “Hi John and Sherry. I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog, and I’m now loving your podcasts. You guys keep me company on my long runs. One thing I thought would be super fun to hear about from you guys is what house or decor quirks you found out about when you met each other – things you didn’t know other people did that have now become a part of how your house operates. For example, my husband found it weird that I like to have a clock in the bathroom. Now that we’ve lived together, he loves it and hates when there isn’t a clock in the bathroom to keep track of time. On the flip side, he likes to keep a dishpan of soapy water in the sink at all times to help with quick cleanups. I now do the same thing. I line the cookie jar with plastic bags to keep treats fresh. He thought it was super strange but now he gets it. You get the idea. Maybe something fun you could chat about. Take care, Casey.”
John: That’s funny!
Sherry: I know I was like “maybe we’re not quirky at all” and then I thought for five minutes and I was like, “yep, we’re quirky.”
John: Yeah but I’m trying to think of things that I…
Sherry: I can name a bunch of your quirks right now.
John: Well, I can name a bunch of your quirks too, missy.
Sherry: [laughs] Is that how we’re going to play this?
John: Yeah I think so. I was trying to think of things from when we met in our first apartment, but I can’t go that far back.
Sherry: No, I think it’s as we became homeowners.
John: Okay. So should we just put each other on blast right now?
Sherry: Let’s lay it out there.
John: Okay, ladies first.
Sherry: So John keeps his running clothes in a drawer in the office.
John: I do. I’m not ashamed of that fact.
Sherry: So there are files and tax stuff, and then there’s a drawer of running pants and socks and gloves – there are hats.
John: The reason for this is because I often exercise in the morning, and I don’t want to make a ruckus upstairs.
Sherry: [laughs] He’s a very loud changer.
Sherry: He likes to slink downstairs super sneaky style and then get dressed in the office.
John: Yeah, so it made sense to keep all of my running clothes downstairs. So I have a drawer in those big, metal Ikea shelves in our office. I have one drawer that’s dedicated to my clothes – my athletic clothes.
Sherry: Right. Not your work clothes or anything else. It’s just gym and running clothes.
John: It does lead to some awkward things because occasionally I will leave the clothes that I discard just around.
Sherry: Right, like once I had a girl come from Craigslist to pick something up, and she walked into the foyer and I handed everything to her and got the money and then I closed the door and I spun around and I realized John’s pants were on the ground in the office, and it just looked weird like a man disrobed right there in the middle of the office and just walked away leaving the pants there.
John: That’s pretty much what happened. [Sherry laughs] In the cloak of darkness at 5:30 in the morning. Okay, I have to do one of yours. Well, a weird thing about Sherry …
Sherry: [laughs] What is this going to be?
John: … is that she sleeps with a teddy bear. And this is not something from when we met.
Sherry: No, this is from pregnancy!
Sherry: It’s a support teddy bear!
[John and Sherry laugh]
John: I think it’s now just emotional support.
Sherry: It was for certain parts of my body that ached, and I would shove it under there and it would be like supporting the back or the knees.
John: Was this with your first pregnancy?
Sherry: Yeah! So like 2010!
John: I think it was a teddy bear intended for our baby…
Sherry: [cracking up] That I totally stole! I was like, I’ll use that for the baby while the baby is still inside because I have to sleep every night with this baby inside.
John: So, what, you were tucking it between your knees and stuff to align your spine?
Sherry: Yeah, between my knees or under my legs. There are certain positions you’re not supposed to sleep in when you’re pregnant and others that are better, and I would use the teddy bear as a wedge!
John: But guess what? It’s been, what, six some years? Bear still sleeps with us.
Sherry: He has a name!
John: He has a name! [John and Sherry crack up]
Sherry: His name is Bearger. Because there’s Burger, the dog, and Bearger, the bear. And I’ve grown quite attached.
Sherry: I still use him in a support position.
John: Sure, sure.
Sherry: He’s not for snuggling.
John: Literally, even last night we were going to bed and Sherry was like “ Where’s Bearger? Where’s Bearger?” I had to get out of bed because he had fallen on the floor and retrieve Bearger.
Sherry: I feel like the examples of putting soapy water in the sink make more sense than sleeping with a teddy bear.
John: I think we’ve maybe taken this in a different direction.
Sherry: I thought you were going to say the toothbrush and toothpaste one.
John: Yeah, I’ve got that one too. Around our house in the living room and kitchen, Sherry has just various personal care things stashed [Sherry cracks up] So in our kitchen in one of the drawers she’s got a toothbrush and toothpaste, which is ever since …
Sherry: It’s new! It’s Invisalign related.
John: Yeah, so that makes a little sense.
Sherry: You have to brush your teeth every five minutes for the Invisalign, guys!
John: But also in there is lip gloss and nail clippers?
Sherry: And an eyebrow plucker. What’s that called? Tweezers! [laughs] Because at any moment, I might need to groom myself!
John: In one of the drawers under the TV, she’s got a hairbrush and a head scratcher?
Sherry: A head scratcher’s the best! Who bought me the head scratcher?
Sherry: No, I think you did!
John: Did I?
Sherry: Because you know me!
John: It’s just one of those wire things that looks like a – I don’t even know what shape that is – a squid?
Sherry: Yeah, just like a squid! And we’ll be watching TV, and I’ll be like, “ John, can you get me my head scratcher please?”
John: I spend a good deal of the evening just retrieving these various things when Sherry needs them. Like, “Ugh! I need the nail clippers from the kitchen.”
Sherry: Because this is a dual quirk! In our house if the dog is on you, you are rendered incapable of moving. So a lot of times I’ll be on the couch with a blanket on my lap. You know, it’s the evening. We’ve put the kids to bed. I settle in, the dog gets on my lap, and then anything I need I’ll be like, “John the dog’s on me so I can’t get up.” And he will dutifully do it. And you know what? When the dog is on John, I get up.
Sherry: I do. It’s an equal opportunity ‘out.’ If the dog is on you, you may not move.
John: Okay, what’s something else? I feel like we’ve been married so long that all these things seem normal, and they probably to an outside person would seem weird. Like we need someone else to do this segment. Well, I think it’s kind of weird that we keep our dog crate and dog food in our closet, right?
Sherry: Yeah that’s weird because I think most people do like a mudroom or a laundry room or a kitchen.
Sherry: He just likes his crate in a very tucked away spot. And we have so many friends over with their kids who sort of mess with the dog that we wanted to give him a haven that’s away from everyone.
John: In our first house it was in a guest closet.
Sherry: Right. He’s always liked to have his own space far away, not like in the main area.
John: Chihuahuas are burrowing dogs. [Sherry laughs] They like to be kind of in their own cave.
John: Actually, we started putting the food in the closet when our kids started getting mobile because we thought it would keep them away from it. It used to be in the kitchen.
Sherry: And also, now it just feels like the food should be near that crate. I don’t know why we ever had that separated. And we did. At one point we had the food in the living room of our first house and the crate in the guest room of our first house which couldn’t be further apart if you looked at the floor plan.
John: It does sometimes mean that I also have a canister of dog food on our dresser. It’s in a white nice Ikea canister.
Sherry: In the closet on the dresser. Not like on a dresser in the bedroom.
John: Yes, but occasionally if I have to refill it the closet kind of smells like dog food.
Sherry: It’s an earthy smell.
John: Yeah,so that’s weird.
Sherry: That is weird. I mean, you have to keep it somewhere right?
John: Well, the other weird dog thing is that occasionally we’ll just find an old water bottle filled with pennies in our house.
Sherry: That’s called “the shaker.” And we use that because Burger is extremely barkey, like one of the barkiest dogs in the world. [laughs]
John: Yes, he’s gotten louder with age.
Sherry: He’s grouchy and barkey. And so he will bark at people he knows and loves. He sees them every week and sits on their laps, but he’ll bark at them. So we keep the shaker because we learned from a trainer that dogs don’t like the sound of pennies hitting each other, like change shaking around. But it’s not like a shocker or anything that physically hurts them – they just don’t like the sound. So if he’s really barkey, we will shake the shaker and say, “Quiet, quiet, quiet!” and it sort of cues him to be quiet.
John: So we have to keep a bottle with change in it near the doors. [laughs]
Sherry: Yeah, I feel like we the weird thing about us is we have this lingo like we’ll be like “Where’s Bearger!” or “Get the shaker!”
Sherry: I also had rice sock, which if ever I said to John, “Can you heat up rice sock?’” That sounds weird, but it’s the lingo we used for a sock I filled with rice and used to heat in the microwave and sit on the couch with it on my lower back when it was sore from all of my DIYing or whatever it was.
John: I don’t even know where you got that idea, but then they actually mentioned that in a Geico ad recently as a tip.
Sherry: Yeah they’re like “Tip: you can heat up rice or beans in a sock and make a heating pad.” I was like, “Geico, I’ve been doing this for years.”
John: Yeah, I think the weirdest thing about that is it would usually stay on the couch. We’d forget sometimes and my parents would come over to babysit, and they’d be like, “What is this thing?”
Sherry: A bloated sock full of rice! [laughs]
John: Yeah, and it’s heavy too!
Sherry: It is. You look at it and you’re like “Is this a stress ball or a stress log?”
John: I feel like we’re just slowly revealing the things that are always slightly off-camera.
Sherry: Right, like you won’t see this in the pictures on Instagram, but there’s probably a rice sock to the side. And John’s pants are in the office! [laughs] One thing I think is weird that you might not realize is weird is I keep my makeup in the car.
John: Oh yeah. No, I think that’s weird.
Sherry: Like zero makeup is in my house at any time. It’s in the car because I’m either going somewhere, and I’m putting it on on the way because I’m never on top of my life! I’m always running behind, so John typically drives and I typically am in the passenger side. So in the passenger side door there’s my makeup. And if I’m in the house and I need makeup, it’s very easy to just duck out into the garage and grab it out of the car. For me, that has made it so much better than having my makeup in the house and going somewhere and on the way being like, “Dang it! I wish I had my make up and could do it in the car.” So it has just become a thing I keep in the car.
John: It it does lead to weird moments, like the other day we were going to a holiday party in the neighborhood so it was like a three-minute drive! [Sherry laughs] And Sherry’s like “I’ll just do my makeup on the way.” I was like “will you just go and start now?”
Sherry: It’s pitch dark in the car. [laughs]
John: You go and sit in the garage and do your makeup in the car using the tiny mirror.
Sherry: And I did it, and it was fine. I don’t wear that much makeup, so it takes about three minutes.
John: I was going to say, this might shock most people that you have makeup that fits only in a tiny bag.
Sherry: Yeah, it’s tiny! All the makeup I own in my whole life fits in a little – what would you call that – it’s almost a pencil case. It’s like a small, zippered bag.
John: I’m sure there are tons of other ones we are not thinking of.
Sherry: You don’t realize you’re weird until someone else says it’s weird.
John: It’s hard to realize your own quirks. I feel like the people listening are probably like “well, this is weird about you. This is weird. I remember you posting about this, and that was weird.”
Sherry: Yeah, the one bra blew everyone’s mind!
John: That’s true.
Sherry: Oh! I know one is that we keep our socks downstairs in the mudroom with the shoes.
John: Oh yeah.
Sherry: Not ours because we mostly come downstairs wearing whatever we’re going to wear.
John: Mine are in the office.
Sherry: Right, exactly! [laughs] But we realized really early on getting the kids out the door with their shoes – it was like “go get your socks and shoes on.” And if our daughter had to traipse upstairs to get her socks, and our son wasn’t even really capable of retrieving his, it was a lot faster to just keep the socks in a basket in the mudroom by the door with the shoes in a different basket. So they’re both easy to grab and they’re out the door.
John: I’m realizing there’s a surprising amount of laundry we have to bring downstairs.
Sherry: It’s true! Now that we bring the socks and we bring the dish towels down…
John: And I bring all my athletic clothes.
Sherry: Yeah. Oh I have one! I’m about call you out.
John: Oh no!
Sherry: Your weird lurking in the dark while showering. [laughs]
John: [laughs] That sounds really bad. No! What you mean is I often don’t turn the lights on when I shower myself.
Sherry: Right, because you’re lurking around in the dark!
John: I’m not lurking in the dark while other people are showering.
Sherry: No, you’re lurking by yourself while showering.
John: You can’t lurk at yourself! No! It’s because our bathroom is weird, and on one light switch the lights are around the corner of the vanity, so they don’t really illuminate the shower that much.
Sherry: Right. And the other one controls the vent fan which John doesn’t like to use while showering!
John: It is so loud! You can’t hear anything happening outside of the bathroom.
Sherry: But I like it to be my own cocoon. I turn on ALL the light switches! All the lights are on and the fan is on, and I’m in my own little world. And John’s in the dark, lurking around.
John: I was trying to get your attention the other night because I needed something from our bathroom for the kids taking a bath, and you had locked the door. I was knocking.
Sherry: I was like, “Go away! I’ve got the vent on! It means ‘see you later!’”
John: I’m sure there are others that we are forgetting and we will remember another day. Maybe there will be an update, but I feel like this is an opportunity for us to get some call-ins again.
Sherry: Yeah. Tell us what you guys do that’s weird because I’m sure we’re forgetting things. And also, I like laughing at other people’s weirdness, so please share. [laughs]
John: Make us feel more normal. So just like we did with the New Year’s resolutions a few weeks ago, give us a ring at 571-4-YHLHAP and just leave us a quick voicemail about what is your or your spouse’s weird home quirk.
Sherry: And I think it actually could be educational or helpful in some cases. I do think putting the socks in the mudroom with the shoes is helpful! If you have kids you’re always trying to get out the door…
John: You’re trying to spin this into a tip, aren’t you?
Sherry: I’m just trying to think about how some of this is just random and nobody wants to do it, but other things you might hear and say, “That’s actually a good idea.” Like when I heard about putting a clock in the bathroom I thought “well I just use my cell phone so that isn’t something that I need” but hearing about lining the cookie jar with a bag to keep things fresher I’m like “oh yeah, fresh is always good.” So maybe there are things we can all adopt.
John: Just be sure in your message to leave your name and where you’re calling from at the beginning like, “Hi this is John from Richmond, Virginia.” Or if it’s SO embarrassing you don’t want to use your real name, use a fake one. We won’t know.
Sherry: Yeah, you can be like “This is Nemo from Fishville.”
John: [laughs] Okay, I might figure that one out as a fake! [Sherry laughs] And hopefully we’ll get enough that we can play some updates in the future episode and embarrass more of you.
Sherry: Yeah, we’ll take the spotlight off us!
John: Okay, well before we get into our “We’re Digging” let’s take a quick break.
Sherry: So as you guys heard this episode is brought to you by Minted, an online marketplace full of art, stationery, and decor that’s driven by its love of independent artists no matter where they live in the world.
John: One unique feature of Minted is these ongoing design competitions where basically the customers get to vote on which art gets sold on the site. I had always understood why they were cool for us, the shoppers, but I never really stopped to think about how the artists felt about it.
Sherry: Yeah, so it was fun to ask one of their artists, Melanie Severin, and we called her all the way up in northern Canada to see what she thought.
Melanie: The competitions that they host are so fascinating because there are all of these artists and designers that are competing with one another and yet they’re also talking to each other and helping each other and providing feedback and advice. So I got swept up in that whole scene instantly. For me, I live in such a rural area. There’s not a lot of other artists and designers. So to be able to be exposed to this whole other community of like-minded people – of artists – it was so crucial for me to be able to have that to continue with what I was doing.
Sherry: You can browse, shop, and even vote on your favorite designs by visiting minted.com/YHL. You can also see Melanie Severin’s work there along with some other awesome artists from the Minted community.
John: Don’t forget, new customers can score 15% off any art order with the code YHL15. That’s YHL15 and it’s good through January 31.
[ad music ends]
John: I’ve actually got an “Anti-Digging” this week.
Sherry: So ominous!
John: Yes! But first the music.
[funky fresh beat that just makes you wanna dance]
John: Okay, so for this week’s “We’re Digging” you know we’re always talking about things that we like, that we bought, or we admired or whatever. And this is a product that we have owned, and we didn’t have so much luck with it. And I thought it might be worth sharing. So, like three years ago we bought a Roomba. It was at the recommendation of some readers who were like “I love my Roomba.”
Sherry: Yeah, everyone loved it!
John: And I’d always been curious about it – you know me and these geeky, tech things – and we bought it. I photographed myself unwrapping it because I assumed I’d be writing a blog post about it.
Sherry: Right. And we got it through Costco with your mom’s membership to save money. We were trying to do it in a way that it was affordable, and we couldn’t wait to wax poetic about it. And then …
John: And then I never really could find myself liking it?! And we generally don’t like to talk about things that we don’t like because I don’t want to put people on blast, but it’s been bugging me lately that I feel like this is a product that everyone loves, and I want to talk through my sticking points with it to see if maybe I’m just crazy and we had a weird experience with it. Or maybe these are some problems that other people have had too?
Sherry: I just think it’s one of those things where in certain situations I can see how it would be amazing. If you have a small one-level house or a studio – like in New York City – I would be OBSESSED with my Roomba because it would have, you know, three places that could get stuck instead of 800. [laughs]
John: Right. So, let me outline my issues with it. So, as Sherry said we got it from Costco. I think it was the 650 series – it’s like their pet series, which seemed fine. I think it was around $200 at the Costco price. And so these were my three issues with it: the coverage, the sound, and the supervision required I guess?! Is that weird?
Sherry: It sounds like the three things we have problems with with our children. [laughs]
John: Right, exactly! [laughs]
Sherry: The sound and supervision required.
John: Well okay, so the promise of a Roomba is that this thing automatically – this robot vacuum – just at any time will go and find its way around your house and vacuum everything so you don’t have to vacuum yourselves. The supervision piece of it was because we had two floors and we only had one Roomba, we would have to wait for it to finish on one floor and then move it up to the other floor.
John: And then also it would get stuck under things like it kept getting stuck under our couch.
Sherry: The amount of times it did what it was supposed to do and vacuumed and returned to the base was like zero.
John: Yeah, it never found its way back to the base.
Sherry: It never returned to the base. We’d always find it somewhere, and it would be beeping or making some alert sound.
John: It would like, “Ding, ding, ding, ding! I’m done!” And you’d be like “ what are you doing? You’re just hanging out in the foyer!”
Sherry: Right! Or it would be under the couch, just stuck, making an error noise.
John: Like stick on a cord or something like that.
Sherry: And we’d realize it had been going for four hours under there just erroring, so it never really fully found its way around the house.
John: So that’s kind of the supervision thing – I felt like we couldn’t let it run while we were away because we had to kind of keep an eye on it. And so we were always running it when we were awake and when we were home, and it was noisy. I was surprised at how loud it was! Again, maybe it’s just because it wasn’t the higher-end model or it was an older model, but you couldn’t really talk from one room to the other if you were in the room with the Roomba because you would hear it turning and the wheels rolling and all the buzzing from it.
Sherry: Right, and the bouncing off the wall.
John: Right, exactly. And then coverage-wise, I was not convinced that it was actually getting everything. I don’t know if it’s because of the size of our house. I mean each of our floors is around 1300 square feet. So it’s not giant but it’s not small. And I would still find after it was supposedly done like dust bunnies in a corner here or a place on the carpet that it had missed there. Where it was visible – I could tell. So we were having to go back and vacuum afterwards so eventually we were kind of like “we’re not running it that much because of the noise. And when we do we still have to go after it and vacuum.”
Sherry: And when we’re doing it it’s like imagine you put laundry in but 20 minutes into the load, you have to go do something like push a button and move the load. And then 10 more minutes you have to go in and add detergent and shift the load again. It was too much maintenance to keep it going. The promise is like you go to bed and it does it while you sleep …
John: … or you go to work.
Sherry: Right, you go out and go food shopping, and when you come home it’s all clean. So to me it just was like at what point do you say this is completely inefficient?
John: Well we eventually did, and we just put it up in the attic for a while and we later sold it on Craigslist. So we don’t have it anymore. And I have seen some news of more recent ones and more expensive models that have sensor guides.
Sherry: They have a map of your house, kind of, and they make sure they get everything.
John: Which might solve the coverage issue, and maybe some of those are quieter if it’s a higher-end model. I think what you were saying at the beginning like it probably does work great if you’re in a smaller apartment.
Sherry: I just think when you’re blogging you get lots of suggestions for things. And most of the time when we try them we’re like “oh yeah, I see why everybody loves it!” And in this case we were like “are we doing something wrong?”
John: Right. I felt like it was user error. So the reason I’m sharing it is because I would love to hear of other people’s experiences with it.
Sherry: I think if we post a poll, most of you will say you love it, which I think maybe we just got a bad model or it just is not a great house for it. So we’ll put a poll in the show notes about if you have a Roomba, do you love it? Are you meh? Or do you dislike it? We’d love to hear what you guys think.
John: Maybe this is my subtle way of saying I would like to buy another one. [laughs]
Sherry: John, and his robots! He wants robots to run this whole house, guys!
John: I have not learned my lesson. I’m a smart home admirer. I want a lot of robots, but I don’t know if I will pull the trigger.
John: But anyways, enough “Downer Digging!” What are you digging?
Sherry: I am actually digging something an Instagram account and it’s called The_Home_Edit.
Sherry: And it has 100,000 followers so it’s by no means a secret thing. But I also think it’s going to be huge. They’re personal organizers, and they call themselves editors meaning they pare things down and they organize.
John: I follow.
Sherry: And it’s very aspirational. It’s not how I actually believe I could live because when I look at certain things it will be like a clear acrylic caddy of tea. But the reason it’s so beautiful is because all the tea is in a gradient of colors. But I just drink black tea in the morning and mint tea at night, so I don’t have the gradient so mine wouldn’t be as pretty. I could put it in that container, but it would just be two colors.
John: Oh I see. So it’s like stuff organized really really nicely. Like if you’re type A, you will love this!
Sherry: Exactly. There’s a lot of acrylic, which I’m a fan of. So there will be necklaces in acrylic boxes by color, so there will be 15 boxes and they’re all color coded.
John: Acrylic adds some spunk to your house according to Pinterest. Callback episode 30!
Sherry: A lot of pantry stuff – you know when you do the pantry and it’s in the clear bins and the labeled containers and the tiered spices!
John: Right. It’s aspirational organization!
Sherry: Right. When we redid our pantry we just said, “Look, we’re not people who put things in a bunch of jars.”
John: Are there actual organizing tips in there too?
Sherry: Oh yeah, for sure! The whole thing is just super inspirational. They have lots of smart ways to contain things: dividers, labeling systems, so much color. So, The_Home_Edit on Instagram, and I’ll link to them in the show notes.
John: I was scrolling through their feed while you were talking. This picture is just of an organized straw drawer. Who has that? [laughs]
Sherry: I mean, people who drink a lot of beverages.
John: That’s true.
Sherry: I feel like this will be good for you because you love all the sodas.
John: Yeah, hashtag goals.
[theme music playing]
Sherry: Thanks for listening to kokokara Has A Podcast! We couldn’t do this without you guys, so we’re super thrilled to have you listening in each week.
John: And if you’d like to support the show, we’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. Or, if you’ve already done that, you could just tell one person about the show. Those two things only take a few seconds, and we’ll keep talking your ear off each week in return.
Sherry: And keep sharing what you do while you listen, like Jordan Lindsey and her two mom friends who got together for a chill night of coloring in our coloring book while chatting about our podcast. So sweet of you guys!
John: And head over to kokokara.info/podcast for all the bonus links, photos, and info from this episode – like the poll about what home projects you guys regret most and whether or not you love your Roomba.
Sherry: And some pics of Bearger and rice sock and John’s office drawer full of clothes!
[theme music ends]
John: Sorry, I have to finish my Laffy Taffy.
Sherry: You know what’s a good podcast tip? Don’t eat Laffy Taffy during a podcast. [laughs]
John: I found some of the kids’ Halloween candy that I didn’t know was in the back of the cabinet.
Sherry: Remember your “I’m not going to eat candy during the podcast” resolution?
John: Oh yeah! Well…