Saturday, December 2, 2023

Back-scratchers, slippers and ERJ pretends to be a paper-wasp

Quicksilver enjoys having her back scratched.

She is usually dressed in a "onesie" so it is hard to reach down from the top and scratch her back properly and it is impossible to reach from the bottom.

So, I bent a back-scratcher from a slender "split" from one of our pieces of ash firewood. The procedure was to split several and pick a couple of good ones. Heat up water in a 1 pint mason jar in the microwave until it was boiling. Soak one end of a split in the hot water for a few minutes. Put soaked end in a vice and SLOWLY bend it, then weight down the unbent end and let the split cool/dry over night.

Slipper update

I ended up purchasing an inexpensive pair of "Dearfoam" slippers at Walmart on the advice of some of my readers.

I tried on a bunch of slippers and liked the elastic sides (circled in red) of the Dearfoams which made for easy slipping into AND a fair degree of retention.

I wasn't sure I was going to be a "slipper" guy but these have been working well for my intended use.

Exotic engineering materials

We have some foam insulation panels over some windows. The panels are on the outside where they will not cause condensate to collect and then run down the insides of the window.

Insects will sometimes get between the foam panel and the window. Woodpeckers can hear them and have no problem whacking holes in the foam to get at them.

Mrs ERJ wondered what exotic material I was going to use to repair the holes before winter clamped down.

That is when I told her of my grade-school bathroom where miscreants would take toilet paper and wet it and then throw it at the ceiling. The clump of wood-fibers would stick long enough to dry-in-place. Years' accumulation created an interesting 3-D texture to the ceiling.

So, I told her that I was going to repair the holes with toilet paper...wet, macerated wood-fibers if I wanted to sound pretentious.

After fiddling with it a little bit and learning on-the-job, the best technique is to look at the hole to estimate its size and then to put several wraps of the paper around my hand. Then dunk the squarish, multi-ply patch into water and roughly shape into something resembling a badminton birdie. Wedge the birdie into the hole and fold the "Tail" into the center to ensure it is semi-rivet like in shape.

i did some with the toilet paper and some with fiberglass batting peeled from a scrap piece of insulation. The fiberglass was much faster but I understand that some people's skin reacts to the fiberglass.

I changed the oil in the truck

166k miles. I am recording it so I can get a handle on how many miles a year I am driving. My records show that I bought the vehicle just before the economy was shut down for Covid and it had about 133k miles on it. So that is 33k miles in 44 months or about 750 miles a month which is far fewer than when I was a working guy.

The world keeps changing

We purchased a small toilet seat that can be placed over the adult seat so Quicksilver can start getting used to the idea of being a big girl.

Some assembly required.

The plastic Chicago Screws were sized-and-slotted such that a person could use a coin to turn them. And the parts bag included a plastic tiddly-wink.

My guess is that many of their target audience (new parents in the late 20s) do not have a single coin in their home.

That means all of their money is electronic which presumably means it could be snatched or frozen by a hacker by the guberment.

I feel old.

Dog update

Zeus our 10 year-old German Shepherd perked up. He is still a little wobbly in the hind-quarters, so his recent travails were probably due to his slipping on some ice.

I am VERY happy that it was not something more serious.


  1. My 2001 Ford Ranger recently crossed 295K miles and still runs like new. Gee, I hope I am not jinxing it by writing that.

  2. There are quite a few young parents in the country now who don't use change, don't know how to sew, and in some cases don't know how to cook.
    It's disappointing... But then I also know not so young people uninterested in learning how to change a tire or check oil...

  3. A friend retired a couple years ago and took up the handyman trade part-time to earn a few bucks and stay out from underfoot at home. Those folks make up over half his clientele; to them a rotary dial phone is just as baffling as a screwdriver.

  4. re: your slipper situation.
    I am on my second pair of these same slippers. They're inexpensive and perfectly functional.
    The reason that I am on the second pair is because the first pair suffered a "tread separation" after a couple of months. I was skeptical of buying another pair of the same slippers but nothing else at Walmart was comparable, so home they came.
    That was nearly a year ago and so far, no problem.


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