Friday, February 26, 2016

The Plastic Project: It Begins

I've had a lot of time to think about the Plastic Project.  For those of you who do not remember, the plastic project was my idea of getting all of my tools into plastic bins, plastic boxes, plastic cups with lids and much etc, just to protect them from the oncoming humidity of a rainy Southern Spring.  

With much of my main project done, I've begun putting things away and what better way to put them away than to put them into plastic.  As I began putting things up, I noted that it was important to know what's in what box, as many of the boxes are the same. And the answer was obvious: Markers.  Well, yeah, the bins and cups and plastic rescued from Plastic Paradise all have their own labels; but many of them have the labels printed on the plastic. I had thought of using some sort of sticky tape or label, but then I remembered the hot Southern Summers and how that might dry out some tapes, or melt the glue on the backs of labels making quite a mess (as well as making it more difficult to identify what's in each box, cup or bin.) I decided then that each plastic container must be 'mark-able.'  That is, it should have a smooth surface somewhere I can take my nifty medium point permanent marker and label what's inside just as you see above and below.
There is, of course, one caveat - one catch - one noteworthy note.  Print clearly and press on the marker with a moderately heavy hand.  You don't want to be digging about in the shed next year wondering what that label says. Don't write where you will be holding the thing either, as you can wear off the letters.  

Ok, there you have it, the first steps in the Plastic Project.  I hope to post more as the project continues.  Check back next week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Loss of a Southern Icon

It's been a long week, and longer still to learn of the passing of Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning "To Kill a Mockingbird."  Harper Lee was and may always be known as a Southern Icon.

Harper Lee, whose 1961 novel To Kill a Mockingbird became a national institution and the defining text on the racial troubles of the American deep south, has died at the age of 89. Lee, or Nelle as she was known to those close to her, had lived for several years in a nursing home less than a mile from the house in which she had grown up in Monroeville, Alabama – the setting for the fictional Maycomb of her famous book. The town’s mayor, Mike Kennedy, confirmed the author’s death.

Until last year, Lee had been something of a one-book literary wonder. To Kill a Mockingbird, her 1961 epic narrative about small-town lawyer Atticus Finch’s battle to save the life of a black resident threatened by a racist mob, sold more than 40m copies around the world and earned her a Pulitzer prize.

But from the moment Mockingbird was published to almost instant success the author consistently avoided public attention and insisted that she had no intention of releasing further works. That self-imposed purdah ended abruptly when, amid considerable controversy, it was revealed a year ago that a second novel had been discovered, which was published as Go Set a Watchman in July 2015.

The house where Lee lived for years with her sister Alice sat quiet and empty on Friday. The inside of the house appeared unchanged from when she lived there – antique furniture was stacked with books, audio cassettes and gift baskets.Her neighbor for 40 years, Sue Sellers, said Lee would have appreciated the quiet. 

Her literary agent Andrew Nurnberg said in a statement: “We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity.” He added: “Knowing Nelle these past few years has been not just an utter delight but an extraordinary privilege. When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history.” 

The South has lost it's voice and is dark tonight.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Duck Tape Level Up!

As any good Southerner  - nay any good HOMEOWNER knows Duck Tape is one of the best things for making repairs and doing work around the house. You can use it to hold things in place while you work with them, or just hold them in place permanently. I've already posted the history of the product as well as the proper terminology DUCK Tape, not DUCT tape. If you wish to catch up, click here.  

But, getting back to my reason for writing, other than it fills me with purpose, I reached for my brand new roll of Duck Tape the other day and pulled off a long piece when I noticed that the tape seemed somehow 'less' than usual.  Thinner, perhaps, and I looked at it closely. It was thinner, and the webbing embedded in it seemed looser, further apart. I grumbled a bit under my breath as I thought of how some companies cut back on quality to keep prices low. Grumble Grumble, need another piece....and...

And then my eyes beheld something I had never noticed before.  Behold:
It says "Basic Strength" right there on the label! Now, to me, the fact that Duck Tape themselves puts the phrase on there means only one thing.  There is more than one type of Duck Tape! The mind fairly boggles at the thought!

"Oh Glory-BE!" I cried. (Yes, sometimes I talk like that. It's a family thing.) Then I raced to my computer and went to the Duck Tape site and began looking around. I've always known that Duck Tape made tapes with zebra stripes, neon colors and such, but I was searching for more. There, under the All Products, and then Original Duck Tape, I found the mother load!  They've got Original and Basic (my roll above) as well as All Purpose, Advanced and (be still my beating heart...) MAX STRENGTH. That must be the tape used to keep the moon up in the sky! I was giddy with excitement as I made plans for my first order for one of each, including MAX Strength. 

As luck would have it, I was cleaning up a bit and came across my OTHER rolls of duck tape.  Immediately I checked the label and there it was: ADVANCED! 

I think this is my favorite, but I'm still looking forward to getting a roll of MAX STRENGTH.

So, lesson learned.  Never buy anything other than DUCK Brand tape, and always check what grade you're buying. And lastly, buy a roll of that MAX strength and send it to me. I'll try to mention you by name when I write about it. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow and the Southerner

We had some snow a while back. Pretty much most of the country got snow, so it's not that surprising that we here in the south got snow, too.  Of course, not the snow like they got up north, (41 inches? Really?) but we did get our share. About 10 inches this last time, but as much as 14 in some spots. Growing up in Colorado, I had more than my fair share of snow, let me tell you! In fact, those snow levels are one of the reasons I stay here in the South. We get snow about a handful of days a year.  Compared to Colorado, it's practically tropical.

Snowfall in the South is much different than in Colorado, and it's important to know the difference.  In Colorado, for the most part, they get this beautiful white powdery snow that is so light and, more importantly, DRY that you quite literally cannot pack it into a snow ball.  Here in the South, the snow is not dry. It's wetter than a catfish smoothie!  (I have no idea what that means, but it jumped out onto the keyboard and I'm not about to change it.) 

What this means in effect is that the snow is heavy, and packs easily.  I went out into the snow, wearing my snow boots to feed the cat that lives in our shed.  In only a few minutes the packed snow in those footprints had turned to ice! (Picture above shows the difference a few minutes makes!)

Which also proved to me that I had to shovel the walk.  If that snow turned to ice, it would take twice as long to melt. So, out I went, shovel in hand, and cleared the front walk.
And the driveway, creating a walk end to end. 
Then, I cleared an odd path through the back patio...
So that I could feed the cat who lives out in the shed.  
Which also means I cleaned off the stepping stones 
and 'porch' in front of the shed, too.  
Then I collapsed.  

The light snow in Colorado is nothing compared to the heavy snow here. All that moisture makes it feel like lead.  But in this way, once cleared these areas will dry once the sun hits them, giving me a surefooted path through the southern snow, after my nap.