How Long Will They Stay, or, If It Doesn’t Bring You Joy, Set It Free

Over the last few years there have been a bunch of articles.

Actually quite a few articles, so I’ll be lazy and not look for them.

One after another says that when the Boomer goes into the Home, the Millennial doesn’t want “It”.

“It” being “Brown Furniture”.  It’s also the Great Generation’s China that the Boomer inherited as well as a long list of things that they can’t be bothered with.

I’ve come to realize that those Millennials are making a whole lot of sense.

You see, last weekend we went to Ikea. You know the place?  Giant box of a store filled with right-sized food, furniture that you build yourself, and everything is named by throwing a dart at a Swedish Telephone Book?  I am rather fond of Ikea, and the clean lines on the furniture and the names and the possibility of getting some of those awesome cookies at the end is all part of the fun.

Besides being given a Poang Rocking Chair that I am enjoying very much, we got a China Cabinet.  I’ve been trained to call them a Tallboy, but that could just be my own warped version of English so pay me never mind.

It took all weekend to get the mother-lode of boxes into the house, opened, proofread, and then assembled.  The tallboy is taller than I am so it is truly tall.

To get this beast of a piece of white furniture where it is needed, we had to clear out the old cabinet of its glassware.

Now, Husvik the Tallboy, and Poang the Rocker live in my dining room.

This was where I realized the wisdom of the Millennial.

I was confronted with my glassware from when I was in my first apartment.  Some glasses leftover from when I was a child.  Some more glasses that I pulled out of the landscaping over the years.

Rather a lot of glassware.  In fact so much so that we began to pile it and all the Onesie-Twosie oddball glasses into a low box.

After considering how to get rid of all that strange one off and two off drink-ware, I merely moved the box out to the front of the property.

After all, how much of this stuff can you use at any given moment?   We have never had an actual party in this house, despite knowing that it was the party house on the block before my boring self moved in.

Swimming pool and Dry Bar not withstanding.

So how did it go?  The box is still out in front of the house.  I’m going to keep putting it out in the morning, and picking it up at night until it is gone or the next trash day happens.

Stay tuned, Fellow Babies, Stay tuned!

So I waited.  The box went out there at 8 in the morning.  Mind you, I live on a street with a fair amount of foot traffic.  People walk from apartments and day rentals to the Shops and Restaurants here all day long.

Lunch came.

Box Stayed.

Mid afternoon crash happened.  Not too happy about that Nod-Off but blood sugar and high metabolism will do that to an athlete.

Box stayed.

Dinner hour hit.  I walked Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).

Came home and the box was still there.

I stood up to close the blinds and was told that I should just close the blinds and ignore it.  We just don’t want a box of potential missiles to reside on the driveway over night.

It turns out that in the first half hour of night, someone came by and moved my weird mismatched glasses on to their new home.

No more Crown Royal Old Fashioned Glasses.

No more Highball Glasses.

Gone is the cut glass goblet (singular, all the rest suffered deceleration trauma over the years).

Even the “extra” glass that came from a Bag Of Crap that once blinked from LEDs in the bottom of it.

Goodnight Glasses, er Moon!

Bye Bye!  With my blessings.

Now if I can just get rid of those plastic tubs of weird stuff in the back room… Hmmm.  Maybe a handful a day… I wonder if I can get away with that?

The Broken Poang Story or You Want To Drive Across The County For A Bolt?

The story started once upon a time in the dark ages called the 1980s.  I have a friend from way back then who got a job with Ikea when they opened their very first store here in the US in the fabled land of Plymouth Meeting, PA.

He was a fan of some of their products and since I had a major car accident where I was “laid up” for an entire summer, it was years before my muscle mass was strong enough that I could get comfortable in a chair, I would need to look for some furniture.

My friend suggested trying out a Poang Chair.

“A what?”

He described this weird flat pack thing that you get to assemble.  You select the upholstery you want with it, put it all together, it looks stylish and has clean lines.  The one I am sitting in now has a leather cushion and fits in quite well. I did eventually get one, but it was quite a few years before I did.

I went to a store and saw it and did like it but somehow managed to avoid getting one through the Apartment Stage of Life into my first home.

Then, I moved to Florida.  Then being in 2006.  One of the first things I managed to get was a Poang.

You see, Poang Chair frames are so sturdy that people tend to give them away rather than throw them out, or they end up at a better thrift store.  That is how I got both of mine.


I did go back to Ikea and upgrade the padding and upholstery on the first one – they are designed to be replaced by simply pulling them off the velcro on the frame.


It was a strange synthetic blue that looked like it belonged in a frat house basement.  When I put on the smooth and supple chocolate colored leather covering, it dressed it right up as well as the matching ottoman.

Yes, I do like them.  The second one serves as a desk chair.  Although my back is

much much better now, I can’t just sit in any old chair all day long.  The Poang is the exception.

The other chair has the original cotton fabric covered foam upholstery.  I’m fine with that.  Some of the upholsteries can be machine washed depending on the care instructions on the tag so you might be able to toss the covering into the washer, cold, and it comes out clean.


Some are dry clean only, and leather needs its own cleaning regimen.  Your mileage may vary.  Consult your owner’s manual.


Just let it air dry.  If it shrinks because you used Hot, you’re stuffed.  The original Frat House Blue covering shrank, I haven’t been bold enough to try to wash that beige one since it goes well with the colors in this house.

The other day though, I found out what the weak point was on the chair.   I was watching some drama on TV when all the sudden I was on the floor.

You see, there’s this bolt on the shoulder of the chair.  It holds the part you sit in to the frame of the chair.  Since everything is built very efficiently, remove one part and it just becomes a pile of bent wood.  They are built to bounce slightly while you are moving around in them but I guess 10 years of bouncing took their toll.

In my case, it was a pile of bent wood, reclining at a strange angle, me on top of it all and grateful that the dog did not get crushed under it.

That fabled bolt simply sheared.


I heard running from the other room.  “Are you alright?!??!”

Yes, it’s fine, I’m just at a strange angle.  Can you help me up?

I had to wait for my friend to calm down after I got rapid fire questions about how it happened, what caused it, why did I do it, and other minutia.

Obviously I didn’t break my favorite chair on purpose.

“Well I’ll have to make a trip to the hardware store.  They keep parts for these things.  Barring that, it’s back to the Ikea Mothership and get a bolt.”

I was told not to do anything, he’ll drive me to Ikea, we’ll get the bolt.

“All the way across the county to get a bolt?  I know Ikea stands behind their products but we don’t even know if …”

I was cut off.  It’s a treat to go to that giant blue barn of strangely named the merchandise.  “We can get a Right Sized Dinner there and get your bolt.”

*sigh* OK, I’ll give you a couple days and we can go otherwise I will start looking in the big box hardware stores.

Only my pride was harmed in the collapsing of my chair.  I waited a few days and we went out there.  Sitting shotgun in the car listening to that mechanical woman’s voice on the car’s GPS try and fail to figure out a good route to the store and tell us for the first half hour to “Make a legal U Turn” over and again.

“Come on, you silly voice.  It’s West out Oakland Park, South to 136th st after the curve!  Keep going until you see it just shy of I595.  It’s South Florida!  Locals Don’t Take Interstates at Rush Hour!”

We got there, got a Right Sized dinner, explored the items that were named at random by tearing pages out of the Stockholm Phone Book.  There were a few things I would not mind getting, and the Poang Rocker caught my eye yet again but the house really is Full of Things and I don’t need to shop.

Getting to the end of the maze I walked over, took a number and waited for one of the ladies at the counter to call “165!”.

“Hello, I need a Bolt!  My Poang collapsed and I was dumped on the floor!”

I got a bemused look and the tiniest hint of a smile.

“Ten years to a bolt, good gas mileage.”  She looked at a parts explosion for the chair.  They actually do stock all the parts to make their products in case you lose one or are shorted one.

Or in my case, ten years of use, the chair decides to shear one.  I’m a big guy, but not outlandishly so.  I understand that the load capacity is well north of my own 6’4″ and 225 Pounds.  They used to have a display where they were pounding a Poang chair with hydraulic lifts to illustrate their strength.

Good to know that I am not too big to use a chair!

She came back holding two of the bolts plus my sheared bolt.  Part number 146654, and no thank you I don’t need the special Ikea Allen Wrench part number 100001.

“Thank you! I can fix my favorite chair with that bolt!”  as I took both.

You never know when you need a spare bolt!  Maybe some time in another ten years I will be going back out to Sunrise, FL, to get another Right Sized Meal and some other parts after replacing the other bolt.

Just don’t know.  But it’s better than ending up on the floor with a surprised look on your face and a broken bolt to extract.

Now… if I could find a piece of plywood here around the house.  About 18 inches by 20 inches.  I could firm the seat up a bit.  Ikea products are very hackable.  End tables for $10 that work as computer racks are well known, and someone once built a man cave under a platform bed constructed from bookcases.


I still have my eye on that rocker for next time…

Reimagining the Desk – A Journey With A Stiff Neck

One of the earliest things that I had written about was my living room.   Specifically, I took a picture of my chair, my laptop, and the rest, and I then told the story of the Poang and how I tend to sit in my chair and write.   I also do more than that, all sorts of software development for fun and profit, as well as pretty much treat the thing as an office.

There’s a problem.

I originally thought that it was a Tall Guy Problem.  It’s not.  It’s simply a problem.

After reading Reddit and the Tall Subreddit where people take random selfies looking uncomfortable because the world was not engineered for someone over 6 feet tall, I came to the conclusion that Mom was Right.

My posture had become awful and my coveted chair was contributing to it all.  Back pain, stiff neck, and general achy self were some of the things I had noticed.

Yeah I know, Hey, Bill, Take Control.  Grab the Reins.

Ok, Smart Alec that lives inside my head, what do I do?

The house I live in has my desk.  The desk is in the Florida Room.  That room needs insulation and since the exposed beams warm the place to another five degrees F warmer than the rest of the house as soon as the sun starts to bake it, I had abandoned my desk almost immediately after I settled into it.

Don’t ask, it’s too warm to use.

The Ikea Poang in the middle of the living room is under a vent and a ceiling fan redirects the air conditioning so it’s comfortable.  I used to say that it was the coolest seat in the house, but I’m not so certain.

What I did was to relocate to the dining room.

I have an old 1950s or earlier solid maple table in there with matching solid wood chairs.  When Mom got this set, I took a liking to it.  I saw an opportunity when she started complaining that it didn’t do well in her kitchen in Barclay Farms, Cherry Hill, good ol’ New Jersey.  So I “helped her out” of it and it’s been with me ever since I moved into my first Philly apartment.

After waking up with a proper stiff neck that never went away and some other disturbing creaks and cracks that were getting more insistent, I tried some minor changes.  It convinced me that while this isn’t perfect, I’m onto something.

Ergonomically speaking, your eyes will track to the center of the device that you are using.  In my case it is a 16 inch wide laptop.  If I put that on my lap, it will create some problems.

The worst problem is that since I slightly recline in the Poang, the view to the laptop means that I am looking down.  In the more than 10 hours a day I am sitting there using the laptop, my head ends up with chin literally glued to my chest.  That is not a good position.  Not at all.

The laptop had to be raised off my lap and placed onto Mom’s Maple table.

Good first step.  Now, slide back… great!  But those chairs are stiff.  Nobody wants to sit on an un-padded wood Captain’s Chair for hours no matter how nice it looks.   Plus the angle is still “down”.

I slid the chair aside, moved the Poang in.

It’s much better.  My eyes are dead center on the monitor.  The picture I took from my right shoulder, while it is out of focus, is perfect for showing the view I get from the bouncy chair.

One problem.  I am an excellent touch typist.  Mrs Momarella and my good friend Donna W. from High School taught me well.

The laptop is just below shoulder height.  That doesn’t make for comfort.  In fact, I tried typing that way for all of five minutes.  My hands nearly came off at the wrist.

Seeing that I can type with my eyes closed almost as well as I can with them open, I needed something else to happen.

I pulled the captain’s chair out again and used it for a platform to set the track ball.   It’s a big clunky thing that uses up my USB port and won’t sit on the arm of the chair.  Since this is “work hour use only” no worries there, I’ll just “own” using my dining room as my office.

One more thing.  Keyboard.

My old school IBM Model M Keyboard with the clicky keys!  Lets try that first. 

Nope.  It drains too much power to use on the USB converter thing.

Digging through the Parts Cabinet, I found an old Microsoft wireless keyboard.  That is on my knees right now just inside the picture.  It works “well enough” but I still want my PS/2 Keyboard.   Once I find my powered USB hub, I know that it will drive the keyboard I really want to use. 

Too bad you can’t get those clicky keyboards with bluetooth though.   It’s 1980s technology that will work because it’s just that good.  Too well designed to toss with real mechanical switches on each key.  They weigh almost as much as the laptop does.  I have about 4 of them in the house buried under the bed because when people tossed their old PCs, the keyboards would end up at the computer shows being sold for a mint.

If 5 dollars could be considered a mint.  Now they go for between 80 and 200 US Dollars more on auction and reseller sites.

No, I won’t share.  Get your own.  Besides, I may figure something else out with my coveted clicky IBM Keyboard Model M.

Yes, I have Ideas.

For now, I have my Tall Guy Adaptation.  It really isn’t about being tall though, it’s more about looking at how you are working and making sure you are sitting at the right place to put your head when you work.  When I touch type… I can set my head back and close my eyes, like this paragraph was typed.  If your are smaller and have a shorter torso, like about 95% of humankind, you can vary the height of everything so that you can work with it at ease.  That is why most “office chairs” have those adjustments to make things more comfortable.

But Laptops?  I’m beginning to realize that they just aren’t meant to live on your lap for 10 hours at a stretch.

Besides, if you do, these days, you will end up toasting your legs.  I’ll leave Mom’s Table to handle that for me.  I’m nice and cool listening to music on headphones, typing on my lap, and resting my head back with my eyes closed.

Yes, I can do this with my eyes closed.


Writing can be an effortless experience.   If I could only have told my 12 year old self who was bored hearing about all that in English Class in Mr Custer’s Sixth Grade Class in Stafford School on Berlin Road in Cherry Hill.

Boring as hell but useful.  Not everything can be an adventure novel after all.   Some come with a beige cover and will bore you to tears but you will use it every day of your life.

Just like that table and laptop combo.

Now oddly enough, before I wrote this up and headed on my little obsessive journey for desk nirvana, the Washington Post had written an infographic on this same subject.  I’ll make it a point to get out of my desk and chair more often, or I’ll at least try.

Since the poster is at this PDF link, it won’t fully display here.   On the other hand, I see that picture below and think… Is THIS what I put my body through?  YUCK!!!!

Ikea, Particle Boards and Florida Don’t Mix

It was one of those things.

Having house guests meant we got to go shopping.  I had to restock the kitchen.  No problem there, I actually like going to the big Publix supermarket downtown.  If anything I try to restrain myself from getting all sorts of crazy goodies because I like the challenge of making new recipes and sharing them with friends and family.

In a small house, you learn quickly that cabinets and pantry space are at a premium.  There are many that would consider 1200 square feet large, and others that would consider it a rabbit hutch.  They’re all not paying my mortgage so I’m inclined to tell them to have a nice day.

Among other things.

But we did get creative with storage when we moved in here.   Coming from 1900 square feet on three floors in Philadelphia, I’m still throwing things out that we moved with back in 2006.  The box of random parts gets smaller since I just don’t have room to store things that can be repaired.

There is always room for food, and with the seasons being only two here, I have to store food for each.

Hurricane Season means that we store two weeks worth of food, water, and necessities for six months.
Snowbird season is easy, the weather is predictable, and we don’t really expect problems.  So this is when you eat the Hurricane food.


One of the things we did was throw up our hands and build up the laundry room.  It’s definitely not “ADA Compliant” any longer.  In fact, I have to wonder if it is even Ramblingmoose Compliant. 

There are so many cabinets in the laundry room that my shoulders brush both sides of the path to the back of the room.   Shelves above your head, on the walls, and cabinets on the entryway.

That’s where Ikea came in.

We went to the land of cheap Swedish Flat Pack Furniture a while back.  They name things by taking a phone book in Stockholm and throwing darts at a random page and saying “Billy!  I shall call a cabinet Billy!”  or “Look it’s a Boj!”.

Not that anyone out of Scandinavia knows what on Earth a Boj is, mind you.  I suspect it’s another word for a room of convenience, and most likely flat packed so you can assemble it with a happy Allen Key and a lot of swearing.

Oh, and it’s probably made with Particle Board.

Ikea doesn’t make everything out of particle board.  This is a good thing because particle board is rubbish in a humid climate like South Florida.  It’s rubbish in a dry climate too, but at least it won’t melt there.

I had some rather nice looking dressers from Ikea that were made of particle board in Philadelphia.  By the time I moved out, I didn’t have any trouble moving them out.  I simply gave it a nudge, and it collapsed. 

All the more easy to throw out.

And this was the basis of my problem.

We got back from Publix with giant bags of food.  Technicolor bottles of soda.  Cans of random condiments.  Eggs.  Lots of Eggs.

All of that food had to be stored.

I walked into the kitchen and began to fill the freezer immediately as Kevin brought in the rest of the food. 

Beginning with the frozen fish that was on a “Bogo”, I began playing Freezer Tetris. 

I think somewhere in Stockholm, six weeks ago, a Butterfly flapped its wings.  That butterfly caused my pickles from Nebraska to bounce.

The pantry simply collapsed.

We hadn’t actually added anything to the pantry.  What must have happened was that the rain that was approaching from a tropical system that was two days away at that point scared it.  Six feet worth of Canned Goods, boxed pasta, random glassware including two strange Star Trek promo glasses I have no idea what to do with, a stack of 5 ready made pie shells, three jars of spaghetti sauce and much more began a short trip.

The shelves gave way in the middle of the pantry.

The sheer volume of the food that hit the floor was a shock, we didn’t realize that we had those 4 bottles of catsup in the extra large sized handy plastic squeeze bottle.  We also don’t know what we’ll do with them, considering that we don’t use quite that much catsup. 

We still have the catsup by the way.  It survived the trip to the floor.  Those bottles ricocheted off of the washer, onto the stack of bottled water and onto the floor in the corner cushioning more fragile things like cereal boxes on their way down.

The pickles were a gift from my cousin Bill in Nebraska.  Good ol’ Mason jars.   I never knew that a glass Mason storage jar could take the fall from chest high, bounce off of my dryer, the spaghetti jars, and some other weirdly random food and survive with only the sealing ring getting dented.  But survive they did.  Good thing because Bill has an excellent recipe for sweet and sour pickles!

Unfortunately that spaghetti sauce didn’t survive.   We had four jars of the stuff.  The two that were in the Good Ol’ Mason Jars bounced off of the pickles and settled on the floor back in the corner intact among the dirty towels that have been collecting waiting for Hot Wash Day.  The other two did not.  They were commercially prepared, and since glass isn’t designed to take impact unless it is a Good Ol’ Mason Jar, and the commercially prepared stuff is much thinner glass.  It’s Just Thick Enough to get it home, but not really thick enough to survive any shock.

How did all this happen?

The side walls of the pantry were not built with any support beams across the back.  The pantry itself was built as four sides with a piece of cardboard nailed to the “box” as a backing.  It wasn’t designed to hold it together.  Yes, a piece of particle board nailed across the back would hold it up much better but that wasn’t to be. 

The box bulged through the successive years of humid weather and jars of pickles, and that night even before I put another can of Whole Fruit Cranberry Sauce on the shelves, it collapsed.

I never saw a cabinet burst its seams like that before.  It was a giant waterfall of crap.  It simply vomited up my stored food and Star Trek glasses into my laundry room.

My laundry room now has a slightly pink floor.   Yes, the spaghetti sauce again.  The floor is unsealed concrete and while I managed to get up almost all of the sauce with a mop and a lot of hot water, it is impossible to get all that healthy lycopene back up off the floor once it has been left there in an explosive fashion.

I’ll be cleaning up spaghetti sauce for years.

So if you do get a tall and narrow Ikea Particle Board cabinet, there is a fix.  Screw your shelves in with a long drywall screw through the outside box of the cabinet.   That will give you the lateral stability you need in case your cousin Bill from Nebraska should ship you some yummy pickles again!

Pickles.  Suddenly I’m craving some pickles.   No ice cream, please, and we have quite enough spaghetti sauce that survived.

Did you know that a Mason Jar could bounce?  Neither did I!

Ikea Koncis Can Opener Torture Test

Yes, it failed.  Spectacularly failed.  Like in one of those memes with a big FAIL in white using the “Impact” font. 

You see, I’m more than patient when it comes to gadgets of all kinds.  Kitchen Gadgets should work first time, every time.  Simple machines shouldn’t test your patience.  They shouldn’t make you consider them an act of atrocity against all human kind.  A kitchen gadget should be function over form and not something that laughs at you in a Swedish-Chinese accent.

I’m very good at assembling those flat packed boxes you get at Ikea and other retailers.  Strange faceless figures that are meant to guide you in a cartoonish manner to put together a chair or a coffee table, book case or a computer desk.  All of those items I had successfully built in the past, but this simple appliance of a mechanical can opener called “Koncis” had me stumped.

Being a simple item, I even broke from writing this and tried to use the can opener to open a can of Pineapples in Juice.  Anyone want some?   Oh well, I suspect I’m going to be having them for lunch.

You see, I had tightened the one screw that holds the cutting wheel down as tight as my hands could make it.  The gears don’t match.  The cutting blade shined at me as if to say that I wasn’t up to the task.

Then I set it down and got out “Rusty” the old can opener.  We’ve had Rusty for more than a decade.  It works, flawlessly.  In fact when Rusty got rusty, I even oiled it with some rather tasty Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brought him back from the brink of the bin.  Yes, I was just about ready to throw out my old friend Rusty.

Rusty is a good friend, especially in an emergency.  Rusty is a lifesaver.  He will feed you by opening those hard to open cans and give you the treats in side when the power is out.  In South Florida, with the power infrastructure about as stable as a ring of lime green jello out doors on a hot day, it is a Survival Skill to find a friend like Rusty the Can Opener and keep him or her close. 

Rusty is such a good friend that his sister lives in the same drawer as he.

When I was back at Ikea, I saw this bin of shiny can openers and they spoke to me. “Vould yew like tew take one of uss home vit yew” I heard in a Swedish Chef Accent.   Mork Mork Mork, it followed up and said “Yew Need Us!”.  It came home and we tried it excitedly.  No, sadly, Ikea, your Swedish Perfection and Style hasn’t been taught to the Chinese who built this thing.  The Quality of Koncis is nowhere near as good as your Billy Bookshelves or your Husar Desk that I so prize.

So this taunting piece of Koncis kitchen crap is going to have one more duty before it ends up in the recycling bin.  It’s going to be a wheel chock before I roll my Jeep over top of it.  I’ll giggle derisively as I hear it crunch against the concrete ending its useful life.

“Mork Mork Mork” indeed.

The Coffee Geek Teaches at Ikea

Ok, I’m over the top with this coffee stuff.  I’ll admit it.  In fact, that was what I said to Kevin after this was all said and done.  I can laugh at myself, but it does show that maybe a little research is needed before you spend any money, and I think it also shows that those intractable picture books that Ikea uses to “instruct” you how to use their product may just need a little revision.

I’m a huge fan of Ikea.   I find a lot of things that I need whenever I go through there, and even when I don’t need things and end up “going along for the ride” there are always those wonderful gingersnaps and containers of lingonberry preserve waiting for a treat when you leave.  We got Gooseberry Preserve this time.

We went to Ikea this weekend and had a “rightsized” meal of North Atlantic Saithe, steamed veg and a scoop of mashed potato.  Skin on and lumpy the way I like it!  I say rightsized because Ikea serves portions that make sense instead of the 3000 calorie orgies of food you get at some chain restaurants in the US.  I was even able to have a slice of Carrot Cake and not feel guilty.


Oh that “Saithe”?  That’s what we tend to call Pollock.  No wonder why I liked it, I have the remnants of 10 pounds of the stuff in the freezer.  I’ll have to try the Ikea method of breading the top with some dill and lemon juice and baking. 

After ordering the cabinet that we’re going to use as a pantry, we walked downstairs where all the “Home Goods” are.  You start in the kitchen goodies and wander through various departments.  I can’t walk though that place without thinking of new and wonderful things I can do with some of the various things ranging from LED Lights (I really do want to underlight the cabinets in the kitchen), drapes and blinds, and of course the coffee makers.

A while back I had bought this carafe that turned out to be one of the best coffee pots I had ever had.  It’s stainless steel, polished to a mirror finish, and is a French Press.   Perfect for taking care of my favorite caffeine addiction if the power is off.   Four scoops of grounds, add water at a full boil, stir for 6 minutes (off and on) then push the plunger down and that is it.

Specifically the one I am talking about is an Anrik French Press. Go, get one, you will be happy.  It is even insulated so the coffee will be fresh for more than an hour. If that one is too small or too pricey at $30, they have a $13 standard sized French Press that will do you well. 

The thing is that this is completely “Off The Grid”.  No power needed.  It basically is a “bucket” that you pour your things into.  No place to put a wire into. 

So when I heard a family discussing the item I got my big mouth involved and gave them instructions on how to use it.  They thought you would put it directly on the burner…   You might if you wanted to ruin the poor thing…

Real simple, since you may lose power and want some really good coffee to “settle your nerves”

  1. Boil about a quart/liter of water.
  2. Remove the lid and screen assembly from the coffee pot.
  3. While that water comes to a boil, add 4 scoops of your favorite coffee grounds to the pot.
  4. Pour the boiling water until it is just short of the lip of the coffee pot.
  5. Stir your grounds off and on for about 4 minutes.
  6. Give the grounds about 2 minutes to settle.
  7. Replace the screen and lid assembly and push gently down on the plunger until the lid fits snugly on top of the pot.
  8. There is no step 8.
  9. Done.

Now, isn’t that simple?

Ikea Hack – Build it Faster with Electric Screwdriver and a Cut Allen Wrench

This weekend was fix it weekend.  I had gotten a new battery for the electric screwdriver and set about tightening screws on everything that even looked distantly loose.

After putting up the new clock in the Kitchen, badly I might add but don’t look too closely, I did an inventory of all of my collected bits.  The screwdriver is a useful tool, but can be a bit specialized.  After all tiny screws will get stripped with an electric screwdriver, and you just may not have enough torque in the smaller ones to “oomph” that screw into place.

I had realized that I did something, years ago, that was novel and needed to be shared.

We have all put together that flat-packed furniture at one point or another, or used it and wondered why people bother using those silly little hex-keys to assemble them.  They can be literally painful to build, blister inducing, and frustrating when you realize you spent the entire afternoon tightening down yesterday’s work because you didn’t put a drop of wood glue into the threads to make it stay put.

Usually there are some sort of fitting that the screws will go into, wood on metal can pull apart easily if you have a particle board piece of furniture.  Typically the better pieces will have a threaded nut with a back on it to spread the compression energy on a wider area to hold things better, then the allen screw will tighten down into that.

They’re time consuming, and I found that there was a simple “hack”.   Take the allen wrench and cut it in half.  I cut mine right at the elbow of the 90 degree joint, and now I have a bit to put into the electric screwdriver.  Once I mount the allen wrench bit into the hole, I can use the electric screwdriver to tighten everything up quickly.

I’ve never heard of anyone doing this but I’ve done it many times to build furniture or tighten up the bolts on the Poang Chairs that I’m so fond of.   As we say around here it “Works like a Champ!”.

Border Collie Fun is CatThumpSmile

She is resting.

A 10 year old Border Collie that shares my life.  We are in her second life now, I am still enjoying her and I am enjoying it to the fullest. 

She had an episode back in the Spring.  I don’t know what caused it, the vet didn’t know.  It was a month of my holding her up to take her out to do Her Business in the yard because something happened in the middle of the night that made her very unsteady and practically able to walk.  I took her to the excellent Family Pet at 2750 N Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale and they managed to get her back to normal.  If you aren’t going to them, call 954-567-2500 for your friend’s care.  Speak with Dr Sharon Glass or Dr Javier Gonzales and let them know that you are ready to step up for the best care in Fort Lauderdale available for your friend.  Tell them that Bill, Lettie’s dad sent you.

I walked in, all 6’4″ and 225 pounds, filling the doorway carrying an almost 50 pound border collie that couldn’t walk, crying into her fur.  After they calmed me down, they allowed me to stay with her as they stabilized her condition and got her to where she could heal herself with a couple bottles of non steroidals.  I think I finally left after about 5 hours of brooding fragile silence on my part.  She’s on Glucosamine to this day.  50 pounds and 2000mg a day. 

Now she’s feeling normal.   This morning the walk was the Almost One Mile that I do three times a day and despite the rain that floated through off the ocean, she came back invigorated.

She was, I still needed my second mug of coffee.

Parking myself in the bouncy chair, mug by my side, surfing to a German pop music station at I started on my Usual Morning Job Search Routine of 1000 links, 150 pages of job fun.

Welcome isn’t what I’d call this side effect of the Republican Induced Great Depression, but it is what it is.

Lettie was feeling the music.  Being a German pop station, there was a piece of music on that I remember from the local dance stations in English that was particularly bouncy.  After listening to this station for an hour I’ve yet to hear anything in German other than the news broadcast…

Bouncy music means Bouncy Moose.   I’m in the bouncy chair.  The Poang that amplifies every major movement I make.   Lettie bumped into the chair setting me in motion and I kept up the bounce to the beat. 

Seeing The Cat, she bounced over to it and pounced on the toy making it squeak. 

Since I was at Border Collie Height in the brown bouncy Poang, Mrs Dog insisted that it was playtime.  Never mind that yesterday between all those links and job pages, it took me 5 hours to get through the routine, She Wanted To PLAY!

I found that she wanted more than my merely grabbing the leg of the cartoonish plush creature, she was happily whipping it and my arm around like a parody of a video on the Discovery Channel where an alligator is doing the death roll on some unfortunate impala in the African Savannah.  Having almost 50 pounds of insistent black fur tugging on a plush creature, and by extension my arm, we both were bouncing to the beat. 

Border Collies are amazingly intelligent dogs.  I have never met a dog quite as intelligent as mine, and while everyone says that who owns one, the comment is almost universally true of Border Collies and similar breeds.  I don’t teach her tricks, I teach behaviors.  She knows “Show Me” means for her to go and take me somewhere then look at what she wants directly.  She also knows a very light touch on the nose to be “Hello”.  So while I’m bouncing to the beat, and she’s starting to tire of being the engine of the chair’s rocking, I decided to reach around with my right hand and lightly touch her nose.  Smiling, she then decided “Daddy Likes This” and was reenergized.

We managed to get into a feedback loop.  Anyone who has a dog knows that anything they do tends to be short duration unless they’re bored and in some sort of Obsessive Compulsive state.  The also know that most Middle Aged dogs tend to sleep a lot.  I won’t call her Aged like the BBC did the other day, she simply does not act it. 

Instead of her being bored with my not being up out of the chair she started over and decided to try to get that cat out of my head by whipping her head around thrashing.  It was about that time when I heard a THUMP against the supporting wooden frame.  Yes, my border collie, the smartest dog in all the world smacked her head against the chair.   Did she care?  Not at all.  She decided it was part of the game.  I pulled the cat free of her mouth and she looked at me with those deep brown eyes, smiled and did another grab for the tabby toy.

Finally after I got tired of the game I started to toss the toy against the door.  Having to run and having to get the toy back to me slowed the feedback loop down until finally she was done.

An Hour Later.

She really must have needed that hour romp.  Finally, sated, she curled up onto the mat into a Dog Ball (TM) and is resting.

It is hard to say who enjoyed that more, Lettie or Me.

Poang Upgrade – The During

This is the second of the Poang Posts.   Since the first Ikea Poang Chair review I did was so popular I thought I’d do this and break this up into thirds.  Give you Poang Addicts something to read about.

The prior post showed you the before.   Here’s what it looks like during the shift over to the new Poang.  The brown frame is the bentwood frame that you get with all of the Poang Chairs.   The thing is amazingly sturdy, and mine is at this point over 7 months old since I bought it at a Thrift Store.  It looked used before I got it, but the frame was solid.   It has no creaks, no rattles, it is about as sturdy as you can get. 

The dog next to it is 48 pounds, and she likes the chair as well and will climb onto my lap while I’m on it.  That brings it up to about 275 pounds and it hasn’t collapsed yet.   The black fabric on the seat portion is a net that is used to hold the padding in place and give it some support without being hard like a brick.  Next to the chair is the leather seat padding that will replace the old beige flowery stuff that I had before.   Just like the old one, you can unzip the new leather seat and get the padding out so it can be cleaned.  There is a stripe of Velcro that you can see on the chair on the second horizontal bar from the top.  It is black, and it is probably the weakest link of the design.  It holds it in place but I have sat down in the chair and the Velcro has given away.  Not a big problem because at this point, the chair still holds the leather seat in place and I’ve had the new upholstery for about a month now.

Poang Upgrade – The Before

This is a series of three posts.  I had done a review of some sorts on my Poang chair a while back.  It gets hit at least once a week, usually every other day.  Ikea does not host reviews, and as a result there are many sites that will tell you about their products, chapter and verse. 

I was at the first store in the United States on the day that it had opened in Plymouth Meeting, PA.  It was there and then that I had sat in one of these chairs and thought that it was a sturdy and comfortable piece of furniture.  I didn’t know then that it was an iconic piece and wildly popular.  For my body type, it also is probably the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in.  I’m sitting in it now as I write.

You can see the chair here.   I bought the thing at a local thrift store, and it was almost perfect.  It had a worn seat cushion on it, and it still was comfortable.  I have no idea how long it was used before I got to it, but I could have gone on with it for a long time.   What changed was that I had gotten a job and could afford to get the seat to be the one that I really felt was the ideal one for my back. 

The difference being that the seat cover on that one was brown leather and the pillow on that cover was not snapped to the back of the frame of the chair.  You can see the chair in the picture, and to the left is the package of the seat covers on the right.  Simple packaging, and a flat pack as you’d expect from Ikea.   The cushions are firm, but like all will form to your body after a while.   The original cushions are fabric covered which is removable and machine washable, which I did immediately after purchase.  Leather needs to be cleaned by another method of course.   The cushions inside were of a foam rubber, and there are many options to replacing those as time and your use takes its ravages on them.

What it didn’t do was to make the pattern any less odd looking, and I really did want the leather ones.   The whole process of the upgrade took all of 10 minutes, most of that time being involved in taking pictures of the thing.