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Sunday, December 17, 2006

("hands free" OR sensor) (trash OR garbage) can

We've discovered that there's been an increasing number of people who come to our blog having searched in Google for something along the lines of a hands-free/infrared garbage/trash can, often adding the term Costco. They find our Future Trash entry, which is a good review of our trash can, but not real helpful for finding it online (especially since Costco doesn't list it online). For those of you looking for this trash can, here's some quick helpful information to get you on your way:

Amazon has the same trash can listed here. I'm not sure it's made by the same company as the one we bought at Costco, but it looks exactly the same and if the system really is patented then it should be the same company or licensed by them. As some Amazon reviews mention, the price is cheaper at Costco (around $35).

We've had it for two months now and it's been great the whole time. It gets a lot of use and the kids think it's neat so we have to keep the little one away from it now. He's not 18 months old yet and he already knows how to trigger the sensor and use the "open" and "close" buttons, it's that easy. The inner ring holds the trash bag in place well but makes for a bit of extra work taking out the old bag and replacing it. I believe the main reason for the ring is so none of the trash bag is visible from outside the can when the lid is closed, making for a more attractive appearance than most trash cans where the rim of the bag hangs over the edge of the can. This can is great for anyone who is picky about germs, wants a trash can that doesn't require your hand to open but is cheaper than typical foot pedal cans, or who loves gadgets.

About its reliability: the four Duracell D batteries I put in it are still going strong after two months, and I won't mind replacing them as long as they last at least six months. The sensor works pretty well, although it doesn't appear to sense 6 inches in all directions as the description states. It's more like 6 inches directly in front of the sensor, and maybe a couple of inches directly above the sensor. Since I'm over six feet tall, I have to lean over a bit and wave something just over the sensor to get it to trigger, but my wife (and especially the kids) have no problem at all. Since it is more sensitive to objects in front of the sensor than over it, it does tend to raise the lid a lot when we walk by it too closely. That doesn't bother us, though.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Daniel had a hard time acclimating after his nap yesterday afternoon and Joshua offered to read him a book to help him feel better. I thought it was a very sweet gesture and from the look of things, it really did the trick!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not your typical Thanksgiving

But a good one anyway. We ended up staying in San Diego with no guests to host, so we took advantage of the freedom to spend Thanksgiving morning at a playground by the beach:

There are few places in the US where the weather is good enough in late November to go to the beach (and a good beach five minutes away), so we decided to enjoy it while we can. After the afternoon nap (for Daniel) and quiet time (for Joshua), we had Thanksgiving dinner. Daniel continued his recent trend of devouring lots of food; after lots of turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and carrots he gobbled an entire slice of pumpkin pie. Joshua, also as usual, decided he didn't want to eat any of what was offered for dinner. Fortunately the standard backup method, negotiating a number of bites after which he receives dessert, resulted in a better-than-usual agreement of ten bites, with at least one bite of each kind of food. Normally I'm satisfied with five. I was surprised when Joshua didn't like the sweet potatoes so much, and less surprised when he didn't like the stuffing. I didn't either at his age. But sweet potatoes with brown sugar and melted marshmallows on top? How can a kid not like that?

On Friday, we made a trip to the zoo. We thought Daniel and Joshua might enjoy the petting zoo, but after we arrived we found out it was closed for remodeling. This marks the second time this has happened to us: last time, we went to the Wild Animal Park to feed the giraffes and found out that was closed for remodeling.

Instead, we decided to take the Sky Ride across the zoo. The boys behaved well in the longer than usual line, enjoying a close view of a duck pond and waterfall. Daniel also watched the Sky Ride cars coming in and out of the station and was silent in wonder when it finally became our turn and we lurched up into the sky. On the other side of the zoo we looked at a few desert animals and the polar bears, and when I suggested we could take the Sky Ride back Daniel began yelling "Sky! Sky!" and pointing back up the hill towards the ride. The boys seemed to enjoy the ride back just as much, and I'm not sure we'll ever be able to go to the zoo again without taking the Sky Ride.

There were a few other things the boys enjoyed. Here's a stone lion they climbed around:

They also liked looking at meerkats, parrots, an otter, and a collection of insects that included millipedes, hissing cockroaches, and a large tarantula.

Train ride!

On Saturday we took a trip to Old Poway Park to ride their restored steam train and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The boys had a blast! Daniel went around saying "choo choo" most of the day -- it was really cute. I have to say I think what Joshua loved most was the Thomas & Friends train table they had set up for kids to play with inside the depot. We could barely pry him away to take a ride on the real thing, and we made a couple of trips back to the depot in between rides. It was a wonderful day for our family and here are some pictures!

Joshua waves hello!

I love this cool dude pose.

Joshua was certain that the train whistle was going to be way too loud. This is him waiting in anticipation (It actually didn't turn out to be very loud).

The boys enjoyed the fountain and here they are pretending they were trains going around the "track."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Such enthusiasm!

I took the boys to the library this morning and we ended up arriving about 5 minutes before it opened for the day. I didn't mind as this gave the boys an opportunity to play on the front steps and patio area. After a couple of minutes, Joshua asked, "Can we go in yet?" "Not yet," I replied. "Go?" asked Daniel (meaning "can we go in yet?). "Not yet, you can play outside a little while longer." After another minute or so, Joshua again asked if it was time to go in, and I explained to them that when we saw a librarian open the front doors, that would be our cue to go in.

They ran around for a couple more minutes, and then, lo and behold, the librarian came out to open the front doors. I have to say I wasn't expecting what happened next -- both boys started shouting with excitement (and in very unlibrary-like voices), creating quite a cocophany in the enclosed patio area. Daniel was cheering "Yaaaaaay!" and Joshua "Yay! Let's go into the library!" and both ran full tilt to get through the front doors. Several other people waiting to enter had to make way for the little guys who were oblivious to all else. The librarian, who had come outside to hold the door open for people said that she loved to see such excitement! I have to say that I felt good about it too. Perhaps the librarian got a taste of what it might be like to work at Disneyland.

What loot did we come home with? "Night", the current selection for my book club. For the kids, a personal favorite of mine: "Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!" Also, "The Rainbow Fish" and "Dazzle the Dinosaur," among others. And or course, a few videos. Joshua found "There Goes a Tractor" and "There Goes a Spaceship" that he just had to have. He is watching "There Goes a Tractor" right now, and even I have to admit that it's pretty cool. Apparently the inside of modern farm equipment is decked out with computerized consoles, air conditioning and a full sound system.