One of my daughters, I have to say, got high marks from dad this week when we talked about how she and her hubby were doing in their new apartment.
They had been in a great shared house deal, but that fell apart due to a serious foundation water leak. Exit the great finished basement and into a small apartment – feat made more difficult by their cat.
Thing is, the new joint costs more than the old and – amazingly – she had started to look at financials in a wonderful, new (to her) way. I was amazed…
What she did was get on with the power company and figure out how much money they could save if they didn’t run their water heater as much.
The answer was quite a bit.
So she, and the hub, are now doing all their showers at the gym.
Which, to hear her explain it, made a lot of sense. The savings on hot water is about $20-bucks a month while the gym membership is like $40-something. It’s like a big discount, all the time.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that rather than have friends over for entertaining, they are “meeting up for workouts…” Another fine way to save money, not to mention getting ready for the next Tough Mudder event. Hubby’s a black headbander which is something in muddy circles.
Back to the electric bill: They did notice it was a bit higher for when they both took time off work with the flu (and showered and cooked more at home).
With the flu gone, though, they did some serious cooking last weekend pre-cooking meals. This is the daughter who’s been through chef school, so in a few hours, she put up a half-dozen dinners of peanut Thai chicken, spaghetti, and lots of other things. If the power doesn’t go out, they’re set.
I keep reminding myself to get back into the habit of using our FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Handheld Sealer and Starter Kit, Silver, though I have no idea where the handheld part went.
We’ve found bags are pretty inexpensive, especially because it’s just the two of us. Cooking for four and getting a “free bonus dinner” is what it amounts to.
A bit of shopping around for the bags? Occasionally they can be found on eBay and in a few other retailing sites.
Despite the daughter being a fan of gyms, I count myself skeptical. Seems a shame to waste all that energy that might otherwise be spent doing real projects.
Except then I look at Elaine, who regularly uses the Gold’s Gym machine and the treadmill in our “guest room” and then it makes sense. The only figure I ever have time to work on is the one in the bank.
Which gets us to the “making things” part of the conversation. I’m always looking for woodworking plans – the more and cheaper, the better.
I pick up one of those 13,000 plan deals a while back, but it was a little too “woody” if that makes sense.
When I’m looking for something to build/tinker with, I like items like the ones that used to appear in the old copies of Popular Mechanics.
When “the major” and I were young, growing up in Seattle, we would regularly go through the latest Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, and whatever else might hold worthwhile project ideas.
We may have been born a tad too late, however. I kept running into appealing projects – like a home-made boat – that would run on a gasoline powered washing machine motor. Don’t know if you’ve been shopping for one of them lately, but I do know where I can get a good 6-1/2 HP gas engine for $100 bucks (Harbor Freight) so building a displacement put-around boat is still on my personal bucket list.
Finding the plans, though, is next to impossible. Every time I go looking for plans, I’m struck by the enormity of the Internet.
While there didn’t seem to be anything on the Popular Mechanics website itself, the web archive was another track and it paid off triple: https://archive.org/details/popularmechanics
Once the page loads, you still need to click on the month you’re interested in and then select from a bazillion format choices, but eventually you get down to the underlying document.
A lot of people include pdf’s of such magazines in “survival CD’s” but for real “survival” situations, we lean towards books on hunting and early issues of Mother Earth News. Put-around boats won’t be in as high demand as small sailboats, for example…but I digress.
As I was flipping through the 1914 February issue of Popular Mechanics, I was really struck by the add for the “Library of Original Sources” which sounded interesting as all get-out.
This was the kind of making and working with Ure hands book that I consumed like crazy as a kid.
Even today, I have book like much of the Audel’s series. But this…this one stopped me. Was Sennacherib someone I hadn’t paid enough attention to? People in 1914 were noticing…
Turns out, per Wikipedia, that mostly war and solving the Babylonian Problem was his thing, except when done it was time to build megalithic cities:
“Sennacherib made Nineveh a truly magnificent city. He laid out new streets and squares and built within it the famous “palace without a rival”, the plan of which has been mostly recovered and has overall dimensions of about 503 by 242 metres (1,650 by 794 ft). It comprised at least 80 rooms, many of which were lined with sculpture. A large number of cuneiform tablets were found in the palace. The solid foundation was made out of limestone blocks and mud bricks; it was 22 metres (72 feet) tall. In total, the foundation is made of roughly 2,680,000 cubic metres (3,510,000 cubic yards) of brick (approximately 160 million bricks). The walls on top, made out of mud brick, were an additional 20 metres (66 feet) tall. Some of the principal doorways were flanked by colossal stone door figures weighing up to 30,000 kilograms (30 t); they included many winged lions or bulls with a man’s head. These were transported 50 kilometres (31 miles) from quarries at Balatai and they had to be lifted up 20 metres (66 feet) once they arrived at the site, presumably by a ramp. There are also 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) of stone panels carved in bas-relief, that include pictorial records documenting every construction step including carving the statues and transporting them on a barge. One picture shows 44 men towing a colossal statue. The carving shows three men directing the operation while standing on the Colossus. Once the statues arrived at their destination, the final carving was done. Most of the statues weigh between 9,000 and 27,000 kg (20,000 and 60,000 lb).”
I look at some of the numbers here and it is truly impressive. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds, and this was before Caterpillar and John Deere. That’s a ton of hand-work…but if you have real power over people, just shows what can be done.
Unless there’s some lost technology involved…and seems to me not enough people are looking into the possibilities there.
But enough…I found you a place to begin reading of “early makers” of our lives…and darned if it ain’t interesting brain food between bouts of real work…
Write when you get rich,