Friday, September 11, 2009

A niche that needs filling

The visitor statistics for this blog indicate that a large number of people who find themselves here actually want to learn about the invention of dog food. When it was invented, who invented it. Apparently somebody totally needs to write a Wikipedia article about that.

There are also quite a few people who come here wanting answers to a question that somehow combines dogs, shellfish, and travel to Canada. You'd be surprised how many people have such a question. Can you take dogs to Canada? Or import shellfish from Canada? Can dogs eat shellfish? In Canada? Are there any Canadian shellfish named after dogs? What role did shellfish played in the invention of Canadian dog food? etc etc

Alas, I know they are all leaving disappointed. I'm sorry people, I cannot help you. And now I realize by writing this post I've simply reinforced Miscellaneous Shellfish as the leading Google contender for these various search terms. So sorry.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I could watch this all day

Boyfriend with Health Benefits

Thank heavens someone still has a sense of humor on this topic.

Friday, September 04, 2009

One last adventure

This weekend is many things, including Enrico's birthday today (Happy Birthday!), and Girls Weekend, the annual outing with my two childhood friends who live nearby. It will also be one last camping outing for Eva before we put her up for sale.

Girls Weekend always happens in August or September. We make a weekend of some lovely northwest destination, and this year it will be Victoria (because it's just been way too long since I've been to Canada!). Since the birth of Julie's daughter Sophie, girls weekend now includes her too. We are teaching her The Way of the Girlfriend, and we take that solemn duty very seriously.

So tonight Enrico, Monica, the dogs and I will head out to the Kitsap peninsula, where our household pack will get one more night together in Eva, sleeping under the stars at Julie and Dan's beautiful wooded property. Then The Girls will head off to Victoria, on the ferry via Port Angeles. Enrico plans to hang with the Boys for a while, before finding himself a nice little campsite somewhere with Eva and the dogs.

I've started loading up the van, so the dogs know something's up, and they are So! Very! Excited!

It should all be great fun.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

More treasures!

Enrico is starting to wonder about my sanity, I think. In the throes of a pretty intense consulting project and repeated complaints about how I'm losing my mind from coordinating umpteen contractors and building inspectors and repair people, not to mention the dogs' medication schedule, and we're leaving town again this weekend which will be fun but GOOD LORD I have no more mental capacity for travel planning, wah wah WAAH - In short, while whining about how overwhelmed and fragmented I feel, I persist in buying weird castoff stuff from the Boeing Company.

Is there any urgency to buying this stuff? No. Our storage crunch has been with us for a year, and thus demonstrably doesn't need to be fixed immediately. Boeing will always have more castoffs. So why do I insist on adding one more thing to my list, shoehorning in the time to drive the van down to Boeing and pick up dirty old crap?

It's a mystery.

But tomorrow I'll make second trip down to Boeing to get this wooden storage chest. With a coat of fresh paint and a padlock, it'll be perfect for storing our tools and camp stove and some of our emergency supplies.

My nemesis did not show up online to sabotage my bid this time, so I acquired this little gem for a mere $30!

I've already picked up my Six Wood Boxes (as Lot #2357612 is known), and I stand behind my assessment that they are a find. Beautifully crafted for storing highly delicate and expensive machine tools, the hardware alone is worth a couple hundred bucks.

The three large boxes will be used for storage, but the three little ones are definitely a craft project in the making. I have big plans for them, oh yes I do.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Oh for heaven's sake, this ain't Ebay

Amidst my flurry of Freecycling unwanted stuff away - yes, the generic Zantac was gone within 12 hours, my friends! - I have, on the other side of the coin, been fixatedly scanning the Boeing Surplus online auctions for an answer to our storage needs.

A couple months ago, we got invited to a housewarming party at the home of a younger, hipper couple. They had purchased these awesome rolling tool containers from Boeing surplus, painted them bright colors, and arranged them around their back deck as storage containers, benches, and raised planter beds. It was a masterpiece of repurposed industrial chic.

I've been looking for, oh, forever for a solution to our outdoor storage needs. We have no garage, no basement, and we tore down our nasty rat-infested shed last summer. I have extensively researched cheap modular sheds, custom-built sheds, eco-friendly modular buildings, custom designed cabinetry for under the carport, storage chests made from recycled plastic, a small add-on off our back door, and adding flooring and a fold-down staircase for our unfinished attic. I have created spreadsheets comparing the cost, cubic footage, and eco-friendliness of each option. The ones I like best are outrageously expensive.

And so, inspired by our younger hipper friends, I wondered if perhaps some Boeing cast-offs could meet my needs. Have you ever visited Boeing surplus? It's pretty well known among local nonprofits as a source of cheap office furniture. But they have all kinds of things. Hydraulic lifts, rolling aircraft stairs, power tools, engine parts, wires and cables, fire hoses, insulation, work tables, bicycles, cafeteria equipment, flame-resistant storage cabinets. There are mysterious gizmos like fluke multimeters and gaussmeters. There are grab-bag items like "a trove of shop tools" or "miscellaneous casters." Not to mention the many full hides of fine Scottish leather.

But most saliently, there are storage carts, cabinets and boxes of all sizes and descriptions.

I rejected the 32-foot long office trailer even though the starting bid was only $500; no way I could pick that up in Eva. I bid on two things, both beaten up but with, I thought, a certain charm. I could envision painting them bright colors. The auction for the first item expired this evening, and with five minutes left I checked to verify that I was still the top bidder, at a whopping $35. Enrico shook his head. I know, I said; as if somebody is sitting out there waiting to pounce with a last-minute bid.

Being neurotic, I refreshed it with 2 minutes to go. Somebody had upped the bid by $5.

Stunned, I nonetheless regained my wits and submitted a new bid. They countered. In the last 90 seconds of the auction, my invisible opponent and I furious lodged 6 more bids. Up, up up it went, $50, $60, $70! But lo! Victory was mine.

Can't you just visualize them repainted bright colors, a masterpiece of repurposed industrial chic? Enrico can't. But I can.

So I still have a bid out on one more item, which is actually a much more practical answer to our storage need. But I'm not going to tell you which one it is, now that I know how cut-throat these auctions are. At five minutes before the deadline I'll be waiting, fingers poised above the keyboard to protect my find.