By now you've probably realized that you were supposed to set your clocks back an hour last Sunday night to be on Daylight Savings Time.
Of course, that's old news. But I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that you were also supposed to do several other things at the same time you were resetting your clocks.
You should have changed the batteries in all of your smoke detectors (and the experts tell us we should have those babies scattered all over the house because just one is not enough).
And yes, I know, just resetting the clocks is a major ordeal because the typical house has about a thousand clocks in it anymore. At our house, we divide it up. My wife does the oven clock, the microwave, the clock in the guest bedroom and most everything on the ground floor. I, meanwhile, am responsible for the clocks in our bedroom, the car, my own watch and the TV and VCR (although these sometimes change automatically, as I learned after hacking into the electronic innards of our entertainment system and causing it to still be wrong the next morning).
But that's not all.
According to NW Natural - those friendly folks who provide us with a never-ending supply of natural gas for our furnaces, kitchen ranges and new remote-control fireplaces - you also should have taken this opportunity to 'replace furnace filters for maximum efficiency and cost savings on monthly heating bills.'
And - you guessed it - there's more.
Somebody at NW Natural has been thinking overtime. They also put out a list of other things you ought to be doing at this time of year, in conjunction with the changing of the clocks, the batteries and the furnace filters. Here it is:
n Readjust your thermostat (this can save around $150 per year when used correctly).
* Install a low-flow shower head (which can save up to 10 percent on water heating costs).
* Consider insulating your attics, ceilings, floors, pipes and ducts (for cash incentives through the Energy Trust of Oregon and up to 25 percent on heating costs from ceiling insulation alone).
* Change the air filter in your furnace. Woops, we already did that one.
* Consider retiring your old water heater.
Now, you're probably thinking this is enough projects to be tied to one stupid day on the calendar, but I think if you buy into the concept of grouping a few timely safety, security and self-improvement chores to the changing of the clocks, why stop there?
If you really believe in bettering yourself and your home, you'll also consider these Daylight Savings Time chores:
* Change the batteries in all of your home's remote controls.
* Replace any windows that have developed leaks and which now have moisture building up between the double panes (like many of mine do).
* Wash your new windows thoroughly.
* Change the batteries in your cell phone.
* Replace any dripping faucets. This will save you money on your water bill and stop that aggravating sound you hear all night long when you're trying to sleep.
* Change the batteries in your flashlights.
* Schedule a dental checkup and cleaning.
* Have your car serviced, battery checked, tires rotated and oil changed.
* Change the batteries in your laptop computer.
* Start working out more regularly.
* Have that mole on your neck looked at. It might not be cancerous, but it is kind of creeping everybody out.
* Change the batteries in your camera.
* Get a complete psychological examination. I've read your letters and e-mails, as well as taking your phone calls, and there's a pretty good chance, statistically speaking, that you are borderline crazy.
* Change the batteries in your iPod.
* Take some of those old shoes and clothes in your closet to Goodwill.
* Change the batteries in your portable radio you're going to rely on in event of a major natural disaster or World War III.
* Get your eyes checked. It's true that someone your age will naturally have trouble reading the newspaper, but struggling to make out the name of the paper itself is not good.
* Change the batteries in your electronic stud-finder.
* Paint your house.
* Change the batteries in your BlackBerry.
* Buy more energy-efficient appliances. You'd be surprised how quiet the new washers, dryers and dishwashers are now.
* Change the batteries in your metal detector, your light saber and all of your favorite battery-operated toys.
* Turn your mattress over.
* Change the batteries in your electronic meat thermometer.
Former editor of the Lake Oswego Review and former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections for Community Newspapers and contributes a regular column.