No urban legend

Some of you may have heard of this story and not sure if you should believe it or not. A lot of people categorized this story as an urban legend. But, I tell you… I vouch to you that it really happened to me about 25 years ago.

I was still living with my parents at that time. It was a lazy Sunny mid-day afternoon. I went to the bathroom, bent down and raised the toilet cover. To my horror, there was a huge rat inside the toilet bowl. It was vigorously thrusting its body, trying to get out from the toilet. The sight of it, along with the sound of water splashing, was absolutely terrifying. In a split second I was driven into extreme terror and stress. I can see why some people die from a shock at this scale. I slammed the toilet cover immediately and gave it a flush. With that, the evil rat was gone.

I couldn’t find a photo of rat I can use

The entire nightmare lasted 10 seconds or so. But, I still carry a scar from that trauma.

On January of 1994, I woke up in the mid-air when the historic earthquake hit Southern California. That was a terrifying event. But millions of other people shared that terror with me. The entire world sympathized us. Even president Bill Clinton visited, and my mother got to shake his hand. That earthquake was one of the top traumatic events of my entire life. But, I don’t really think about earthquake anymore.

A rat in the toilet is an entirely different game. It was a pure horror with nobody around to make the ordeal less stressful. I cannot explain why, but I never told this story to anyone, but I kept that feeling of terror to myself. If I tell this story, then I’ll have to “touch” that subject. And I was not going to touch it. Since then, I never use toilet in complete darkness. Every time I open the toilet cover I am mentally prepared for a rat or a snake. It’s not likely to see a rat again, but if I do, I will not jump, because I am absolutely ready for it – for last 25 years.

Yesterday I finally did something I dreaded. I looked up online for “rat in toilet” and found many web articles about how rats can swim up toilets. After that, I called my friend and told her about the experience and the fact that I am terrified every time I use the toilet. She cracked a joke about Mickey Mouse looking for friends because Disneyland is closed due to Coronavirus. We laughed. With that laughter, a small part of me was set free.

I keep the toilet covers down now, always – to keep me away from the worst nightmare that can happen at random.

The only thing that’s worse than finding a rat in the toilet would be finding two rats in the toilet. F me….

Costco Shopping – July 22, 2020

20th Costco Shopping in 2020 – $26.80 today / $1,303.04 this year

I gained solid 4 pounds during the pandemic. Last four month, I ate a lot of comfort foods include two whole chocolate cakes. They were SOOO good, by the way.

I am now trying to lose weight and get in better shape. I will try this bottle of CLA and see if it will help me lose weight. I ordered this from Costco.com, with free shipping.

trunature Tonalin CLA 1620 mg., 180 Softgels. (#11524631). Available only for online purchase.

Costco Shopping – June 30, 2020

19th Costco Shopping in 2020 – $165.41 today / $1,276.24 this year

I downgraded my membership from Gold Star Executive to Gold Star (regular). I didn’t make enough purchase last year to benefit from having an executive membership. This year, with Pandemic looming, I shop at Costco even less.

Bottom of the basket: Costco chicken and Monster energy drink

I arrived at Costco 30 minutes early, on 9:30 AM. I was going to wait in line for 30 minutes. To my surprise, the warehouse was opened for everyone. Not many customers 60 and older showed, the man said. With that, I got in early and was able to locate Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (#2189436, 5pk, $14.99): I normally don’t by these 5 packs of Clorox Wipes at Costco, because I barely use 1 container per a year. But, this time, I desperately needed a good supply of Clorox wipes to wipe away the evil virus. And I found them! Oh my God, I found them. Look at the picture below. I crawled on my hands and knees to retrieve the last remaining packages at the bottom corner of the shelf. Some people saw what I was doing, and the remaining wipes were gone in 30 seconds.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – gone by 9:45 AM

Chips and Salsa are for 4th of July weekend.

Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickle Chip are special treat for myself. They are so good. The package says spicy, but it’s not spicy at all. It doesn’t even have a hint of spice. Maybe some people find it spicy (?). They are sweet and good.

DENTASTIX Dental Dog Treats are for my friend. It’s good to be my friend.

Watermelon ($5.99): Continuing from last year, I am still obsessed about finding super-fantastic watermelons. I bought about 10 watermelons last year, but almost all of them were disappointing 7 out of 10 on tasting scale. But, this year is different. I bought 3 watermelons so far, and all three watermelons were about 8 1/2 out of 10 on tasting scale. They were not super-fantastic, but they were pretty good. This one from Costco was also good at 8 1/2. I wish I will find some 9’s this year.

Peet’s Coffee, Major Dickason’s Blend, (Whole Bean, 2 lbs, #670441): This is my new “work from home” coffee for weekdays. This is a good everyday coffee. It’s got the unique flavor that’s dark, sophisticated, but smooth. This is so far my favorite coffee available at Costco warehouse. Ruta Maya dark roast is the best but, it’s only available online. Also, Ruta Maya is a bit pricey, that I only drink it on weekend.

Bottom of the cart: I had a Costco rotisserie chicken and 24 cans of Monster Energy Drinks. I have unlimited supply of Monster Energy Drinks at work. I know a guy who’s connected. So, I get cravings time to time. They were $7 off. I know they are bad for me.. Mm…

Coupon saved $17.00.

Costco’s Unofficial Opening Hour – 9AM

This blog was updated: I felt the need to explain this in greater detail.

This is unofficial and temporary. Situation may be different at your Costco location. Use this information at your own discretion.

Due to Covid-19, Costco now opens one hour early, 9am – 10am for customers 60 or older. Younger customers are allowed in at regular business hour of 10 AM.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of people over 60 lining up at the gate at 9AM. The line for 60 and older would last for more than an hour. But now, after three months of hoarding, customers of all ages have slowed down. Now, at 9AM, only a small number of customers over 60 are showing up. Those customers will be let in quick. After that, Costco is open for everyone – little past 9AM – unofficial business hour.

Last month I arrived at Costco at 9:30 AM and waited in line for 45 minutes. This worked out well with my work schedule. So, today, I went to Costco at 9:30 AM again. But, this time, there was no line. The gate was opened for everyone. Small number of customers 60 or older were already in the warehouse.

Official opening hour for Costco is 10AM. But, if you go to Costco at 9:10 – 9:15 AM, there is a good chance you can get in without waiting in line. Check Costco’s Covid Update page for special business hours. At this rate, they may soon stop catering for customers 60 and older. Maybe they will open at 9:30AM for customers 60 and older. Maybe customers 60 and older will be given with “Cut in line” privilege, & etc… I am pretty sure they are having meetings about this.

This pandemic is a horrible thing. At the same time, it’s fascinating to witness what’s happening in the world. And it’s an honor to fight this together with you. Please take care.

Costco Member-Only Savings, June 24 – July 26, 2020

Costco Member-only Savings June 24 – July 26, 2020

View Member Only Savings at Costco website.

It looks like this month’s coupon book has something for everyone. I shall make time for Costco shopping. I also miss rotisserie chicken.

Featherweight 3i Hair Dryer is back on sale for $74.99. Last three months I’ve been using this hair dryer instead of my usual, $200 professional hair dryer. I still have my professional hair dryer. But, they both perform almost identical that I continue to use Featherweight 3i.

Costco Shopping – May 14, 2020

18th Costco Shopping in 2020 – $257.03 today / $1,110.83 this year

I am doing OK physically and financially.

Because of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Costco shopping is no longer fun and relaxing. For today’s Costco shopping, I had to take a half day off from work so I can shop on my preferred time slot, Thursday 10 am – 12 pm. Today, in addition to my usual shopping list, I also had a “get ready” check-list. On my check-list I had items such as wallet, mask, and disinfectant wipe. We can be extra forgetful at strange times like this. I would hate to arrive at Costco and realize I forgot to bring my mask. So, check-list was a must.

It’s been 50 days since my last Costco shopping. It’s depressing to get ready, go to Costco, put on the mask, and wait in line. And there is a legitimate possibility that I can contract the virus and die. It’s scary and depressing.

I arrived at Costco at 9:30 AM. The warehouse opened at 10 am for general public. However, customers 60 years or older were allowed in at 9 AM. Line wasn’t too long at 9:30 AM. People who arrived at 10 AM had a long line to deal with. I was inside Costco at 10:12 AM.

There were plenty of toilet papers and meat items, but we were limited on how many of each item we can buy. I always buy toilet paper and meats at sales price. But, today I paid full price on toilet paper, New York steak, stew meat, and more. I will not wait for sale. I will not go to another store to save some money. I will gladly pay full price and mitigate this craziness. I also picked up a lot of comfort food and snacks.

The Afredo sauce looked promising. I can’t wait to try it.

I had a huge craving for Costco hotdog, so I bought Kirkland Signature hot dog franks. Those are the real deal Costco hot dog franks. But, they didn’t have Costco size hot dog buns – so I got little buns.

I came home 3 hours later and proceeded to vacuum pack most of the meat items, including hot dogs and buns (in packs of 4). I was completely exhausted afterwards. I hope I am good for a month or two.

Costco Shopping – May 14, 2020

17th Costco Shopping in 2020 – $41.99 today / $853.8 this year

I haven’t gone to Costco for over a month. I plan to go soon.

Because I work from home, I’ve been drinking my weekend coffee, Ruta Maya dark roast, a lot faster than my usual pace. Ruta Maya is THE best coffee ever. It’s strong, tasty, but has a smooth after-taste. There is nothing like it. Starbucks doesn’t even come close to Ruta Maya. People who taste it agree with me. After tasting my coffee, some people copied my coffee setup exactly (coffee, grinder & french press). You’re welcome. 🙂

Ruta Maya coffee is available at Costco website. Delivery is free. I highly recommend. I tried both dark and medium roast. I like dark roast better.

You should never go to coffee shop for daily coffee unless you are a millionaire. Buying good coffee to enjoy at home is a great way to save money.

Sitting by the window before sleep

I brushed my teeth and put on my retainers. I am so sleepy.

I haven’t gone outside for 19 days now. Because I live alone, isolation really feels like isolation. I am not the type of person who talks to himself. So, my mind is running everywhere, but my mouth is shut all the time. I’ve been having crazy vivid dreams every night. My mind is not completely clear.

I worked all day at my living room. Later I ate turkey gumbo while watching The Conners.

It’s midnight. I was about to tun off the lights and go to bed, but I heard the birds singing outside in the dark. So I set by the window for awhile.

I have a big tree in my front yard, and a family of birds live up there. I’ve been enjoying their singing for several years now. I just love hearing them, especially in the morning and at night. This is my sound when I wake up in the morning. I will be very sad if they move away. Sometimes I don’t hear them for a few days. But they always come back and sing.

I remember hearing them when I was in Georgia. It was the same voice, but they sang a different song. I was fascinated by that. Ah~ Georgia… I miss Georgia. Is there any place prettier than Georgia? The rain, the greens, Waffle House, Piggly Wiggly, and nice people.

I wish I have a nice watch with a moonphase calendar. Moonphase calendar on a watch is cool. How much is the cheapest moonphase watch? I shall check it out tomorrow.

We have video meetings twice a week for work. Maybe I’ll log in from my closet, with all my shoes in the background. Mm… maybe not. That would be silly.

What do I eat for dinner tomorrow?

OMG, I completely forgot to file income tax. I think the deadline had been extended, but…

OK, I’m going to bed now. I will continue tomorrow.

T3 Micro – Featherweight 3i Hair Dryer

This is a quick plug-in. I will get back to you with my official review on Featherweight 3i hair dryer by T3 Micro. I’ve been using this hair dryer for three days so far. It performs almost as same as my favorite hair dryer that I paid $250.00 a few years ago. I will also review their styling iron. I haven’t tried the iron yet. I need more time.

Costco’s everyday price of $99.99 on Featherweight 3i is pretty good. But, now, it’s on sale for $79.99. The sale ends in two weeks on May 17, 2020. It’s OK if you missed the sale. I think $100 is still good. Styling iron is also on sale.

I am currently comparing this hair dryer with my $200 professional unit. 3i is lacking some professional touch, but its overall performance is right there with my $200 hair dryer. So, If you want good hair dryer but $200 is outside of your budget, 3i may be for you.

Just like any other hair dryers, you’ll have to purchase a diffuser separately.

Kirkland Signature Ultra Plush Microfiber Towel

I am healthy and still have a job.

Kirkland Signature Ultra Plush Microfiber towels (#713160) are made for auto detailing. I bought them 7 years ago in June 2013. And they set in the garage for seven years. I didn’t like the towels.

Seven years later, earlier this month, while I was fixing my house from water damage, I saw the professional guys cleaning and dusting my house with these towels. They praised its superior performance on picking up dust. “Hey! I have those towels, too”, I said.

So, I started to use the towels around the house for dusting & cleaning. They work like magic. The towel will pick up a lot of dust and not let go. I would then walk outside and shake off the dust. Sometimes I wet the towel to wipe down kitchen counter and sh*t. They are very effective in cleaning. Also, I am saving money on paper towels. After each use I hand-wash and hang dry them (picture). When needed, I toss them in the washer.

These towels are Costco’s staple item (#713160), you see these towels in your warehouse as well as online. If you already have some in your garage try using it around the house. If you know anything that cleans better than these towels, I would like to know about it. My kitchen, right now, is immaculate.

The only place I don’t use these towels is on my car. For car wash, I use better towels. I have two bucket system, use high pressure water nozzle, and use a leaf blower to dry (the way professionals do). I have a pretty decent car was system.

Left, June 16, 2013. Right, April 28, 2020.

Quick one-handed demonstration. Not a very good demo, but you get the idea.

Costco Executive Membership Reward Certificate, 2020

Costco’s executive members receive 2% reward certificate about 3 months before their membership is renewed. I didn’t receive my reward gift Certificate this year. There was a possibility that I received the certificate but I threw it out carelessly. On my last Costco shopping, I talked to the customer service. They confirmed that the certificate was mailed out over a month ago. So, I requested for another one. The process was quick and painless.

I finally received my certificate in the amount of $56.88. I need to get paid $60 in order for my executive membership to pay for itself. $56.88 is pretty close, but I am not enjoying any perks for being an executive member.

In the past, executive members were allowed to the warehouse one hour before regular business hour. I could enjoy that perk – now that we are dealing with Covid-19 pandemic.

I think I should downgrade my membership. I will shop even less this year due to the pandemic 2020.

Costco executive member 2% rebate check for 2019 purchases
(received April 2020)
Costco executive member reward rebate check
Costco executive member 2% rebate check for 2018 purchases
(received January 2019)
Costco executive member 2% rebate check for 2017 purchases
(received January 2018)
Costco executive member 2% rebate check for 2013 purchases.
(received January 2014)
Just remembered this song after 34 years

I am healthy and still working.

I work from home due to stay home order (Coronavirus Pandemic 2020). As I work, my mind wonders about everything from fixing my house to end of my life.

I reminisced about my good old days, the time I had absolutely no worries… the time I thought I would never die. Then I remembered this song. I completely forgot about this song for 30+ years. I went online and found the video.

I love this song. The video is fun. This was my time. Good times. I hope the new generation is enjoying their time as much (Twerking and daggering… But, there isn’t actual penetration. So, I guess that’s being “innocent” by today’s definition. Anyway, it’s their time now).

The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene

The Blow Monkeys – It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way • TopPop

Personal Update – April 6, 2020

I am healthy and I still have a job

Water damage trauma

  • I am terrified about future water damage in the house. I learned that water leak is common. You are likely to have water damage in your house before your house gets robbed.
  • For immediate peace of mind, I installed water detecting alarm system with 10 sensors. (adding 5-10 more sensors soon)
  • I plan to re-route water pipes. That means I will install entirely new water pipes running over the ceiling. That will cost $5K or more.
  • I now turn off main water valve every night, or every time I’m away from home.
  • I will install a remote switch for the main water valve. So, I can turn on and off water with a smart phone.
  • I shall replace my water heater that’s getting old.
  • With that, I hope I don’t go through this traumatizing event ever again.
  • Coronavirus pandemic is multiplying the level of anxiety and stress.

Recovery and repair

  • Phase 1 was emergency recovery work – to stop water leak and dry interior of the house.
  • Phase 2 was repair – replace damaged carpet with new flooring.
  • It took 4 days to dry my house. That 4 days was miserable with noise and heat. I slept over at my friend’s house for 4 nights.
  • They found asbestos in the bathroom and the laundry room. My insurance company sent people for quick clean up. But they were slow on communication. We wasted 8 days waiting for them. “We’ll get back to you” they said.
  • If everything goes as planned, my house will be done around Easter.

Insurance Process

  • My insurance company sent an adjuster to my house, and gave me the Dollar figure on how much it would take to repair my house. I told them that I would use my own people for repair, so they would write me a check. Now, it is up to me to use that money wisely.
  • I claimed 7 items for property damage with detailed pictures. The insurance agent was surprised. Most people claim a lot more items, she explained. “I am trying to be fair and honest” I replied. All my solid wood furniture looked good after they were dried.

Rainy Day Fund

  • I have a rainy day fund. It takes one full day to move money to my checking account. This emergency fund is allowing me to keep calm and take care of everything that’s going on.
  • First few days, I wrote a few checks in the amount of over $12,000.00. Then the insurance check arrived afterward. I could have used my credit card. I could have asked my guys to hold my checks for a few days. But, it was easier to write checks and say “The check is good”. My mind was at ease.
  • Things are moving smooth because I was able to pay my people quickly.
  • We are living in a scary time. A lot of people lost job at my work. If I didn’t have a rainy day fund, I would have a mountain of stress and worries right now. I live alone, so money is my strength. I am so glad I saved during my good time.
  • From this point, I will save for not just one, but two possible disasters taking place at the same time. For example, I can lose my job and need a new roof at the same time.

Please take care. God bless everyone.

My closet room
I Stand Corrected – Toilet Paper

(I am healthy and I still have a job)

At first, I listened to initial news and media reaction about toilet paper. A few weeks has passed since then. Now I see more in-depth reports.

There are two kinds of toilet papers, ones we use at home and ones we use in public locations such as work. Since people are staying home, there is much more demand for residential toilet paper.

This report (below link) makes sense. I stand corrected about toilet paper.

Hoarding not the only reason for toilet paper shortage

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