Time’s a Clippin’

Written in response to today’s One Word Inspiration, Carousel“>Carousel.

Have you noticed how fast it goes? Or, are you too young to think about it? Time. The tick and the tock, rocking us all forward into the great unknown of tomorrow. I have been blessed to age to the point that sometimes the things I thought about a little while ago were actually considered days ago… it just feels like a little while ago.

When I was young Christmas was agonizingly slow in its arrival each year; in fact, each year felt like a lifetime. Now, each Christmas comes so fast that I can recall the previous Christmas as though it occurred a few days prior. Come on now, that’s just too fast!

As I write this, my best four-legged friend, Maggie, is sound asleep in her bed beside me here in my tiny home office after our walk. It has been said that K-9 time passes about seven times faster than ours. That got me thinking, when she waits for me to go on that walk around the neighborhood she has a right to be anxious, after all, waiting a day to me is like waiting a week to my Schnauzer buddy. Around and around we go.

She and my age have taught me not to wait. Appreciate every moment. Even though it seems like the Carousel is only going around and around, it is speeding faster and faster, from my perspective and from Maggie’s perspective. I have learned not to put things off and not to take them for granted. Today I am grateful for every moment, especially as I listen to Maggie’s rhythmic breathing in sleep. Around and around we go on the Carousel of time.

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Okay, I admit to ignorance in this area. (There are other areas, too, but let’s not list them) I have this automobile storage tent. The thing is die hard tough and has stood against many a wintry storm with super-sized winds. It has corkscrew anchors for the tie downs that are two feet long in the ground. But, time has taken its toll on the zipper I use the most. The zipper has lost its zip, sadly. It behaves as though it is zipping the two ends together but the ends do not interlock as they should. Hence, they flap and blow in the breeze. Other than replacing the zipper, is there a solution/fix for this problem?

I don’t keep items in the tent that concern me with weather extremes or theft for that matter. I am concerned the tent opening sides will eventually whip out and fray. So, I entered the world of grommets. Doing what I normally don’t do, I purchased the cheapest pair of grommet pliers and grommets I could find. My logic was that it was better to lose a little money if grommets were not the solution to tie the ends of my tent flap together.


I placed the grommet onto the pliers and the pliers over the tent fabric hoping to set the first grommet. Well, the grommet fell to the ground numerous times despite my clumsy efforts to hold the grommet onto the pliers. When I finally got a grommet positioned where I wanted it, I squeezed and heard/felt the grommet make a meager attempt to punch through the tent fabric. Ouch. Once barely through, and having now made my very first attempt and hearing the crowd cheer, I realized the crazy grommet was not going to remain in place.


Yes, even without instructions (none were provided), I eventually turned the pliers around and squeezed from the opposite direction. Embarrassing! I’m glad just you and I are the only people to know of my faux pas. Yep, the grommet was now snugly held in place since the opposite end was crimped. And, I tied the tent flap opening together feeling a measure of success.


In case you are wondering, there is another zippered opening on the opposite side from my failed zipper which opens just fine. I would have much preferred a zipper repair. But, it’s a heavy duty zipper and it would not interlock despite several attempts. I think we get credit for learning the little things as well as the big things. Hmm, maybe just tenths of points. 🙂




Vinyl Siding

As a handyman, I had my first exposure to installing vinyl siding last year. I must admit I was amazed at the difference in appearance of the houses and business we did before compared to after. Man, vinyl siding really cleaned up the appearance. The siding jobs went pretty well until the final job which was a large business. I learned a hard lesson about starting the job on the lowest point. My buddy actually began the job at the wrong location on the building because he was anxious to get started. Unfortunately, he picked a point he wanted to do first and it wasn’t the lowest point of the building. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to think through the problem. But, the issue reappeared on the opposite corner of the building. It caused waste of both time and material. I just felt blessed to come up with the solution.

I learned a lot about outside corners and inside corners, starter strips and window trim. I cut my teeth on jobs for a landlord at the local college. The work was long and hot during the heat of the summer. It seemed as though each structure had lots of bump outs and such with more than two peaks to the roofs because of his tendency to add to the buildings in order to increase occupancy.

Somehow, I turned into the guy to create the bids for each job. I learned a lot there, too. Pictures of the buildings became a must in addition to diagrams and measurements.

Paint job

I am fortunate to work with a fellow who has twenty-five years of painting experience. When we painted a deck recently, for example, he gave great pointers on proper cleaning of the deck surface for good paint adhesion as well as remembering all the cracks and crevices. I provided an electric power washer that had just begun its second season with me. It was a short season for that machine. The darn thing lasted long enough to clean just the beginning of the first deck board, then crapped out! If it had not been for my painter friend’s gas power washer, I would have been stuck at the start. Still, we had to stop on the job site, drive across and out of town to load his power washer, then all the way back to the job site. Afterward, I had to use my truck again to get the washer back to his house. Time is money and we lost some there. Whew! Still it saved the job. We soon developed a rhythm of working together as we knocked out this job. I worked from a ladder to paint the pergola as he painted railing. I then painted the deck surface. It was a good size job that would have taken much longer were it not for my friend’s tips and tricks. Sidebar: I recall the customer’s neighbor was mowing his yard as my buddy and I were painting the deck. I was amazed and a little bit dumbfounded when I looked up just in time to see this guy filling his running lawn mower with gas while holding a lit cigarette between his lips. Hmmm… as I recall, the most flammable part of gasoline is its fumes. Forget flammable, they’re explosive. I felt like I was watching a train wreck. I didn’t want to witness this guy setting himself ablaze, but I could not turn away and stop watching to see whether or not he would go up in a fireball. The wind was with him instead of against him. So, he merrily continued mowing.

The white flecks noted in this bottom pic are from a nearby tree after the paint had dried. The pictures really don’t do it justice. I was very happy with the improvement in the deck, so was the homeowner who subsequently called back for more estimates.