30 March, 2008

Would You Rent From Us?

It's not like we're landlord virgins or anything. Ted and I are already renting out our condo in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago--and to three recently-graduated-from-college twenty-somethings to boot. But we don't have to deal with the kids on a day-to-day basis. We don't have to live with them. This is going to be different.

We've decided to rent out the top-floor unit of The Box House, our unit.

Okay, we knew from day one that we were probably going to do this. It's not like we woke up this morning and said, "Gee, this sounds like fun." We bought The Box House in a bad housing market. We got it for less than what it would probably have fetched a few years ago. But the downside of a down market is that it's really not the best time to be selling our other properties. We didn't even bother putting the condo up for sale. After witnessing the sluggish housing market in Chicago and seeing first hand how units in our building were not getting what they would have even a year or two ago, we decided to rent it out rather than try to sell it. To everything there is a season, blah, blah, blah, and waiting a year or two to sell can only be to our benefit. The condo is in a quote/unquote "gentrifying area," meaning that once the overall economy improves, which it will, of course, the condo's location near a train line and in an up-and-coming area will only get us a much, much better price.

But it means we're still taking care of expenses on a property that we don't live in. The rent we're getting covers the mortgage, but it doesn't cover everything, and it doesn't make us any money.

Add to that the fact that Mom still has her other house. It's on the market, and it's adorable. A four-bedroom, two-story tudor-inspired house. But the media has scared buyers into thinking it's a bad time to invest, when the truth is that housing prices won't get any better than this. So like so many other houses, it's still on the market.

Now, The Box House is huge. Really huge. More square footage, even, than my childhood home. There are two units as well as a basement that is, technically, finished. At some point in the past, wallboard was added to divide the basement up into separate rooms. The basement just needs a few finishing details, like better flooring, updates to the bathroom, and fresh paint--lots of paint--to make it pretty again. The basement has the same square footage as each of the units, although, admittedly, some of that is lost to mechanicals and a laundry area.

The point is, The Box House is already too big for an almost-forty-something couple with no children, a retiree, and a dog. My office and Ted's are set up in the basement, we never even see my mom for most of the day. Why not rent out the top three-bedroom unit and use the rental income to work on the most critical features of The Box House--fixing the garage roof, updating the electrical, landscaping and regrading the yard, etc. And maybe have it pay for a really cool honeymoon through China or something.

Still, it may be hard--at least for my mom--to get into the mindset of sharing a building with people who don't fall under the category of "friends" or "family". She grew up in multi-units and apartment buildings in Chicago, but it's been nearly forty years since she lived that way. It will definitely be an adjustment to deal with other people in close proximity.

Anyway, I put up an ad on Craig's List to advertise the apartment, and we had A TON OF RESPONSES. Apparently, we are surrounded by Very Good School Districts, something that, as a woman without children, I paid absolutely no attention to before. Also, despite the fact that the kitchen and bathroom are kinda retro, the unit is very, very nice. We've had several people want to submit an application.

This is, admittedly, where it gets tough. Most of the people who came through seemed very nice. There are some we had a better "vibe" for than others, but in the end it all becomes a numbers game. We'll apply the same criteria to everyone, and select a "winner" based on those criteria. But I'm finding myself more stressed out about the process this time than renting out the condo. These are people we'll have to live with on a day to day basis. But I'm most worried about how my mom will be. She's a trooper; she's been able to handle so much more these last few years since my dad died than I would have given her credit for. But I worry, sometimes, about what I've dragged her into. I've spent the majority of the last two decades sharing buildings with strangers, but she hasn't.

My mom, Ted, and I knew that buying a building together would involve some sacrifices and compromises. And one of them was that, until the market improves and our other properties sell, we might be better off if we rent some of the space out as well.

So I get the not-so-fun-task on Monday of calling employers and verifying employment and checking backgrounds. Based on what we went through last fall renting out the condo, this is going to be a pain in the a**. Most employers are immediately suspicious of your intentions, and I have to explain over and over again, getting transferred from one supervisor to the next, until I am able to find someone to help me. This time, we have a form letter that the applicant signs giving permission for employers and landlords to release information. It should go better just faxing the letter around this time.

Anyway, here are the pictures we placed in the ad. Does it make the place look warm and homey? If any of you out there reading this are landlords, I'd love some general feedback to how you've survived the process.

From dining room looking into living room.

From living room looking into dining room

Bedroom three.

Bedroom two.

Bedroom one.


29 March, 2008

Pure Oil Gas Station, Dempster & Chicago, c.1930s

When we lived in Uptown Chicago, I was a fanatic for Uptown memorabilia. I amassed quite the collection of postcards and vintage photos. Eventually, after we sell the condo we still have there, Ted and I plan on buying a two-flat in Uptown as an investment property. So I still collect Uptown souvenirs and grow the collection, and we're working hard to keep our connections to the Uptown community strong.

But, not surprisingly, I find myself becoming more and more enamored with my new home town. For those who may not know, it's a college town, home to Northwestern University. Although a suburb of Chicago, the first one north as you leave the city, we have our own vibrant downtown center with tons of restaurants, coffee houses, and book stores. We love it here; I even think our dog, Maggie, is happier. (Note she's now "our dog" and no longer just "Mom's dog".) And because I'm a history junkie, I've started gathering historic images of our new town, too. The two above are a couple I'm currently bidding on on eBay--wish me luck on winning them! They show a gas station on the corner of Dempster and Chicago.

I'm not sure what exactly it is that attracts me to the 1920s/1930s. The music? The fashion? The architecture? Maybe it's all of the above. It tends to be the period I zero in on. In any case, I love knowing how a street looked before, what once stood on a spot before some developer built a condo complex or, heaven forbid, another Starbucks on it. (By the way, my best guess is that there is now a Starbucks on the site of this gas station!) My interest in history definitely begins to wane around the 1970s; I wonder if that's because any history or development from that period on happened during my lifetime.

28 March, 2008

Shout Out for a Neighboring Chicago 2-Flat

Jocelyn and Steve of Chicago Two-Flat are my inspiration for what The Box House can become. Their two-flat, which is just across the border in Rogers Park, is about fifteen or so years older than ours, but has several similarities. They've been working on it for a number of years now, and it's absolutely beautiful.

They've just been featured in an article for the Chicago Reader, a local arts and culture publication. Visit their blog, and then read about them in the article "The Bloggers".

27 March, 2008

Noritake Cheramy China and My Insane Need to Preserve Everything

I've loved these dishes and I've hated these dishes. They are Noritake "Cheramy" china, dating, as far as I can tell from my Googling, to the late thirties or early forties. My parents received them as a wedding gift in--and I'm going to embarrass myself here because I can't remember the exact year; it's late, and I'm a bit fuzzy from too much work, lack of sleep, and a big ol' cocktail--1965, maybe? Crap. I should know this.

Anyway, I remember these as The Special Occasion Dishes. We used them at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and--well, that's about it. Just the Big Three holidays in our family, and maybe for my cousin's bridal shower, and my grandfather's wedding reception. Maybe. I could be wrong, but if there was going to be a celebration where we did use them, those are the biggest events I can conjure up at 4:00 a.m.

They are gorgeous, ethereal dishes, with fine, raised gold trim and so delicate you can see the light shining through them. Far, far, too delicate for anything so uncouth as a dishwasher. And so, like the gold-toned flatware my parents also received as a wedding gift (I think that's when they got them, at any rate), they required hand washing. For a kid used to chucking things in a dishwasher, this was a pain in the asterisk.

But they are so, so beautiful, and when I think of those long ago family holidays, I picture us all sitting at the table, eating turkey or ham or roast goose off of these. (Okay, I've only roasted a goose once ever, and I don't think I actually served it on these dishes. But let's pretend.) Many of those people are gone now. My grandparents, my dad. We don't even use these dishes anymore. I can't recall a time in the last twenty years where we've dragged them out for a family feast.

So why am I having anxiety attacks at the thought of my mom selling them?

She's being practical, of course. She never uses them. I never use them. I don't plan on using them because a) I'm not really the formal entertaining kind of gal and b) did I mention what a pain they are to wash?

My grandparents, who gave my parents the dishes, would be the first to tell her, hells, yes, sell the ol' things and put the money toward fencing the yard or finishing the laundry room or blowing it all on the grandkids or a trip to Vegas. Or London, definitely London. My mom's not really the Vegas sort. They'd support her on the decision. So is it nostalgia, my vice-like grip on the past, or my general pack-rat tendencies (surpassed only by Ted) that make me want to argue the point? Is it whack to never want to use the dishes, but keep them packed away in the closet out of sentimentality?

Okay, okay, Mom (I know you are reading this), I will be putting them on Craig's List this week. We can't keep everything forever. I guess it's time to give them a new home with someone who will appreciate and use them.

26 March, 2008

Art Deco Exit Light from Esquire Theatre in Chicago

After four long weeks, it's finally here. I won this nifty exit light on eBay last month, and the seller decided to send it parcel post from Hawaii all the way to Chicago! I had assumed (and should have verified) from the shipping/handling fee that it was going priority. But no.

So, after weeks of wondering where the heck it was, if it was ever going to get here, and if so, what condition it would be in, it arrived. I was quite nervous when I saw the package, too, as it was dented in on one side. When I opened it, I saw that the exit light was wrapped in a single layer of bubble wrap and had maybe an inch on each side with crumpled paper. It's fine, but seriously, what is up with some eBay sellers? I would never ship a fragile glass lamp via parcel post and package it so roughly. Grrr.

I love love the lamp. We plan on putting it in the stairwell of the enclosed porches by the back door. How cool will that be? Of course, it's not going to get hung for a long while. We're still trying to decide exactly how we will re-do the back porches, which will involve some rewiring and perhaps new ceilings. And the lamp, which may have been converted at some point as a plug in--although the switch is some rather ancient-looking bakelite piece, so I don't know for sure--will need to be hardwired for our purposes.

OK, so here's the back story, supposedly (and on eBay, without documentation, I take most claims with a grain of salt) : The exit lamp is from the Esquire Theatre in downtown Chicago. The seller bought it at an auction while in Chicago.

Now, I am a huge junkie of old movie palaces and theatres. Our condo in Chicago is just two blocks away from the Balaban & Katz Uptown Theatre, which is closed at the moment, but is perhaps the largest movie palace ever built. I so miss walking past this theatre every day and hope my tenants appreciate it--if they've even noticed it, because from the outside it's hard to tell what's inside now. I collect Chicago movie house memorabilia when I can afford to, so when I spotted this lamp I had to have it and justified the purchase because, after all, we need a new lamp for the stairwell anyway!

I have some acquaintances at the Theatre Historical Society, so when I get the chance I'll check out the archives and see if I can spot the light in one of the pictures. The Esquire was built in the late thirties, and the light fits the role. But even if I can't validate it, it sure is a cool period piece.

23 March, 2008

1926 -- The Year Our House Was Built

The information from the seller's realtor says The Box House was built in 1928, making it eighty years old this year. But the Cook County Clerk's Office has it as 82 years old, putting the construction date at 1926. We'll have to do a little more investigating, but for now we'll assume the tax records are correct and it was built in 1926.

So, what else was going on the year our house was built?

First flight over the north pole (Richard Byrd).

First public demonstration of television.

First transatlantic phone call.

Henry Ford announces an 8 hour a day, 5 day a week work schedule (blame him!)

Hirohito becomes Emperor of Japan.

Walt Disney Studios is formed (Mickey Mouse himself is created in 1928).

George Burns marries Gracie Allen.

Joseph Stalin establishes himself as virtual dictator of the Soviet Union.

Hugh Hefner, Queen Elizabeth, Gus Grissom, Don Rickles, Miles Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Griffith, Jerry Lewis, Alan Greenspan, John Coltrane, Chuck Berry, and Fidel Castro were born.

Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to become a pilot (and the first American woman to hold an international pilot's license), dies when she is thrown from her plane during an accident. Rudolph Valentino, Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, and Claude Monet also died that year.

And, perhaps the most important event of 1926: Winnie-the-Pooh is published!

Images and random factoids courtesy Wikipedia.

21 March, 2008

Winter Flips Me the Bird. Again.

For weeks I've been reading with a certain degree of envy the joy many house bloggers have experienced at the return of Spring; I've witnessed their delight in their budding fruit trees and the unparalleled happiness that consumes them at that first glimpse of a crocus poking out of the ground.

Well bah humbug, I say.

Here it is nearly the end of March, and Spring is nowhere in sight. What's up with that "in like a lion, out like a lamb" spiel anyway? Have those in charge not looked at the calendar?

Okay, truth be told, the last few days in the Chicago area have warmed up a few degrees. Enough that I took Maggie out back yesterday and she rolled around in the grass and explored her new yard while I began to rake leaves and clean up winter debris. Five big paper lawn bags of it so far! They're in the garage for now; yard waste pickup doesn't begin until April, and I was feeling pretty smug about getting a jump start on the yard.

And I almost wept for pure joy when I raked some leaves away from the fence and saw that there were daffodils coming up! Their leaves were a bit of a sickly yellow because of the debris piled on them, but I was, for a minute, so completely happy and content.

I let my delight so consume me that I even went into the garage and began to drag out an assortment of pots, trellises, and chairs to get ready to arrange and rearrange in back.

"You know it's going to snow tomorrow," Mom said.

"Yeah," I shrugged it off. "It's almost April," I said, as if that said it all. Besides. The last few storms they warned about this month amounted to nothing, not even a dusting.

But oh, I had been lulled into a false sense of well-being.

We had survived the last few winters relatively unscathed; it's been a long time since we've experienced a Real Chicago Winter. And despite the massive amounts of snow that have been falling all season, I still didn't expect to get stomped on by the gods today.

Today, I woke up to this:

And this:

And this:

Not my shiny new pot, too! Nooo!

About six or seven inches in all covered our yard and cars. I looked at it in disgust. It's hard to remember back to an earlier time this year when I thought it was all so pretty.

Gosh dang it, I know it will all melt away in a few days, because the forecasters are calling for fifties by midweek.

It's just that I never did get a photograph of the daffodils.

Hamantaschen and the Weird Workings of the Web

I think the house blog community often shares a hive mind, some sort of collaborative thought process where you'll find the same themes or similar experiences popping up on various blogs within a very short period of time. Tonight I was going to do a blog post on hamantaschen, an Eastern European cookie often served at Purim, which falls this weekend. Our town and neighboring communities have a large Jewish population, and Ted and I have enjoyed checking out the bakeries and delicatessens in the area and trying out new foods. We've been gorging ourselves on apricot and poppyseed hamantaschen all week.

But before sitting down to write, I always go through my blog roll to see what's up with everyone else, and one of my favorite bloggers, Marilyn, wrote a lovely post on these delicious cookies complete with photos and a link to a recipe--and with a nifty twist about the workings of the Internet.

Thanks, Marilyn, for saving me the effort and writing a much better post than I would have pulled together. As for me, I'm just going to post a photo of the wind-up walking hamantaschen I bought at Jewel.

Clap On! Clap Off! Clap On, Clap Off -- The Clapper

Jeez, I didn't even know The Clapper still existed. I wanted one desperately when I was a kid, but my parents wouldn't get any for the house. But this afternoon, while rummaging in the ice box in the downstairs unit, I found a box of assorted light bulbs and not one, but two Clappers! They look new. No one else seemed to share my glee, however, because we also have to deal with this:
We've been at The Box House for almost three weeks now, and we've spent the majority of our free time when we'd like to be working on the house doing clean-up chores instead. The Previous Owners left so much stuff behind, despite assurances from their agent that it would be gone. The tub shows a small selection of what was inside just one icebox--not all of it would fit. That's the icebox below. Each unit has one in the pantry.

A few of the things we're finding are, admittedly, kinda neat and I'll feature them in upcoming blog posts. But most of it is just junk, but not junk I feel comfortable throwing away. (I know I'm driving both Ted and my mom crazy with my constant, "Wait! Don't throw that away! Someone will take it!") In this most recent haul there's a perfectly good but rather fugly phone, a bottle of white shoe polish, a coffee can of miscellaneous screws, and at least half a dozen bottles of some rather unpleasant-smelling upholstery cleaner. I think we'll have to have a garage sale to try to rehome it all. For now, all of this junk is making its way to the garage to be dealt with later, and a little of it makes its way out of here each week via Craigslist.

Now, with some more shelves and cabinets cleared out, we can fill them with important things:

Venison dog food? Really? I know, I know. Maggie is completely spoiled. She'd tell you so herself, but her face is stuffed at the moment.

20 March, 2008

Dangers of CFLs Worth Repeating

I Love Upstate left a comment with a link to an article on my post from last week about the dangers of mercury in compact fluorescent bulbs and the upcoming US ban on incandescent bulbs.

There are some very scary facts about how the mercury found in a single bulb can contaminate up to 6000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. It's worth reading the article, so I'm putting it in a separate post to make sure as many people catch it as possible (because yeah, I'm sure the 200 or so hits a day I get are all from unique users).

Go to MSNBC for Shining a Light on Hazards of Fluorescent Bulbs.

19 March, 2008

Wild West Show

We love this view of The Box House:

This view, not so much:

Isn't that bizarre? It totally looks like one of those fake Old West buildings from a John Wayne movie. Looks real enough straight on, but peek behind and you realize it's just a fake front.

That's because the roof of The Box House is not flat; we're not as entirely box-shaped as I've led you all to believe.

Traditionally, Chicago winters see a lot of snow. That's a lot of weight to be sitting on a flat roof. So the early designer sloped the roof toward a gutter on one side so the water would drain off. And it works very well. But it ain't pretty. I imagine the intent of the parapet was to block the view of the sloping roof, giving a clean, straight line to the front of the building.

I took these pictures last fall during our inspection. Note that the holes in the membrane were fixed by the P.O. prior to close; I look forward to seeing how they held up over the winter.

That's a pretty big slope, isn't it? If you're far enough along the roof, you could be standing up there and folks on the sidewalk would probably not notice you:

That's Ted (in profile) with our inspector. We've used this guy on two properties so far, three if you count when our condo association hired him for an envelope inspection, and he freakin' rocks. If you're in the Chicago area and need a recommendation, drop me a line and I'll get you his contact information.

So, back to our Wild West facade:

The gray siding encloses a set of porches that lead down to the basement. (The only way to get to the basement is via the porch access; each level has an interior door.) The porches are original to the building, but I'm not sure exactly when they might have been enclosed. They are unheated, so I suspect we'll only use them part of the year unless we get them insulated. The siding is made of vinyl.

We'd like to make this side of the house prettier. During the summer, the trees in the parkway will be flush with leaves and block the view, but for three quarters of the year this weird facade will be visible. It will be even more visible when we take that fir tree out; as much as I hate removing a tree that big, it is growing about a foot away from the foundation. The P.O. already warned us about roots coming into the sewer system that need to be removed every year. (Don't fret, we'll be planting several more trees in the yard, just not so close to the house.)

Do you think growing ivy on it would help soften and hide the vinyl? I like the ivy growing on the neighbor's house, which is visible in the photo with the inspector. But I'm not sure if ivy can adhere well to vinyl. Does anyone have experience with it?

I'm not sure what our other there options are for improving this view. Any suggestions?

18 March, 2008

Red Bungalow, Los Angeles, Southern California

The Box House is primarily made of brick, but there are a few places where we can get creative with paint. The front entryway is one; we're also going to strip the white paint off the masonry and maybe use a concrete stain so it's not so, well, bright. I've begun to gather images of 1900s-1920s style houses to get a feel for color schemes. I doubt we'll paint this summer, with so many other projects in the works, so there's plenty of time to mull things over. I'll post these images periodically, because they also give an excellent idea on what gardens looked like then.

This one is from an old postcard of a Southern California Bungalow, Los Angeles.

17 March, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

There will be no work on The Box House today, and very little work-work. If all goes as planned, Ted and I will have a movie date and then a few pints at the Celtic Knot, and a few more at Tommy Nevins before stumbling home.

There was a time, way long ago, that I played the bagpipes with the University of Iowa Scottish Highlanders. We were often kept busy on St. Patrick's Day playing gigs at local bars. You want a picture? Unfortunately, the only one I have scanned in is this tiny wee one of the club officers; the rest of my photos are all in storage. I'm third from the left. Yeah, I know; you'll just have to take my word that that's me.

Okay, how about this instead? Here I am climbing Crough Patrick in 2004. According to legend, this is the mountain where St. Patrick stood when he chased the snakes, dragons, and demons out of Ireland.

Gawd, I really do need a new raincoat. I've had that one since college. But I love it!

So, anybody have crazy plans for celebrating the day?

For more vintage Irish postcard images, go to Irish Postcards.

15 March, 2008

Fairy Door -- A Door for, Um, The Fairies

Here's our front door:

But wait, what's that in the lower-left corner?

Mom found this Fairy Door, made by Enchanted Fairy Doors, on eBay. Fairy Doors seem to be all the rage, now. You can place them on the interior or exterior of your house to give your house fairies, sprites, and guardian creatures their own entryway. The door will only open for them, of course.

Mom looked at quite a few before settling on this one. Most were too whimsical and cottage like, suitable for someone from Lord of the Rings, but not a hip urban-dwelling fairy. This style better matched the brick facade of The Box House.

I've loved fairies, fairy tales, and myths since I was a kid. One of my earliest--and favorite--memories of my father is from when I was six years old and in the hospital for strabismus surgery to attempt to correct a lazy eye (the first of three such surgeries over the years). It was my first real time away from home and family, and I was terrified. But my dad spent the whole night with me, sleeping in one of those crappy little hospital chairs. When I was awake, he read Peter Pan to me. I still have the book. Although he didn't get into mythology as much as I did, over the years he would buy me folklore collections or fairy tale books he'd find. One of the last ones he gave me was a collection of Disney fairy tales. He'd probably think we were crazy for epoxy-ing a fairy door to the front of the house, but he'd no doubt humor us.
"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." —James M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan

14 March, 2008

USA Bans Incandescent Bulbs in Favor of CFLs, But What About the Dangers of Mercury?

Congress has passed and President Bush has signed a bill banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs by 2014 in favor of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).* It sounded good on the surface when I heard about it. Now, while I do love the soft light of incandescent bulbs, and use them in my historic light fixtures, if the new twisty compact fluorescents use up less energy, and if I'm going to be forced to use them anyway, I guess I can cheerfully make the switch for all my light fixtures. Save the planet, and all that.

But then I read about the real dangers of these bulbs, particularly for a klutz like me who is going to break one at some point. I knew they contained mercury, but I didn't know the levels of mercury released can greatly exceed exposure safety limits in the short term. Based on a recent study conducted by the State of Maine on CFL dangers, here's what the EPA is recommending you do if you break a CFL bulb:

Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room

  1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
  2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
  3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

  1. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
  2. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
  3. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
  4. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug

  1. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
  2. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
  3. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
  4. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of Clean-up Materials

  1. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
  2. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
  3. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Ventilate the Room During and After Vacuuming

  1. The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
  2. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

Sheesh. Do they really expect everybody to do this?

In addition, CFLs are more expensive to produce, too, and cost the consumer more initially. Do these really balance out the energy savings? Can the current CFL technology really support an outran ban of incandescents?

You can't just toss these bulbs in the trash, either. I looked up the proper procedure for Evanston. It's worth looking up how your town recycles CFL bulbs. Still, how are you going to teach an entire population not to throw out CFLs like they would incandescents? At present, only 2% of such bulbs are being recycled now. That's a lot of hazardous waste already being hauled to the local dump.

I do strongly believe that we need to find more efficient energy technologies. But I think the way to go about it is for Congress to raise the energy standards overall, not ban one technology in favor of another.

*This legislation effectively banned (by January 2014) incandescent bulbs that produce 310 - 2600 lumens of light. Bulbs outside this range (roughly, light bulbs currently less than 40 Watts or more than 150 Watts) are exempt from the ban. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, "rough service" bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights.

City of Evanston Requirements:

The City of Evanston is cooperating with the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) and has begun accepting drop-offs of spent compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for recycling.

Community members may drop off their CFLs Mondays through Fridays during business hours at either the Department of Health and Human Services, 2100 Ridge Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd., 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bring the bulbs in zip-lock-type baggies.

Health and Human Services will accept fluorescent tube lights; the Ecology Center will not.

Each CFL contains a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing, an average of five milligrams (roughly equivalent to the tip of a ball-point pen). Mercury poses potential health risks, therefore the CFLs should not be disposed of in the garbage if there is a recycling option.