Friday, March 9, 2018

Retrofitting Home Delivery

After reading an article about giving a delivery service a key to the house, I realized that this old place is set up to do just that. At one point early in the twentieth century, the back porch was enclosed and a delivery hatch added to one screened wall. All I have to do to ensure secure package delivery is change the lock on the outer door while retaining the existing one on the inner, original back door.

A few days after that realization, I toured an efficiency apartment for rent in an early twentieth century building downtown. The building is in near-original condition. Even the hand-lettered unit numbers are untouched. The original service hatches that open from the main hall into the entry hall of the unit have simply been fastened shut. To my untutored eye, it looks as if fitting secure access to the hatches would be a trivial matter. Doing so would allow thousands of tenants in the region to enjoy the rational life support delivery services offer -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Living in one place for close to forty years has been an interesting experiment in housekeeping techniques, because the huge variable of moving can be ignored. The kitchen dates from a time when production and service functions were separate. Storage areas under work tops were often curtained in lieu of having cupboard doors. I like the economy of such curtains and even more like the amount of time they save. 

Over the decades, I have installed and removed several iterations. The area under the kitchen sink stores working appliances and the recycling center. I dodge into it countless times a day. Figuring out how to curtain it has always called on a contorted line of reasoning.

There was a curtain rod for a while that became inconvenient when I stowed a small washing machine in the area. A long bungee cord served instead until I realized it could harm a child. There were no curtains for a while, until I realized that stark utility had been carried too far. I put checkered napkins on a shopping list and let how to mount them take care of itself. I found a set of utility grade traditional-looking striped cotton place mats and brought them home to try as an attenuated covering to conceal the sound-proof coating of the sink and distract the eye from the various vertical metal planes of the appliances. 

A carpenter taught me the term "hammer simple". Sally Fields' flip-out scene in "Norma Rae" is the quintessential domestic example. Lately I have had neither the time nor the patience to fiddle with mechanical fastening systems, choosing instead to plaster various sticky devices here and there to mount amenities in the kitchen. There's nothing to lose, because the wood finishes are durable and forgiving.

Moving at warp speed when I got home and unloaded the roller,  I simply folded and laid out the place mats to get the spacing, pulled mounting tape out of the handy drawer, and stuck the mats in place behind the facing board under the sink. It's the best set-up yet, the cheapest, and was the fastest to design -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Getting A Grip

More often now than then, I have a disquieting feeling that the details of my life are getting out of control. Tasks crowd in relentlessly. It's easy to feel as if I'm sitting in an incoming tide with a teaspoon in my hand.

I have found it helpful to resolve and simplify starting from the navel out. No kidding. Once a desktop or worktop is straightened out to my satisfaction, it's easy to move on to the next questionable collection of...whatever. There doesn't seem to be any meaningful distinction to be made between digital, paper, and three-d things. A discard bin labelled "thrift" is as much a part of the solid waste system as the various recycling categories the city likes me to observe -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Worth The Trouble

The other day I spent nearly an hour fiddling with an adjustable reading light in one corner of the kitchen, finally getting it mounted on the wall to free the very useful, very small round table at its side. In the process, I rationalized the cord of that recent high-tech, featherweight LED addition to the lighting inventory. 

The few minutes it took to tie the cord into a hank that does not touch the floor will be made up many times when I vacuum that corner of the room. Dust equals moth and mite habitat equals mending textiles and medicating allergies -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Work Table

Last summer saw three flyweight polyethylene folding work tables added to the inventory. They proved so useful we just added two more. All of the tables are thirty inches by five feet. They are or will be covered by the rosin paper that the construction industry uses to protect floors. It's just the right color for this interior, and the toothy surface is pleasant to work with.

The black plastic corners that protect the tables during shipping slip over the paper covering to transform a table into a very large version of a desk blotter. It's way cool, like a sturdy old-school bookbinding. If you favor vintage office equipment, set out that old stapler and brass goose neck lamp.

It seems to me that these tables are designed to be handled by someone about my height, although the shipping carton warns that doing so is a two-person job. I had no trouble moving one up a flight up stairs by myself. Sticky-palmed work gloves make one stronger. I was delighted to discover in the original shipment that these tables, the cheapest ones available from Order Everything On-line, are designed so that there is a sensibly balanced gripping point to lift and carry one that is knocked down.

Whatever genius or angel drew up the plans for this table also had the good sense to design legs that fold truly flat to save space. That feature also gives the table a future as a low one set on legally acquired industrial grade dairy crates. Stabilize one used this way with mounting tape or by setting it on non-skid carpet matting.

Raise the table to standing work height by setting it on plastic bed risers. Finish the after-market fun by adding the Magical Sliding Furniture Feet that are nearly as good as wheels -30-
More after the jump.