Christmas Shopping Post Covid

Lovely and I went shopping today, and were surprised with the traffic. Most of it was in the shopping center parking lot. She was returning a blouse to Ross and I was looking for brass tubing for a project. I thought Michael’s would have it. After grabbing a couple of bottles of paint in colors I don’t have I roamed the aisles of the story searching for brass tubing. Lovely found some really cool accent pieces to help brighten our home for the holidays. I finally broke with the man-thing tradition of not asking for directions and asked. The answer didn’t surprise me, “they don’t carry it.”

I darted for the check out only to be stopped by a line about fifty yards long, and not socially distanced. We crept along as five checkout people worked their asses off to move us along. The fifteen minute wait felt like eternity, but we finally made it out. Along the way we were entertained by a cute little three year old who was helping mommy shop. Ahead of the twin pigtailed blondie was a dark haired five year old boy who was helping his grammy shop. Both kids were exceptionally well behaved and socially engaging. Thank God for them helping us pass the time of day to get through this line.

On the way home I wound up lecturing Lovely about the sanity of shopping on a weekend when all the workers of the world are home. Old people like us should shop on week day mornings or early afternoons. She didn’t argue with me only nodded her head positively, and listened dutifully.

At home, I wound up spending another hour on the computer shopping Amazon for the needed tubing. It took long because of two things: 1. too may choices, and 2. everything is made in metric. I spent quite a bit of my time converting mm into inches so I could understand what to buy. I thought I was pretty good at the inch to mm conversions, but my knowledge has been on the shelf for thirty years. The cob webs got in the way of my mental conversions. I finally made a crib sheet which was a table of mm vs inches. The tubing is now on it’s way, and I will be able to finalize my wing flapping bird with metal bushings and axles. In the meantime watch my prototype bird flap below.


Brain Storms

Lately, my mind has let me down when it comes to original ideas. So many times I would awaken with some really fantastic schemes rolling around in my mind. This morning was one of the better ones as far as yielding ideas. They were so good in fact, that I noted them on my phone before they were lost into the ether world. The true test will come when a couple of weeks from now I review my idea list and I still understand what I wrote.

My brain polarity must be at the apogee of its orbit, because I feel very positive, energetic, and ambitious. This is the exact opposite of what I felt for the past seven days. Funny, how things can change so radically in such a short period. I celebrated with a solitary two-mile walk. It felt good.

The challenge will be to capitalize on this burst of energy with positive activity. The plan is to do so. I am studying details of a new challenge to myself. For many years, I have been amused by a device called a “whirligig.” Simply put, the whirligig is a wind driven weathervane. It is believed to be invented in China around 400 BC. Another earlier reference in Wikipedia is to a Sumerian wind driven weathervane dating to 1600-1800 BC. Whirligigs became an early American art form around the time of the American Revolution during the first Green New Deal movement dedicated to preserving air quality by using wind power. Most likely the devices were made by bored farmers, fishermen, during long dark winter hours.

Twenty years ago, I bought a couple of books on the subject fully intending to take it up as a hobby. My new goal is to take on the challenge to become a world expert on whirligig design and manufacture. It is one thing to picture an idea in your mind, it is another to actually implement it. I feel I have the skill needed to make these things, and I am creative enough to be able to invent some new ideas as well. I will begin with pure simplicity to learn the basics and work my way up to complicated designs with multiple movements. The very first effort is on the work bench in my newly remodeled work shop anxiously awaiting to come alive.

Watch this video to learn what a whirley-gig is.

The Man Cave Blocks a Writer’s Mind

I find my self in a horrible writer’s block. The ideas are not coming. Maybe it is because I am preoccupied with a building project in the Man-cave. I have had this project on the books for five years, and decided it was time to make it happen. Building a finished room is not easy for me. I watch the DYI programs and get the idea that building a complete house only takes thirty minutes to an hour. That is not the reality, especially if you are a one man contractor, carpenter, electrician, etc.

After my Lions Club projects wound down, I set the goal to complete the Man-cave by Thanksgiving. It would be simple; just take a simple baby-step everyday. The deadline for next Thursday is not realistic, but Christmas may be a reality. That is, if I don’t go overboard on decorating, both inside and out.

The man-cave is the final project in a series of projects that I envisioned when I moved into this house. Once it is complete, I will begin using my wood shop to do some intarsia art-work. I haven’t done an intarsia piece in ten years, but I still have the desire to create art from wood. A couple of my pieces are shown below. I also have  a burning desire to design and build  whirligigs. These clever devices combine woodworking with wind powered mechanical motion. Since the whirligig constitutes yard-art, the goal is to have one in place in my 2011 garden.



Winter Bear

In between all of this physical activity, I still take baby steps toward completing a new book titled “Nightmares from Obama.” Combine that with publishing a new serialized Christmas story for Grumpa Joe’s Place, and it is no wonder why Grandma Peggy feels like she is a widow again. All of these projects and self-imposed deadlines have me stressed out. No wonder I suffer writer’s block.

A single line from a hymn keeps running through my mind, “One day at a time sweet Jesus, one day at a time….”