Coping: End of Hell in Sight

My personal “idea operating temp” varies a few degrees, depending on the kind of work being done.

For most consulting, writing, study, and thinking 68F  is about right.  Provided there’s a long-sleeved shirt.  Otherwise, 72F is acceptable.

Real construction (framing, hanging sheetrock, roofing, decking, and such is best done around 55-65F,

Gardening is best done at 75, or lower.  50F is a good temp for soil-breaking with a front-tine tiller, but up to 60F with the rear-tine variety that won’t smash you to smithereens.

Point is, I like comfort when working and this summer I have been very good about NOT doing much outside until the past week.

Elaine was playing with the cat, or some-such – and noticed some rot on a deck I’d built 8 or 9 years back, so this weekend was spent tearing off the rotten (and even remotely suspicious parts.  The good news about the deck was that it all went together with 3” construction screws and the special screws for treated decking were used.  So it was disassembly rather than blasting caps.

Later on this week, the repair wood will be delivered.  The decking itself will be #1 20-foot treated 2 by 6s.  These cost a fortune, but like a boat, if a deck isn’t maintained, rot is just a fact of life.

The heat’s been the main thing, though.  Not the work.

I do fine up until about 85F but by then, the glasses start coming off at impossibly bad moments.  Most of the past week, that working temp threshold has been sailing by at about 10 AM, or so.  Sunday was typical:  Start working at 6 AM and call it quits about 10:15 and hit the shower.

East Texas temps, despite what the climate alarmists may say, had a pretty typical “hot part” to summer this year.  A handful of days over 100 but mostly just bumping up against 98 or 99 and enough humidity to be sticky.  Not like out in the Phoenix area.

Thursday of this week should be special:  It may not even bust 90.

Around the country, one of the most interesting weather stories comes from the Alaska Dispatch News which noted a couple of weeks back:

As of Wednesday, Anchorage had seen 32 days this season with official temperatures 70 degrees and higher, putting this season fourth in the number of 70-degree-and-warmer days since recordkeeping began in April 1952.

That doesn’t sound like the climate-driven end of the world, somehow.  Still, credit where due:  It has been hot (*or what passes for hot to weather wimps) in San Francisco.  And even Phoenix tied an old high record over the weekend.  117F is warm, I don’t care who you area.

Still, there are cool spots, too.  Like Bangor Maine where they just had the chilliest July ever along with coldest year-to-date

Then there was a super cold front that brought temps in Idaho down within spitting range of freezing.

I mention all of this to underscores that many of the records are falling 11 or 12 years after old ones.. And this leads Ures truly to wonder aloud if the El Nino/La Nina cycle is hyperextending?

It might be interesting to watch the scientific press once the information gets collected.

But the calendar is what matters most now:  Historically, the odds of busting 100 are going down by the day.  And when we get back from our cruise, in mid September, we may be down to reasonable outdoor working weather, again.

Elaine’s Articulation Award

She said something I never heard before, but then again, I suffer from male pattern deafness.  I just can’t seem to hear certain phrases  like “don’t let the cat….” or another one is “Take the….”

The reason for the award is she said – as I was offering to double the size of the deck that needs rework – “Don’t make the house any bigger – it’s too much to take care of now…

Huh?   Well, as you can imagined, this was a terrible shock.  I could have sworn that women (*and men) both liked big houses.  Maybe once upon a time, but that’s done.

When we first moved here, the original square footage of the place was 1568 for the house  and 220 square feet of deck.  The shop space was 12 X 24.  The rest was an open RV cover pole building.

So I sat back and run out the numbers.  The house is only a little bigger at 1,833.

The decks have grown, too: 484 square feet.

Panama’s apartment is 528 SF, the shop is now 800 SF and my office is another 288.

While this has all been sort of necessary, so we have a place for everything and everything in its place (except my stuff), from Elaine’s perspective, we’ve gone from 1,788 SF that she dealt with to 2,287.

To her way of thinking, that’s an increase 28% increase is square footage, and as she notes that all has to be maintained.

Honestly, I’d never looked at it that way, before.  But, when you do, all of a sudden the whole minimalist thing and micro housing movement makes sense.

It’s gotten me back to thinking small again.  So the next house we will move into, now that we’re both waking up to how fighting 30-acres away from Ma Nature is a big slice of work, even with power equipment, will be a half acre and more than likely 1,200 sf  2 bedrooms and 2 baths, one of which (*like here) will be a big walk-in shower.  And all on one level.

Means less of everything, too.  Not just cleaning time, but smaller furniture bill, no room for knickknacks and all that.

Even things like the second bathroom are in the discussion.  No waiting is nice, but it means two shower/tub cleanings per day instead of one.  We do our own but, gee, every other day would be nice…and that is exactly her point.

This explains why the McMansion deal is insane…I’d just never heard it so clearly articulated before.  More house is more work…check.  No more rooms or additions, then.

Been  an  interesting slide to watch tastes change during life.  From starched shirts to golf shirts to T’s…all part of the same “no time” continuum.

Googling the Frontrunners

Good Trends is a marvelous way of looking at life.

Saves all that damn thinking time – and more:  It saves time-wasting political discussions.

Simply put in the candidates name of the poll leaders and presto!


It is important to note, though, that the election is still more than a year away and this is “anything can happen” land.

With that, another hit of coffee and then a look at markets.

Write when you break-even,



Coping: End of Hell in Sight — 20 Comments

  1. No matter what you choose for downsizing, you can acquire it for half the money and half the monthly expenses living outside the USA. And no predatory fascist government with its hand out at every turn. Want a big place? You can hire a person full time for $400 a month to clean and garden. A friend of mine dealt with the language issue by hiring an entire Ecuadorean family and sending them to English school at night. When one family member is unavailable, another family member or relative steps in. There are a million expats living in Mexico, and another million scattered further south. If you have an opinion about living outside the USA but have never visited, rest assured that what you think is profiting someone to keep you from having the time of your life in an economical, stress free environment.

  2. You clean your bathrooms everyday? Ever hear of OCD. Might want to check with your doctor about that one. The head shrinking kind.

  3. Someone somewhere is gonna look very silly come this Oct 1st if the bond market doesn’t crash or the stock marker is going strong

  4. George, your myopic view of global warming really should expand beyond the limited borders of theUSA. If you look at the rest of the world (including th arctic) you might discover that the world is warming. But like most American jingoists, its evident that your data set conforms to your mental biases.

  5. Why not ‘means test’ Social Security (please read Peter G. Peterson’s book, “Running On Empty”) He’s the former Secy of Commerce under Nixon, amongst other titles. Granted, it doesn’t inject the budget with the one trillion bucks that the Big Companies pirate away offshore through their special tax program, but hey dude, if yer makin $200k per year already, do you really need to scrape from the needy?? (Of course you won’t print this, anything that challenges your self righteous attitude gets tossed, yeah?)

    • Actually, only the insulting stuff gets trashed.
      And I don’t have any problem with tax credits back for xxx of income taxed at 10% below a real floor of say $50,000 for a family of four. Petersen didn’t address (going from memory) the real problem of flat taxes which is the job eliminations that happen. What about all cpa’s etc? irs agents…turbo tx employees? That is a key thing to keep in mind, too

  6. If anything, violent video games are a safe and harmless release for us men who haven’t devolved/evolved into metrosexuals yet. I play the most violent of video games daily yet I won’t kill a insect out of malice. Studies from popular websites always have a false narrative. Click bait and theatrics. Some starving writer trying to sensationalize their article so they can sell it to a website that needs traffic to sell their ads. That is all. Mic dropped.

  7. The cabin at El Rancho de Chaos is 500 sq ft and some change, bedroom, 1 bath. The 2400 sq ft shop/barn is where most of the time is spent anyway. Been accused of having too many projects. Would not want to reduce the acreage any since it’s paid for and as they say they don’t make real estate anymore.

    Point is I am way more comfortable in the cabin and out on the spread than when I have to return back to the 2800 sq ft home in town. The tiny home movement is the way to go. Can’t wait for the day I walk away from the 9-5.

  8. Down-size
    Our experience is: a 6″ rise on steps works well for creaky joints in the users. And 36″ door/passage openings for occasional crutches or mobile chairs… and constant hot water for long shower days. Rin*** is the favored local MT brand. Hot water conversion for furnace is also available, haven’t tried one yet. More solar panels, more batteries…

  9. Funny you should mention downsizing. The wife and I got married rather late in life. As we were discussing marriage and “qualifying” each other. I asked what kind of house she required to live in. Funny, when a woman is in love she’d “live in a shack” just to be with you. I told her my dream home came with a mortgage that said “Paid in Full” stamped on the front. That that was needed to happen a few years before we retired so we could sock some more back for retirement. That I didn’t want a 30 yr mortgage at my age. Our options dwindled quickly but we found a developed half acre lot with two water meters and two septic systems (old style). We ended up with a small 2 bdrm 1 bath single wide. We never have regretted the decision. Only thing is that in any given room you only need a couple things out of place to appear cluttered. But we can clean the house in 2 hrs, and take care of all yard work in about the same amount of time. Funny tho being a blacksmith my shop at 20×33 is larger in sqft than the house. It’s ok I guess. We spend more time out there than in the house. Which by the way will be paid in full next year.

  10. Good Morning, George.
    Regarding the weather – we neglected to cover our cold-sensitive plants with garden blankets a couple of nights ago. Despite daytime temperatures of 80+, the night got down to 29 degrees. Squashes, string beans,and potatoes all were damaged. Looks like it’s going to continue all week. We are in Central Oregon, south of Bend, at 4,200 ft. elevation. Happily, the medical marijuana plants are cold-hardy.
    All the Best.

  11. Smaller means less ‘stuff’ and ‘stuff’ is the hardest part of all this. What hobbies that require ‘stuff’ are you going to give up?

    Two shower cleanings a day? Reminds me of the person who doesn’t want 10 acres of forest because that’s a lot of work mowing it every week. In my world forests get along fine by themselves for the most part as do bathrooms.

    Good luck!

    • Thing is, if you don’t mow the 10 acres, the greens are a little rough.

  12. Might want to go with the compromise of 1 and 1/2 bath… waiting for a shower/bath isn’t a big deal but waiting to use the toilet is no fun especially in cases of emergency.

  13. We ‘down-sized’ our lives a few years back and bought a 1,300 sq ft house – 2 BR, 1 bath on 1/4 acre. You *need* two bathrooms. We opted for one and have regretted it, ever since.

    I still consider buying a larger piece of property and a larger house, every now and then – w/ the associated expenses and time – but quite honestly, our little 1/4 acre is about all I can handle at my age and in my condition = disabled Vet, pulmonary fibrosis. (Yes. I’m a walking dead man. Your point is?)

    We still have over a dozen fruit trees and various berry bushes and vines – along w/ approx 3,500 sq ft of veggie and flower beds. A bit more than I can handle on my bad days, but just about right, on my good days.

    I do miss having a workshop, myself. A small shed just doesn’t do the trick. A 10′ X 16′ might be large enough to support our needs and still have a usable workbench. I’m also thinking about adding a small greenhouse. Another factor: I wish we’d opted for 3 BR. Having my ‘den’ located in a corner of the living room (25′ X 15′) is… counter productive.

    YMMV. Batteries not included. No warranties guaranteed or implied. :D