Don’t forget your birds

I keep thinking we are all done moving out of our old house, but today I was upstairs, and happened to look up. THE BIRDS! I almost forgot the (paper mache?) colorful parrots we got at a yard sale so many years ago. I think the idea was to put in some jungle background sounds, and lots of fake and real flora and fauna, make it a tropical office. We never got around to it, but this new place already has a tropical feel (especially for the Pacific Northwest) so maybe we can figure something out for that.
Posted in Flotsam, Grey Gardens West

Mystery Barrel SOLVED

I got this at one of those antique/cool junk malls yesterday. The idea in my head was to use it as part of a whimsical Rube Goldberg garden irrigation system, it didn’t have the little wooden tap so I didn’t realize it was actually a decanter from the 1970’s. Come to think of it, if someone partook of the evil weed, they could probably make a bong or a hookah? But I digress.

Posted it to the subreddit “What is this” and very quickly got an answer and a link.
Decanter with spigot
I am thinking about getting a wooden tap for it and shellacking the heck out of that because it will be outside.

Posted in Grey Gardens West

The case for a new mower blade

Lowe’s sells a replacement mower blade that fits my mower for about $18 with tax. Apparently my old blade wasn’t mulching well anymore, the back yard grass was tall but with the new blade I am sure the bag had to be emptied less than half as often as with the old blade.

Just doing some rough math, even if I only mowed 9 times this season, and even if the blade saved me only 2 empties per mow, and if I replaced the blade every other year, that’s 50 cents per bag I didn’t have to trudge back to the compost pile with. I would have gladly paid one of the kids to do that, but they are grown now and no grandkid labor to exploit yet, so a new blade is the next best thing.

YMMV… Some blades could probably be sharpened but mine was pretty dinged up; sometimes I encounter a hidden rock, or log, or bicycle, or transmission in the tall grass at the beginning of the mowing season. If it is tall enough to get my butt wet when I am laying in the hammock, time to mow!

Posted in Grey Gardens West

A smooth mouse is a joy forever

Whenever I encounter a problem, I apply Hoarder’s Razor. This principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the most disgusting assumptions should be selected or when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the nastiest one is the better.

Case in point; there was cat hair and/or some other gunk that I couldn’t see, in the recess on the underside of my wireless mouse, where the movement detection laser is. I crammed a damp kleenex up in there and pushed it around a bit, now the mouse performs as new.

Posted in Grey Gardens West

Let’s talk about toilets!

My family laughs at me because I am always singing the praises of our Kohler Cimmaron upstairs toilet. It truly is a “throne”. We bought it several years ago, and except for the time Teresa knocked a box of bathroom junk from the shelf above into the gaping maw, it has worked flawlessly.

The trick when buying a toilet is to open the box at the hardware store and feel around in the neck where the little jet is, and make sure the porcelain is smooth down there. I rejected I think four toilets before I finally found a smooth one; I would have given up sooner but they were having a really good sale, probably factory seconds on these ones?? …and I had already dragged my old toilet down the stairs.

Did you know that the pipe within the toilet that curves to keep the water in there between flushes, is called the ”Colon”? I know!! I was shocked too. Google it if you don’t believe me!

Posted in Grey Gardens West

But honey… it’s rustic!

RUSTIC FlooringSaw
I finally got this flooring saw that I’ve had my eye on. After I figured out how to use the dumb thing, well you know, everything needed sawing all of a sudden.

We had a problem where the dog goes all Cujo when we leave him here alone. When we come back, he tries to literally claw through the wallboard so he can bark at us and possibly bite us. As you might imagine, it did quite a number on the sheetrock, not to mention the curtains.
Rustic FurringStripAnomolyB
I had a bright idea while I was buying the saw, I got some “furring strips” and used some leftover blue-gray stain, to beef up that wall, and hopefully it won’t be as much fun to claw. Teresa says, “That one has a hole in it!” “It’s a knothole! It’s rustic!”, I reply. “It looks kind of uneven there-” “It’s rustic! Rustic folks don’t have straight edges!” She just doesn’t understand, I’m getting back to my rural roots here.

Posted in Grey Gardens West

Can’t buy a simple washer at the hardware store

Whenever I go to a hardware or auto-supply store, I try to avoid the young people who are still learning the ropes. Instead I seek out the cranky old guy, who always resembles Popeye; actually in this case, Mike from “Breaking Bad”. I call him the COG (Crabby Old Guy).

underthesink The chain store I went to doesn’t even carry a simple 1/2″ cone washer to twist on the cold water supply line under the sink and stop a simple leak. The COG insisted that I would have to replace the cold water supply valve, also the line to the sink. Maybe this is what the plumbing code requires these days, it wouldn’t surprise me. Seems to me that a guy should be able to do an emergency leak repair without having to worry about that.

I found the cone washers on Amazon, four to a package; $7.43 with shipping and sales tax. According to the comments on Amazon, all of the hardware chains have dropped these washers. The package says “Cone Washer Small 1/2” Nut to thread-on Type 02-2241 if that helps. (UPDATE: Five months later, no leaks! I take my small victories where I can get them.)

Posted in Grey Gardens West

I had to MacGuyver it; A two-monitor setup using a vending machine stand

A guy at work was showing me his multi-monitor computer setup, and I thought it was nifty. But I didn’t want to buy another monitor, so I sort of dismissed the idea.

Later I remembered that there was an old VGA monitor in Daphne’s room. We had gotten it from the freecycle list years ago, it didn’t have a stand. I had to get a bracket and so I had mounted it directly to her bedroom wall.

I took it down and looked at it. How to use it as a second monitor? Looked at Amazon, there was an HDMI to VGA gizmo, so that would work. I cast about for something to use as a stand, no wall near my desk to mount it to. Wishing I knew how to weld.

But wait! There was an old vending machine stand in the garage, got some U bolts and black spray paint, and came up with this setup. The crappy plywood and u-bolt stuff is hidden by the monitor itself, no one sees it except the cat.
The plan is to get a scrolling ticker thing set up that also displays an alert when an order comes in.

Posted in Friends and Kin, Grey Gardens West

A cautionary tale about shelves over toilets

 We make mistakes, we are human. For example, the mustard colored paint in the tiny upstairs bathroom.

That’s nothing. See that shelf behind Teresa’s head?

All of that, ALL of that, got knocked into the commode a few months after this picture was taken. There was no flush- however SOMEthing must have made it partially into the toilet, because although I took the toilet up from the floor and snaked it in both directions, and tested the drainpipe, There’s a problem.

It still flushes, but there’s just no enthusiasm about it. My theory is that there is something narrow wedged sideways, somewhere in the toilet’s trap. Next time I upgrade my cellphone, maybe I will send the old one on a reconnaissance mission. Stay tuned!

    2016 Update

: I guess it finally processed whatever the problem was, probably when the septic tank people came out here with their earthquake machine last summer.