Friday, September 25, 2009

Retail Rip-off

I am becoming more and more cynical and curmudgeonly as I age.  Primarily it has to do with "the public out there."  Rude drivers, obnoxious people, outrageous prices on products, lack of respect . . . the list goes on.  We're breeding a society of "gimmee" people.  Gimmee this.  Gimmee that.

Last week I went to the pharmacy, looking for a device that helps old people pull on their socks.  I don't consider myself old, but I do have a bad hip, and while I can cross my left leg over my right knee to put on a sock, I can't do that with my right leg.  It's been that way all my life, but as I've aged, it's gotten so bad that it's very painful trying to put a sock on my right foot.

So I paid $18 for a cheap sock aid that is next to worthless.  I went back and looked at their other sock aids.  They had one other brand, at an utterly ridiculous $32.  We're not talking rocket science, folks.  A sock aid is basically just a tube with straps attached.  The top of the tube is open.  You slide your sock onto the tube, stick your foot into the opening, and pull up on the straps.  It pulls the sock onto your foot and slides free from the sock.

No way was I going to pay $32 for a piece of plastic with straps.  So I made my own.  I took an old plastic 2-cup measuring cup and cut off the bottom, sliced off the handle and upper part of the tube, made a slit on either side for the straps, and voila!  It cost me nothing--I had all the materials.  And because it's rigid plastic, I can wipe off the hand lotion that I often use on my dry feet.  That's my homemade sock aid, below.

The sock aid I'd bought isn't rigid plastic, so putting a sock on it is an exercise in frustration.  And because it's lined with cloth (whose bright idea was that?), lotion gets all over the lining.  So now I have a perfectly decent sock aid, and retailers who charge a fortune for an item that probably cost 5 cents to make, can go suck someone's toe!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn in Olalla

Wow, where did the time go?  Let's just say I've been crazy busy.  REALLY crazy busy.  I'm now on Injured Reserves, having somehow injured my back just below the shoulder blade.  Ouch. 

Autumn is officially here now, and that means the leaves on the trees are just beginning to turn.  In a few weeks, they will be a riot of oranges and yellows.  A photographer's paradise! 

I'm having a group of photographers out to my place as soon as the leaves are at their gorgeous best.  We'll be heading down to the bucolic Olalla Bay, just 2.8 miles from my house, where pine and deciduous trees grow right down to the water line and put on a display worthy of Mother Nature's highest award.  The bay is glass-like at high tide, and the reflections of the trees in the water make for some beautiful shots.  Plus, the bay has an interesting contour and shoreline. 

I'll be checking tide tables and watching the trees turn color.  In a few weeks you'll likely see a million pictures from me.  Or perhaps just a few.  As all photographers know, you can take 100 pictures, and only have 2-3 good ones worth keeping.  Thank goodness for digital cameras!

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of Olalla Bay, taken a few weeks ago.  Sort of my dry run.  The tide was coming in, so the water wasn't as glass-like as it usually is.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My New Gate

I just finished painting the new gate I built for the front porch.  The old gate was forever getting out of alignment, no matter how many times I tightened the hinges.  This made it sticky, and I kept planing off wood from the side to keep it from sticking.  Then it would sag some more and scrape the deck when I opened it.  I finally got tired and chucked it.  Now, the new gate is perfect!  It is perfectly level and swings shut with the touch of a finger.  I love it!  And it's completely green, because I didn't have to buy new lumber.  And I used paint left over from previous projects. 

Now I'm in a building mood!  Oh, hey, I just came up with an idea!  I'll build a cozy cat house on the back porch for the cats.  It'll be a place for them to get in out of the rain on days they're outside and don't want to come in.  Right now, they have a bed on a small table on the porch.  The roof overhang is really large (4 feet long), so it protects them from the elements.  So I'll build a box and install it under the kitchen window so they can peer into the house and scare me with their eye reflections.  Which is what they do now.  Let me tell you, it's really spooky to see two pairs of eyes watching you at night!

I think I'll hang the box/bed on the side of the house, under the kitchen window, and either build a ramp to the box, or probably just put a footstool below it, so they can jump to the box from the footstool.  Yup, that's the ticket!