It was one of those weeks where getting ready to do something overshadowed getting the tasks accomplished. There has to be some of these types of weeks or things wouldn’t get done correctly or maybe even at all.
Learning and Sharing
My reading about calligraphy and cursive writing continued. One of my biggest discoveries was that you don’t need a bunch of expensive stuff to get started and to practice. All you need are bold Crayola markers and some notebook paper. There are lots of videos on youtube on how to practice calligraphy with Crayolas. If you’re interested, just search and find an artist you like and go for it. The other thing I discovered is that there are many inexpensive but quality Chinese fountain pens available and you can find many reviews on youtube. The pens can be ordered on Ebay and Amazon and many are less then $5. One of the neat things is that, on some brands, the nib can be replaced with a calligraphy nib and you can practice without having to learn the techniques of using a dip pen while trying to learn to shape letters. The key is determining what kind of ink to use because calligraphy ink can’t be used in a fountain pen because it’s too thick. I will have to do a bit more research on this topic.
The other big thing I spent time researching was money management. This is a personal decision based on many factors, but it usually comes down to: do I try to do it all myself, do I get some help from an advisor or an automated tool or do I let someone do it all for me. We have tried the first two approaches, without much long term success, so we decided to give the third option a try. We’ve had many discussions with the advisor we chose and we feel really good about our decision. Our goals are pretty simple. We want to stay ahead of inflation with a reasonable safe return and, hopefully, make our little nest egg last for our remaining days. There are so many better and fun things to do than worry about the daily fluctuations in the stock market which are based on things out of our control. Who wants to watch financial news when you can watch videos on how to create something new and fun?.
One of the biggest things I accomplished last week was building drying racks for garlic. It’s fun planting garlic cloves and watching them grow. But then, one day, you realize you are going to have to put this garlic someplace where it can dry for a few weeks! Remember what I said about planning an activity? Well this wasn’t one of those activities, at least the last part of the activity. All of a sudden there were over 700 garlic plants to harvest and dry and no place to put them. Garlic has to be harvested, when the bottom of the leaves starting turning brown and the scapes are at the correct stage of growth. That happened last week and old hurting shoulder Vince wasn’t prepared. After getting a few ideas from the internet, I headed over to the shop to see what materials I had on hand to build drying racks and I had to decide on a space where the garlic could be stored while drying.
A few years ago, while I was on one of my deal finding adventures, I ran across some clearanced plastic coated chicken wire. I had purchased enough to build 6 drying racks but I didn’t have the lumber. So off to Home Depot I went to get the necessary number of 2x4s. Buying lumber these days is always an adventure. One has the privilege of paying a high price for low quality wood and the honor of digging through hundreds of boards to find a few that may be acceptable. Of course no store associate offers to give the old guy with a sore shoulder a hand. I did, however, strike up a conversation with another elderly man who was digging in the pile of wood across from me. It was a good break from digging but I eventually got back to my mission. After what seemed like an hour, I had my boards and headed to checkout. This took a bit longer than expected because the checker outer was having a conversation with the loader about what the loader was suppose to load for another person. Fifteen minutes later I was heading out the door with my cart full of wood. Not to get too far off topic but, I am sure you are familiar with that covered loading area Home Depot has in the front of the store? The idea is that once you have your load ready, you pull your vehicle into that area and someone helps you load it. That never happens at our Home Depot. The vehicles that are parked in that area when you enter the store are still in that area when you leave and no living person is anywhere in sight. Besides not getting to use the loading area, I had to maneuver my heavily loaded cart past all those vehicles parked parked in the loading area, into into the parking lot and load all the boards myself. Honestly, if I didn’t have the hurt shoulder I would prefer to do all the work myself and so I got my wish.
I arrive home with the boards in the back of my truck but it looked like it might rain. A quick shuffling of vehicles under our carport made room for the back of the truck to be covered so the boards would remain dry. Now the fun began, where am I going to build and store the drying racks? There wasn’t one square foot of floor space available in my shop. It was time for another plan! I selected a suitable storage area by one of the roll up doors that would get less radiant heat from the sun. In order to use this area, however, I had to move the things that occupied that floor space to another area where there was also no floor space.
Good thing minimizing was another weekly goal! Before work could begin on the drying racks, I had to get rid of stuff to make room for more stuff. I spend the better part of two days, throwing stuff away and moving things around. Finally, the workspace/drying area was clear and work began on the racks. About the time I finished the first rack, I noticed water coming out of one of the freezers in the shop. When I opened the freezer door to investigate , I found many things in the freezer defrosted. I got Judy and showed her the mess. To make a long story short and ignoring the colorful conversation that transpired, my building adventure quickly turned into a get all the ice chests you can find and get this freezer unloaded adventure. Once unloaded, the freezer had to be moved where the defrosting water could be drained to the outside. After all the ice and water was removed from the freezer, it was moved back to its original location and reloaded with items that were still frozen. The remainder of the items were either put in the refrigerator to be cooked very soon or discarded. I am leaving out the part about Vince misplacing the freezer drain plug and what happened next.
I created the drying racks with the least amount of waste by optimizing the dimensions and cut lengths of the boards used to construct the racks. It’s funny that some of the boards that looked “good” among all the bad boards, didn’t look so good when they where by themselves. So again, I have to pick and choose which board to use for what part of the rack and which part of the board could be discarded. It really makes you wonder about the quality of new construction when these types of materials are now considered sellable!
This post is getting long and I have to get back to work. We will continue this story next week and even add a few more adventures.