Thursday, September 22, 2016

A couple of product endorsements...

A couple of product endorsements... 

The first one is for dog owners.  We have four pooches ourselves, two of whom are six-month-old puppies.  All four are prodigious producers of poop – most especially the two puppies.  For years we've been cleaning our yard with the standard equipment: a tiny little lawn rake and a big scoop.  I've always hated those things – they don't work very well at all. The rake usually either doesn't budge the poop (especially if it's a steaming freshie), or it shoots the poop onto your pant leg or into the neighbor's yard.  Horrible design, just slightly better than using your bare fingers.  In doing some research on Amazon into alternatives, I came across the Nature's Miracle Jaw Scoop, pictured at right.  I chose this photo because it shows the working end – a simple-looking toothy set of jaws.  The thing works incredibly well.  To compare it to the old-fashioned rake is like comparing a SpaceX rocket to a dime-store Roman Candle.  But here's the thing: even though it's quite obvious how the mechanism is put together and how it moves, I cannot come up with a rational explanation for how well it works.  I've concluded, therefore, that this product is the result of a collaboration between Gandalf, Thorin, and Elrond – it must be deeply infused with magic to work as well as it does.  There's no skill required of the operator: you just pull the handle to open the jaws of pooply death, drop it over the offending turd pile, let go of the handle, and lift up.  The turd pile is removed, everything else remains.  It's truly a wonderful thing.  If you own a dog and you don't already have one of these, order it now.  You can thank me later.  Even if you don't own a dog, you might want one of these so you can marvel at its functional perfection!

Then there's this little gem: the Peeps Eyeglasses Cleaner.  This doesn't require any magic to work; it's obvious how it works once you use it.  It comes in a little case that's easy to carry, it includes a little brush for getting dust off, but the really good part is what you see in the photo: two small carbon-fiber pads that squeeze against both sides of your lens at the same time.  You simply swipe these around a bit, and every trace of dirt and oil is gone from your glasses, presto!  I had high hopes for its utility just on examining the advertisement; the reality is even better than that.  This is the first thing I've found that does a flawless job of cleaning lenses in nearly 60 years of wearing glasses.  If you are a glasses wearer and care at all about clean lenses (I know some people really don't care, but I sure do!), then just go get one of these.  You'll love 'em!

More memories...

More memories ... from my mom's photo collection.  All of these photos are modern copies of older photos, and I do not have the originals.  None of them are dated by the lab.

There are no notes on this photo to help me out.  The woman at the far left is my mom's sister (my aunt) Betty.  The child in front of her, back to the camera, looks like Scott to me, but that's a guess.  The woman at the far right, facing the camera, might be my mom, but I'm not sure.  I recognize the house: that's my aunt Betty's home when I was small.  I don't recognize anyone else in the photo.  Maybe some of my relatives can help with this one.

This one is labeled “Don” on the back, in my mom's handwriting.  He's got a book open in front of him, but it appears to be a studio shot – perhaps a slightly more creative than usual school photo?  None of my relatives had a clue how to set up lighting for portraits, so I know this couldn't possibly have been taken by them. :)  He looks to be about 14 or 15 to me, and he was born (I think) in 1937, so this would place the photo in '41 or '42 – wartime for the U.S.

On the back, in my mom's handwriting: “Bonnie”.  I wouldn't have recognized this as my mom's younger sister (my aunt) Bonnie.  I believe Bonnie was born in '39, and she looks to be about 3 or 4 in this photo, which would date it to '42 or '43 – wartime for the U.S.  I don't recognize the door or steps she's sitting on.

Finally, here's my aunt Bonnie again.  This is definitely a studio shot, and on the back in my mom's handwriting: “Bonnie - senior”  I presume that means high school senior, which (if she was 17) would place this in '56.  She appears here about like my earliest memories of her, so that hangs together.  On her hairline, above her right eye (on the left in the photo) there's a white spot that I suspect is a photo artifact.  I don't remember her having a scar or birthmark like that. 

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Yesterday was a day of progress on several fronts.  It was also a great way to make me tired. :)  Especially since I had only slept for a few hours the night before!

Our builder's crew showed up and finished “skinning” the roof of our new mud room.  After that, our roofer showed up and installed the waterproof underlayment (that goes under the steel, which he says he'll have up early next week).  Some photos:

The door cutout isn't the right size yet.  The door going in there is a normal sized door (36" wide), but it will have a glassed arch over the top of it, and sidelights on each side.  The hole you see in the second photo will actually be wider (to accommodate the sidelights); the overall hole may be shorter (once we get the door and see how high the arch turned out to be).  The three doors we bought for the three different parts of our construction project all turned out to be custom doors, so we can't just look up the dimensions in a catalog.

Then in the afternoon, we had an occurrence that absolutely stunned us: the fellow who was supposed to start working on our yard (sprinklers, sod, etc.) a little over a month ago finally showed up!  He worked until 9 pm and got the grading done for where our deck is going (photo at right), and also installed some temporary pipe to get the water from our downspouts away from the house. 

There was a bit of urgency about the downspouts because we have 3" of rain in the forecast for the next few days.  That's also what motivated the builder and roofer to show up today.  After the builders got done, I ran and got some plastic to staple up over the rough cutouts for the door and windows in the mud room.  And it poured last night!  There's a small leak somewhere in the mud room, but it's basically dry - no harm done.  The sun room is completely dry.  This storm was its first real test, and it passed with flying colors.  Yay!

In between working with all the contractors and putting up plastic, I also managed to finish working on the wiring in Debbie's office.  You'd never know all that equipment and cabling was there!  I didn't take photos yet because I haven't cleaned up (that's on this morning's agenda).  I'll take a couple photos when that's finished.