SimpleLivingTips

First World Problems

Meandering

Friday! Another week. I think I started and ended on a work high-note with some meandering in the middle. I really worked hard Monday on email requests and today was very similar – just non stop emails. I have about 900 unread right now. That sounds like a lot, but many of those are system notices about tasks completed by various automated programs and/or spam. I’d say about 10% are actual requests. I’m not super worried, since they are old – from early December. Most have been taken care of other ways by now. If something truly wasn’t working, I’d get a call.

My new chair is working out good. New monitor is fine. What’s wrong, you ask? Two things: (1) There is this fly in my office that won’t leave me alone. It’s like 40 degrees outside. Why are flies even out and about? It’s relentless. It’s jumping back and forth from my head to my monitor. I finally helped it meet it’s demise today, but that’s after three days of mayhem. (2) My laptop screen is flickering. I know why. It has a loose connection. I know this because it happened a few weeks ago and I re-seated the connector and it took care of it. So I have to do that again. I know there are people who don’t have flies or flickering monitors, so I can’t fret too much about it, only a little.

The week was pretty normal otherwise. I cleaned up my area a little and that always makes me feel better. I still blame Animal Crossing, since I can experiment with “stuff” in the game and decide how much I like a minimal area and then I can just re-create it. I’ve managed to do dishes every night before bed. I usually do them in the morning, but what I’ve found is that if I do them at night, I can unload the dishwasher in the morning and then you can put dishes in all day. So you avoid the mess and the full sink.

Happy Friday!

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Wacky Wednesday

Wed Nes Day

Sleepy

I’m beat. I’m also surprised that it’s Wednesday. In fact, Wednesday is almost over. It was just last Wednesday. I know because we have meetings every Wednesday to talk about what happened in the last week and I can’t believe… well, you get the idea. I didn’t sleep great last night. I was cold, which is usually great. I don’t like to sleep hot, but apparently I don’t like to sleep cold either. I like when it’s just right. Then when you don’t sleep good, you don’t feel great the next day (today). The last week hasn’t been terrible. Those two SSD drives showed up and I put them in and they are working great. Both laptops are running much faster. My chair finally showed up today and I put it together. Now I have to get used to it. I think having a chair with wheels is going to quickly become something I’ll like since right now when I work between laptops on different desks, I have to reach over unnaturally and do something and then lean back and work on the other one. Now I’ll be able to roll back and forth and turn around, etc. On Monday, I decided I wanted another monitor for the laptop, but monitors are expensive. Geeze. I mean, they aren’t monumentally expensive, but I didn’t want to put anything into it. Instead, I went on OfferUp and found a 32″ HDMI TV for $35. Yes, it’s huge, but I sit it off to the back of my desk. Connected to the laptop, it gives me a giant screen for gaming and I can always watch Hulu on it. Bonus! $35 – ridiculous.

Maintenance

Thin is In

Friday! We made it.

Rainy this morning. I had to juggle my umbrella, laptop case, and cup of hot tea to get to my makeshift garage office. Success! Some rain got in my tea, but I need more acid in my diet.

Speaking of diets. Well, I don’t like to use that word. I just like to think that I’m eating and eating smarter. Whether you call it diet or something else – it takes a little effort to eat right. So you avoid cookies and candy that you might have normally eaten. You also start eating things like nuts (in moderation) and in my case, drinking hot tea which with a little honey seems to take away any urges I have to eat. I do really well with intermittent fasting, so that’s kindof what I’m doing. I only eat between noon and 8pm and I don’t go crazy, I just eat until I’m full. That’s technically wrong as my wife would point out – you shouldn’t eat until you are full, you should eat until you aren’t hungry. And while I do encourage that idea and strive for it, I don’t always stop when I’m no longer hungry. I think partially because I don’t get all that hungry.

Oh, my garage office. I haven’t really mentioned that. When we bought our house, we had a glorious detached garage. It can hold two cars front to back (not side to side), and it has an apartment upstairs where my wife keeps her sewing stuff and I have a large… umm, well, I don’t know what you’d call it. When we had a pool, we called it a pool room, but it’s just a large room on the side of the garage. Years ago, one of the skylights started leaking – a small drip and after 10 years, there was a massive whole in the roof of the “studio”. I’d say about 6′ by 6′. Terrible. Made it unusable for anything since it was always wet and just blech. I finally had it re-roofed (is that even a word) last year and now it’s spectacular spectacular again. It even has electric heat, so I’m not freezing myself silly – if you call 40 degrees cold (and I DO!).

Yesterday I ordered a new desk chair since my wife was showing me all the ones her embroidery friends are buying. She bought a nice one for her area and said I needed one. While I was poking around on the Amazon site, I wandered into the laptop upgrades and realized that SSD’s are ridiculously cheap now. I ordered a 500 gig drive for like 40 some dollars. I remember when these were CRAZY expensive. They also were not supposed to be as reliable as they are. I have a couple that have been in use for over 10 years and they are still going strong. They make a huge difference when you use them for your operating system drive. Anyway, if you recall, yesterday or so I mentioned that I have a Plex server setup now and I’m ripping in all of my DVD’s (well, the ones I’d actually watch and enjoy) to the hard drive so I can just select them in Plex and watch them. I *almost* bought a 1 TB SSD just for this laptop, but I’m also… what you might say – cheap. I don’t like to spend money. I went through the whole “the one who dies with the most toys wins” years ago and it wasn’t particulary pretty. So I hovered over the “add to cart” button for a long time and didn’t make the jump. My reasoning is that (1) I didn’t have a Plex server last week, so I certainly don’t need to upgrade it right now and (2) DVD images just sit there. They are like stockpiled junk. They don’t need quick access, so while an SSD “seems” good for keeping and indexing them, it’s an incredible waste. Plus, I’d want to back them up a real hard drive every week or so just in case the SSD blows up. Still (3) the OS drive in the laptop is horribly slow so I thought – instead of a 1 TB drive, how about a 256gig drive just for the OS? Right now, it only has a 128 gig old HD, so a 256 SSD would be a giant boost. Plus, it would help with maintaining the Plex indexes and I wouldn’t be wasting all that space for DVD images. So I looked up 256gig SSD’s. Would you believe they only cost around $25? I think I opted for one that was $29. Twenty-Nine dollars. My first SSD was a 128gig purchased years ago and I think we paid $300 for it. I can stomache $29, but not the $89 for the TB. $29 is less than Chinese food for the family. I can have spaghetti one night and in return, I’ll have a speedier laptop. I can go for that.

If you haven’t upgraded to SSD yet, do it. It’s easy and cheaper than you might think.

BetterLivingTips, Wacky Wednesday

Clean Slate

Chalkboard

I started my day by throwing out some stuff. I use stuff liberally to describe pretty much everything. My 8th grade English teacher hated when we used the word “Stuff”or “Thing”. We even had to put 5 cents in a jar whenever we said one of those words in class. Her view was that you should certainly be able to use the real word to describe something.

Today I attacked a 50 gallon Rubbermade container filled with old painting stuff. Some of it has been here for over 20 years. TWENTY YEARS… The fact is – when you paint, you go to the store and buy painting stuff. You don’t go out to the garage to find old rollers (with rust on them, may I add) and the roller still in them (with DRIED paint on it). You also don’t use the rusty roller pan that’s in the garage. No, you go to Lowes and pay $10 for all of that. Brand new. I think it’s called disposable for a reason. Instead, I’ve been shuffling it around the garage for years and years… and YEARS. I was lying in bed this morning and decided that that would be my next target. I kept two new brushes that were still in their packages, in case I decide to paint a bird house or two and everything else went in the trash. I took the old container and put the pile of American flags that I have in it. (we actually go to the corner and put those out on the 4th of July week). We didn’t do it this year, but this years… well, you all know about this year.

What was my tipping point you ask? Why am I suddenly redefining the norms of what a person should keep and not keep? I had three cans of silly string on my dresser. I found them in a box in the closet. My wife asked why I had them. I don’t use silly string. I said that they were new. How new, she said? We bought those over 10 years ago. Yes, dear readers, I’ve had three cans of Silly String in my closet for 10 years. I don’t know much about it – I mean, how much is Silly String? Oh, I’ll go ahead and answer – it’s $1. ONE DOLLAR a can. She said, “You know that’s only a dollar a can. If you want some, you can just go buy it.” I think I was stunned. Why did I have Silly String? What’s going on? Who am I anyway? I put them in the box going to Goodwill because at the least, someone working there will spray it all over another employee. I think at a that moment, something happened. Some light went on in the recesses of my brain and said “Enough!”. Yes. I can say honestly that many times I’ve thrown something away and needed it a week later after not needing it for years. I can also testify that I’ve gone to the hardware to buy said item for usually under $10. So, the most you can be out is $10 at any given moment.

Everything is a target now. Old fans. Old broken paper shredders, picture frames that are covered in dust and grime (also available at the Dollar Store). I’m done collecting. Time to distribute for a few years.

BetterLivingTips, Case of the Moondays, SimpleLivingTips

Last Day of Vacation

I made it for 9 months without any bad dreams and then my last day of vacation I wake up in a panic because I have a dream that I’m back in college and I’m totally unprepared and final exams are coming up. I’m sitting in class with all my books and notes the teacher is not there. it’s like the end of class and final exams are coming up next week.  I realize that I haven’t been attending classes I haven’t turned any homework and I really have no idea what’s going on.It’s too late to drop classes so I start planning on maybe rescheduling them all again next semester. I asked one of the people in my class if I can get their phone number so I can call and find out what homework is due and right when they go to give me the number I wake up. It’s very exciting!

Needless to say I was really glad that I was dreaming. The last day of vacation was damp and rainy so I spent it in the house cleaning up and doing laundry. Still it was the most fun I’ve had on two-week vacation in a long, long, LONG time! I did a lot of cleaning – I moved a lot of stuff around – I emptied out out spaces that should be empty and I put stuff in places where it belonged.  I took a bunch of junk to Goodwill and I have even more waiting to go now.  My wife really got on me about saving things and it made me do a lot of soul-searching because she’s right – I tend to hang onto a lot of things that have no use whatsoever.  It borders on ridiculous.  The saying goes that if you get rid of something, you are going to need it right away, which is one reason I hang on to some things.  The problem is, when the time comes do you want the OLD one that’s been sitting around forever, or do you want a new one?  Wrapping paper is a great example.  We bought wrapping paper this year, but I have a ton of it from holiday’s past.  At first, I took the left over paper and put it with the old paper, but then I had two epiphanies.  (1) Wrapping paper cost a DOLLAR.  We went to the dollar store and picked up all we needed along with tissue paper and gift bags for $7.  SEVEN DOLLARS.  (2) Now when you actually NEED wrapping paper, do you want to visit the dollar store or trudge up to the corner of the attic to pull out some wrapping paper that I swear is dirty and has had something nibbling on the corners of the roll.  Maybe it’s time to get rid of all of that.  To cast off these chains that have been around my body for years.  Chains of STUFF.  Books that I’m NEVER going to read and/or NEVER going to read AGAIN.  An old electric grill that has been ALL OVER the garage.  It doesn’t even have a cord anymore it’s been moved so much, but yet I KEEP MOVING IT.  Nope, not anymore.

Today during my lunch break, I found a box of 4th of July decorations and I almost saved them and realized that they, too, are from the dollar store.  They are also dirty, dusty, blechy.  I threw those away.  Good riddance. I feel a little cleansed and I’m riding the high long enough that I’ll keep it up.  Goodbye old cables.  You have to ask how many Android charging cables do you need in BOXES?  I’m not even actively using them.

Okay, on a positive note, I did find 3 old laptops that I didn’t know I had.  I was able to get Windows 10 on one of them and install Plex and I’m having a blast now ripping my DVD’s to digital copies using Handbrake so we can watch them on the Amazon stick.  That’s fun!  The other laptop.  Well, I couldn’t get Windows on it for whatever reason.  It kept shutting off during the install.  In my defense, I Googled and found a bunch of people saying the same thing, but none of that had ANY resolution.  Finally, I installed Ubuntu since my son wants something to browse the web in the garage.  And now it does that.  The third laptop.  Well, the screen doesn’t work on it, so two out of three isn’t shabby.

BetterLivingTips

2021 – Less is more

Happy New Year! Today I finish up two weeks of blissful vacation. I still have Saturday and Sunday and I plan to use them like nobody’s business!

I think this is the first year in five that I’ve taken off THIS much. Not time-wise, but brain-wise. I don’t think I even checked email the whole time. Bliss!

I’ve spent most of my time cleaning up the house which was literally looking like the inside of a microwave after the kids cooked their SpaghettiOs. It’s been about nine months – right? I took LOADS of stuff out of the house and out to the storage area in the garage. I also took two loads of stuff to Goodwill.

Goodwill… Good-riddence!

I was actually putting more in the garage and my wife asked me why I was keeping so many things – old cables, old books – crap, mostly. I didn’t have an answer. I think I lost a little sleep over it – pondering why WAS I keeping this stuff?? It doesn’t “bring me joy”. If anything, it’s a burden. I’ve moved it from one part of the garage to the attic, then shuffled it around and now I’m moving it back to another part of the garage. No more. It’s gone now. And I’m not done yet. I think I’m getting excited about having less stuff.

I’ll report back later with an update. Until then, hope you’re enjoying 2021 so far!

Mysteries

Don’t touch my scissors!

Useless!

I’m 55 and if I live to be 100, I’ll never understand scissors.

My wife sews. We were at the dinner table the other night and I picked up a pair of scissors and I heard “Put those down! Don’t use those for ANYTHING. They are my GOOD scissors.”

All of a sudden, I was 5 years old again and my mother was violently shaking me and yelling “Don’t touch my scissors! They are my GOOD scissors!! Leave my scissors alone!” (okay, she didn’t shake me violently. Well, she did once – but that was when I jumped out of the car in the middle of a busy intersection while she was trying to turn left. She wasn’t thrilled about that – plus, I was only about 4 years old.)

Anyway – scissors. They still make them out of steel, right? I mean, they aren’t made out of plastic or wax. What is the deal with scissors? Can I really ruin them forever by cutting something?

I remember my mother drilling me for hours not to touch her scissors. “These are MY scissors. Don’t TOUCH MY SCISSORS!!!!”

Flash forward about 30 minutes and I’m in her sewing room. I open the drawer. Take out the wooden box. Remove the velvet bag, remove and unroll the dark blue felt and there are her scissors! Beautiful, really. I cut one piece of paper off of my paper airplane – about 2 inches of extra paper. I wrap the scissors back up in the dark blue felt. Slide them back into the velvet bag. Put the bag back in the box and the box back in the drawer.

About an hour later, I hear screams from the sewing room – “MY SCISSORS! Did you cut something with these? THEY’RE RUINED!!” She throws them and they fly across the room like a ninja star – barely missing my head before sticking in the wall.

Well, that’s how I remember it anyway. It was probably a lot less exciting. How can cutting a single piece of paper ruin scissors forever? And how in the world, could she tell that I’d touched them? I certainly learned my lesson, but the lesson was don’t touch scissors that aren’t mine. I never learned why scissors are so flakey.

Thursday Tidbits

Baby Fishmouth

Baby Fishmouth is sweeping the nation

Don’t know – just seemed like a Baby Fishmouth kind of way to start a post. I’m going to end with an X-Men clip – just so you’ll be prepared.

It has been a busy week (in Lake Wobegon). Can I even say that anymore? I know Garrison Keillor turned out to be some sex crazed maniac or something like that, so much so that the show had to change it’s name – but I digress again.

It’s summer school and I work support and man. People have really been needing help. Since everyone is at home, it is a lot more support because mom and dad (and grandma sometimes) don’t know how to log in. “What’s a Google Chrome now?” So then, at night I do data processing and programming for another company and I guess they all of a sudden want reports and then tonight I get an email from a friend asking if I can help him with a report. I downloaded the files, but I’m not looking at them until tomorrow.

After work today, my wife and I hung out in the back yard. She was in the hammock and I was in this cool recliner kind of outdoor chair that I wanted for my birthday last year. It’s just a chair that was on Amazon, but it’s outdoorzy and foldable, etc. Anyway, we did that for a while and then I ventured into the chicken coop area to get eggs. 7. Seven eggs. (*cough*) SEVEN. The other day since I missed a few days, there were 15. We have eggs on our eggs. I eat about two a week, so you get the idea. Actually, yesterday and today I managed to cook eight. Four each day and I give two to the dog. He loves them. We were talking to this guy at the farmer’s market and he was saying that eggs are cheaper than dog food and he’s right – especially for us, if you subtract the cost of chicken food which is maybe $15 a month.

Then I worked on the air compressor. I had this nice little pancake one and my son took it apart to make something and it didn’t work after that. In all fairness, it was his, so I can’t say much. Our neighbor threw one out and I asked what was wrong and it was the pressure switch, which I just happen to have another of. So I’ve been messing with that. I use it to work a nail gun. I’ll flip all of the cards over and just tell you – I make bird houses for fun. It’s a new thing for me. You can make them out of fence slats so they don’t cost anything. Home Depot has cedar fence slats, so bonus. I bought some crazy yellow and blue paint and they like psychodelic hanging on the fence. Anyway, my son isn’t home and I can’t find the silicon tape stuff I need to keep it from leaking so I came back in the house. It’s like 8:30 anyway. I’ll work on it tomorrow since I’ll be off in the afternoon. We have to run errands too – drugstore, feed store (chickens), and probably grab some lunch.

Oh, well. I was on Youtube earlier and a suggested video was Quicksilver from X-Men, and wow – I forgot how much I enjoy his scenes. It’s really quite impressive. Have a good night!

X-Men: Apocalypse – Quicksilver Saves All…But One
Wacky Wednesday

Vitamins and a side of Sneezing

Those aren’t related really. However, as soon as I started this post I had a 5 minute run of sneezing. Sneezing like you didn’t send the chain letter soon enough or to the right people. I carried one paper towel to my desk with my breakfast thinking “Is one enough?” – No. The correct answer is “No”.

Busy day today. More summer school stuff. I work support during the summer and it’s been crazy with the pandemic. We’re all virtual. I had like five Zoom meetings yesterday. One of those was a spontaneous one that came up right after a meeting to … (wait for it) … discuss the previous meeting.

So Vitamins. I take a lot of vitamins. I still learn stuff, too. Like iron absorbs better when you take it with vitamin-c. I take a lot of vitamin-c too. Like 1000mg at a shot. If I’m sick, I may take a few in a day. That’s like a gram (well, it IS a gram). I listened to a recording of Richard Feynman. When he had cancer, he was taking 60 grams a day. So I’m under that. I’m only thinking/talking about vitamins because I overheard some people at the farmer’s market last week discussing vitamins. She rolled off maybe 5 and I’m thinking – yep. I take that.

If you care – here are vitamins and minerals I take. I used to take them all every day, but not anymore. I take them at different times and sometimes different days:

Vitamin B, C, D, Iron morning
Zinc, Magnesium before bed
B12 and Folic Acid only sometimes, because I already take the B
Potassium sometimes. I used to take this daily, but don’t not for no reason.

Of those, Zinc is the most interesting. People take Zinc for health and immunity. I take it for a completely different reason. Somehow, years ago I was out really late I think we were fishing or something, and I had to get up early. I randomly took a Zinc before bed and felt GREAT and rested the next morning after only 3 hours of sleep. Since then, I’ve found that Zinc helps me wake up and I usually feel refreshed. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I’m good with that.

Back to work. It’s tax day in the US. I haven’t done the first thing to prepare. UGH! Tax Day in the US is like Boxing Day in Canada, but without the food, fun, and presents. Enjoy!

Tax Day!
Life... Live it!

Bueller, Bueller

Anyone, Anyone?

Ah, blogging. This is something you should do often, like journalling. I’ve done neither. Ironically, we are facing several of the largest historical events of our lifetimes, and I have yet to say a peep about any of it. Someone will open my journal in 100 years and say “I wonder what great, great, grandpa had to say about the pandemic of 2020” and they will find nada.

The last 11 months have been a blur. I see I posted in February, but only talking about sleep. In September I posted about lack of sleep. Truth is, I went through this crazy time in September-November where I wasn’t sleeping right and I ended up going to the hospital. After a CT scan, they found I’d had a brain bleed sometime in my lifetime, but it wasn’t current – which really excited the brain surgeon on staff. What had happened to me? He pondered that I must have hit my head or something. I don’t know. The issue at hand at that moment didn’t seem to be related to a brain bleed but to some kind of anxiety. Now I take an anxiety pill and I sleep like a baby again. I’m not anxious. I don’t look forward to anything, but I never did. Much to the chagrin of my wife, who likes to have something to look forward to. Me – I’m just happy to be here.

For a really short time, I was active on Facebook. By active, I mean I was stirring up trouble. By trouble, I just mean I would post something that might upset a conservative or two and they’d descend on my page like the zombies from Raccoon city. Then I was done – hid all of those posts and slipped back into the darkness. I didn’t mean to suddenly take a stand, but it’s fairly easy to get worked up when you go to Twitter and see something trending and turn it into a Facebook post. Before you know it, you have an opinion – and in my case, a differing opinion. Oh, sure – some people are all for it, but there are some nasty people who are against it. And, let’s face it – life is short. Facebook shouldn’t make you feel like you need a shower everytime you use it.

It’s Sunday. Summer’s are made up of a four day work week and three glorious days off. This particular weekend has been especially blissful since I haven’t checked emails at all. Oh, I’ve ‘seen’ them flashing by, but I haven’t been into my email. The problem with working weekends, which I’ve always done, is that people start expecting you to work weekends. You aren’t paid to work weekends, so why should you work on the weekends? Usually, I do since my work and my hobby are intertwined and always have been. This weekend, though, I’ve been doing other things like reading, cleaning, and mowing grass. It’s hot, though. I need to mow the backyard today, but that 97 degrees is a bit much. Maybe in a while it will cool down. For now, I’m sending you a quick update. I need to vacuum, dry a blanket and work on an air compressor. Or, maybe I’ll just take a nap. 🙂

Oh, we bought a puppy. This is Riley. He’s 10 months old now and we’ve had him for about 9 of those months. He’s made quarantine a lot more fun than it would have been otherwise. This is from when we first got him, but you missed all of that. He’s bigger now.