Little Things Mean a Lot … Or How Boring Has My Life Become?

 

It has been a dry summer where I live. Whenever rain is predicted, it will get a little cloudy and then blow over without as much as a drop of rain. My lawn now has a nice straw color. Pretty sure a cigarette could cause it to burst into flames. Luckily, I don’t smoke. On the upside, I haven’t had to use the lawn mower since the middle of June.

Last year I had a bunch of dying bushes pulled out and replaced with some nice new landscaping. Cost a few thousand dollars so, while I am good with the grass withering away, these bushes and plants need to be kept alive and healthy. That means watering them everyday, maybe twice a day when it is really hot. The new landscaping is in the front but my faucet is on the side on the side of the house. That means dragging out 100′ hose everyday.

There is one thing that I am finding is bringing me some joy this summer, more than it really should, that is my . . . hose reel? I know it sounds stupid, but I can now reel up the whole hose in seconds, just by turning the handle. Sure, that is what it is supposed to do, but for years I had a cheap plastic hose reel. With a heavy hose and a light plastic reel, things never seemed to work. The handle was small and if turned it too fast the whole thing would pick up off the ground. I had to hold it down with one hand and crank with the other. And then, since the reel part wasn’t all that deep, the hose would often get off track and wrap around the handle.

The thing is, I would have kept the crappy old one if it didn’t start leaking. My new metal one cost me about $125 when a new plastic one was selling for $35.99. Buying the metal one seemed like a waste, but I did it anyway and I am glad I did.

This leads me to two questions and the first one is more or less rhetorical.

If I have reached an age where well-made garden tools add to my overall happiness level, is it safe to say that I am officially “old”?

The second question is, what little things are there in your life that don’t seem all that important but help to make your life a little easier? What are the under-appreciated items that you wouldn’t want to do without.

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  1. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Until you start surveying the neighborhood 24/7 to make sure that no local rug rats invade your lil patch of heaven, you can safely believe yourself to being middle aged.

    At least, that is how I approach this issue myself.

    • #1
  2. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Underappreciated? The wife.

    Something that makes life easier? The fence around the front yard: It means I can just put the dogs outside.

    • #2
  3. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Grocery bags!

    Ah!  I was just thinking about commenting on this, but didn’t know where.  Two days ago, I took my wife to rehab and on the way home we stopped at the grocery.  Everything was on sale, it looked like, and we filled up two carts.  But this was an unanticipated stop, and we had no bags or boxes in the car’s trunk.  While fortunately we were able to take the carts out to the car, unfortunately we had to place a hundred items of various sizes, packaging and temperatures into the trunk.  On the way to the car I really wondered why all of a sudden both paper bags and plastic bags had been effectively banned.

    I figured it was economically advantageous to sell either kind of bag at a nickel apiece, so why the change? Was it Green this or that?  The polluting petroleum used to manufacture the bags?  Well, that seems small compared to strip minding chemicals for electric batteries or cell phones.  Or was it for more efficient use of resources?

    No, I figure the purpose was just to make life more unpredictable, more difficult, less easy, and less enjoyable.  To make shopping — even shopping for food — even less pleasant.

    And it is counter productive.  We both shop less, and we tend to limit what we buy to what we can easily carry.  And if we are going to a few stores, we don’t buy anything, putting it off to another day, because we wouldn’t have our hands free for the rest of our shopping.

    Is reducing the will to purchase all a fractional part of the economic down turn?

    • #3
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Grocery bags!

    They made those illegal in NJ because the governor is a piece of s… the environment. My son has a part-time job at a grocery store. He told me they had to get rid of the hand baskets because people started taking them home once the bag ban went into place.

    • #4
  5. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Grocery bags!

    Ah! I was just thinking about commenting on this, but didn’t know where. Two days ago, I took my wife to rehab and on the way home we stopped at the grocery. Everything was on sale, it looked like, and we filled up two carts. But this was an unanticipated stop, and we had no bags or boxes in the car’s trunk. While fortunately we were able to take the carts out to the car, unfortunately we had to place a hundred items of various sizes, packaging and temperatures into the trunk. On the way to the car I really wondered why all of a sudden both paper bags and plastic bags had been effectively banned.

    I figured it was economically advantageous to sell either kind of bag at a nickel apiece, so why the change? Was it Green this or that? The polluting petroleum used to manufacture the bags? Well, that seems small compared to strip minding chemicals for electric batteries or cell phones. Or was it for more efficient use of resources?

    No, I figure the purpose was just to make life more unpredictable, more difficult, less easy, and less enjoyable. To make shopping — even shopping for food — even less pleasant.

    And it is counter productive. We both shop less, and we tend to limit what we buy to what we can easily carry. And if we are going to a few stores, we don’t buy anything, putting it off to another day, because we wouldn’t have our hands free for the rest of our shopping.

    Is reducing the will to purchase all a fractional part of the economic down turn?

    Kinda sorta like Aldi’s – but I can buy reusable bags there.

    • #5
  6. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Grocery bags!

    Ah! I was just thinking about commenting on this, but didn’t know where. Two days ago, I took my wife to rehab and on the way home we stopped at the grocery. Everything was on sale, it looked like, and we filled up two carts. But this was an unanticipated stop, and we had no bags or boxes in the car’s trunk. While fortunately we were able to take the carts out to the car, unfortunately we had to place a hundred items of various sizes, packaging and temperatures into the trunk. On the way to the car I really wondered why all of a sudden both paper bags and plastic bags had been effectively banned.

    I figured it was economically advantageous to sell either kind of bag at a nickel apiece, so why the change? Was it Green this or that? The polluting petroleum used to manufacture the bags? Well, that seems small compared to strip minding chemicals for electric batteries or cell phones. Or was it for more efficient use of resources?

    No, I figure the purpose was just to make life more unpredictable, more difficult, less easy, and less enjoyable. To make shopping — even shopping for food — even less pleasant.

    And it is counter productive. We both shop less, and we tend to limit what we buy to what we can easily carry. And if we are going to a few stores, we don’t buy anything, putting it off to another day, because we wouldn’t have our hands free for the rest of our shopping.

    Is reducing the will to purchase all a fractional part of the economic down turn?

    Kinda sorta like Aldi’s – but I can buy reusable bags there.

    It would have cost me $15 or so for the superfluous bags.  We have bags, and are learning to take them into the store with us even when just window shopping.  But this was a spontaneous shopping expedition.  Happy spontaneity is out, and pre-planning and prepared shopping visits are to take its place.  Motorcycles and convertibles will be next.  (Does Tesla even make a convertible?)

    • #6
  7. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Is that a stock photo of your hose reel,  or the real thing.  Because,  the grass in that picture does not look combustible…

    • #7
  8. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Grocery bags!

    Ah! I was just thinking about commenting on this, but didn’t know where. Two days ago, I took my wife to rehab and on the way home we stopped at the grocery. Everything was on sale, it looked like, and we filled up two carts. But this was an unanticipated stop, and we had no bags or boxes in the car’s trunk. While fortunately we were able to take the carts out to the car, unfortunately we had to place a hundred items of various sizes, packaging and temperatures into the trunk. On the way to the car I really wondered why all of a sudden both paper bags and plastic bags had been effectively banned.

    I figured it was economically advantageous to sell either kind of bag at a nickel apiece, so why the change? Was it Green this or that? The polluting petroleum used to manufacture the bags? Well, that seems small compared to strip minding chemicals for electric batteries or cell phones. Or was it for more efficient use of resources?

    No, I figure the purpose was just to make life more unpredictable, more difficult, less easy, and less enjoyable. To make shopping — even shopping for food — even less pleasant.

    And it is counter productive. We both shop less, and we tend to limit what we buy to what we can easily carry. And if we are going to a few stores, we don’t buy anything, putting it off to another day, because we wouldn’t have our hands free for the rest of our shopping.

    Is reducing the will to purchase all a fractional part of the economic down turn?

    Kinda sorta like Aldi’s – but I can buy reusable bags there.

    It would have cost me $15 or so for the superfluous bags. We have bags, and are learning to take them into the store with us even when just window shopping. But this was a spontaneous shopping expedition. Happy spontaneity is out, and pre-planning and prepared shopping visits are to take its place. Motorcycles and convertibles will be next. (Does Tesla even make a convertible?)

    Or home delivery. 😞 Apparently Tesla does do a convertible: Or a semi-convertible.  Wonder what Bill Gates drives?  (Never mind – he probably doesn’t even need a driver’s license.)

     

     

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    As to hose reels, I use a hose most often for washing cars, not for garden work. At our previous house, the distance between the hose bib and the driveway was rather lengthy. After years of cheap plastic hose reels, I finally got a nice solid metal hose reel, and was amazed at how much easier that made moving and deploying the hose for my car washes. In my current house, the distance from the hose bib to the driveway is quite short, and this summer I have been very pleased with my purchase of one of those collapsible hoses that doesn’t even need a hose reel. 

    My “little thing” is memory seats in the car. Mrs. Tabby and I are much less attached to each of us always driving only one of our cars than many couples are, so we both drive both cars frequently. Hence, memory seats have great value for us. When we bought our most recent new car, the trim level at which memory seats were available became a critical factor in our car shopping. I found it interesting during the comparison process to see where different car manufacturers introduced that feature. Some made it available on relative low trim levels (cloth seats, no sunroof or navigation system), while others had it only on the most luxurious trim level (with leather seats, sunroof, and navigation system). 

    • #9
  10. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    My “new” place doesn’t have an outdoor faucet/spigot on one side either, but my solution is to add one, asap.  It’s not that difficult.  Although it will cost more than $125 because I’m replacing a backflow-preventer at the same time.

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Oh, a yard thing just occurred to me. I recently replaced my string trimmer (weed-whacker). There was one available that was only a little more expensive than the standard, but had a rotating head and a guide wheel to aid when using it as an edger along the driveway and sidewalk. I can’t tell you how much easier edging is with that guide wheel. 

    By the way, I have always been boring, even when I was a teenager, so I can’t help you figure out if rhapsodizing over garden tools is a sign of becoming unduly boring in old age. 

    • #11
  12. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    kedavis (View Comment):

    My “new” place doesn’t have an outdoor faucet/spigot on one side either, but my solution is to add one, asap. It’s not that difficult. Although it will cost more than $125 because I’m replacing a backflow-preventer at the same time.

    My “old” place didn’t have a backflow preventer but code required it if I was going to install a sprinkler system which I took upon myself to do: Oh, well…

    • #12
  13. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Is that a stock photo of your hose reel, or the real thing. Because, the grass in that picture does not look combustible…

    Yeah, that’s from the company’s website. Even with ideal conditions my lawn doesn’t look that good.

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Grocery bags!

    They made those illegal in NJ because the governor is a piece of s… the environment. My son has a part-time job at a grocery store. He told me they had to get rid of the hand baskets because people started taking them home once the bag ban went into place.

    Another of those unintended consequences of decisions made by our “betters” for our own good.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Grocery bags!

    They made those illegal in NJ because the governor is a piece of s… the environment. My son has a part-time job at a grocery store. He told me they had to get rid of the hand baskets because people started taking them home once the bag ban went into place.

    Another of those unintended consequences of decisions made by our “betters” for our own good.

    Those “betters” get their food made by other people, so it’s of no interest to them.

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    We are experiencing a drought on Cape Cod. I guess the drought is throughout the Northeast. My town in the mid-Cape has not had water restrictions all summer, although every town surrounding us has had them to varying degrees. Chatham is really hurting.

    My town has a lot of wells, and the water table is unusually high because of last spring’s high rainfall. Last week, the town asked people to not water their lawns on Thursdays. That wasn’t too bad. Hardly worth thinking about. Today we got a notice from the town in the mail that there is to be no automatic sprinkling of laws whatsoever and hand watering of lawns is allowed only one day a week, before nine in the morning and after five at night. I thought, “Wow, that escalated quickly!” We can top off our pools, water our flower and vegetable gardens, and water our bushes and trees, but only by hand. Just no lawns. It’s not a big deal really. The lawns will come back when the rain comes in September. The humidity is here. We just need some cool air to make it condense. :-)

    I have two 150-foot-length hoses. They are pieces connected together, and I move them around a lot. They are the cloth hoses that bunch up when empty. They are a pain to use because we have to drain them whenever we shut them off, but they are easy to lug around, and I like that. I just leave them on the ground at this point. I’ve been using them every single day for the past six weeks. I don’t ever remember a more difficult summer trying to keep the flowers alive. July wasn’t too bad, but the last two weeks have been a strain. The longer the ground stays dry, the harder it is, even with mulch and well-stirred-up soil, to water plants so they stay watered.

    I have a little flower garden I keep for the neighborhood. The last few years, I’ve used Soil Moist. It’s the only reason I’ve been able to keep some flowers at the entrance. There’s no water down there except what I bring down by hand. Next year, I’m going to see if I can get 50- or 100-pound bags of Soil Moist and put it around all of my plants at my own house. That will help.

    The gardens are worth the work. :-) They take my mind off the Democrats. :-)

    • #16
  17. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    In my current house, the distance from the hose bib to the driveway is quite short, and this summer I have been very pleased with my purchase of one of those collapsible hoses that doesn’t even need a hose reel.

    I bought my mom one of those pocket hoses a couple years ago. It is pretty neat. Light and shrinks back up once you turn the water off

    As for the memory seats, my wife about a foot shorter than I am so that would be great to have. Now she knows to just move the seat back as far as it goes when she gets out of the car, but then I still have to fix the mirrors.

     

    • #17
  18. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Programmed automatic watering systems are actually more efficient, they can be set to dispense just the right amount of water for the weather conditions, without waste.

    • #18
  19. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Grocery bags!

    Ah! I was just thinking about commenting on this, but didn’t know where. Two days ago, I took my wife to rehab and on the way home we stopped at the grocery. Everything was on sale, it looked like, and we filled up two carts. But this was an unanticipated stop, and we had no bags or boxes in the car’s trunk. While fortunately we were able to take the carts out to the car, unfortunately we had to place a hundred items of various sizes, packaging and temperatures into the trunk. On the way to the car I really wondered why all of a sudden both paper bags and plastic bags had been effectively banned.

    I figured it was economically advantageous to sell either kind of bag at a nickel apiece, so why the change? Was it Green this or that? The polluting petroleum used to manufacture the bags? Well, that seems small compared to strip minding chemicals for electric batteries or cell phones. Or was it for more efficient use of resources?

    No, I figure the purpose was just to make life more unpredictable, more difficult, less easy, and less enjoyable. To make shopping — even shopping for food — even less pleasant.

    And it is counter productive. We both shop less, and we tend to limit what we buy to what we can easily carry. And if we are going to a few stores, we don’t buy anything, putting it off to another day, because we wouldn’t have our hands free for the rest of our shopping.

    Is reducing the will to purchase all a fractional part of the economic down turn?

    Kinda sorta like Aldi’s – but I can buy reusable bags there.

    It would have cost me $15 or so for the superfluous bags. We have bags, and are learning to take them into the store with us even when just window shopping. But this was a spontaneous shopping expedition. Happy spontaneity is out, and pre-planning and prepared shopping visits are to take its place. Motorcycles and convertibles will be next. (Does Tesla even make a convertible?)

    Or home delivery. 😞 Apparently Tesla does do a convertible: Or a semi-convertible. Wonder what Bill Gates drives? (Never mind – he probably doesn’t even need a driver’s license.)

    Nope, no home delivery here.

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Programmed automatic watering systems are actually more efficient, they can be set to dispense just the right amount of water for the weather conditions, without waste.

    I set up a single hose that snakes around the yard and divides and has seeper sections that lets the water seep out through the hose slowly in to the ground under the plants.  It’s largely invisible.  And it can run on a timer.

    • #20
  21. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    MarciN (View Comment):

    We are experiencing a drought on Cape Cod. I guess the drought is throughout the Northeast.

    I just got back from the Cape a couple days ago.  It is definitely dry up there too. Some of my mom’s hydrangeas were looking droopy. Your garden looks great. Keep it up (even if you have to break out the hose when the water cops aren’t looking.

    • #21
  22. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Programmed automatic watering systems are actually more efficient, they can be set to dispense just the right amount of water for the weather conditions, without waste.

    I set up a single hose that snakes around the yard and divides and has seeper sections that lets the water seep out through the hose slowly in to the ground under the plants. It’s largely invisible. And it can run on a timer.

    Yes, the seeper stuff can allow for watering flowers and shrubs etc, largely undetectable.

    • #22
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    I just got back from the Cape a couple days ago.  It is definitely dry up there too. Some of my mom’s hydrangeas were looking droopy. Your garden looks great. Keep it up (even if you have to break out the hose when the water cops aren’t looking.

    Chatham got hit really hard by the drought and restrictions. I don’t know why. Dennis too. But Yarmouth Port, where I am, did not until today. I was shocked to get the mailer. And, yes, I do plan to foil the water Karens. :-)

    In truth, those pictures are two weeks old. But it still looks pretty good in my gardens.

    • #23
  24. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    What a great post – I think I’ll nominate it for this exact…post. But as a runner up, we put our under-the-kitchen-sink garbage can on a pull-out roller. 10 bucks from the Orange Big Box Hardware Store. Best investment we ever made. And no, you’re not old. Just practical. That’s wisdom.

    • #24
  25. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    The weirdest and most insignificant in the list would be the watch winder. 

    • #25
  26. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    As to hose reels, I use a hose most often for washing cars, not for garden work. At our previous house, the distance between the hose bib and the driveway was rather lengthy. After years of cheap plastic hose reels, I finally got a nice solid metal hose reel, and was amazed at how much easier that made moving and deploying the hose for my car washes. In my current house, the distance from the hose bib to the driveway is quite short, and this summer I have been very pleased with my purchase of one of those collapsible hoses that doesn’t even need a hose reel.

    My “little thing” is memory seats in the car. Mrs. Tabby and I are much less attached to each of us always driving only one of our cars than many couples are, so we both drive both cars frequently. Hence, memory seats have great value for us. When we bought our most recent new car, the trim level at which memory seats were available became a critical factor in our car shopping. I found it interesting during the comparison process to see where different car manufacturers introduced that feature. Some made it available on relative low trim levels (cloth seats, no sunroof or navigation system), while others had it only on the most luxurious trim level (with leather seats, sunroof, and navigation system).

    Memory seats rely on chips. With the current shortage, some manufacturers are equipping fewer cars with them. 

    • #26
  27. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Captain French (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    As to hose reels, I use a hose most often for washing cars, not for garden work. At our previous house, the distance between the hose bib and the driveway was rather lengthy. After years of cheap plastic hose reels, I finally got a nice solid metal hose reel, and was amazed at how much easier that made moving and deploying the hose for my car washes. In my current house, the distance from the hose bib to the driveway is quite short, and this summer I have been very pleased with my purchase of one of those collapsible hoses that doesn’t even need a hose reel.

    My “little thing” is memory seats in the car. Mrs. Tabby and I are much less attached to each of us always driving only one of our cars than many couples are, so we both drive both cars frequently. Hence, memory seats have great value for us. When we bought our most recent new car, the trim level at which memory seats were available became a critical factor in our car shopping. I found it interesting during the comparison process to see where different car manufacturers introduced that feature. Some made it available on relative low trim levels (cloth seats, no sunroof or navigation system), while others had it only on the most luxurious trim level (with leather seats, sunroof, and navigation system).

    Memory seats rely on chips. With the current shortage, some manufacturers are equipping fewer cars with them.

    Do memory seats require more chips than a car needs already?  That might surprise me.  Motors and buttons etc, yes.  But these days I would expect all those electro-mechanical parts would connect to an already-existing “central computer” that also even controls the “dome light.”

    • #27
  28. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    What a great post – I think I’ll nominate it for this exact…post. But as a runner up, we put our under-the-kitchen-sink garbage can on a pull-out roller. 10 bucks from the Orange Big Box Hardware Store. Best investment we ever made. And no, you’re not old. Just practical. That’s wisdom.

    That’s convenient and it reminds me that one of the little things that brings me frustration is our kitchen garbage can.

    It has a rounded swing top. That’s great if you are throwing something small away but what if you are trying to scrape food off a plate? If it is full, the top won’t swing. So, you toss the food expecting that the top will continue to open but instead it bounces back. And with my teenage son in charge of taking out the garbage, it can sit there full for a while.  I want to get one that opens with a foot pedal but my wife gets mad if you criticize her garbage can. Someday I will get my way.

    • #28
  29. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    What a great post 

    Not to brag, but I think this is the best post I have seen on Ricochet in the “Hose Reel” genre. 

    • #29
  30. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Grocery bags!

    They made those illegal in NJ because the governor is a piece of s… the environment. My son has a part-time job at a grocery store. He told me they had to get rid of the hand baskets because people started taking them home once the bag ban went into place.

    Another of those unintended consequences of decisions made by our “betters” for our own good.

    My wife is out of town, so I just stopped by the supermarket to pick up some healthy vegetables. I did notice a really good sale on ice cream but you had to buy two. so I have a lot of ice cream now (don’t judge me . . . I just saved $5.00).

    Anyway, I did self checkout and I remembered to bring my own bags. The so-called “bagging area” is a large scale that tries to make sure you are not taking any items you didn’t pay for. So when I put my bag down in the bagging area, the system stopped and told me to “Remove unscanned items from the bagging area.” In other words, you can’t put bags in the bagging area. I am big on technology that makes your life easier, but I am not too happy about robotic cashiers accusing me of stealing.

    • #30
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