What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

something that should never be shed …

… is scientific data public funding paid to acquire.

If facts are now to be considered competing ideologies to be suppressed and “alternative facts” breezily asserted without concern for consequences beyond the current news cycle, well, brand me a heretic. But please use a renewable source for the energy to heat the brand.

I haven’t signed up for Twitter, but I will now so I can follow AltUSNatParkService and RogueNASA.

#climate # resist

twitter-mother-earth

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– the brown bathroom

The 30-year-old brown paint in the upstairs bath is sealed in, covered over, soon to be forgotten! The walls now wear the darker of our two greys, Valspar’s Gravity, while the ceiling glows with Woodlawn Dewkist.

I could post a picture, but we’d all say, “Huh. Um, bathroom.” So let’s celebrate greyness with an otherwise gratuitous cats pic:

Muffin and Blueberry claim the former sink cabinet, which we’re remaking into a small side cabinet for the kitchen-dining room

Muffin and Blueberry with the former sink cabinet, which we’re remaking into a small side cabinet for the kitchen-dining room … or so we’ve thought. They might have other plans.

shedding style: repaint, remake

Comments welcome … would you repaint your house to match your companion critters?

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and now, a word from the cat

“Never mind all that,” Muffin says. “Keep calm and carry on. The Empress of the Universe is still me.”

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– two of our everyday bowls, cracked

Some days I chose what to shed. Other days entropy does.

As I forked up the last bite of my salad at lunch, something seemed wrong. I looked closely at the bowl, and found two cracks, long, deep, and about to connect. Another bowl in the set was cracked as well, I found.

The cracks are hard to see, but they're there ... you could have bowled me over!

The cracks are hard to see, but they’re there.

We haven’t abused them, but we’ve used them well. I suppose they’ve been bumped together too often or gone through too many cycles of thermal expansion and contraction in the wash. I’m afraid they’ll have to go to the landfill; we don’t need knick-knack collectors. If a bowl can’t hold hot soup, it’s got to go. But we’re grateful for their service.

shedding style: throw away
destination: the landfill

Comments welcome … ever been bowled over by a crack-up?

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– the kitchen cart’s box

“Having stooped to shedding a box on WIST,” I asked myself, “shall I shed another?”

Yep.

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About 15 years ago Nimue and I lived in a house that, to us, seemed constrictively short on kitchen counter-space. One day, pushing a super-sized cart down an aisle at Sam’s Club (a big-box delivery warehouse for way too much of anything I have since learned to avoid), my roving eyes were arrested by an unfinished furniture kit. Why, I thought, there’s the solution to our problem! And it’s on sale, a hundred bucks marked down to $60!

At home I happily carried it downstairs to my basement workshop. Notes: 1. Basements aren’t good locations for anything anyone wants to accomplish unless they are, themselves, nice places that welcome one’s presence. Cold, cob-web-festooned, dimly-lit rooms are birth-labs for several species of unfinishedness. 2. Out of sight is out of mind. 3. If one lives with a partner, it’s really best, when bringing home a project that will require many of hours of assembly and finishing, to recruit her or him as a stakeholder first.

I did start some sanding, but then it languished down there. When we moved rather abruptly, it went back into its box and remained there, mostly forgotten, till we renovated Casa de WIST’s kitchen and in its new order found a spot that called out for the cart.

I excavated the project from a pile in the garage. Long is the tale I could tell of the misguided decision to paint it with 25-year-old oil-based enamel that’s moved with us from location to new location like a curse, of how gravity defies paint and just how many different planes there are on even a fairly simple piece of furniture, and of joints splitting during assembly when the line between “just a little more force” and “whoops” was crossed. But never mind all that. Finally all the steps had been stepped, daily use embraced it, and happiness in the universe was slightly increased.

All that’s left is to take the box to the recycling drop-off next time I go.

shedding style: complete, recycle
destination: our community’s recycling drop-off

Comments welcome … have you ever rejoiced to see the back-side of a box?

 

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– NEC computer monitor box

I’m casting about a bit tonight for something to claim as today’s shed, I admit. But I did let go of a box.

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I was looking in the old monitor box hoping to find my glass cutter so I could cut a pane of glass to use as a hopper feed panel in the old birdfeeder so it would work again and I could feel okay about giving it away. Does that make sense? That’s the kind of day I’ve had. The glasscutter wasn’t in my carpentry toolbox, nor the precision tools box, nor the really-odd tools box, nor the painting tools box. (We have several other toolboxes, but it simply wouldn’t be in them, unless the rules of the universe changed or something.) The monitor box was my last hope.

Ten years ago Nimue and I were about to change addresses when I found myself on crutches for three months. Friends and family rallied about us to pack, load, and unload, bless ‘em. But that narrowed our choices somewhat. Asked where to put anything random in my shop, I answered, “In that box. That old monitor box.”

A great feature of monitor boxes, back in the days when computer equipment felt more like an infrastructural investment than a consumable, was that they were sturdy. And voluminous. The drawback is that they can swallow a lot of your stuff, and it’s a lot harder to get it out than to put it in.

I have been unpacking that box, a little at a time, ever since. Tonight, I finished. I didn’t find the glass cutter, but lamp wiring materials have come out where they can be used, hardware has been sorted into the “nails” and “picture hanging” containers, and old flashlights moved to the going-to-the-thrift-store box. The monitor box will be left at our community’s drop-off recycling facility the next time we drive past it.

shedding style: recycle
destination: our community’s recycling dropoff

Comments welcome … do you find that some containers are much too big for what you’ve asked them to hold?

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– the repair project and ethical responsibility of the birdfeeder

I have finally decided, after much vacillation: our bird feeder shall be shed. I haven’t used it in well over a decade maybe two since one of the panels that holds and distributes the feed broke. But all this time I’ve kept it, thinking, “I could get and cut a piece of clear plastic to fix it. Hang it in the dogwood off the deck. Get some seed and cracked corn and start watching birds. I loved that when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure that feeder was a present from my parents while we lived in Illinois, probably because they remembered that. And Mom hates to look on WIST and see me shedding something she’s given me.”

the feeder in the Camellia out front

the feeder in the Camellia out front

I could do all that. Another problem, though, is that to start feeding birds in a neighborhood is to covenant with them not to stop. They quickly learn to depend upon it. I don’t know why I don’t trust myself to hold up my end; eleven cat-panions, past and present, would purr that I do. But felines have ways to reinforce good behavior that avians lack.

Oh, darn it—I am the son of an engineer—tomorrow I will cut a piece of something to replace the broken panel before I leave it at the ReStore. Glass or plywood would work. I may even have some acrylic out in the garage, I don’t know. Then someone who wants the joy of sustaining feathered friends can take it home and start using it without adopting a repair project, perhaps without the resources I’ve got.

shedding style: repair then give away
destination: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Comments welcome … do you ever furrow your brow sorting out can, should, would if, and want to?

(Ummm … sorry, Mom!)

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– mostly-used, dried up cans of stains and paint

Today was not a good day for my mitigation of climate change.

As we renovate Casa de WIST, our policy is to purchase and use low-VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes as much as possible. But we have quite a few oil-based products around nevertheless. A handful have been allowed because I believe they actually will have less impact (better, for instance, to repaint and continue to use the tubs than replace them). Some I bought long ago before it was widely understood that even the “consumer” segment of the solvents market has a measurable impact on air quality and greenhouse gases. Many were acquired by my father over his decades of do-it-himselfing. Not a few we inherited from previous owners of our house, who kindly left them behind just in case we might need them.

I’ve been able to dispose of some of this unwanted wealth at municipal household hazardous waste collections. But that mostly just kicks the disposal problem down the road. The best recourse generally is to use them up, while committing to water-based products in the future.

So … Nimue and I have been rebuilding a bath sink cabinet we pulled from the upstairs bathroom into a sort of miniature sideboard we’ll use in the kitchen-dining room. For eventual ease of wiping down, we decided to apply sealant to the inside. We didn’t care much what it looked like—most of the time it will be dark in there—so we thought we might mix odd bits of stain-sealer and have enough to do the job.

But when she opened the first can, Nimue found that a thick skin had formed on top of what remained of “Antique Walnut” and the material under it was thick as sludge. “Colonial Pine” was a goner, too. The couple of pints left in the gallon of sanding sealer had turned the consistency of yogurt. And the sealing primer I used on the floor in the bathroom today looked and felt like large-curd cottage cheese. I suppose that too much time and exposure to air (just that inside the closed cans) made them useless.

I had to leave the cans open to the atmosphere so the remaining contents will dry to a hard, inert state. Then I can take them to the construction-and-demolition landfill. But I hate to do it.

Past choices frame present options. That’s much on my mind these days as I hear and ponder the news from Washington and the world and watch the grey squirrels chase one another in the strange summer the southeastern US is having in January. My hope lies in trusting that we can learn to make better choices today, so what used to be called the “common weal” shall thrive in the future.

shedding style: throw away
destination: C&D landfill

Comments welcome … with appreciation for the sly wit and social commentary of Mick and Keith … shall we agree to not “Paint It Black” after all?

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-/+? O-Cedar mop, part two

Yesterday I posted about contacting customer service at O-Cedar, maker of the mop for which I could not find a refill.

Before the first hour of the business workday ticked away, I had an answer:

Thank you for your interest in our O-Cedar products and for including the picture. We apologize for the difficulty you are having locating them. Unfortunately, the item you are looking for has been discontinued for more than 6 years and is no longer available. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

However, we are certain we can provide you with a product that will satisfy your cleaning needs. Please feel free to email us with any further questions or comments you have.

We would like to assure you that quality and customer satisfaction are our highest priorities. Also, customer feedback helps us maintain our high quality standards.

Sincerely,

Pam
O-Cedar Family of Products
Consumer Affairs Dept.

Fair enough. I hope Pam’s supervisors know she gets going on the day’s tasks as soon as the day starts. I answered,

“Thanks for your very prompt and clarifying reply. Though I’m disappointed that the model is discontinued, I’m not surprised. And, after all, it’s just a mop. A suggestion, since you invite customer feedback: I would have been helped to find a link to ‘discontinued products’ on ocedar.com. It might have saved me from searching at several different stores.”

And moments later she replied,

I think your suggestion is a very good one and I will certainly share this information with marketing.

So that’s that … though perhaps not. The Snail of Happiness (who steadily knits away, and more, at her gentle, patient, hopeful blog), reminded me that I am not without resources. I am, I recall, the son of an engineer and tinkerer, a Maker before the Maker Movement. The problem is to get a sponge to stick to the mop head. The trick is to not get stuck on how it used to stick there.

Perhaps there shall be “mop, part three” …

Comments welcome … ideas, anyone?

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-/+? O-Cedar mop, part one

I’ve had a sponge mop on the shed list for months because I couldn’t find a refill sponge for it. But I hate to throw away what isn’t broken or even especially worn if there’s a chance it might be made useful again. So this evening I’ve written to the company.

nothing fancy, but it mops, or would if it had a sponge

nothing fancy, but it mops, or would if it had a sponge

Dear O-Cedar customer service:

I have an O-Cedar mop purchased at a Kroger in Sandy Springs, Georgia, about 10 years ago. The head is a one-piece plastic extrusion with a living hinge … green, if that matters. I can’t find any model no.s or other identifying marks on it. I’d like to locate refills and continue using this perfectly good mop, but the mounting system on your current hinge mop is different. You may see pictures of the mop in question on my blog What I shed today, which is about letting go of what’s useless in our lives while practicing good stewardship of Earth’s resources. I hope you can help. Thanks.

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Will it remain a useful tool at Casa de WIST, or will I have to toss it in the hard plastics recycling bin at the landfill? We await the company’s response.

Comments welcome … do you have any apparently orphaned implements hanging about in the limbo of hope something might be done for them?

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