Welcome to the future! 2013 is upon us, and what would a new year be without some crazy, far-flung resolution that is sure to drive you insane by the 5th
And so, we’ve reached the first holiday in our year of Buy Nothing New that generally entails purchasing gifts, from a simple box of chocolates and flowers to rubies and
I love to grow things, like plants and little people. It is just so amazing to feed and water and tend to something and to watch it develop into a
This past Friday, I had to make a trip to Costco for some cost-effective food in bulk. I was making my way through the cavernous warehouse and my shopping list
Well it’s hard to believe that we’ve made it three consecutive months with a New Year’s Resolution. Personally, this is the first time in my life I can remember that
The Solder Marauder, or, How I Celebrated 6 Months of Buying Nothing New — Buy Nothing New for a Year!
No, this is not my 50-years-too-late attempt at a working title for a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon…this is a regaling tale of bravery amidst uncertain fate. Imagine a world…broken, on the brink of apocalypse. One man’s quest to fix the family garage, brandishing little more than a soldering iron, and a crippling inability to purchase new things.
The funny thing is, the garage at our house has been broken for about 2 years now, but for some reason this
weekend it really started to dig at me. We have literally been lifting our garage door up and pulling it down by hand for the last 2 years. What is this, 1953? Realizing it was the 6 month anniversary of our New Year’s Resolution, I decided there was no better way to mark the occasion then by defeating all odds, staying firmly away from the hardware store (regardless of our “home improvement exemption”) and tackling this problem by myself, using absolutely nothing more than what I had on hand:
Broken Garage Door Sensor (wires firmly ripped from it’s body in a fit of rage)
A soldering iron which may or may not work, don’t know.
Solder, which may or may not be of the right type (there are different types for different uses, right?)
Electrical tape and Swiss Army Knife, because I am from the Clan MacGuyver.
First things first…please understand that the last time I used a soldering iron was in 7th grade technology class (they had just renamed “shop class” a few years prior), and trust me, it was not for soldering wires onto circuit boards. Come to think of it, I have no idea what we used the soldering irons for in that class. However, I have seen simple circuitry done on TV shows, so how hard could it be? Also, I should not skip the part where I thought I might be able to easily open up the sensor box and just reattach the wires to the inside via screws. Anyone picking up on my level of novice, yet?
Step one: Remove the circuit board from the sensor box.
Step two: Remove the old wires from the circuit board melting the solder in place and pulling them out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
Step three: Place new wires into circuit board and melt solder on top of them until the power light comes on.
Steps one thru three take a mere 10 minutes, 7 of which was waiting for the iron to heat up.
Step four: (45 minutes) realign sensors until the garage door can close tight, free from the fear that it is crashing down upon some (in)animate object.
There you have it. Somehow, some way, I managed to complete this project correctly the first time. I did not buy anything new (the former owners of our house left a TON of stuff behind, some of which was a soldering iron and solder), did not do any research, did not “phone a friend…” just used some good ‘ol fashioned American intuition, and a rainy Sunday afternoon.
I’ve always said that the humans are a resilient species, and it has been amazing to witness our own resilience in a set of uncomfortable, albeit self-created, circumstances. While we haven’t learned much more about ourselves since we reported on our progress at 3 months, every day certainly brings about new challenges, particularly in the home improvement category. So here’s to 6 months down, and 6 months to go of buying nothing new for a year…we can and we will finish this challenge!
We almost made a critical error. I admit this only because the comedic value in our near miss is pure genius. To make a short story long, let me provide some background information. Almost 6 years ago, we purchased a fixer upper that had solid bones and a brand new central HVAC unit, but little else. The previous owners did some “updating,” but literally every. single. thing. they had done to spruce up the home has needed to be undone, simply because it was either done with low-quality parts, shoddy craftsmanship (if you could call it that without insulting real craftsmen) or, generally, a mixture of both. Read more
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for…have they been able to keep their New Year’s resolution for another month? Well, of course we have! But I will say, it is getting increasingly difficult, especially when it comes to taking care of our 7-year old and his crippling addiction to Skylanders. The bad weather (and minor flooding in our shop) has made for a rather dull month in terms of purchases, but we have been keeping busy, don’t you worry! The next couple of months should prove to be interesting, with our desire to completely redo our back yard from re-claimed materials, and as well, finish up some other pesky household projects. Now that the focus is off of getting our downstairs showroom space renovated and open, we can focus a bit more attention back on our home, which is, admittedly, a neglected space since we opened the shop 2 years ago. Read more
Spring is a perfect time for taking on way too many projects. Such is the case at our home and, additionally, in our shop. Not that I’m trying to make excuses for my unplanned three-week blogging hiatus, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. Between the never-ending-quest-for-perfection™ at the shop, to our potentially over-ambitious goal of crashing our own backyard, it’s safe to say that we have had, and will continue to have, our work cut out for us. Read more
The caveat to a quick story of how I saved money on having someone else change my oil for me: while I have all of the tools and know-how necessary to change my own oil, we purchased a very large pickup truck from my Dad at the end of last year, and quite honestly, the thought of crawling underneath it scares the bejeez out of me. Essentially, I’ve got all of the required tools, and none of the guts. Before our garage substituted as a storage facility for our resale business, it was my own personal vocational ed school. I learned quite a bit out there on these two awesome old Volvo wagons we used to own, using little more than a book and an online forum, and those experiences and that knowledge definitely shaped who I am now. However, this guy is not quite ready to get underneath a two-ton truck. Not yet, anyway… Read more