A Penny Floor: A Man, a Woman and 60,000 Pennies

Pretty incredible — this Chicago couple wanted to redo the floor in their bedroom, and decided to do it with pennies! Check out the story and pictures on their website, The Penny Floor, because they’re pretty incredible.

Ryan Lange and Emily Belden glued nearly 60,000 pennies to the floor BY HAND.

Ryan Lange, ThePennyFloor.com

Ryan Lange, ThePennyFloor.com


The pennies are worth more than the $600 face value — these folks actually glued down two rare pennies instead of cashing them in!

It looks pretty cool, but it’s not something I’d consider as a decor point.

Hurricane Irene: Weathering the Storm

It may be old news for the rest of the country, but we here in Northern New Jersey (and in many other parts of the Northeast) are still reeling from Hurricane Irene, which hit us last Saturday night. Torrential rains and high winds wreaked havoc on our town and neighborhood. Many homes flooded when our local rivers spilled their banks, creating lakes where there once were streets and intersections. Less than half a block away, two 100-foot trees broke free of the sodden earth and toppled over toward homes.

As the blue skies opened up around noon on Sunday, we considered ourselves very lucky to only have lost power overnight — it was restored by 8 a.m. We borrowed Wet-Vacs from my father-in-law and my brother, and dried out the few inches of water that had pooled in the basement and garage, thanking our lucky stars that the damage was fairly limited.

As we were sucking the water out of the last corner in the garage, we heard a loud “CRACK” followed by “BZZZZT! BZZZZT!” And we came out to this sight:














And as we panned to the left, toward the intersection, we saw the downed tree had caused this:




















Yes, that is a telephone pole… snapped in half. The wires to the left and right of where the tree landed were brought down, as well as in three other directions from this pole. Somehow, the tree only destroyed some fencing and a kids’ (empty) play house in the yard and didn’t cause major damage to the house.

But from Sunday through Wednesday, we were without power. My in-laws were also without power, but we spent most of our time with them (did I mention that Mr. Not-So-Frugal and I were home on ‘vacation’ this week?) and Baby Frugalista adjusted pretty well to the lack of routine. We tried to salvage our refrigerator items, but the frozen foods were a lost cause, even when placed in a cooler packed with ice. But it could have been much, much worse. We survived and had minimal damage to our home. And a big thanks to the utility crews from Ohio who worked their asses off for two days to restore our power!

Here are some other views of the Hurricane Irene aftermath:


























Sadly, the best part about getting our power back? Being able to blow-dry my hair again — with my flippy hair, I was looking like a poor man’s Farrah Fawcett for a few days there.

In the News: NJ Residents Most Fiscally Responsible in Country

Came across a headline today that struck me:

“N.J. residents among most fiscally responsible in nation, study says”

Naturally, I wondered what this story would entail. What exactly makes myself and my fellow New Jerseyans ‘fiscally responsible?’

It’s our rainy-day funds. The survey asked residents across the nation if they had emergency funds equal to 3 months of expenses — which I consider the bare minimum of being prepared for an emergency.

So percentage of people in NJ who have three months of expenses saved up? 47.5 percent.

This puts our state FIRST in the nation. Pretty paltry, if you ask me.

— New York is second, with 45.1% of folks having 3 months of expenses set aside in savings.

— Lowest? Oklahoma, at 28.1%

— The national average? 35.1%

We “only” have about six months of expenses set aside in liquid assets, and I’m not feeling totally secure about it. With a mortgage and a baby on the way, it looks a lot less comforting than, say, 12 months of expenses!

Hoarders Die in Their Piles of Crap

Making news this week? A hoarder was found death — months after she had croaked — underneath one of her many piles of ‘stuff.’

The sad part? When I went to research the story for this post, I found NUMEROUS other stories about hoarder deaths — at least three this summer alone.

In this newest news-making event, a Las Vegas woman was missing for four months. Her husband tried to ‘find’ her, but despite help from police and scent-sniffing dogs, didn’t see her until feet sticking out from a pile of clutter until it was far, far too late. And how did the clutter cover up the stench of death? I’ve smelled the decomposing body of someone who’s been dead a few days in the summer, and it’s not a smell you’ll ever forget. So how, in the super-toasty summer of Las Vegas, did her husband not smell her?

The Other Cases

On June 22, firefighters ‘rescued’ a woman in Sandy Springs, Ga., who was buried in chest-high junk that she’d probably hoarded for years, but she died shortly after. She was only 38 years old. Technically, she died after she was pulled from the clutter, with the cause of death cited as ‘alcoholic liver disease.’ She also had multiple federal and tax liens against her home. The best part? The firefighters had to go through a ‘decontamination’ process afterward.

Just a month later, on July 20, firefighters in Skokie, Ill., had to cut a hole in the roof of a home to get to the body of a 79-year-old hoarder. It took 3 hours for them to reach the deceased woman, since the clutter was piled so high, it was only 2 feet from the ceiling. How did she get around that home? She died of natural causes from heart disease, but if her daughter hadn’t come over to look for her, she might not have been found for a long, long time.

What makes people hoard stuff? It must take the place of something in their lives — affection, socialization? Part of it is definitely a compulsive disorder. Collecting stuff is a habit, but these people take it too far. I’ve also seen cars stuffed to the gills with garbage, papers and ‘stuff,’ and other people hoard animals and pets. In no case is it considered a healthy obsession.

I don’t consider myself a hoarder, nor a minimalist. I’m somewhere in between, thank goodness.