why I shouldn’t clean

On Mothers day, a day that was ‘meh’ at best due to a variety of things beyond my control, I went to work on the swing set and decided that I truly did need some bolts and would take myself to the store.  At the store, I see a giant banner “11% off all items” and this is the store that just a 5 days previous I got a fairly expensive load of wood.  Lucky for me I know they have a form for stuff purchased within 7 days of the sale and so I got the form.  Unlucky for me I threw out that very necessary, no replacements accepted, receipt because I decided I needed to clean my car.  So, at 9pm at night I went through our trash to find the receipt.  Yes, I will dig money out of the garbage.  On a positive note between trash day (Tuesday) and mothers day (Sunday) we only generated 1 bag of trash.

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more to come but usable at last!

This week was pretty crazy and the creep of debris was getting to me so yesterday afternoon, in the 45 min I had at home, I picked up all the litter of school, dishes, laundry, random toys etc.  Among these things was a handwritten rough draft of a paper #1 is doing for school.  Since I printed out a final copy that morning I felt pretty safe tossing the paper that was due last week and was more or less to prove they started the paper before the day it was due.  I’m at my board meeting and actually do not get the frantic series of texts about this draft but when I get home expecting peaceful sleeping children (I can’t say that actually happens but hope eternal) and I get a mess of a tween begging me to help find her draft because the teacher told them that day it was worth 15 points. Yes, I am also the type of person who will go through the trash for homework.  9pm again, going through the trash.  It was found, a tad worse for wear but legible, and I put it in a gallon ziplock and wrote a nice note to the teacher.  He is new, he is doing his best, I hope trash-draft sticks in his mind as a good reason to give a list of requirements at the start of a project.

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trash draft!  did you know gallon ziploc is the perfect size cover for standard paper.

Did I enjoy a clean car and clean living room?  Yes.  I probably will continue to throw away trash and not become a hoarder but I can see where they are coming from….  As a nice side bonus I got a bit of hero status as the mom who will go through trash for her kid, seriously, her happiness is worth way more than $50.

 

I may continue to monitor our trash production though.  I’m probably unnaturally proud that our family of 5 creates only about 1 bag of trash a week and that is before we start compost for the season (I’m behind/don’t wanna decide where to put the heap).  All the girls are following suit on reuse and recycle.  #1 requested we get thrift store plates for her party so we would not need disposable.  #2 requested I get reusable cups for hers.  This weekend we had 6 extra kids for a party and we created next to no trash because even though I tried to use disposable forks #3 personally got them from the drawer to make sure we were using washable.  Nobody tell them how much energy and water the dishwasher uses but at least we are not filling a landfill.

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party wear, we chose festive plates and the table looks so fun

Fortunately my week was really far better than my two dumpster dives suggests.  Super busy with kids, activities and helping friends plus great weather that makes us want to be outside playing.  The weather this weekend is supposed to be dreadful so I’ll probably spend some time catching up on chores and then probably going through the trash again for some lost treasure…

Volvo, not meeting expectations of quality

A few years ago we purchased a Volvo s50.  Plenty of people love them, people we trust.  They also advertise high quality and service.

We actually don’t drive the car much, a few times a week, mostly it just sits in the garage.  I took a cleaning cloth to it the other day and discovered that there is a really ugly situation going on with the dashboard piece chrome.  I called the number figuring they would be happy to have the opportunity to fix this issue.  Chrome adhesion can be tricky and failure happens.  I got a semi-polite stonewall because I am out of warranty.

They went so far as to say it was probably my fault and/or environmental.  In that case, it is my duty to warn everyone that there is a possibility that after 5 years of lite running around town and garage life, your dash could look like this.

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Please note – no other chrome part in the car looks like this.  Apparently, the heat or cold or O2 levels or humidity or phase of the moon that created this issue was ONLY concentrated on one part of my car.  It does seem FAR more likely that this single part had a bad wash cycle and after a few years the adhesion started to fail.

When a company says they want customer satisfaction, maybe don’t treat people outside warranty like this.  I wonder if other people have the same problem?  I start to question the parts I can’t see when the ones I can have really obvious issues.  We were going to buy another Volvo but that isn’t going to happen and I advise you to think twice.  Given the price point, I thought we would get just a bit more than 5 years ‘like new’.  Our 11-year-old Honda minivan has better-looking chrome (but worse carpets, that is the kid car).  Maybe Honda set the bar too high Volvo.  Sorry, you are not meeting it.

(This isn’t a nick or a bang, that I would absolutely own as our fault and wear and tear)

Weekly review

Given it is somehow Friday already I am just hitting the highlights.  We are in the busy season of life, and, I gave in and each kid has a separate activity so I’m going in 6 directions.  I like being busy, it just doesn’t leave too much extra time for online musings.

Right now, #1 is in track on Monday and Wednesday.  This *should* have been easy and at her school, however, her session didn’t have enough to run so we moved her to a different elementary school so I need to run her and a friend a few miles ASAP so they aren’t too late.  On the bright side, Lars picks her up and the other school is actually closer to our new house and they go directly to jujitsu.  She is really into running and I’m glad because it is a life-long thing.  I’m also happy that she is meeting other kids in our district so when they all go to middle school together, she already knows some people.

#2 has taken up softball.  WTH? there are actually sports I like less, but not many.  I have vivid memories of trying to avoid batting or any field position that would actually need to catch or throw for my 12 years where softball was a mandatory segment of our physical education.  This is the joy of children; I get a re-do.  A no pressure redo at that!  I am not playing, she is, and she LOVES it even though she has zero experience.  Since she is so into it I’m leaning in and we have a suite of gloves for the family, 4 softballs, a bat, a helmet and a big enough yard that we can practice.  It was a little picket fence, American dream moment yesterday playing catch with my girls in the yard in the sunshine on a fresh spring day.  Nobody got hit with a ball even!  If you are looking for us on Monday or Tuesday evenings they are softball games.  If you are looking for us any sunny afternoon, check the yard and our homemade field.

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#2 is the catcher

#3 is in love with gymnastics.  Tuesday afternoons (before softball) she points her toes and jumps and flips with absolute joy.  You would think she would be tired out from an hour of this but it gives her more energy.  She was promoted from beginner to intermediate but fortunately, classes are at the same time and day work.  Although the gym smells like a sewer mixed with perfume and feet she can’t get enough of it.

Yesterday I went on my first of 3 field trips this month.  May is super full because there are 2 or 3 other neat events I’m attending plus the school play.  This weekend is a color run, next week is the teacher breakfast and 5th-grade concert.  Later in the month is the agriculture fair where the HS students show off all the cute baby goats and chicks.  I’m going to be very active in the world so fair warning I might not get it back to here.  The field trip yesterday included fire starting a great hike and a canoe ride around the lake.  It was exhaustingly good.  I did get the reminder that kids scream a lot, and, there are some kids we probably should not teach how to start fires…

My summer building plans are coming along.  I’m firm now on my garden structure after many iterations and plans on paper.  I believe we now have a plan for a budget-friendly and easy and not ugly garden.  I need the weather to cooperate but I’m looking at Sunday.  I will be posting if it is a success…  The swingset; I ended up going with a kit so not super creative but I’m putting my twist on it.  That is also something I’m going to start this weekend, we will pick up ALLLLLL the wood and I want help so have to wait on the husband.

In conclusion, if you are counting;  Monday I bring 2 kids to track, then 2 different kids to softball.  Tuesday I bring 2 home, then 1 to gymnastics, then home and out again to softball.  Wednesday just track and Lars does jujitsu with all 3 of them so I get a break! Thursday Niamh babysits directly after school and I have school board meetings.  Friday no reoccurring scheduled activities.  This isn’t counting girl scouts or one-off meetings in the month.  Good thing I like being busy.

knife/ax target how to diy

Today we were *supposed* to be building a swing set, however, my hardware is not here yet so we jumped onto a project Lars has been really wanting for a long time.

We got super lucky that a friend had a pile of deck wood in his yard that was 2x6x14.  (This made our project virtually free) This time Lars did all the research and after a year of using a really bad stand and then searching the internet, he found this target on youtube that was the ‘best’ in many respects. I watched it a few times and figured out the dimensions as we went.  In the video he says he uses 2×6’s but they really didn’t look like 2×6 to me, but, I just went with it figuring that if you are using 4×4 blocks a 2×4 would be a little skimpy.  After acquiring all the 2×6’s and making the frame I found in the comments that he actually used 2×4’s. Oh well, mine is stronger.  He also used bolts and I used screws, again, preference.  So, up to you if you use 2×4 or 2×6 or a mix; here is my how-to so you can save some time on dimensions.

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A great pile of free wood!  I have plans for the remainder to be garden structure to keep out our deer heard

Wood

  • 4×4 – enough to make 100 4in blocks
  • 2×4 and 2×6 – I am skipping a precise list here because it depends on the length wood you have what you need, look at the cut list instead.
  • 1/4 plywood – enough to cover 3.2 x 3.2, I used 2 pieces I had scrap

Hardware

  • 110 1.25 screws
  • 28 (min) 3in Spax #10 <- maybe it is overkill but I love these things

Tools

  • chop saw and circular saw
  • measuring tools
  • protractor
  • drill/bits

Measurements/cut list

Target;

100 blocks of 4x4x4.  Despite being called a 4×4 it is not 4 inches, my set of 10 measured 3 feet. <- glad I double checked this or it would have been a re-do.

Stand

  1. Uprights; (2) 7f
  2. Foot/bottom; (2) 4f
  3. Diagonal; (2) 4f
  4. cross piece for the bottom; (1) 3f 6in
  5. top and bottom of the ‘frame’; (2) 3f **double check your row of 10 blocks and adjust to match.  If you want a different sized target to adjust to compensate.
  6. Spacer; (2) 8in apx (scrap ok, big enough to accommodate the wood you use on an angle)

 

Order of Operations.

There are probably many right ways, this worked for me well.

  1. Cut 100 4x4x4 blocks.  Double check the measure <- Lars did this while I did everything else
  2. On upright (1) mark 4f from the top of the stand, mark.  take your actual lower frame piece (5), line it up at the mark and then mark below it.  (sorry I didn’t take any pictures of it on the ground!)
  3. Lay foot (2) down, put the upright (1) perpendicular 11 inches from the front of the foot.  Check 90 degrees with a protractor/square.  Fasten with 2 fasteners.
  4. add the spacer (6) 3in from the back of the foot.  Fasten with 2 fasteners.
  5. Put the diagonal (3) between the spacer and the bottom of the mark on the upright to make a triangle, there will be some sticking out at the top and bottom.  At this point, you can either mark the angle and cut to make it neat, or, leave it overhanging. (I left mine, helped on my lumpy ground for stability)  Fasten with 2 fasteners on each end.  **see pictures below for a visual**
  6. Repeat 2-5 for the other side, make sure you mirror it so you have a left and right side.
  7. Stand up a side, with the foot on the outside and the angle on the inside, fasten the bottom of the frame (5) perpendicular at the mark you made onto the upright.  After 1 fastener, make sure it is level front/back.  Add the second fastener.  **Might not be 90 degrees because of gravity, it will be better after the 2nd half is on.
  8. Stand up other side and fasten bottom of the frame at the mark.

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    bottom of the frame and cross piece (next step)  *note* I added scrap wood under the front to compensate for my uncut angles in the back to get levels right.

  9. Put cross piece (4) across the front of the foot at the upright.  Check that the uprights are level/90 degrees and fasten.

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    bright white is the ‘cross piece’.  You can also see the arrangement of the foot, upright, spacer, and angle.  

  10. Add all your blocks!  This is fun for kids.  Make sure the end grain is out.
  11. Insert the top of the frame, there will be extra protruding up.  This is another variation from his design, he has the top bolted into the end grain to ‘clamp’ down the blocks.  I have had bad luck fastening into end grain and this method clamped just fine.  Fasten from the sides, both sides.
  12. Put the back on, fasten around the sides and then into each block.  We used an offcut to make marks where each block is.  Does not need to be exact, but, this is a necessary step because it is the best way to keep the blocks ‘in’ when you are pulling knives out of them.  Also, when one is ruined it can easily be replaced and the other blocks don’t fall or shift.

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    100 blocks screwed in place

We actually moved our frame between step 9 and 10 because I was worried it would be very heavy but whatever you do, don’t move it until the blocks are fastened, you will see why.

This is great for knives, ok for axe.  I have a few ideas for axes in the future and if it works out I’ll share.

After 3 days use and one massive windstorm, all is well with the stand and everyone enjoys it.

 

Like a 19th century heroine

Does anyone else remember all the scenes in Bronte books  (and that era) where the lady of the house spends time daily on ‘her correspondences’.  For some reason, those scenes have begun to truly resonate with me because at this point I need to actually set aside time in my day to correspond with various people.

I don’t actually sit at an antique Queen Ann writing desk in a sunbeam and put pen to paper, however, I do, in the course of my normal life, have several written correspondence to keep up.  Maybe in the 1970s and 80’s this was done via phone because that was faster but as a product of modern technology, I find myself preferring to compose a note (text or email) rather than call.

I also end up actually  *writing* more than I ever thought I would when I was learning to type in 1st grade.  Invitations to parties for kids, permission slips to sign, forms for school and activities and camps to fill out (x3 usually).  Notes to and from teachers in folders and planners, a decent pen is still part of my kit regardless of my tablet, phone, and computer.

Just today I sat (in a sunbeam) and checked in with someone I’m helping buy a house, letting her know what the banker needed.  I texted a mom friend about an afterschool activity.  I set aside an hour a day to do email ranging from setting up pot luck meals to following up on builder items (houses are never done).  Facebook is another 21st-century version of keeping in touch with one’s friends and relatives – checking in on certain people, posting encouraging notes, birthday greetings, adding to a conversation about this or that.  In the 19th century, people wrote to each other because travel was harder, now we write to each other because time face to face visit is still hard.

The value to face to face time is still very true.  However, in order to keep up to date with friends and family in order to have someone to visit one must figure out how to best communicate and in so many ways nothing much has changed between 1919 and 2019 except the speed.

2019 Figgoli

I’ve already documented my odd relationship with easter since it is so religious and so family in my mind it is very hard to ‘do right’ when I live far from relatives and don’t really practice.  However, we have created a few traditions and as the kids get older it feels more festive and full. img_0357

Yesterday I made the figgoli and today we decorated.  For a treat that is ancient and has no really special ingredients, in a modern kitchen it uses all the tools.  There is the blender for cutting almonds, there is the kitchen aid to make the dough, there is the scale for measurements, there is the hand mixer for whipping egg and mixing the filling.  Egg dying is next up but they are outside enjoying the gorgeous weather.

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We had friends over for dinner and some games and it was a nice change of pace, tomorrow we are going to hunt eggs and do a byo brunch at another friends house and vague plans for vacation mom to drop over at some point.  The nook for friends is nicely filled, I just wish I could import family more easily.

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However it is you celebrate or spend this weekend I hope you have fun