We celebrated Alexander's birthday today. He told me that this year he wanted to have his birthday at Chuck E Cheese. Well, OK. Chuck E Cheese is kind of like Vegas for kids. I don't really like Vegas, but how often does a kid turn eight. I asked him who he wanted to invite and he named 20 people. Of course, not every kid could come, but several adults could come so we had quite a crowd. The place was packed, of course. Everything went fine, the pizza was fine, the kids won lots of tickets which they traded in for cheap junk. Then they brought me the bill. Holy crap! As we were leaving I was pulling junk out of my pockets looking for something and Alex saw the bill. He asked if it really cost that much and I said yes. His response was, "What a waste of money!" Nice. As a fellow parent explained - this is good news because I have taught him to appreciate the value of a dollar. I think next year I will just work with him on the plans ahead of time.
For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin. My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t