I’m losing to the one-armed paper hanger

Yep, I’ve been AWOL. A lot of stuff has been going on. This will almost be a Report from the OP, but it’s going to focus on more personal things.

A report on the grandThings. They continue to be healthy and happy…-ish. Thing 1 is usually in a good mood, but she has been clingy for the last couple of days. Thing 2, who looks to have picked up at least strawberry blonde hair, has been demonstrating his temper the last couple of days and is also clingy. Normally his temper is better, but he is something of a Jekel-and-Hyde sort. Fine for a few days then “WTF, over?” We’re going to have to work on that kid or he’s going to be troublesome as he gets older. Mrs. Freeholder disagrees, but she didn’t date redheads when she was younger. The family doesn’t need the male version of that. Fortunately, Daughter mostly agrees. We’re trying tone of voice on him. It’s really the only tool you have when they’re very young.

A small miracle occured. I found a used mini lathe for my second favorite price–cheap. You don’t see these for sale around here often, and I was lucky to have been the first in line for it. I had to drive 2 hours to get it, but it was still worth it. It needs to be disassembled, properly cleaned and adjusted. The previous owner had used it a bit but had problems turning out the work he wanted. Looking at the lathe, I know why. These little Chinese lathes are best thought of as a lathe kit, with the more you spend on them the more finished they are. This one is not an expensive lathe, even by mini-lathe standards, so considerable effort is required before reasonable work can be produced. As far as I can see, he didn’t put it in. It came out of the crate, was mildly cleaned up and then put straight to work. His loss, my gain. As a bonus, it came with a fair amount of tooling.

Of course, there is the inevitable downside. A lathe is good, but there are some things you can’t do on a lathe. A mini mill is required. I’m hoping for a used one, but I’m not betting on lightening striking twice.

Then this fell into my lap, sorta. It’s an Elecraft K3 transceiver. I was online with some of the folks in one of my ham radio clubs, and while talking was looking through the QRZ sale ads and found this and showed it to the group.

You have to bear in mind that this club is motivated by a group I call the “Elecraft Mafia”. These guys are all contesters and all own a stack of Elecraft gear. Nice gear–Cadillac, really–but not something I ever aspired to. However, this one was only a little over-priced according to them and I had enough money in the right part of the budget, so I put in an offer with the seller at the price they suggested. He turned me down, so I thanked him and moved along. A few days later came the “Are you still interested?” message. Yes, yes, I was. So, I drove down to upstate South Carolina and brought it home. It’s a very well-cared for rig and has a lot of options, like the automatic antenna tuner and a full complement of filters. For what I paid for it, I feel like I got a good deal.

To help pay for it, I’m going to sell 2 of my existing transceivers. Four transceivers are two too many in my way of thinking. I’m keeping the best of the three and advertising the other two. The good news is that the sale will almost totally pay for this (fingers crossed), so I’m good with the sale.

However, again we have that inevitable downside. In this case, it means a complete disassembly of the station as it is and reassembling it into a new configuration. At least I can hook up that expensive linear amp I bought a while back–after I run the new 220v circuit for it. Priced 10-3 electrical wire lately? Ouch.

The John Deere lawn tractor has broken down AGAIN. Fourth breakdown in four years, and all of them expensive repairs. “Nothing runs like a Deere”–ri-i-i-ght. At least it’s fixed and I’ve gotten it home. After this weekend’s rain event I’ll put it through a full test. I’m debating what to do with it. Keep it and hope that it’s going to be OK? Sell it and buy something that isn’t green and yellow and hope that it does better? Hire someone to mow the yard? We’ll see.

In the middle of the month I was sick for 8-9 days. Other than saying it was some sort of upper respiratory infection, I can’t tell you what it was. It really felt like the worst head cold you ever had, but on steroids. Massive sinus drainage, lots of coughing but no fever. Much malaise to be had. It seems to have passed with no lingering effects. I wonder if it could have been a cold and a bad allergy time all at once. I guess I’ll never know.

I’ve had time to get to some long-delayed work in the yard. It isn’t finished by a long shot, but it’s closer than it was. I’m starting to think the advice I got about having more landscaping and less grass was bogus. 50 bales of pine needles and I’m just getting started. Then there’s spraying for weeds, trimming bushes and trees and so on. Paying someone to mow grass and do this stuff looks better and better, except to my wallet.

Mrs. Freeholder has a former teacher friend whose husband recently hung out his shingle as a contractor. He’s been working as a sub for a couple of local builders, but he decided he wanted to build houses under his own brand. As he’s working up to it, he’s doing various renovation-type projects to pay the bills. We’re going to have him put railings and handrails on the front porch. By code, the house should have had them when it was built, but “whatever”. It isn’t like it’s the first code violation I’ve found around here. He should be here next week if we’re lucky, the week after if not.

That’s about it. All that and about 6 hours of sleep a night is what I’ve been doing. A Report from the OP should follow soon. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and be sure to give a thought to the fallen who paid the bill for us to have the freedom we still possess.

3 thoughts on “I’m losing to the one-armed paper hanger

  1. Nice to ‘hear’ from you again. I’m sure the grandThings keep you busy. I think we need to find a hired hand for our place, getting old makes the work much harder and recovery time needed is longer.
    I also had some kind of allergy type event about 3 weeks ago. Never had one before. Runny nose and a cough. Cough has hung on now for weeks.
    Good find on the lathe and transceiver. We check local ads, lots of free things come up and some cheap stuff too.

  2. What is the purpose of the pine needles? Mulch? Kill the grass? I have no experience with landscaping or decorative plants, and we never mulch.

    1. The pine needles are for mulch. I have landscape fabric around everything, so after a few years, you have to pull out the compost they’ve become. It’s rather acidic, but the soil around here is naturally acidic, so no big problem. This is a year that I’m pulling compost, so that slows things down. I also have to spray glyphosate to kill things that want to grow in areas where I don’t want them. I’ve gotten very good at spot spraying. Big thing there is to have a very good sprayer.

      I like the idea of hiring things done, but that has to balance with the cash flow. Not easy.

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