Self-Sealing Water Balloons are Saving Me Hours of Time This Summer!

As a parent of two boys and trusty husband, willing to be at the beck and call of serving the needs of my family, one of the most dreaded requests I receive is, "please fill up the water balloons." 

Yes, even here in drought-stricken Southern California, we're entitled to some fun with water balloons every now and then. They actually don't take a lot of water to fill them. But filling them and tying them rank fairly high on my list of dreaded tasks. It just takes awhile to do, some of them pop in my face, tying them is a pain in the next, etc.

So when I came across these "self-sealing" water balloons, I was intrigued. Do they really work? Are they worth it? (They are a bit more expensive than buying a standard package of water balloons.) 

So with little ado, I purchased several packages of these Zuru "Bunch O Balloons" and hid them away in the garage. Then finally I decided to surprise the kids with them.

Odd little buggers. Basically each package (which costs roughly $11 to $14) comes with 3 bunches of balloons attached to a hose connector. Each balloon has a tiny rubber band pre-attached to it. You screw the connector to the hose, turn the hose on, and the balloons start filling up. Within seconds, they start popping off the connector, each balloon nicely tied up and ready to become a projectile missile!

It was beautiful. Except when the kids started chasing me around the backyard, nailing me repeatedly with them. I was soaked, but thrilled that I didn't have to spend an hour filling the balloons up in back-breaking fashion.

I was amazed at how easy this was and how well it worked. Out of the initial two packages of balloons (200 in total), a single balloon has a leak.

Was it worth it!? Absolutely. For roughly 12 cents per balloon, it saved me hours of backbreaking time filling these up. I'm definitely buying more! Check it out and have fun!

"Watch for Wild Animals" Signs on State Route 23 Between Thousand Oaks, Moorpark

There's only a couple of these Caltrans "Watch for Wild Animals" signs placed in the north/southbound directions of the State Route 23 between Thousand Oaks and Moorpark but many of you may have noticed them. According to this Caltrans District 7 article from 2009, the signs were placed as part of a mitigation plan after a road-kill study done prior to widening of the highway.

Caltrans counted 222 road-kill in a three year study and decided to do something about it, including setting up 12 one-way wildlife gates, cleaning out culverts to allow for animals to cross underneath the highway, increasing the height of fencing to prevent animals from hopping over, and placing these signs to alert motorists.

In other news, last night a black bear was struck and killed on the 101 freeway near Lindero Canyon, which according to the National Park Service was a bit unusual as there are no bears in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. It must have come from the Santa Susana Mountains. In any case, perhaps we need some of these "Watch for Wild Animals" signs on the 101 too! Or at least provide some glow-in-the dark jackets for brave animals to wear who dare cross the 101 freeway at night!

City of Agoura Hills Freeway Sign With Typo on Eastbound 101 Source For Comic Relief

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According to the County of Los Angeles Public Library website: The name Agoura Hills originated in 1928 when the last name of well known local French shepherd Pierre Agoure, was selected as the name of the city in order to establish a permanent post office in the community. However, the "e" became an "a" for unknown reasons, either due to an error or perhaps for ease of spelling. We may never know.

History repeats itself. A few weeks ago, Bonnie Q posted a photo of the above sign on the CVG Facebook page and earlier this week I had to see it for myself earlier this week. While it is not exactly something that a spellchecker would catch, how Caltrans let this typo make it to the 101 freeway is a bit puzzling. This sign can be seen on the 101 eastbound between Lindero Canyon and Reyes Adobe Road.

UPDATE: The sign has been replaced and is now correct!

Did You Know...That the City of Westlake Village Has Leaf Blower Guidelines

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Yes indeed, the City of Westlake Village has detailed guidelines in place for the operation of leaf blowers. So don't blow it...or perhaps I should say, sure, blow it, but per these guidelines. If not, someone may call the Poleafs.

RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES FOR OPERATION OF LEAF BLOWERS

The Westlake Village City Council has approved the following guidelines for the operation of leaf blowers which are intended to reduce the noise, dust, fumes and lake pollution generated by the machines. FAILURE TO ABIDE by these guidelines could result in legal prohibitions against the use of leaf blowers.

1. Hours of Operation: Use leaf blowers only between the following hours --

a. 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday (during early morning hours use of power equipment should be deferred as long as possible).

b. Do not use gas powered leaf blowers on Sundays and legal holidays.

c. Check with property owners and/or Homeowners Associations for hours of operation in certain neighborhoods which may be different from the above-mentioned City hours

2. To Reduce Noise:

a. Operate at lowest speed possible. If it is absolutely necessary to operate at higher speeds, do so only for a maximum duration of two minutes.

b. Always use a muffler. Muffler should be serviced and cleaned periodically to remove carbon build up.

c. Always use an air filter. Service filter frequently to keep clean.

d. Use proper hose extensions and nozzles with swivels because less power is required when leaf blower hose is positioned close to debris.

e. Fan Impellers behind back pad should be serviced on a regular basis to insure removal of debris clogging smooth air flow.

f. As situations permit, update equipment to models which meet the ANSI B.175.2 noise standard of 65dB(A) or less. Newer model leaf blowers are much more quiet, and are much more fuel efficient, saving money on fuel costs and generating fewer pollutants from the engine.

g. Follow guidelines of the South Coast Air Quality Management District with regard to maintenance and operation of small internal combustion engines

3. Dust, Fumes, and Lake Pollution:

a. Form small piles of debris. Pick up debris and properly dispose by placing in bag or container.

b. Use mist attachments or lightly sprinkle area when possible to minimize dust created by blowing of debris.

c. Do not blow debris on to neighboring property or into City streets and gutters. All debris must be cleaned from City streets and gutters immediately.

d. Direct blower away from lake. Do not blow debris into lake under any circumstances.

e. Observe wind direction when operating blower. Blow in same direction of wind.

f. Operate blowers at manufacturer's recommended fuel mixture to reduce smoking and fumes.

4. DO NOT Use Leaf Blowers:

a. When other gasoline powered machines are being used on the property or in the adjoining area.

b. When there are excessive winds.

c. When any doors or windows are open.

d. When area to be cleaned is small; sweeping and raking is recommended.

Source: City of Westlake Village website: www.wlv.org