What’s Your Favorite and/or Latest Gadget?

by Seattle Soccer Mom

Fellow Totebaggers – have any favorite gadgets you’d like to share? What’s the most recent gadget you’ve acquired? My latest gadget is the Chef’n PalmMincer Fresh Herb Mincer. I have several recipes that call for minced fresh herbs and I find this gadget much faster than using a knife to chop them.

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ALSO, go to the Totebag 30-Day Challenge final countdown! page to declare your participation.  We start on Sunday, May 1.

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102 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite and/or Latest Gadget?

  1. I got a garmin vivofit for Christmas. It is a low tech step counter. I find it motivating/rewarding for housework which I was not expecting.

  2. I like my new Instantpot. I have joined several Facebook groups and the recipes shared for IP and inspiring me to cook more at home.

  3. Hmmm, there’s gotta be something. A lemon juicer? Or does my “101 Easy Asian Meals” cookbook count? Between that book and my current guac phase, I am going through a ton of limes, and it’s nice to be able to squish them with a thingy instead of just the old fork-and-hand phase.

    Most of my other gadgets tend to be meh at best to flops at worse. E.g., I’ve tried various shredders/slicers/choppers and always gone back to my Shun knives and a cutting board.

    I do want a special lock on the side garage door so I don’t need to be running the key all the time – I’d love a remote control to lock/unlock that when the garage doors go up and down. :-)

  4. we bought a ninja blender and have been making lots of protein-powder packed smoothies with almond butter, bananas , avocado and flax seed

  5. Speaking of blenders, my D has been making nice cream a few times a week, and even I (lover of whole milk everything) think is quite delicious. She made a vanilla one the other day that especially good, but usually she adds frozen berries.

    ” I’ve tried various shredders/slicers/choppers and always gone back to my Shun knives and a cutting board.” — Yeah, I tend this way also.

    I still like my Aerolatte Original Electric Hand Held Milk Frother, which is still going strong after about five years of using it for my daily faux latte.

  6. I love the keypad outside my garage door. The kids don’t carry keys anymore, as they can get in and out using the keypad.

    I also love our dehumidifiers. Here, we need them to keep mold from growing in our house. Gross, but that’s what you get when living in a tropical climate.

  7. Dell – what sort of things do you like to make with your instapot? I’m intrigued by them but am not sure how much use I would get from it.

  8. I share the affection for the wireless garage door keypad, which lets everyone in without having to carry a key. My new favorite is these almost-sippy (non spill) cups that come apart to wash easily and don’t require you to be able to line the spout up to drink. My boys are using them as non spill cups, too.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Munchkin-Miracle-360-10oz-Sippy-Cup-BPA-Free-2-Pack-Green-Blue/39969639?action=product_interest&action_type=title&item_id=39969639&placement_id=irs-106-t1&strategy=PWVUB&visitor_id&category=&client_guid=101bb39f-3652-4f34-8ee5-1d79b2b46804&customer_id_enc&config_id=106&parent_item_id=39969643&parent_anchor_item_id=39969643&guid=bc6c5ea9-44ea-45a0-8612-40ad6218d082&bucket_id=irsbucketdefault&beacon_version=1.0.1&findingMethod=p13n

  9. I got a really nice garlic press for Christmas. Never, ever would have bought something like that for myself (just use a knife to mince!), but I love it. I use it almost daily. It minces the garlic so perfectly.

    We also use our garage door key pads all the time.

  10. I have a little plastic container that keeps cut lemons fresh for a really long time. I really like it. I have had a pampered chef garlic press for at least 15 years. Awesome tool. Sonos speakers with Sirius radio throughout our house is awesome. I would never have spent the money on it but my husband really wanted it and now I love it.

    I am trying to decide if I would use an Instapot much.

  11. We have a 10 inch cast iron skillet that we love. We are thinking about buying a 12 inch one, but I worry that it will be too heavy to easily use.

  12. Oh – I forgot something we use everyday – Nespresso Pixie with an Aerocino. I first saw the Aerochino on The Chew (do you watch this show? It is great and is a good replacement for the Food Network that is now terrible) when I was on maternity leave with one of my kids. I ordered it at 3 am while watching a DVRed show while feeding my baby because it seemed to be awesome. And it is!

  13. All I’ve got is my new battery charger. But I’d say that every garage needs one.

  14. I’ve been happy with my new Echo Dot. That’s the new one that costs half as much and replaces the good speaker with a laptop-quality speaker, but has a minijack connection so you can run it through your amp and good speakers. The amp is in our bedroom and the good speakers are wall-mounted in the living room (which is on the other side of our bedroom wall). I find that running music through the Echo actually works better than running it through the Amazon Music app on a Kindle, which is what I had been using (plugged in to the amp) previously, but I didn’t want to stop using the good speakers, so the Dot was exactly what I’d been looking for. I disconnect it from the amp when not playing music, so I have an Echo in the bedroom to ask what the weather is or whatever in the mornings (built-in speakers are perfect for that sort of thing).

  15. @Houston: I do have an 11″ or 12″ cast iron skillet, and I use it very rarely, as it takes both hands for me to lift/move. I ended up buying a larger aluminum version (like All-Clad, but a generic knockoff), and I now use it all the time, because it’s just so much easier to manage.

  16. SSM, in your Instant Pot, put some sliced onion, five or six frozen boneless/skinless chix thighs, some chunks of potato / carrot / other veg, and squeeze in a packet of this: http://www.amazon.com/Kitchens-India-Butter-Chicken-3-5-Ounce/dp/B000V17MLS . Or one of the similar ones that you’ll see under ‘also-bought.’ You can add a little liquid if you want, but it’s optional (the frozen thighs will throw off liquid as they thaw, remember). Set the IP to Poultry. That’s it! Stir and break up the pieces of chicken once it’s cooked. You can also stir in a little plain yogurt or heavy cream at that time if that goes with the seasoning.

    This also works with panang curry paste and a can of coconut milk (throw in kaffir lime leaves and a chunk or two of lemongrass pre-cooking, if you have it, and stir Thai basil in after). And it worked with the mole paste I got from the Mexican grocery recently — this stuff http://www.amazon.com/Teloloapan-Mole-Rojo-Mejor-Red/dp/B0070PNARS/ , but it was only $6 and change buying in person. Added chicken broth per package suggestion.

  17. Oh, people cook EVERYTHING in their IP. pasta – no need to drain, frozen chicken, yogurt, curries, rice, cheesecake etc etc.
    There’s also a whole 30 group for IP.
    Kate can you link to the lemon container?

  18. @Houston — ok, you got me curious. My cast iron pan is 11″; my kitchen scale maxes out at 8 lbs, and it pegs the scale (though not by much). When I put any significant amount of food in it, I literally cannot lift it just by the handle. My new WS pan is 12″, and weighs in under 3.5 lbs. It’s big enough that I can put enough food in it to require both hands, but under normal use it is light enough that I can cook normally (shake, lift to offload, etc.) and not have to worry about it. Plus the handle is longer/more ergonomic, so I can lift it easier with one hand (I can run the length of the handle underneath my forearm as I lift the plan to stop it from tilting).

  19. Not a gadget but an app/service. Do you all use Apple Pay or the Android equivalent? I’m going to start using it, and I figured out that it could have helped in a situation where you left your wallet at home and only have your cell phone but no credit cards or cash. You could make an Apply Pay purchase at Walgreen’s or similar using your debit card, and then get cash back. (Now I have to get a debit card instead of my ATM card, which apparently doesn’t work in Apple Pay.)

  20. I haven’t used Apple Pay.

    would you be worried about losing your phone?

    there is the passcode though…

  21. Wireless key pad: We drove home 8+ hours from Christmas at my parents, and hadn’t brought a house key. It had apparently rained a lot, shorted out a Christmas light and tripped the GFCI which was stupidly on the same circuit as the garage door opener.

    Not knowing that, we stood in the pouring rain trying it over and over, then I left to buy new batteries for it, and stood in the dark and rain trying to put them in. We eventually figured it out and had to call a locksmith. So next trip we bring a key.

    Favorite gadget is my Apple Watch. 40% watch, 60% toy, but I really like it.

  22. Thanks HM. That looks good. I’m definitely tempted to buy one!

    Lark – I have a nice garlic press that I also love. Especially after the cheap, crappy one my parents owned.

  23. On the app side, I am finding myself really liking the apps for things I use a lot. Southwest is at the top of the list (no more printing boarding passes or having to remember/track confirmation numbers, huzzah!), but I also enjoy Starbucks (scan to pay) and Marriott (remote checkin/checkout).

    Related Q: I notice that Marriott seems to have recently changed its cancellation policy – my last trip canceled the day of, and my assistant told me I will be charged for the first day because the cancelation deadline is now the day before. I just booked another Marriott for an upcoming trip, and when I was booking I saw that it now also says “may be canceled until the day before.” Have you guys noticed this with other hotels? Honestly, I have liked brands like SW and Marriott because they make life pretty darn easy for business travel — no change fees, no hidden penalties, just call and go. So if Marriott is now going to go the way of United and try to jack me for last-minute changes, I’m happy to take my gold status to someone else who isn’t.

  24. I seem to remember that 24 hour notice is commonly required for hotel cancellations. I just used Marriott also and I believe that’s what they required.

    In requesting a debit card just now, the CS rep told me he had to ask a few questions to rule out that I was a terrorist, or basically words to that effect. I passed.

  25. In addition to never carrying cash, my kids also don’t carry keys because they use the garage door keypad. We also have a house key hidden in secret hiding place in case of power outages, which are not that uncommon around here.

  26. Aren’t keyless garage door openers old? I know we have had ours for atleast 14 years and they were not new then. We can no longer find our garage door lock key and when that one time the garage door malfunctioned, we were luckily inside and could just pull it up.

    Basic question about apple or similar watches- when you see that you have a text or email on it, is it connected to your phone data plan? I mean does it go towards your phones data usage?

  27. We recently stayed in a Hilton, and it was a 3 day cancellation policy. I think the policies vary by location and depending on whether it is a franchise (like a Courtyard), or a fully owned hotel.

    My favorite gadget is 6 foot charger cord for DD. I am not sure why I waited so long to purchase one, but she asked for a long cord because so many of her friends have one in their homes.

  28. MBT, maybe this is a dumb question, but don’t you have the garage door remotes that you put in your car (or use the one built in to the car)?

  29. Another dumb question: People actually go out regularly without their house keys? We always go in and out via the garage, but I still have the key on my key ring. You never know when something might go wrong with the garage door opener.

  30. @Dell — I am looking for something for the “people” door, not the main garage door. Detached garage, with a people door off the back corner that is across from my back door (connected by short sidewalk/pergola). So I am going to need to drive in, close big door with clicker, unlock/open people-exit door, walk out/relock door, walk back door of house , rinse, repeat — it’s just an annoying amount of keys/locks to deal with, especially when I’m coming home with groceries, dry cleaning, etc. So my vision would be that the GDO operates both the people door in back and the big car door, so that I click it once and both doors open/unlock, and click it again and the side door re-locks itself as the big car door comes down.

  31. I keep the old fashioned remotes in the cars because sometimes the temp code on the garage pad gets messed up and the whole pad needs to be re programmed. I’ll give my cleaning person or plumber a temp code, but it can lock up if they get it wrong.

    I really miss my neighbor that moved to San Fran because we kept extra keys there. I have other neighbors with my keys, but it’s not as convenient as next door.

  32. Car break-ins are a real issue in my neighborhood (although, when questioned, it turns out that most “break-ins” involve criminals opening the unlocked car door and stealing the laptops, iPads, GPSs and guns(!!!!!) that my neighbors leave in their unlocked cars overnight.) Because of that, we do not leave openers in the cars that are parked outside. The cars with the built in openers are in the garage. And the only key we took on the trip was just the car key, because no one likes to carry keys.

    I may be wrong, but I think what’s new about the keypads is the wireless feature. My parents have had one for a long time, but I think it is hard wired. The one we added here is wireless so we could set it up ourselves.

    On the Apple watch, I’ve never asked that question, but I would assume no – the incoming message would generate one amount of data usage coming in, regardless of what device I use to look at it.

  33. laurafrombaltimore – I have noticed two new trends with hotel reservations: one is the “pay now, no refund” rate that is discounted, and the other is the 24 hour cancellation that you mentioned. I guess they were getting hit with too many people reserving the room (and using the cc to guarantee a late arrival) and not showing up.

  34. I guess they were getting hit with too many people reserving the room (and using the cc to guarantee a late arrival) and not showing up.

    It was a system that invited abuse.

  35. LfB. You just get keypads for the deadbolt locks. You can still have keys in case of power failure. My son had them in his old house after mom stepped outside for a moment to bring in the stroller or a package left on the porch and toddler locked the bolt.

  36. Houston. I use my 11 plus in cast iron pan all the time. It is heavy and requires two hands to lift when filled. I fortunately have more than one potholder. But it is big enough to make a sauced dinner for four sauté a whole chicken cut up or sear four chops at once. I know people swear by all clad, but I have never liked shiny cookware.

  37. In planning leisure travel it’s striking that non-chain hotels generally require a deposit of the first night’s cost, and have cancellation policies requiring at least a week’s advance notice (national parks) and sometimes only refunding the deposit if they’re able to rebook, and/or subtracting a cancellation fee. In other words, for individual hotels that aren’t using brand loyalty as part of their marketing plan, they clearly find that requiring a financial commitment from guests works better for their bottom line. I doubt that a Marriott is somehow more able to rent a suddenly-empty room on 12 hours’ notice than the Independent Villa down the street, it’s just that the Marriott has frequent traveler loyalty card customers like LfB who represent a lot of business, and presumably it calculated that eating the cost of empty rooms was worth it in brand loyalty. I guess the cost got to be too high for them to justify continuing to allow cancellations on less than 24 hours’ notice.

  38. And the only key we took on the trip was just the car key, because no one likes to carry keys.

    A second key takes almost no space on the key ring.

  39. The new house has three doors, two have keypads (not fancy wireless – simple battery powered code that allows you to turn the deadbolt). The idea is that if there is a failed battery, the other door is always available. There is a window of a few days where it flashes to show you that the battery is getting low. I learned (in my extensive research) that the kind where you have to move the deadbolt yourself (as opposed to electronically moving the bolt) last much longer. I’m happy with the reasonably low tech solution. Anyway, so many of my errands are on foot – I love not carrying keys.

  40. The key pad to the people door in the garage is a good idea. When the kids are playing outside people door to the garage is unlocked, so kids can come into that door and enter the house through the mud room door that is unlocked during the day. The rule for the kids is that they are to bolt the people door to the garage when they come in after play. Our mud room door has an annoying alarm that tells you when it is open. The grandparents wanted it on because they felt that anyone could enter the people door and the house, when the kids are outside.
    Lots of our neighbors park their cars outside and a few years ago, houses at the entrance to the neighborhood had purses stolen from unlocked cars (I was astonished that people would leave purses in unlocked cars). I haven’t heard of anything for the past few years.

  41. For those of you using keypads for garage entry, how do you then unlock the door into the house from the garage? Do you have a keypad lock on that door?

  42. Finn, the stuff in our garage is more valuable than the stuff in our house, so we don’t lock the house. Unless someone is planning a Lego heist.

  43. This and yesterday’s conversation makes me realize that DH and I are completely unsuited to urban life. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as keypad locks. We only know where the key to one of the doors is. Yet another cause for worry about DD when she leaves. I don’t know that she has ever dealt with a door key, other than in a hotel.

  44. When we moved into our current home nearly 20 years ago, we bought a couple of garage openers with keypads. Those are most typically installed outside the garage, but we keep them in our cars. We knew of too many cases in which cars were broken into and garage openers stolen, with garages and sometimes homes cleaned out before the victims even knew the openers were missing.

  45. Cordelia, didn’t you live in an urban area before? I’d think that during that time you either adapted to using locks, were frequently victimized, or were extremely lucky. Or perhaps some combination of those.

  46. OT, DW bought a French fry cooker that is quite handy. She and DD in we it a lot to cook fries without oil, or just a very small amount of oil. More recently, Costco has been selling bags of sweet potatoes, and we’ve been using it to cook sweet potato fries.

  47. Finn,

    That was a long time ago. DH only lived in a urban area in college. It is amazing. He has traveled around the world with little difficulty, but cannot manage to have his wallet with his around here.

  48. In planning leisure travel it’s striking that non-chain hotels generally require a deposit of the first night’s cost, and have cancellation policies requiring at least

    It more about the clientele of the hotel. The Park Hyatt New York is 24 hours, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is 30 days during the winter. (It looks the Marriott Vail is 45 days during the winter.) If the hotel is mostly business travelers, it has a very liberal cancelation policy. If a hotel is a vacation destination (chain or not) it has a much more restrictive cancellation policy.

  49. As Ada said, it’s better if the energy from your hand slides the dead bolt vs. the battery. However, iirc, my parents have one that, in case of a dead battery, allows you to rotate the knob several times by hand as a mini generator to get enough charge to unlock the door (with the correct code).

    Finn – that’s a good idea about using coded openers in your car.

    There was a (Criminal Minds?) in which the killer–the “un-sub,” as they say–was a valet parking attendant who did something to steal the remote openers of his intended victims. I’m trying to remember the specifics, because it’s not easy to just transfer it, as they work on a rolling-code sequence, but you get the gist.

  50. For those of you using keypads for garage entry, how do you then unlock the door into the house from the garage? Do you have a keypad lock on that door?

    It’s not locked.

  51. On the rural/urban dichotomy, I was talking with someone once who was saying how she hated that her new pickup locked the doors automatically because her keys kept getting locked inside. I asked how that happened and she said she’d park the truck, throw the keys on the seat, and close the door. That just blew my mind that someone would leave the keys in the truck, especially with the expectation that the doors would be unlocked.

    My brother lives in a sort of rural/suburban area in NJ and he hasn’t actually closed his garage door in over 10 years. There is no direct access from the garage to the house, but there are still things worth stealing in it.

  52. If the hotel is mostly business travelers, it has a very liberal cancelation policy. If a hotel is a vacation destination (chain or not) it has a much more restrictive cancellation policy.

    Interestingly, Motel 6 has a very liberal cancelation policy and it definitely is not used by business travelers.

  53. LOL. We have a detached garage and don’t keep the cars in it (too small). The door to the garage is NEVER locked (I am not sure if it even has a lock), so I suppose someone could steal the snowblower or our duct-taped-together rakes if they really wanted to. We also only lock the door (back door) if we are going on vacation. We don’t have a key to the front door or the sunroom/patio door – those stay locked most of the time.

  54. This garage sale-bake sale is a disaster so far. Despite scores of cars driving by, we’ve sold one brownie–to the kids’ teacher.

    My suspicion is that Saturday morning garage sale shoppers are some of the most miserly, despicable people in the world.

  55. Hope it turns around, Milo! I belong to a virtual garage sale facebook group for the area where I live. I am always amazed at what people are selling and and what other people are willing to buy. I think it is partially the QVC factor. It looks better online than in real life.

  56. I wonder if Craigslist is killing the garage sale. On a whim, I brought out my Double Bob jogging stroller hoping to unload that, but that seems laughable now. I’ll have to put that on CL.

    I think the dreary weather isn’t helping either.

  57. Kate – that showed up on my FB feed yesterday. Hilarious.

    A friend was telling me yesterday that a friend of hers sold her $800K house on our area’s virtual garage sale. We have a kids’ consignment shop nearby that we take all of our nicer kid stuff to which seems easier than dealing with Craigslist (but that may be because we’ve never used Craigslist).

  58. I bought and sold our second crib on Craigslist. One nut job emailed me from Harrisonburg asking if I might drive it down there. But the lady who bought it asked to meet at the nearby Starbucks, which was fine.

  59. “a valet parking attendant who did something to steal the remote openers of his intended victims.”

    I can think of numerous scenarios of parking valets, garage openers, and theft. One thing they have in common is that most people keep their registration form in the car, so it’s easy to get the home address associated with the garage opener.

    Not every garage open uses rolling codes. For those that don’t, it’s easy to capture the switch settings, then use those settings on another opener to get into the garage at the thief’s leisure. I’ve got a number of such openers at home; when we bought our house, its opener didn’t use the rolling code technology, and the previous owner turned over those openers. One of the first things we did was upgrade the openers to use the rolling code technology.

    Another scenario I’ve heard of happening is the valets using the openers to rob garages while the cars are parked. E.g., if the valet parking is at a restaurant, while the garage owners are having dinner, their garages are being robbed.

    A very obvious scenario is just stealing the garage opener, possibly replacing it with an identical unit to not raise an alarm.

    And of course, in all these scenarios, if a door directly from the garage into the house is left unlocked, the house can easily be robbed as well.

  60. One of our cars has a valet key that doesn’t open the trunk (if we lock it with the non-valet key) or the glove box, so if we’re using that car when we valet park, we’ll lock up the garage opener. If we’re taking the other car, we might leave the opener in the car because it still requires a pin.

    For those who want keyless entry into the house via the garage, I suggest using a lock with a keypad for the door between the garage and the house. Something like this:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Schlage-Camelot-Satin-Nickel-Accent-Keypad-Lever-FE595-CAM-619-ACC/100608049

    I put something like that on our back door so that when the kids could go out to play in the back yard, we could keep the door locked without locking them out. It was also useful when our kitchen was being remodeled; we set up a pin for the contractors to gain access, and deleted that pin when the job was over. We also have a keyed deadbolt on that door.

  61. One thing they have in common is that most people keep their registration form in the car, so it’s easy to get the home address associated with the garage opener.

    Colorado now provides registration copies with addresses for this reason.

    I put something like that on our back door so that when the kids could go out to play in the back yard, we could keep the door locked without locking them out.

    So you were more concerned about someone entering your house while you were home than you were about someone kidnapping your kids? Interesting. Not that there was a very high chance of either one of those happening.

  62. “Colorado now provides registration copies with addresses for this reason.”

    To make it easier for thieves? Or did you mean CO provides registration copies without addresses?

    “So you were more concerned about someone entering your house while you were home than you were about someone kidnapping your kids?”

    No, but I could more easily address that concern.

  63. I dislike restaurant valet parking and garages with valet because of the germs, but this security stuff is another reason to add to my anti valet list.

    We do try to lock our cars when they are parked in the driveway, but I know I should be more careful. Our cousin’s house was broken into while she was home because they used her garage opener in her unlocked car. It’s a usually a safe, UMC neighborhood.

    The local news has been running a story this weekend to warn local residents about a group of thieves that are breaking into homes using garage door openers/programmed cars.

  64. Here we have quite a few open parking lots, that people park in while at work. There were instances of thieves breaking into cars finding the garage door openers and registration and breaking into houses while people were at work. I haven’t heard of this lately. During the Great Recession we had more instances of this type of thing. And never leave your car running with keys inside when you run to do an errand. DH did this and his car was almost carjacked. FIL and MIL were in the car. FIL grappled with the thief for the keys and he ran off. This was in our safe area, grocery store parking lot.

  65. Any updates on college decisions?

    Surprising to me, I’ve seen many local residents leave their homes and cars unlocked here in this NYC suburb. Occasionally we have a spate of car burglaries and the police remind us that we should lock our cars. I’m very cautious about these things, and I’ve been known to put our garage door opener in my purse when I leave the car for servicing. Our new car has the built-in garage door opener, but I figure it would be more challenging to drive the car to our house for the purpose of breaking in. I have no idea what rolling code technology is so I’ll Google.

    How was the garage sale? I can see how they may have become less popular with other options available.

    The Totebag 30-Day Challenge starts today, so look for the posts/pages.

  66. Louise, do you have power? DD and her camp friends were chatting with their friend near you and the power went out due to huge storms.

    It is raining here and all sports were canceled. It is the perfect day to start to declutter and throw out some junk.

  67. I love our OXO garlic press. It has a large hopper & does a great job, but the real key is that it is so easy to clean because of the little grid that pushes out the garlic scraps trapped in the holes.

    https://www.oxo.com/garlic-press-381

    Kate – I love The Chew. Whenever I happen to be off work on a weekday I try to watch it. It’s such a fun show & some of the recipes are really good.

  68. “So you were more concerned about someone entering your house while you were home than you were about someone kidnapping your kids?”

    I hear about incidents of someone slipping into an unlocked house for a quick snatch-and-grab while the owners are home with some regularity — friend-of-friend accounts, or mentions in a ‘neighborhood crimes’ e-mail that gets set every couple of weeks. The last time I heard about someone trying to snatch kids out of their yard would be . . . hmm, let’s see . . . nope, I can’t remember ever hearing about that happening locally. The occasional ‘someone near an elementary school tried to grab a kid’ news story, about once a year, is all we get. So I’d say Finn’s risk analysis was sensible.

  69. We always park our cars in the garage, but DH has a habit of leaving the garage door open when he comes inside. I’m less concerned about criminals than about chipmunks or birds taking up residence (chipmunks once moved in, chewed their way into a plastic container of birdseed, and left birdseed all over every flat surface).
    On home security in general, we are pretty lax, and the longer we have lived in this community, the more lax we get. Even though we have a nice house in a high-end neighborhood, we don’t have a lot of good stuff to steal. A few cameras and laptops, but no real jewelry or silver or large amounts of cash. We never use the security system when we are home, and don’t always bother when we go out of town. A sophisticated thief could rifle through my desk and grab enough personal info for identity theft, but most thieves around here don’t seem to be very sophisticated.
    Do those of you with security systems use them primarily for personal or property safety?

  70. To make it easier for thieves? Or did you mean CO provides registration copies without addresses?

    Yes, that should say without.

    No, but I could more easily address that concern.

    I’d think that making it easier for the kids to come inside by leaving the door unlocked would be safer than locking yourselves inside while the kids are outside. But again, neither of these are a significant risk to begin with.

  71. And never leave your car running with keys inside when you run to do an errand.

    Why would it ever occur to anyone to do that?

    I hear about incidents of someone slipping into an unlocked house for a quick snatch-and-grab while the owners are home with some regularity — friend-of-friend accounts, or mentions in a ‘neighborhood crimes’ e-mail that gets set every couple of weeks.

    And I’ve never heard of that happening here.

  72. Cordelia, congrats to your DD!

    I assume you will educate her on locking her dorm room, as well as the importance of following the security procedures of her dorm. Some in her dorm may not be happy with others who undermine dorm security.

  73. The combo lock on the back door wasn’t just for the kids.

    When I’m working in the yard, I’m often out of view of the back door. It allows me to have the door locked but not have to carry a key. The robberies via an unlocked door while the homeowner is working in the yard is not uncommon occurrence here.

    For the kids, it allowed them to come and go without leaving the house unlocked. Especially when they were younger, they weren’t that good at making sure to lock the door after coming in, but the combo lock obviated that.

  74. “I hear about incidents of someone slipping into an unlocked house for a quick snatch-and-grab while the owners are home with some regularity — friend-of-friend accounts, or mentions in a ‘neighborhood crimes’ e-mail that gets set every couple of weeks.”

    This seems to be the main crime in my neighborhood. Sometimes an open window vs an open door. Usually when no one is home though. Laptops, iPads, smartphones seem to be the thing that is taken most frequently. Bikes or tools from garages. Someone stole our weed wacker when we left the shed open by accident.

    We have been lucky in that we have accidentally left the garage door open for a few hours before but nothing was taken. I’m surprised no one snatched our bikes but we were lucky. Usually a neighbor will close an open unattended garage door or send a message to the neighborhood listserve.

  75. I have to say we are pretty lackadaisical about locking cars and houses. There is almost always someone home, and we don’t lock when we are in the house. I do make a round before I go to bed to make sure the three entry points are locked. We live on a fairly busy corner and there are neighborhood people around all the time – any strange person who wants to come into our house would need to be fairly exposed in order to enter. Nosy neighbor across the way was telling us the life stories and normal wake up/work times of the two people in the house next to ours (which we haven’t met, after living here a month).

    I think that some people need to have a lot of external devices (locks, security systems) to feel safe. Other people need to have a belief that bad things can’t happen to them to feel safe. When I am at my parents’ house (which seems like the most unlikely place for property crime) and they double check each lock, lock the cars when they running inside for a minute, and are constantly concerned about someone coming on their property – I feel anxious and worried. In my own home, where I am convinced that the likelihood of anything happening that is anything other than an inconvenience is super small, I feel a lot more at peace.

    I keep my fancy double stroller under an outside staircase. You could sell it on craigslist for more than the average lawn mower. It’s not visible from the street, but not secured any way. I take a wheel off, so it would be hard to just walk away with it, but otherwise just let it sit there.

  76. I was glancing through the comments and saw Cordelia’s comment on color. I thought what a nice color for a prom dress, a two piece will look just like an Indian bridal outfit or maybe the Disney princess…
    Then, I saw it was about colleges and I thought – you are a dummy Louise !
    Anyway, I saw a documentary called
    Silicon Valley – An American Experience (free to Prime Members). Thought of RMS when I watched it.

  77. Yay for your DD, Cordelia! I still think of it as mostly male, but I checked the the gender ratio and it is about evenly split. Such a strong network. I hope she loves it.

    Anon for this — I think many of my neighbors have your attitude, but I’m more like your parents.

  78. If I were a thief, I’d target the student group homes, where the doors and windows are flimsy, security is lax, and neighbors would have no idea whether the young man in a hoodie with a backpack is a resident, visitor, or burglar. Laptops, smartphones, iPads, car keys — these are probably all lying about unattended at 4 am. Well, maybe not the phones, but you could hit a few of these houses and be gone in the time it would take to bypass my neighbors’ security systems and find out where the lady of the house hides her real jewelry.

  79. People haven’t mentioned dogs in suburban houses. In addition to alarms the thief would have to guess which houses have one, two or no dogs.

  80. I never leave the car unlocked, except when carrying in groceries.
    I always leave the house doors locked.
    sometimes I even lock the doors when we are playing outside.
    I worry more about a home intruder (personal safety) than theft

  81. love this comment on the meternity
    “The “perks” of maternity leave. This is so adorably naive!

    I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if a co-worker who had never attended a funeral distributed a company newsletter advocating for “Be-me-vement” time? That’s what this feels like.

    Your point about work-life balance for all is lost when it’s hidden among an intellectually lazy comparison to giving birth. Develop some empathy, and look beyond the surface of an empty desk. Maternity leave is not margarita time. Maternity leave is suddenly being responsible for another helpless human 24 hours a day, while any body part previously known as “private” is ripped, cracked, bleeding, and in pain. On no sleep. And that’s if the birth goes really well for mom and baby. “

  82. “I thought what a nice color for a prom dress, a two piece will look just like an Indian bridal outfit or maybe the Disney princess…”

    Louise, thanks.

    Light bulb moment….there is a huge Indian community nearby…..hmmmm….maybe she should look there.

  83. “Your point about work-life balance for all is lost when it’s hidden among an intellectually lazy comparison to giving birth. Develop some empathy, and look beyond the surface of an empty desk. Maternity leave is not margarita time. Maternity leave is suddenly being responsible for another helpless human 24 hours a day, while any body part previously known as “private” is ripped, cracked, bleeding, and in pain. On no sleep. And that’s if the birth goes really well for mom and baby. “”

    Not to mention the baby blues, post partum depression, etc where you KNOW your feeling are not valid, but have them anyway.

  84. Scarlett – when I was in college, we went home over winter break. When we came back, my friend’s apartment was cleaned out. Like someone stole everything. It was crazy.

  85. Lauren, interesting article. But I am very skeptical that there were only 772,600 millionaires in CA in 2015, given home values in many parts of the state.

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