The Accidental Stockpiler

One of my brothers joked about people stockpiling toilet paper because of coronavirus. It’s absurd because TP is produced in the US and Canada, not overseas. It’s even less understandable than buying up all the dust masks in the land.

I laughed, then I thought about it: how much toilet paper do I have?  Chain pharmacies offer me limited-time discounts and use-as-cash coupons. Whenever they do,  I buy staples like laundry soap, bleach, toothpaste….

Also, when the regional Kmart went out of business this fall and I had to use my “points,” I bought a package…. or was it two?

Well, I checked. I have three unopened 12-roll packs in the linen closet!

Good grief.

Gardening Temptations

bloom blossom flora flower

NOT the garden of La Casa de Tontería aka The House Of Nonsense. Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Tracking expenses this month, I noticed that Winter has no dampening effect on the gardening bug. During the thaw before New Year’s, I visited Migardener garden store for inspiration (and vegetable seeds), used a Christmas gift card to purchase planting bags, and began reading the bonsai book a friend gave me. I’m waiting on this month’s orders: daikon radish seeds, a paper pot mold, rock-wool, and a sower.

I like to blame peer pressure. Continue reading

Toolset: Mending

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Old and new tools in the sewing box

I’ve written recently about how cheap clothes make it easier to toss them than to mend, but a globalized economy creates an environment in which even little things are outsourced.

The photo above illustrates the point. The American-made crocheting needle, which dates from the ’80s, was in my first “emergency” sewing kit.  I neither crochet nor knit, but it’s my “sweater-saver.” When a sweater is snagged, I poke the needle through from the back, twist the errant yarn around it, and draw it through to the reverse side.

The darning needles and thread-cutter came from my late maternal grandmother’s carefully-kept cache. The needles were imported because, as everyone knew, Sheffield Steel was high-quality. I can attest to their strength, since I’ve used them on denim and suede. (Note: If you look on the left side of the package, you can see Grandma paid a dime for the package. Quite an investment!) 

Continue reading

Five Planned Expenditures for 2020

In anticipation of my 2020 challenge A Year of Mindful Shopping, I put together a list of above-and-beyond expenses. I was going to estimate their cost, but I really can’t.

  • Four nights in hotels. A family reunion and a weekend trip are in the works.
  • Materials for sprucing up the powder room. Labor is free, thanks to BabyBro’s generous nature. (Honestly, I think my MacGuyvered flooring pulled at his heartstrings.)
  • Admission to at least three museums and five gardens.
  • A new water heater.
  • A new headboard for the guest room.

Year of (gulp!) No Shopping

It’s that time of year again. The season of Black Friday sales and the slow trickle of tax documents.

And a horrible urge* to try a Year Without Shopping (YWS). according to my field notes, it consists of the following “rules”:

  • No new additions to the wardrobe
  • No new _______ until current supply of _________ is used up
  • No entertainment purchases with the exception of experiences (This seems to be popular loophole; for example a learning experience or roadtrip.)

If anything breaks or wears beyond prepare, there is a process:

  1. Substitute.
  2. Borrow.
  3. Buy used

I have already incorporated some practices into daily life. However, I’m daunted by the idea of committing to no sales or no stocking up.  And there’s the haunting sense that once I commit to it, sinister stars will align to break various necessities…

But I’m going to do it anyway. This coming week, I will make a list of five (5!) planned expenditures.  Wish me luck.


*By “horrible urge,” I mean a horribly sweet Puerto Rican has been urging me to follow his footsteps, if not hus vagabond ways.

 

Odds and Ends of House Upkeep

Usually winter is my relaxing season because, despite an increase in paperwork and often-hectic holiday preparations, the pace of life slows. There is little yard maintenance, the local roads have less traffic, and there are no mosquitoes.

Early snowfall, however, created its own problems. I had to get the birdfeeders squirrel-feeders set up early, so I grabbed two bags of the very limited selection at a soon-to-close retailer. The wildlife do not like it. It has too much corn, judging by the slowly-growing pile of kernels beneath the feeder. At least the suet is a hit, as well as easy to stock up; a local grocer carries it in the seasonal aisle. Continue reading

Cold snap!

It’s just the first week of November, but an arctic blast has brought a taste of winter. The Detroit Metro forecasters anticipate January-like weather next week.

It was already a bit colder at the end of October.* Neighbors with hunting cabins “Up North” found themselves asking nearby friends to turn on the heaters or turn off the water.  The autumnal gardens are suddenly cut short and sad-looking with withered vines and dead mums (short for “chrysanthemums,” not “mothers” – not to paint too macabre a picture, my readers!).

Here at La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense), this prognostication brought on a winterizing rush. Of course, the scramble coincided with the deadlines for finalizing quality-control reports at The Young Human Factory.** Because all stressors must coordinate!

  • Could I make another pass at the lawn? No. The mower was emptied and put into storage, along with rakes and the leaf-shute (a plastic folding device that facilitates dumping leaves into paper garden waste bags).
  • The annual capping of the outdoor faucets and closing of the crawlspace vents were done post haste. (During the old shed tear down, the construction worker found the “lost” caps that fit tighter. Hurrah!)
  • Birds and beasts were confused to find the birdbath closed for the season, although the first snowfall means the squirrel  bird feeder is now serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper.

* The shed’s stain and seal must wait until spring!

** Somehow I – and my colleagues – survived. Some Young Humans may be in slightly-altered condition by Monday, after their producers see the reports.