Friday, September 26, 2008

Garage Treasures Found and Used--Part 2

This is part 2 of the earlier post about the stackable shelves that I got from my dad's garage to use in our new rec room for my games which are currently in my hall closet.

Saturday, I discussed with the painter if he wanted to use spray paint or a brush and he said spray paint would be faster so he'd go with that and I should let him know when I got the paint and sometime next week he could to them. Well, it was a beautiful day with no wind so I just did them myself, partly because the painter charged too much and the paint was already way more than I expected.

First, I laid out the two big tarps that I took from my dad's garage as well and couldn't help but think of my dad all the while I was working. I thought how he would have done such a much better job than I was doing, but that I just wanted to have them look better than the plain wood. After all, they were just shelves and would be covered with stuff anyway. I didn't sand them or put any primer on them. I'm sure my dad would have.

Then, I just started bringing them out one at a time and spraying them. Another thing my dad probably would not have done. He never liked using spray paint so I'm sure he would have used a brush instead. Another thing my dad was never concerned about was how long things took. He just had the patience to do things right and do it well no matter how long it took. I, on the other hand, do not have that much patience yet. Maybe some day I will, but for now, I just wanted to get them done in one day so when the floor is finished early this week, I can begin using them in the rec room.

I wish though I had started with the brown because it covered so much better than the orange. I didn't buy enough orange to do two coats of it so I'll try them the way they are and if I still am dissatisfied with the orange ones once they are covered with stuff, then I'll redo them with the brown. I have 4 or 5 cans of brown left.

Although I'm sure dad would not approve of how I did them, he would be happy I didn't pay the painter to do them. It took me four hours to do all seven shelves so I'm sure it would have even taken the painter longer. So at least I saved myself over $100 there. Yes, he charged $25 an hour! I thinks that's high. Praise God he wasn't available to do them that day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Garage Treasures Found and Used--Part 1

Harry liked having his cars handy. He always parked them in the driveway, never in the garage. I think he felt it wasted too much space that could be put to better use.

Harry loved working out in his 3-car garage. That truly was his favorite place in the whole world because he could putter in there to his heart's content. He had his big band saw in the far end, a drill press, a work bench, cabinets and even some kind of air vacuum system to draw the sawdust out, plus all kinds of hardware.

In the middle section was his lumberyard. He had the whole second garage filled completely with wood arranged by size and marked with its dimensions on the end. Some he also marked the kind it was. There was only a narrow little path to walk around and even that had obstacles to climb over or move to get by.

The first section he had all his yard tools, more storage cupboards, his current "project" or two and just a bunch of junk. There was only a little room to walk and you couldn't even get all the way to the back! Two hand push lawn mowers and a big leaf shredder resided right near the front.

About two months after dad died, I started focusing on clearing out the garage. When I was able to get to the back and side of that first area (about a month later), there were some really nice stackable shelves that he had made. They were just bare wood, but had slots that interlocked but that made it easy to carry them to move them around. They were also nice because you could stack them as many as five high or have two stacks of lower ones. Altogether, there were 7 longer shelves and 6 shorter ones. I tried selling them at the yard sale I had for $10 each, but no one wanted them. I was really shocked but glad now because I took them for myself. No way was I going to throw those out!

I set them up in my basement and used them to hold the things I brought over from his house to sell on Ebay with the thought in mind that one day I would use them in our rec room to hold my games that currently are in my hall closet to make more room for our blankets, comforters and throws that a currently balled up in my bathroom closet and in the laundry hamper, just because we don't have any other place to put them.

In part 2 of this post, I will update you on the current status of these shelves. What's in your garage? A car? How boring!

(If you enjoy this blog why not buy "My Funny Dad, Harry")

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Posting Frequency

I just want to thank the faithful readers of this blog. I get so many comments of how nice it is and how many of you enjoy reading about my dad but feel bad that I don't have new posts every day on here. Since he is no longer living, I must post as things come to mind about him or if something comes up related to my book or an event that jogs a memory. I suggest you subscribe to the feed to make sure you don't miss something and I promise your mail box won't have something from here every day. I just added the followers widget you can click on to subscribe. It's in the sidebar next to the slide show above about my dad.

Coming soon will be a 2-part post concerning my great garage find. Please note too that this is a supplement to the book. Some of the things I write about on this blog are included in the book, but many are not and viceversa. There is a lot in the book that is not covered on this blog that I'm sure you would enjoy as well.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? I know!

My dad had a huge collection of books, none of which were fiction or novels. He read for the sole purpose of learning. He had many "how-to" books about woodworking, plumbing, remodeling, upholstering, lock work, gardening, electricity, tools, money management, spirituality and science.

Most of these books I either sold on Ebay or gave away to family and friends. I kept a few for me though that sparked some interest. One was a paperback titled Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and Other Imponderables--Everyday Mysteries explained by David Feldman (1987). I read this a bit at a time and found it sort of humorous and interesting. It certainly contains a lot of trivia!

This is a book full of unusual “Why” questions with answers to most of them. I enjoyed it because the questions were generally about things I never gave any thought to, for example:

Why do ants tend to congregate on sidewalks?
What are those twitches and jerks that occasionally wake us up just as we are falling asleep?
Why do bananas, unlike other fruits, grow upward?
What do Federal Express people do after 10:30 a.m.?
Where do houseflys go during the winter? Why is scoring three goals in hockey called a “hat trick”? How and why do horses sleep standing up?
Why are the hamburger bottoms so thin? Why is the scoring system in tennis so weird?

It even had some questions at the end that the author couldn't answer which he referred to as "Frustrables." Perhaps some of you would like to give it a try. Here are the ones I'd like to know answers to:

1. Why do the English drive on the left and just about everyone else on the right?

2. Why is yawning contagious?

3. Why do we give apples to teachers? (I'd rather have chocolate!)

4. Why does looking up at the sun cause us to sneeze?

5. Why do women in the U.S. shave their armpits?

6. Why don't you ever see really tall old people?

7. Why do only older men seem to have hairy ears?

This book is still available on but there are newer editions too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Harry's Electric Heater Collection & My New Heater

My dad got mad at the gas company for always charging so much (of course, he'd have his thermostat set at 78 at least). He also got mad about the estimated gas bills and would go down himself to figure out what he actually used and recalculate his bill, then send in just that amount.

Dad's solution to his high gas bills was to buy electric heaters and use those instead. He thought his electric bill was still cheaper than his gas bill would have been--I really don't know if it was or not. Fortunately, he didn't have any problem with them, even though he had many hooked up with extension cords all over the place!

top row: bedroom, living room (actually he had 3 in the living room)
middle row: dining room (2 in the dining room), kitchen,
bottom: and, of course, the cats upstairs got a couple as well
(Not all his heaters are pictured. He also had one on the porch by the Kitty Hotel and one in the basement and in his back "storage" room off of the dining room)

After he died, I collected them all and he had a total of nine. I sold some, donated several to Kitten Krazy and gave one to one of my nephews. They always made me nervous because every now and then I'd hear about a fire in a home that started because of an electric heater being too close to something that caught on fire but now here I am buying one.

Therefore, on September 4, I thought of my dad when I read a full-page article in the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER telling about a special 48-hour promotion where you can get 2 free heaters--the cost is for the handmade mantle, which I know dad would have made himself and just got the free heaters! It said it rolls anywhere with no chimney, no vents, no wood and no smoke. I purchased one Heat Surge Fireless Flame heater to save money on my gas bills this winter. It looks like a fireplace that comes fully assembled with a handmade Amish mantle in oak or cherry. All I need to do is plug it in.

I only purchased one because I figure we are usually in one room at a time in the winter and we could put it in the bedroom at night with the thermostat turned way down. I couldn't help thinking if my dad saw it, he'd probably order 6! One for every room. I think he'd be proud of me for purchasing this so I'm using some of the money we got from the sale of his house. It works great and we like it! You can check out their website at to order or for further information.

Win $1,000 at Crunch Now's Contest

This is a contest that Crunch Now is doing. All you need to do to enter is write about his contest and subscribe to his blog. Here is the site: Sorry, I couldn't get it to be as a link. For some reason, it wouldn't work but you can copy it to your browser.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Birthday Present For Himself--A Van

I love that my dad was such an optimistic and practical person. Even into his 80s, he remained active in making things for me. I wrote about the door he made for us in a previous post but it was too big for him to fit it into his car so he traded it in on his birthday and bought a van! He called to tell me he bought himself a van for his birthday and needed me to come with him so I could sign too because he wanted my name included on the title as well. He said the van was much easier for him to get in and out of.

I immediately had flashbacks to when my favorite aunt bought herself a new car when she was old and only had it a month or so before she died. I was really hoping this wasn't going to be history repeating itself. Fortunately, it wasn't. Dad enjoyed driving his van for about 7 months before the doctor told him he shouldn't drive anymore. He was very good about listening to his doctor and gave us the van on the condition that we would drive him places such as doctor appointments and stores if he needed to go which I was happy to do. Giving up driving is a very difficult thing for many elderly people because it takes away their independence so I was very thankful that dad had enough sense to stop driving when the doctor told him to. (The doctor didn't realize he was still driving--he should have stopped long before!)

At first we were going to try selling it but then we both liked it so much and it was newer than both the cars we already owned, so we decided to put "For Sale" signs in both our cars and sell whichever one that we could sell first. It happened to be mine. Our neighbor across the street bought it from us for his daughter.

I would never have thought to purchase a van since it's just my husband and I, but it has come in very handy when I had to clear out my dad's house after he died. It held three big loads of junk that I took to the annual garage sale our church school has every May, and it's nice to have when I take my Sunday School class on outings now and then. It also came in handy when we bought furniture because we could easily fit it in the van. Thanks, dad!

Previous "See-Through Door Is Nice For Cats" post:
click here

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.