Friday, February 20, 2009

Hi, my name is Chris, and I am a packrat

I'm at the point in my life when I realize certain things I got from my parents and family. I got my height from both grandfathers, one at 6'2 and the other at 6'5, I got this frankenstein brow from my grandpa on dads side and this curly hair from pappy on moms side. I got my humor from my grandma, I got my over planning and grey hair from my mom, and I got the packrat gene from BOTH my parents.

I laugh when I go over there and mom starts going through the attic. "do you need any ice cube trays?","sure mom, how many ya got?", "ummm, would 12 be enough?". Do you want this belt that was yours when you were 12? How about your dads old trolling motor that burnt up in '79? Seriously, their attic is stuffed with things that havent seen daylight in 20 years. Mom has dishes they haven't used since I was in diapers, dads concrete tools that havent been touched since '99, and clothes that no one has seen since Jackie Onassis set the trends. Dads old shed has parts from a motor we rebuild when I was in jr. high, 12 different hardhats, a croquet set that hasn't been set up in 35 years, the origional hubcaps from the '75 F100, and studded snow tires off the '69 Impala. I tell dad he collects junk, he says he saves good stuff. I make fun of him and what they have kept, then he looks at me and asks what is in MY garage........*gulp*....he knows, that damn packrat gene is in my blood.

Today I was in the garage setting a few things up for the rooster butchering tomorrow, and started a bit of cleaning. I sat aside boxes, bins, bottles, and baskets of "good stuff". Do I REALLY need to keep the blades from the bandsaw I sold 5 years ago? Sure! I might get another one someday. Do I really need these 30 year old rusty coleman lanterns? Sure! They were dads, and someday I wanna rebuild them even though it will cost me more than it would to buy new ones. ( I have the rings and tiepin dad wore when he was dating mom AND the lanterns we used to catch catfish...Oh I do love sentimental momento's) Do I really need this starter from a craftsman tractor I havent had since 2000? Hey, someone might need it sometime and I can save the day. What about those two 4x8x1 foot deep shelf units full of coffee cans filled with misc nuts, washers, screws, nails, hooks, bolts, washers, and wire staples. Ya know, someday I'll get that load of 1971 white paneling from someone on freecycle, and I'll have that 5 pounds of white paneling nails to hang it! And get rid of that 5 gallon bucket of galvanized roofing nails? NEVER! Pffft who needs an air nailer, I'd much rather use these babies so I can drop one and find it later embedded in my kneecap. Now, everyone knows that having ONE shovel is handy, so since I have EIGHT, I'm ready for anything. THREE post hole diggers? Of course, I might have a lotta holes to dig sometime. And finally, that box full of 6x10 inch scrap pieces of fencing. Ya never know when I might have to repair a small hole in the rabbit hutch or chicken run.
I'm glad that I don't collect junk like my folks have, I only keep things that I can use! By the way, does anyone have spare room to store this old gocart frame I just found? Someday I might wanna build a gocart,I need a gocart, I want a gocart, I wish I had a motor for a gocart, damn I need wheels for this gocart. Well......I'll just keep this frame and maybe someday I'll get the motor and wheels, and the steering wheel, and the linkage, and the throttle cables, and the clutch..........someone help me. LOL
Well today I got the letter from the unemployment office...approved, whew. My weekly benifits will be a bit more than I expected, but not by much. I'll recieve $315 a week. While thats 300 shy of my usual takehome, it's better than nothing. I talked to the guy with the farm, and he should be ready for me this weekend. I also may have some other work with an old friend and his small handyman business doing a whole basement remodel. I ran into him when I was at my folks yesterday, and he said he was gonna call me for help anyway, he didnt know I was layed off.....perfect timing. It may get a bit awkward since Lisa absolutely hates this guy, but I'll take what I can get now, and she'll just have to buck up and understand.

This Saturday I'm getting some free roosters to butcher, six 6 month old golden comets. I'm getting them from all places, a rescue-rehab facility. I posted an ad on freecycle last week for some freezer burned meat, and she responded. We've talked via email, and she's fine with them going with me and being butchered. I had to make sure I told her up front what the intentions were, and her response was "Chicken is food! Not a problem at all! Hate for them to go to waste! There are too many in one enclosure and they are starting to get aggressive towards each other! ", sooooo.....they'll meet the hatchet this weekend after I pick them up. With these 6 birds, and the meat that Ben brought last weekend, we're set for quite a while in the meat department. Today I also took everything out of both pantries and rearranged it all. Things are better organized now, and set up a little easier for Lisa to get at. Though it was all in order before, there was no specific spot for anything, and things were kinda mixed up. Now the vegetables are with vegetables, soups with soups, etc, and all the things we use the least are on the bottom, so it's less stress on her bad knee. Now that things are arranged better, there's more room in the bottom of both for the buckets.

Speaking of buckets.....yesterday when I was at my folks, mom said she wanted to visit this new antique shop near them. I took her there and looked around, usually laughing. It's typical of me to see something that I want to buy to USE, and it's overpriced because it's old and automatically an "antique". Like 12 bucks for a hand crank mixer, or 10 for a potato ricer, lol. I did see a beautiful old Aladdin lamp for $125 though....oh if only I was working. Anyhoo....back to buckets. On the way out of the store, we drove past a cheese house/deli in the same little complex. Sitting by their back door was a stack of 5 gallon buckets with lids. I parked the car and went to look at them, and they were nice pickle buckets with sealing lids. I went inside and asked about them, and they told me to take all I wanted. I asked about more and they told me they go through about 5-6 a week, and will hold them for me. Woohoo! Now mom has a weekly mission to get my buckets for me, lol. When I get more than I need, I'll see if Farmergeek or anyone else in the homesteading group wants any. I may keep a few around in the garage, but I hate using good buckets like that to haul rabbit poo to the garden, lol. Figures eh? When Lisa just ordered all those buckets....ah well. So today I spent time scrubbing the 5 buckets I got with hot water and baking soda, and tomorrow I'll let them soak a half day in bleach water then scrub them again. I really don't want pickle-flavored bread, hahaha.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remember these kind of ads?

I'm a hunter/shooter/fisherman, always have been, always will be. I strongly believe in my 2nd amendment right and will defend them with everything I have. I spent 11 years of my life behind a counter selling firearms, 9 years at a gun shop, and 2 years before that selling behind a counter at a Woolworth store at a mall. Anyone remember Woolworth's?? Yes folks, at one time there were stores in the mall that carried firearms! We had the usual variety of shotguns and rifles, but we also had military surplus. AK47's, SKS's, M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 98 Mausers, Chinese Arisaka's, and a few more that I can't remember. (c'mon, that was 22 years ago lol) All behind the counter with simple locks, or on the sales floor with a cable lock through the trigger. We didn't sell handguns there at the time, but they did there before. Several of my dads handguns came from Woolworth's, as did a lot of his early reloading supplies. Think of things in today's view, then imagine walking into a store in a regular shopping mall. Imagine picking up a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 mag, a set of dies for it, 5 boxes of 30 carbine ammo, and a can of H110 to reload some .44's when you got home. Hard to imagine isn't it? Think about this one: I remember taking in my dads 10 guage double barrel to show the store manager who was also a hunter. The back doors to the store were locked till the place opened, so the only way in was through the main mall entrance. YEP...I walked right in the main doors carrying a gun case, through half the mall and into the store without a single odd look or a swat team showing up.
Back then, EVERYONE sold these things. Almost all the major stores at the mall sold things like this, as did other large chain stores. Sears, Kmart, Wards, Woolworth's, JC Penneys....all had a REAL sporting goods department with guns, ammo,and fishing gear. Most even had their own brand of rifles and shotguns. We would hit the local Acme-Click every Friday to go to the bank and go grocery shopping. Mom & sis would head off for those things, and dad and I would head to sporting goods. We could be there for a few hours looking around and picking up a few things. I bought my first (with my own money) hunting knife there, my first teenage size hunting vest there, hell I even bought my first compass there. What do they sell now? Nothing but groceries.
I learned to fish as soon as I could walk. I learned to shoot and hunt at about age 6. My first .22 rifle was in the crib with me and saved till I was old enough to shoot it.( I have a photo to prove that one! LOL baby Chris with a lever action Marlin 39a Golden Mountie!!!) I was cleaning fish at age 5, rabbits at about the same, and ducks at around 9. Other kids spent saturdays in front of a tv watching cartoons while I was out with dad either chasing rabbits, jumping pheasants, or sitting in a boat catching bluegill and bass. My dad was good friends with a taxidermist, so I have my first fox squirrel, first pheasant, first mallard, first wood duck, and a 7 1/2 pound bass I caught at age 14. I even still have my first rod and reel.....and it came from Montgomery Wards. Not long ago, I went into a chain store to get a few things before I picked up Lisa. It's right next door to her work, so it was convienent for what I need. I wont mention names, but it starts with a T and ends in arget, lol. I got the few things I needed, and decided to walk around. OK...this is the MOST un-manly store I have EVER been in!! The "sporting goods" section is about the size of my basement. Maybe 4 fishing rods on one small rack, less camping gear than I have in my room here, and mainly workout equiptment and bikes. The tool section of this place was smaller than my medium size rollaway I felt my man parts start to shrink, and got out as fast as I could, running past the fancy-schmancy coffee shop inside the main entrance. I still have the scent of "mens" body wash, scented oil deoderizers and frapalattemochchinojava on my skin. I may have to shower with bon-ami and some steel wool. Geez........I'll never go there again. I found my kryptonite.
What happened to these places? Why are people like me shoved aside and forgotten? Why are we labeled hicks or gun-nuts? Why is it we have to go to a specialty shop now to get things we used to get anywhere? Is it the liability issue? Is it the fear of feeling responsible for something? Is it the fear of lawsuits? Is it the fear of upsetting some soccer mom who came in for a cappucino machine and is offended by seeing hunting items? I wish I knew the answers, but I don't. Don't get me wrong, I love Gander Mountain, Cabela's, and all the local shops around, but why do I have to drive out of my way?
What once gave me a sense of pride now gives me a small bit of fear. I have to lock up the things I own now that were once proudly hung on the wall or in a glass-front cabinet. I fear buying anything that requires paperwork, so I don't. I fear the ammo-coding law that our nation is pushing. I fear the prices rising through the roof on everything that I love. Part of me is even nervous about writing this hear, thinking of some agency writing down a discussion of firearms and raiding my house like the gustapo. I even fear shooting at dads place where we have since dad lived in the area since he was born in '37. The last few times I shot there, the new neighbors called the police. Sure its legal there, but the hassle is rediculous. I don't want the PD checking out what I own, it's no one's business but my own. Again, city people moving where they don't belong.......but that's whole other rant and rave.
On top of all that, I have to think about the animal rights people. They're spreading across this country like a plague, and are totally clueless. I remember getting a letter at the gunshop once from a peta member, stating how she thought it was SO wrong for a gun/hunting store to be listed under "sporting goods" in the phone book. "Killing is not a sport, blah blah blah...." The silly woman left a return adress, so she recieved a free sample of deer jerky, hehehe. But seriously, I've seen people picket shooting events and dog trials. I've seen these people walking through public hunting land banging pans and blowing whistles to scare deer. I've seen these people write angry letters about thinning the deer herds in the park systems. (apparantly we're supposed to CATCH them and spay & neuter them like pets, wow) Funny how the same people have no problem poisoning hunting dogs or feeding them food laced with ground glass....apparantly bambi's life is worth far more than ole' yellers. I'll stop this one here as I could go on for hours about these people.....maybe another time.
Thanks for bearing with me folks, sometimes things really get to me and I just can't let go. I'm tired of being an outcast. I'm tired of the labels. I'm tired of the pointing and whispers from some guy in a matching shorts set and deck shoes. Maybe I'm just tired of the society as a whole.................................

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Monday Monday

Today was kinda lazy. We had friends in from out of town all weekend, and of course Friday and Saturday were late nights. Today I never heard the alarm go off, and rolled over to see the clock read 9:40am, ooooooooppppppps!

I made coffeee, fed & watered the critters, and sat here at the comp. I filed for my first week of unemployment benefits since I can't file till the first week off is over. Of course I'm still unclear about the actual amount of the check, but according to a few sources, it's going to be laughable. Once that was over, I sat here and made a new e-mail account and changed all of my group/blog/other listings to the new one. This week we're FINALLY taking that %$%#^%@ cable box back since the rates went up AGAIN. I decided to keep the cable internet till the end of the month so I can get all of this changed over and figure out why this wireless card won't read on this comp, but it's still going to be a good savings. The price went up last month from $113 to $126, so enough is enough. Looking at the detailed bill just makes me bang my head against the desk......a montly charge for a $#@&! remote control? Are you kidding me??? One charge for the "digital package", another for the "digital box", the one for the remote, another for the internet, ANOTHER for wireless internet, (apparantly its like in-house wi-fi), then handling charges and tax. Taking all of that off but the internet drops it to just $40 a month for now, then once I get everything changed and this wireless card working, it will be just $30 a month.

Today, even though we shouldn't, we sent in a second order for food-grade storage buckets with lids. We found them for $7.95 each, and shipping is only $12 no matter the order size. We ordered 6 the last time, and this time we decided to order another 6. After this, we're going to look into clean 55 gallon drums for water, plus a few 5 gallon models. Today I got my last full week's paycheck in the mail, so we're using it wisely. Money is set aside to get flour, sugar, cornmeal, and rice to fill the buckets, and the rest is going to small bills to get them out of the way. On friday, we went to the grocery store and filled a cart with a lot of things for storage as well. Then, when my friends arrived Friday night, (early surprise lol we were sitting around in pj's and long johns watching a movie), they brought a big cooler full of beef and pork to help out since they knew I was layed off. (thanks Ben & Terry!) Tomorrow I have a few errands to run so I'll have the Pontiac. Being down to one vehicle is making things pretty awkward, but in other ways, it's helping. Since last friday when I got the layoff, I have bought 6 packs of cigarettes. Keep in mind that before that, I was a 2 pack a day guy. So normally in that 11 days I would have bought 22 packs!!! I feel better, and so far have saved $64. OK so I have ONE good thing to say about this layoff, LOL.
Sometime this week I am going to try my hand at making soup and canning it, and tomorrow I'm making a full dinner. Normally this is Lisa's department, but I want something to do, and I want to learn more than just the "manly" side of things here, hahaha. I can cook, but it's limited, so I just want to learn more. Maybe I can get her out this summer splitting firewood???? HAHAHA not a chance.
Wednsday I have more work to do at mom and dads, so I'll be there most of the day again. I'm sure mom will have the usual attic cleanout pile for me to bring home as always. Last week I came home with a nice old cabbage slicer, a SWEET old ulu/crescent stly chopper, more fishing gear, a stuffed monkey that I had as a baby, and some glasswear for Lisa. I sware I dont know where all this stuff was before they had an attic!!!!! I *may* be helping to clear out a cousins place too since he's lost it and it's going to sheriff's sale soon. Don't feel bad, it's completely his fault for being an idiot and spending more than he makes. Unfortunately, it was my grandparents home, so mom is pretty upset about it. He swindled the place from my dying grandmother for $18,000 and now can't keep it. It was refinanced for god-knows how much to pay for an addition and remodel that was the worst hack work I have ever seen. The house is a wreck, but it's on almost 4 acres, so it should go for a decent price IF and WHEN it sells. The place across the street went to the bank last year too, 14 acres, nice house, barn, stables, workshops......sitting empty still. Sad, but again someone with poor judgement. We would love to have it since it buts into my uncles place (the one thats willed to me) but now our credit is in the crapper and we're too poor to pay attention. Ah least I have my health..cough

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