Category Archives: What the Hell!?

What the hell?!? Math invades The Borrowed Abode!

Hi all, Jane here for a second before Ryan takes over.  Thanks so much to those of you who took my reader survey! I was a little surprised there were only 47 responses when I know I have a lot of readers. . . so I’m wondering if I did something wrong or maybe my survey bored you? Anyway, I think 47 is high enough to help draw some conclusions on where the blog should head in the coming year.

Hello all! Now that the survey results have been tabulated, the counts have been verified, and I’ve been bribed with cake I’m here to bring you the results of the great The Borrowed Abode 4th Annual Blogiversary Reader Survey Extravaganza-pocalypse!

I thought I’d share the results, my analyses, and then make promises of the new direction the blog will take though I have no control over that whatsoever and none of my suggestions are probably possible.

To the numbers!

First up we have:


As you can see, the Renters took the lead and edged out the Owners in a narrow 23-22 victory! Sorry Owners, but at least you have plenty of time to train up new recruits before our 8th Annual survey! In a distant third are the Other Options people. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the actual other options were, so I’m imagining one person is dwelling underground and checks in to see what curtains go best with an abandoned railway tunnel.

The other person is probably the most devout follower of What The Hell?!? and is living in a mental institution and thus neither renting nor owning! I always thought those crisp, white jackets with the floppy arms that they give you really pull the room together.

On to Number 2:
q2This one made me a bit sad. We had 47 respondents and each of you had 5 votes. By the way I figure it, What The Hell?!? should have 235 votes. That didn’t happen. I lost to sewing. I beat out pets, barely. If Pets teamed up with Small Business Advice they could totally take me. I’ll tell Jane to not interview any small businesses about pets.

What else do we have? General decorating?

General Decorating

I thought this was more of a niche topic, but I guess we have a lot of military buffs in the DIY group. Good for you!

DIY Projects and Tutorials… makes sense. Rental-specific decorating posts… 26 votes. But wait, only 23 people rent. This is why you guys lost, Owners! You have some traitors in your ranks! Sure they all smile and act polite when the conversation turns to mortgages and replacing the roof, but really they’re thinking about handing large amounts of money over to someone on a monthly basis (besides their spouse!)

On the not so popular end we have the small business things. I guess that means everyone here is a big business already. Good to know that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, et al are still loyal readers.

We also have giveaways, which is a bit weird. I mean… she’s giving stuff away. And out of 235 votes, 7 went for free stuff.   That’s less than 3%.

If we had 100 people in the room, that means that someone’s left arm and leg would want free stuff. Everyone else would just want to read The Borrowed Abode.   That’s kind of touching.   And weird.

Number 3:
q3Okay, only 1 person skips posts about decorating Generals. Who is reading this blog?

Not too shocking here. It’s mostly the reverse of the previous post. I’m kind of curious what the person who skips DIY Project and Tutorials comes here for. Probably What The Hell?!?. Which you’ll notice is not on this list. It may be because everyone loves it. It’s also possible that I sneakily deleted the option before the survey was posted. I forgot which the correct answer is, so we’ll never know. Moving on…

Number 4:

Good retention values. It looks like there are a lot more people in the 2-3 years category, but it spans 2 years unlike the other categories. And I must have been half asleep when we worded the “6 months” and “less than 1 year”. I’m hoping everyone read that as “1-6 months” and “greater than 6 months, but less than 12 months, because then I would be clicking on the 1 year category”. Broken up into 1 year segments, it’s actually a mostly flat curve with a little spike at the 1 year mark. I’d show you in a picture but I already closed Excel (the charting tool of kings).

And for the 6 new people, good timing! You invested significantly less time in the blog than everyone else, yet still managed to capture almost 13% of the voting power! You lucked into disproportionate amount of influence!

Number 5:

Post whenever there’s something awesome to say. Those are wise words that I first learned from Mr. Ed, the talking horse:

People yakity-yak a streak and waste your time of day but Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say!

3 days a week is pretty reasonable. We did test pilot the continuous webcam idea for two months. The biggest problem we had was everyone became motion sick from the violent swinging of Jane’s head as she dashed from project to project around the house. Also the 400 ft long USB cord was a bit of a tripping hazard for me.

Number 6:


I wimped out on this one and used the survey tool’s graphic instead. This is what I like to call a Goldilocks question. Unlike the regular 1-10 scales, you don’t want to be on either end, you’re looking for the “Just Right” response. And it looks like what Jane does has met your expectations pretty well.

The one thing that stands out to me is that some of you feel that she doesn’t post frequently enough. And on the earlier question the majority thought she should only post when she has something awesome to say. Which by deduction means that some of you think she’s not awesome enough to suit your needs.

See the conclusions we can draw when we harness the power of surveys? That rush you feel as your heart is racing right now? That’s statistics.

Number 7:


Personally, I use a computer screen and my eyes. Those were deemed “too silly” to go on the questionnaire. But “osmosis” made it on? This is just unfair. Now I’m no social media expert (as my tin foil hat proves) but I expected more hits from the Tweeterers and the MyFace people. We see the shift (flight?) from Google Reader to other RSS feeds as Google is closing its doors. Bookmarking the website is nice and old school. It’s how I use these new-fangled internets. My other answer would have been “I don’t read it, I live it.” If anyone else gets that experience, keep a fire extinguisher handy and 911 on speed dial.

Thanks everyone for 4 years of support! I’ll see you again for the next The Borrowed Abode 8th Annual Blogiversary Reader Survey Extravaganza-pocalypse! At that point we’ll be in 2017 which means Jane and I will probably be renting a crater on the Moon.

Or we might be renting a crater where we’re currently living after a DIY project goes awry. Which will it be? Stay tuned!

What the Hell?! Ryan’s letter to the petsitter

Yesterday Ryan made a visit to Delaware to visit with me and my mom.  Our pet sitter was already booked due to the holiday week, but my awesome friend Rachel was able to take care of the animals.  (Thank you times 1,000!)

The instructional email that Ryan sent her was amusing enough that I thought it was worthy of sharing here for smiles :)  Please note his obvious bias against my perfect cats. . .

Hi Rachel!

I hope this is your actual email address. If not, other-Rachel, please disregard. 
The dogs are down in the basement in the “pet feeding and general pet storage” area.  I believe Jane already worked out the times for your visits. I’m leaving later than planned and they were just out (10:30) so feel free for a later mid-day visit.
Please note the height of the baby/doggy/midget gate.  This is high enough to allow the cats under, but low enough to prevent the dogs from squeezing through.  Their litter box is on the other side so it’s best for all parties if they have access to it  (though maybe not for the dogs that have to lay near it).
Their food is in the pantry upstairs. It’s the skinny door next to the fridge.  I left refills of food in labeled bags on top of each bowl.   A quick way to tell them apart is Charlie’s is multicolored like an unhealthy child’s cereal.  Smell is not a good differentiator. They both smell like dead fish. 
I left a milkbone out in each bowl. It’s an appropriate mid-day snack if (AND ONLY IF) they show sufficient enthusiasm at your visit.  If not, you can just yell at them a lot. 
Water bowl is downstairs. You can refill it in the sink. They prefer tap water, but Evian will do in a pinch. 
Please encourage them to spend some time going the bathroom when they’re outside.  They’re a bit prissy and don’t like actually leaving the porch area.  They’ll look at you with eyes that say “Yes, I’ve done my business.” but their hearts are really saying “Grass is icky. I will postpone my business til later, hoping this will be a paved parking lot in 4 hours.”   They’ll forget to hold it later. I’m looking at you, Charlie. 
If Doctor meows a lot, feel free to kick him across the room. He likes it. Honestly.   If Aretha meows at you a lot, she likes you! Congratulations! That’s a rare treat!  You might have a new friend. I’ll drop her off Monday with all her belongings. 
Oh, you may be serenaded by Charlie’s favorite song when locked in the basement. It’s called “Help, I’ve been abandoned by my family on this cozy bed with accessible drinking water”.  She does concerts every 5 minutes when she thinks no one is home. It’s quite amazing for the level of patheticness achieved by a dog in a nice suburban neighborhood.  
I think that’s it.  If the cats go missing somehow while you’re visiting, there’s a $100 reward in it for you.  Per cat.  Don’t answer now. Think about it.

What The Hell? Hair Care Edition!

Note for those of you who are new to the blog:  Occasionally Ryan takes over the blog to make fun of me, writing his “What the Hell” posts.

* * * * * * * *

Last week Jane tweeted the following:

Were you curious what happened?

She was shocked – SHOCKED! – that she grabbed a product that made her hair so super oily.  I was pretty surprised to hear that because I saw what she picked up at the drug store and thought it odd at the time. I assumed she knew what she was doing.  Apparently she missed the indications that she was not the demographic the product was marketed towards, so I made a pictorial to help:

Honey, I hope this clears up the issue. You know, about how you needed to take eight showers to get your hair back to a semblance of normal.

Thanks, Laila, for your emergency consultation!

What the hell? Where are my updates?!?

I would like to assure Jane’s readers and any suspicious law enforcement officials that my wife is still alive. (First time I called her my  wife online. That’s weird.) I appreciate your patience.  By “I” I mean “she” because I don’t have nearly as much vested interest in your approval as I think she does.

Stay tuned in the next few days and you’ll find out how the craft fair went!  You’ll find out the levels of dementia she drove me to in order to pull it off!  You’ll see pictures of cats and stuff that you blog readers like – all taken with a new camera – which you blog readers also like!  You’ll even see the two projects that we undertook while half asleep, recovering from a craft fair! One isn’t even finished yet so you’ll even find out if someone loses a finger!





Unfortunately,  and despite my best efforts, there have not been any notable explosions involved in any of the recent week’s activities.