Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Help

Early demonstration of efficiency technique. Photo courtesy Flickr

Would you like to have an assistant who’s on call 24/7, works for nothing, and makes no demands? You do. The assistant is called a brain, and the discipline is called Taylorism, after Henry Ford's  advisor Frederick Taylor.
Checking the weather last week, my eye fell on a neighbor loading food into the back of his car. In an early morning personal fog, he worked five times harder and longer than necessary to transfer the contents of a carry-all into a cooler.
Efficiency is an area that rewards being lazy and selfish. Set up a task close to your navel, so you don’t have to stretch, bend to one side, or stoop to work. The principle is to keep your balance so that you can protect your good judgement.
Be your own supervisor. The neighbor had set a bag of groceries two feet off to the side of the rear deck of his car. He allowed the open lid of the cooler on the deck in the rear to stand between him and the destined contents. Each can and jar was passed across a four-foot void with a couple of side steps and a back-risking twisted lean. All the while, the deck to the right of the cooler was empty.
Once you learn to work efficiently, you can monitor your form and step back from a task when it starts to deteriorate, getting far more done in the long run.
-30-  More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A New Take on the Classics

Photo courtesy Flickr

I ran across a useful phrase browsing Flickr for one of last week’s images. It’s “Cayce Pollard Unit”, or CPU, and Wikipedia affirms what Flickr presented. The CPU is a wardrobe element of an anti-fashion heroine who’s burned out from her marketing work. 
A CPU is black, white, or gray. (I’d include warm grey, aka cream to khaki.) It could have been worn without comment during any year between 1945 and 2000. There are no logos.
Defining one's daily kit as a collection of units rationalizes shopping and getting dressed. I doubt I’ll adopt CPU as a working term, but “unit” will surely stick. Units form a civilian uniform that flexes to adapt to current demands and shifts over time to take advantage of new fabrics and technologies.
Now and then I discover a particular trouser or sweater that’s so apt I buy more than one, sometimes in more than one neutral color. Housekeeping guru Don Aslett wrote years ago that most people only use about eighteen pole inches of their wardrobes. I became conscious of my go-to garments and began to define a unit collection of my own. Everything fits into one cedar chest, and it’s heaven not to be confused when I’m getting ready for the day.
-30- More after the jump.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Summer Shift

Photo courtesy Flickr
Now and then the interior doesn’t fit anymore, and it becomes time to rearrange a few elements. It’s been so cold, I placed a small under-rug heating mat beneath the dining table to keep feet warm. There’s enough sun on the porch, though, for me to move the shaggy flokati rug from the garden bench that furnishes one end of the space to an attic dormer, where the rug will pad basking and night view lounging. A self-inflating air mattress usually cushions the bench under the flokati, providing upholstery without hassle. At the moment, the air pad is stored in a closet. If it gets in the way, I can roll it up and put it back with the hiking gear.
I reconfigured four rooms in an hour and a half singlehanded, thanks to long practice and featherweight, modular, high-tech furnishings.
-30- More after the jump.