Thursday, November 15, 2018

Duck Tape and Expiration Dates

Duck Tape is a wonderful thing. Everyone knows DUCK TAPE, its uses, it's history.  (If you don't know its history, click the link.) So anyway, the other day I was out doing what I do in my makeshift workshop (read: patio) when I needed my duck tape for ...well...something.  And thus began the search.  

When ever I need a tool or, in this case, my handy roll of Duck Tape, it usually takes me a while. I'll admit, I'm not one for putting the tool (or in this case, the Duck tape) back in its exact position every time. Oh sometimes I do it right and when I need it next, there it is, but most times I just set it aside and when I need it later, the search begins. This was one of those times.

So, there I was, working at finding the Silver Savior for a while, when my wife came out and pointed to a roll that sat in the corner of the workbench.  It was red...see above.  Now I am a true believer in Duck Tape (though I am known to buy the off brands from time to time) and by that I mean Duck Tape Should be Silver.  Not ...ugh...Red.  But one day I ended up with this roll of Red Stuff and kept it because....well, it's Duck Tape and it works miracles. 

So I grabbed the Red Roll because for this one instance, color didn't mean much.  I grabbed on one corner and - nothing.  I worked at it a while, thinking I could save it, but you can see, the tape wouldn't unroll.  That's when I learned two things.

Thing One; Duck Tape has an expiration date. If not used, the glue becomes sort of permanent and you'll not get it to come apart easily.  See above.  I now keep a close watch on the rolls of Duck Tape I keep around so as to keep that from happening again. For those of you keeping notes, this is from 3M's website: 3M Performance Plus Duct Tapes 8979 and 8979N can be used up to 12 months after the date of manufacture when stored under normal conditions of 60° to 80°F (16° to 27°C) and 40 to 60% R.H. in the original carton. The month and year of manufacture is stamped inside the core of each roll. Handy info, that. 

Thing Two:  I use the regular Silver Duck Tape faster than it expires.

I think that's a good thing. Yes, a very good thing.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Feline Miracle

The Miracle Kennels - 36" x 28 x 23
During a recent cross country move (Ok, so maybe 8 hours isn't cross country, but we moved with 4 cats and a caravan of two trucks and three cars and were driving after a full day of loading said cars and trucks so there!) but anyway we experienced a sort of modern day miracle that must be noted herein concerning our cats.  Let me preface this with a bit of history on said Felines.  

We have four cats, all living indoors.  Each of the cats is a rescue with a story of their own.  The two oldest, Gabby and Callie are siblings we rescued along with their mother (who, sadly, is no longer with us.)  They are each 16 years old.  Add to that Boo Boo Ninja Kitty, who came to us as a kitten one Halloween and never left.  He is big, nearly 18 pounds, and absolutely fearless (except for dogs, of course.)  And lastly is Ozzy Pawsbourne, Kitten of Darkness.  Only slightly younger than Boo, he is scared of everything including his own shadow.

Big Bad Boo Boo Ninja Kitty

Here is (was) our problem.  Boo and Ozzy get along well.  They rough house as only boys can.  Gabby and Callie basically tolerate each other but absolutely hate the two big boys.  Gabby runs from them which made them think of her only as prey and they chased her relentlessly. So much, in fact, that we finally had to give Gabby her own bedroom and she only came out in the evening when she could cuddle in safety with my wife on the couch.  (Anytime the boys got too near, she would high tail it back to the bedroom, however.) 
Ozzy Pawsbourne - Kitten of Darkness! 
We tried everything to get them closer.  Feeding times were a study in frustration as Gabby even had to be fed in her bedroom or risk the boys chasing her.  Callie rarely ate with them either, but she did better than her sister.  
Now, comes the move - and the miracle.  

Just before the big move, Ozzy was experiencing a lot of stress. An influx of people seeing the house we were selling while Mom and Dad were not there led to physical problems resulting in surgery and an overnight stay in the hospital.  When we picked up Ozzy, the doctor gave us some 'Happy Cat*' to help him get over the pain of surgery. When we told him of the move, he suggested using a 'half-dose' of the 'Happy Cat*' on all the cats to keep them from getting too upset during the long 8 hour drive to our new home. Considering the stress of the move and the possible in-fighting during the drive, this seemed like a fair idea. The Vet checked each of their backgrounds and gave us the meds.

The day of the move, we planned very carefully.  We had purchased two medium cage-style kennels (see them at the top of the page) and set them sideways in our car with two cats in each kennel, Ozzy and Boo in one, and Gabby and Callie in the other. They just fit exactly in our little crossover SUV.  Each kennel would also have a small litter box with some litter from their own boxes to give them a scent to connect with. The cats were dosed with the meds and placed in the kennels and the drive began.  

Our worry was that the cats would hiss and fight with each other through the sides of the kennels as the kennels were not solid on the sides. These kennels were chosen due to it being a hot time of year and we wanted air conditioning to be able to get to all the cats. We had also planned that a cardboard barrier might be needed between the kennels if the fighting got too bad and had one ready - just in case.  We had planned for any eventuality.  

The drive went very well. Callie gave us a scare when she exhibited breathing problems (most likely due to a reaction to the meds) but we kept a close eye on her during the trip and she came through like a champ.  In all, there was no fighting and no need even for the barrier.  

We moved into the basement of our daughter's home while we put most of our stuff into storage and looked for a new house.  The cats would have full roam our small 4 room area.  There is a bedroom, a living area with a large sectional couch, a bathroom and a large storage room filled with all manner of toys, Christmas decorations and boxes of stuff.  Our main fear was that Gabby would hide out in this storage room and we'd never see her.  

We left the cats in their kennels while we moved in suitcases, boxes and other stuff and then let them out.  Now, comes the miracle.  The cats have stopped fighting.  It's as if they've been friends all along.  Oh there has been the occasional hissing and such, but nothing like we'd seen in the past.  They are all fed in the same room and for the most part there is no problems. Gabby walks around as if she is queen of the space and the boys pay her no mind. 

In moving, especially when moving with cats, there is a lot to worry about, as cats need that feeling of belonging to feel safe or to feel at home.  Our family of 4 came through with such a change, that it's truly a miracle. In fact, as I write this, my wife is in the basement taking a morning nap with all four cats asleep on the bed with her. 

Hopefully they will make the move to the new house just as easily.
* Happy Cat is not a name of a medicine, but a nickname which the Vet's office used. Rest assured that it is a good medicine, and was prescribed by our Vet and given in small doses after very careful consideration. We are careful and thoughtful cat guardians and love our fur babies.   

Friday, September 21, 2018

Duck Tape First Aid

So, let's get the background.  I repaired a window recently.  The glass was broken when the thing was installed and it was a PVC type window and I had no real interest or knowledge in fixing it.  It was the inner pane and there was no real problem, so I left it.  I had bigger fish fix in my abode.  But it finally came to be fixed, not once, but twice.  But this is not the story of the repair, but the story of Duck Tape.  

Fast forward about a week or two after the repair and I'm walking with a pain in the side of my foot.  A simple examination discovers that it is a sliver of glass that got into my foot more than 2 weeks ago and has now worked its way into a nerve.  My wife is unable to get the dang thing out due to my screaming and jumping around while she tries to get at it with a pair of tweezers, so we turn to 'other methods.'  "Duck tape Medicine!" she says.  And I concur.  

The Internet is rife with stories of medical use of Duck Tape. (Regular readers will know this is the Duck Tape, the Silver Savior and is not Duct Tape.) There is more than enough evidence for us to try using Duck Tape to get this sliver out.  So, my wife prepares a hot tub of water and I soak my foot in it for...a while.  At least until the water is lukewarm. A long time. Then I dry the foot entirely and reach for the roll of duck tape. 

It's important to note here that we are moving and the house is a shambles of boxes and things needing to be in boxes. The fact that, while my wife heated the water, I walked into my erstwhile work area and right to the unsealed box and found the duck tape is a modern miracle by any definition.  

So, I then carefully wrapped the edge of my foot being careful to encase the puncture and the glass shard. Then, I went to bed. 

It will come as no surprise to any good ol' southerner what happened next.  

In the morning, I carefully pulled the tape off, and there, stuck to the Silver Savior, was a tiny, thin piece of glass. There are a million stories in the Duck Tape City. This has been one of them. 

Extra Internet Points for knowing the origin of the paraphrased quote above.  
I gotta go find a band aid to cover my foot.  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Southern Homeselling and the Low Ball Offer.

Image result for real estate offer

So, you already know we're selling our home.  It's been on the market a while and we've had a couple of offers.  The offer we just received bears note.  It was ludicrous. It was fully 10% less than our asking price. That may seem like a trifle to someone who's home is priced in the high 6 figures, but to us, it was a freaking insult.  

But it gets worse. The reason they couldn't offer more was because they only could qualify for the amount they offered. Ok, so fair enough, but why?  Why on earth would you go out looking at houses you CAN'T afford knowing you would have to offer any one of them less NOT because you feel the house is worth less, but because you can't qualify for that higher amount?  Why aren't you just looking at homes that are priced more in your budget?  What kind of real estate agent says "Oh I know you can't possibly afford this home, but we can always offer them less...."  

Perhaps we're affected by all those shows on HGTV.  He's a part time window dresser and she sharpens pencils at home and their budget is 1.2 MILLION?? (And the first house they go out to look at is priced at 1.5 Million?) So why can't someone qualify for our little homestead? What is wrong with their background that keeps them from that 10% more?  And it goes in circles.  If you can't qualify, why offer less and if you can't qualify why are you looking and... Ok,perhaps I'm being a bit exacting here, but it's all still insulting.  

The sign is still in the yard, and the people are still trouping in.  More later...

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Selling the House and Notes to Buyers

Much like elsewhere in the US, houses for sale in the south mean several things.  1) Strange people coming through your house while you are not there; 2) that silly sign in the front lawn;  and 3) having to keep your home 'show ready' all the time.  

But it's not #2 or #3 above that drive me the most crazy. Yeah, it's the people that come through the house while I'm not home.  Here is a quick reference list of things NOT to do when you visit some one's home while considering whether or not to buy it.  
  1. Lock the damn door when you're leaving!  I can't tell you how many times we've come home after a showing to discover the front door unlocked (or open!)  
  2. If the house is owned by an asthmatic, don't wear heavy perfumes, cologne or drench yourself in some smelly eu de toilette before you enter said home.  The owner will come home and breathe that in and spend a nice afternoon in the ER thanks to you wanting to smell like a french whore. 
  3. Cigarettes. Same as above, and don't be tossing your lit butt into the yard either.  
  4. Kids. No.  Don't bring your kids.  They will chase the cats, get into things, open drawers and make messes in other people's nicely kept (read: show ready) homes and the owners will curse your progeny and your lineage when they get home. (And dang it, put the stuff back that they get out!)
  5. Don't touch.  And should the horrible happen, you or your kids has touched and yeah, DAMAGED some valuable item (valuable in our eyes, perhaps, but value it has!) then at least be honest enough to own up to it and pay for it!  
  6. Cats.  Ok, we have cats.  It's posted in the notes for real estate agents so that they won't bring anyone allergic into a home with cats.  So, when you review the home, and you've been inside that home, the reason you didn't buy it cannot be TOO MANY CATS. (Hey, we only have 4!) And besides that, they don't come with the house! They don't pee on the carpet and they don't attack your children so long as you keep the kids from chasing them down! 
  7. The Neighborhood.  We live in a very nice neighborhood. You (or your real estate agent) should know which areas of town are and which are not good neighborhoods.  They won't bring you into a neighborhood that you don't like.  Driving up into some one's driveway and not getting out of the car because 'you don't like the neighborhood' is tantamount to sending back a well done steak because it's well done!  
  8. The Open House.  Don't show up at an open house unless you're in the market to buy.  I know people from the neighborhood always go to these just to see how a house looks on the inside, but don't be showing up looking for a job, asking people if they need this fixed or that fixed. 
I'm sure I'm going have more rants before this is over, so you might want to prepare yourself for that sometime along the way.  

Next, the adventure of the new roof! 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Southern Home Swapping and Home Staging

Before I begin, let's take care of the missing elephant in the room.  Yes, I know I've not posted anything in a very log time, and I intend to rectify that.  And no, this has nothing to do with the Everlasting Living Room project which will make many of you glad beyond words.  

Recently, I decided I needed to retire from the work I am doing. Yes, thank you and yes, tears, and yes, there are reasons other than just not wanting to work, but other reasons seem more in play than I can put here. So anyway, as part of all that, we've decided to sell the house.  Yes, the house with the nifty new living room. This also means that much of the stuff we have must be sorted, trashed, and/or packed.

This also means I get to go up into the attic.  The attic is my 2nd least favorite place to spend time, right behind the crawl space under the house.  Not just because, you know...spiders, but also because there is a lot of junk up there I have no idea WHY  it's up there. I am loathe to discover a lot of stuff I'd rather not face.

So, finally the day arrives and up I go and time I spend and I discover what so many people at work already know...I'm a box hoarder. (Is there a Box Hoarders Anonymous Group? Again, I digress.)  Now this is not like those TV shows about the people who hoard newspapers and boxes and take out containers and dogs and all manner of things unmentionable.  This is just boxes. Empty boxes.

You see, at work I ship things.  The other guys will bring me some oddly shaped item or several small items and ask me to ship them off to far flung lands (state wide) and I have to have boxes to use to ship said items.  To prevent me having to spend my days spelunking in the cardboard collection bins, I collect boxes to be prepared for such shipping.  At home, it's not the same but it is the same.  I may purchase a new printer or vacuum cleaner or even a new blender and then, in case we need it, I keep the box.  This is just in case we decide that the item doesn't meet our needs, and we wish to return it. Packed back up in it's original box makes it easier to return. 

You see where I'm going here?

That's right, the attic is filled with lots of stored stuff, but I discovered that about half the boxes up there were empty.  Some going back more than 20 years!  Marv the Hoarder strikes again.

So, now the boxes are flattened, taken to recycling (I'm so green Kermit is jealous!) and I'm set to pack things off to the thrift store donation bins this next weekend.

And, in case you're wondering, we're still moving to a mid-south area. 
Cuz we likes the South, we does.  Or Mid get the idea...

Friday, November 24, 2017

I Can't Contain my Excitement

This nifty little concession stand like building showed up outside our building the other day and I really marveled at the speed at which it was built. it seemed like it was not there one day and then completely built the next. I blamed myself for not being aware of my surroundings, but...then I began noticing little things, like the holes at the bottom and the style of the siding.

Closer examination revealed that this little food shop had been just delivered like this, nearly complete!  How did they do that? Was it built on a trailer, or maybe partially built at another location and then delivered? 

Closer inspection proved what I was looking at.  This building was once a shipping container!  It was the holes in the bottom that caused the tumblers to drop into place. 

Once in place, it only took a couple of weeks for the insides to be fitted out and then food was served!  The idea is that a different food vendor will be using the space every day. 

Couple this with the new music space just to the left there (You can't see it, I'll take more photos when it's complete) and you have  a new downtown relaxation destination.