NickS's Profile

Display Name: NickS
Member Since: 5/25/10

Latest Comments...

I tend to drink coffee slowly, so I like ceramic, thick-walled, smaller capacity mugs, like traditional diner mugs. If you preheat the mug with some boiling water, the coffee stays nice and hot for quite a while.

If you're drinking coffee out of a bowl, maybe you're using too much milk? :) The (Northern) European way of drinking coffee, that I'm familiar with, is to drink smaller cups of strong coffee throughout the day. But I'm sure this varies from country to country.

Coffee Love: Latte Bowls | Apartment Therapy Boston
7/6/10 05:41 PM

Alarm systems do give some peace of mind, but as others have mentioned, it is to some degree a false sense of security to imagine that your home is going to be protected while you're away.

What I do like about having an alarm system -- we arm the alarm system in a "Stay" mode when we go to bed. If an exterior window or door is opened, the alarm immediately sounds; this makes me feel better knowing that we will be awakened if someone breaks into the house while we're home and asleep. Another possible bonus is that burglars might be scared off or be rushed if the alarm sounds when they break in and we're not home.

That said, a monitored alarm system provides little to no real security if you're expecting it to protect your property while you're not home. They're notorious for going off accidentally; a stray beam of sunlight, a large pet, a loose contact can all trigger a false alarm. These false alarms account for the majority of false police dispatches in my city. When the alarm activates with a monitored alarm system, the alarm company will attempt to contact you, and ask if they should contact the police. If they can't reach you, they will contact the police.

Imagine this scenario happening across the city every day -- as such, these types of alarm activations are at the very bottom of the police priority list. In the city I live in, if the police even respond at all, it may be 5-8 hours before they have the time to take a look. This is a very different scenario for the police from a person picking up the phone, dialing 911 and saying "Someone is breaking into my house, get here quickly!" In that case, the police would likely place that at the top of their response list, and be there in minutes. To try to reduce the cost of responding to this false alarms, many jurisdictions will charge alarm companies hefty fees for false activations (you're usually given 1 warning, then if it happens again, you'll be hit with a large fee); these fees are in turn passed directly on to you by your alarm company.

You should try to decide whether the peace of mind is worth $30/month or more. For me, we have a high break-in rate in our "up-and-coming" neighborhood, and it is worth it. For you, with a single entrance into your second floor apartment, you may just want to get a travel-style alarm; these are motion sensitive gadgets that usually hang on the doorknob and are powered by batteries. If the doorknob is turned while you're asleep, the siren is activated.

Get high quality deadbolt locks (Medeco, for example), and replace any short screws in the door and lock hardware with 3" long screws that go into the studs surrounding the door frame. Replacing the deadbolt and screws is a very quick and easy to do operation (even if you barely know which end of a drill to hold) and will make it much more difficult for someone to break in or kick your door open.

Tips for Choosing a Security Alarm? Good Questions | Apartment Therapy Chicago
6/17/10 02:03 PM

What @gttim said. The WD in WD-40 stands for water-displacing. For removing squeaks, a can 3-in-One oil would work just as well while being less smelly and toxic.

I'd also recommend having large and small flat and phillips head screwdrivers.

10 "Must Have" Supplies for the Home | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
5/25/10 05:12 PM