Archive for the ‘Green Tea Break’ category

Why a tiny home?

April 2nd, 2020

Towards the end of 2018 I started looking into the potential purchase of a tiny home. I decided to go with a tiny home for a number of different reasons.

I rarely travel. Tiny homes are mobile, though, not nearly as mobile as R.V.’s.

I don’t own property. Rent at R.V. parks and campgrounds is the most affordable.

I’m not wealthy. At the time of the purchase, I couldn’t afford either a tiny home or an R.V., no less an apartment. Nevertheless, I was able to purchase a trailer with the potential framework of a tiny home. 

From there, I looked towards the future. I thought about the possibility of parking the home on a small plot of land. However, as I write this article today, that possibility looks less and less likely.

Many areas have strict zoning laws, restricting what an individual is aloud to keep on his or her own land. Finding a suitable plot of land might be difficult.

Property prices have been rising, and rising quickly. The current cost of land is a major hurdle to overcome.

Tiny homes are often pet friendly. I have an older cat and wanted her to have a decent living environment. 

Originally, I learnt about tiny homes back in 2016 via HGTV. They seemed interesting, unique, and an inexpensive way to own a home. In some cases, the only way to own a home, during an era where those on fixed incomes and the working poor have been forgotten or simply dismissed.

I started doing additional research online. I watched videos and visited different websites geared towards tiny homes. Those websites along with HGTV offered plenty of inspiring ideas.

Within a few months of owing the trailer, I started building the interior. With each day of work, the idea of a tiny home instilled a greater impression. They are very customizable. They’re a blank canvas with endless possibilities.

Even though they are tiny in size, with a little creativity, they don’t always feel tiny. A table that slides under a counter, when not in use, offers additional space to the living area. Stairs that double as storage and fold away furniture are a few other ways to turn a small space into a larger space.

Moreover, tiny homes allow their owners to live off grid. Solar systems have become very affordable, if designed properly. They can provide power at any time, at any place.

Rainwater harvesting systems are available to collect and store water in certain areas. In other areas, a combination of water storage tanks and water filters provide clean drinking water for many months.

The footprint of a tiny home is very environmentally friendly. Composting toilets turn waste into mulch and recycled materials are available to use as building supplies.

The tiny home I’m building still has a long ways to go before it’s finished. I’m on a limited budget. Yet, with each year that passes, I’m able to make a few upgrades.

Even at it’s current stage, it is now very livable. If all goes according to plan, by the end of the year, the trailer should have another round of minor improvements. Then, next year, the same. Eventually, this trailer should have some semblance of a tiny home.



Additional Information: The idea for a slide out table was from the following YouTube video: Living the Vanlife as Digital Nomads in a VW Westfalia.

Questions To Think About, Without The Answers

January 20th, 2020

Once in a while I’ll ask myself a few of the following questions. Sometimes, when I want something different or good to think about. Other times to remind me of old memories. A few of the questions and answers help keep me grounded. A few require a tremendous amount of honesty on the part of the person answering the question.

You’re welcome to post the answers in the comments section. I usually answer most of them to myself. A few of the less personal questions I’ll answer on my personal computer or a notepad.

  • If you could give a visitor to your town or city one cool (free) place to go within the area, where would you tell them to go and why?
  • What are your personal seven wonders of the world (not including family, friends and pets)? For instance, different items you might own or the joy of a cup of coffee in the morning, ect.
  • How many things were you taught in grade school that turned out to be false?
  • Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, let’s say for arguments sake, there was someone you had to answer to after death in order to get to a good place. What questions do you think they’d ask? What answers would you give? What are the thing’s you’d want to emphasize?
  • Whats your list of coulda shoulda woulda’s and what can you do today to ensure you don’t have that list tomorrow?
  • Of all the fights and arguments you’ve been in during your life, how many have you started? How many did the other person start? How many were a result of a mutual disagreement?
  • What things do you think about the most? For instance, Women, Cars, Food, Finances, ect.
  • Of all the things you’ve owned, that you don’t own anymore, what are the item’s, if any, you would like to still own?
  • If you’re over forty, how many teachers do you remember from High School, and why do you remember them?
  • What are some of the things you want to take to your grave? Not material items. Memories you’ve made. Things you’ve done. Even things you haven’t done, that you’re glad you didn’t.
  • Whats the most important life lesson or bit of knowledge you’ve ever been given?
  • When is it ok to tell a lie?
  • If you could pay a dollar per television channel and pick the channels to watch, in what order would you pick the channels?
  • If you were president, what would be your priority list of things to get done?
  • If you were your own worst critic, what are the things you feel you’d need to improve upon? Which instances draw your harshest criticism?
  • Do you remember any of the wishes you’ve made during your life? How many have come true, if any?
  • What types of things are you good at naturally, without much instruction?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  • What are the top five greatest moments of your life?

Good Habits

January 2nd, 2020
  • Try not to keep pools / puddles of water in the yard or inside the home. They’re breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Before going to bed, put a pair socks in your sneakers. They might keep spiders and other bugs out of them.
  • It’s easy to put an item, such as a cup of coffee, a laptop, or a bag, temporally on the roof a car while getting in. However, it’s equally as easy to forget these items on the roof. Eventually, most people forget the item. The driver drives away, and the item(s) fall off the car. It’s a good habit to temporally place the item(s) on the ground.
  • Keep a daily journal.
  • Use recycled batteries. They save money, resources and trips to the store.
  • Don’t store batteries in a utility / junk draw that might have miscellaneous papers. If both the positive and negative sides touch something metal, such as a key chain, that might cause a spark and start a fire.
  • When using an extension cord, put the connections on top of something that is slightly off the ground. This way if water spills near the connection, there isn’t any chance of electrocution.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • As soon as the tread on a car’s tires starts getting low, purchase new tires. Tires with worn tread don’t stop well in the rain. Many people don’t realize their lack of traction and then get into an accident.
  • When saving a document to a computer, put the date at the end of the file name (filename-2019-12-07.xls). This creates a new file every time the document is saved and allows the user to see the changes they made to the document. Though, it’s very important to open the newest file each time the document is opened.
  • Let food cool off before starting to eat. Taking a bite out of a meal that’s to hot might cause a person chew faster and swallow faster, resulting in bites that are to large to swallow, causing a person to choke. Taking smaller bites might also be a good idea.
  • Check twice for motorcycles. Watch out for animals and pedestrians. When checking a cars blind spot, it’s important to keep a safe distance from any vehicle(s) a driver might be following, especially, in traffic situations and when entering a highway. If the vehicle in front stops quickly, while the drivers head is turned, there is a good chance of a fender bender.
  • Recycle and reuse anything that could possibly be recycled and reused.
  • Be wary of companies that have expensive video surveillance systems inside their business, but none in the parking lot. That might say the company could afford a surveillance system for the parking lot, but chose not to have the system installed. That also might say the company doesn’t prioritize their customers belongings and their employees safety, especially for those employees who work early and late hours.
  • It’s usually a good idea to remove a necklaces with a long thin medallion or pendant while playing sports. If the pendant part of the neckless jumbles around under a person’s shirt, enough to press the long end against their chest, and a ball hits the pendant, a serious injury could incur.
  • When leaving a house, apartment, condo, etc, it’s a good idea to lock the door from the outside with the key. If a person locks the door from the inside, via the nob, and closes it on their way out, they might forget the key. Then, they’ll get locked out.

Quote of the Day

January 2nd, 2020

“If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the right answers. If you ask the left questions, you’ll get the left answers.” – George Farina

Throwback Thursday: Abbott & Costello Who’s On First

January 24th, 2019
One of the all time great comedy routines. Abbott & Costello: Who’s On First

The Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

January 4th, 2019

The Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

I heard the question asked, “If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self.” I think it was from a movie. Though, I can’t remember for sure. After doing a quick search, I found a number of articles and posts asking the same question.

I don’t think there is a single piece of advice that would have made a real difference in my life. However, there are some things that probably would have improved it to some degree. Below, I detailed the advice I’d give my 18-year-old self (I’m in my 40’s).

  • You’re gonna get laid! I promise. (That should ease quite a bit of stress from my mind.)
  • Keep a daily journal. Write down the things you want to remember, especially the good times. In 25 years from now, there are many things you won’t remember. You’ll be able to go back and read about them. They’ll jog your memory and bring a smile to your face.
  • You have decent instincts, try not to compromise them as you get older.
  • Good friends are difficult to replace. Keep in touch with the people who look out for you and make life enjoyable. This is an area where you shouldn’t compromise your instincts. You know the difference between the decent people you’ve known and people that aren’t as decent.
  • Obviously, I know how much you enjoy the sport of baseball. I also know (as do you by this time) that making the majors wasn’t in the cards. There are hundreds of different career opportunities related to the sport. Stats become an extremely important part of the game. That might be something to look into. There are equipment manufacturers, minor league teams, and different softball leagues just to name a few. If that is something you decide to peruse, there are plenty of options. Life often presents multiple ways to achieve the same goal. However, those options aren’t always known.
  • Hold on to the items that have the most sentimental value. They are the most difficult to replace and provide memories much more valuable than their material value.
  • Life is long and sometimes very painful. You’re going to have many years where you’re simply not happy with the way life turned out. There isn’t anything I can say or do to prevent that. Live spontaneous, but don’t disregard the length of life.  A five-year period of misery, feels like a 100 years. And a five-year span of the best years of a person’s life, flies by in what feels like a moment. Enjoy the moment. Remember the good times. And to reiterate, keep a journal. During the times that aren’t as good, you’ll have that to remind you of the good times.
  • Create options for yourself. Try going to trade school. There are hundreds of different trades a person could learn. One day technology will take away many jobs. Learning a trade, such as working with metals, automobiles, ect, will be very valuable. Once you learn a trade, you’ll always be able to fall back on that skill if needed.
  • Another way to create options is to purchase a small piece of land at a young age. Look for something with liberal zoning laws. The cost to keep the land will be minimal. That piece of land will ensure you’ll always have a place to stay if ever needed later in life.
  • You’re stubborn. Very freakin stubborn. Even though most might disagree, I still don’t feel it’s a bad trait. I look at it as determination rather than stubbornness. With that said, there are times in your life where you probably could be a little less stubborn.
  • Cardio! This is something you know you should do while at the gym. Though, not till you get much older, do you dedicate time to cardio. Cardio is a great benefit. Try mixing it up a bit. One day use the treadmill, the next use the exercise bike. Try to do at least a mile or two for five days a week.
  • When you take longish trips, leave early. Take the scenic route. The country offers incredible views and attractions. However, most of them can’t be seen from the highway. You live a very fast life. Often ensuring you get to different places via the fastest possible route. Sometimes it’s good to slow down and take the scenic route.
  • Last and certainly not least, life has many unexpected twists and turns. Things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes they’re worse and sometimes they’re better.


There are probably many other things I could tell you, but that might take away from the actual experience of living your own life. You only get one life. Live it the best way you can.

Finances and Stress

November 6th, 2018

Difficult financial situations are often a cause of stress. Especially for those who have others relying on them financially. In some cases the burden of difficult financial situations can be avoided.

I’ve always tried to live a spontaneous fun-loving life. I’ve always felt like that type of life was the most enjoyable and memorable. A life where sometimes a person may spend money they don’t have. I’ve done that plenty of times. Sometimes I’ve paid for it later, though the memory was usually worth the financial irresponsibility (within reason). I know that’s not always the best-case scenario for everyone. Especially, if a person has others relying on them financially.

Honestly, with financial responsibility, a person(s) may be able to enjoy more spontaneous fun-loving moments than without. Keeping a close eye on finances usually improves the quality of a persons’ life. Being financially secure provides security and a piece of mind.

Though, working with finances does take time and dedication. It also takes thought and decision making.

Finances can be complicated. Debits, credits, capital, gross income, net income, expenses, revenue, food costs, rent, bills, bills, bills, bills …. the list goes on and on and on and on.

If simplified, a persons finances don’t necessarily have to be as complicated. Breaking down purchases to the cost per day might provide a simpler perspective. Finances may become easier to understand, remember and adjust. Things that might seem like nominal expenses, when combined with the cost of all the items for an entire day, might not seem as nominal. The smallest adjustments made on a daily basis might turn into larger savings by the end of the month.

Additionally, purchase prices can be compared to the amount earned on a daily basis. A simplified approach to finances might provide the best data to allow informed financial decisions.

The below spreadsheet is designed to simplify expenses and income. It’s designed to give the user a look at the amounts being spent and earned each day. It’s intended to make examining finances a bit easier.

This spreadsheet is a variation of a spreadsheet I designed for my own personal finances. Though, I’ve changed the numbers and items. Plus, I’ve only entered data for part of a month. As a result, the prices and dates might not make sense. It’s designed to be modified by the end-user. The spreadsheet can be downloaded either via clicking on the image or via the link at the end of this post.

Simplified Expenses and Income Spreadsheet

Simplified Expenses and Income Spreadsheet

The above spreadsheet is fairly self explanatory. Though, there are some things that might not be recognizable just by looking at the sheet.

Starting from the top left:
Fixed Expenses: These are items a person pays the same amount for every month. That amount is taken and divided by the number of days in the month. The result is the cost of the expense per day.

Assets / Misc Purchases: The assets and misc. purchases are located under the fixed expenses. These are additional items purchased each month that are not fixed expenses or food items. If I purchased a book or batteries, I’ll add them to this section. If a larger purchase is made, the cost could be broken down over multiple months. If the money used for the purchase came from a savings account or money specifically saved for the item, it probably wouldn’t hurt to leave it off the list. That depends on the individual and how they want to view their finances.

Food / Misc.: At the top of the Food / Misc section I listed the food items a person uses everyday. Things like coffee, water, vitamins, paper towels, tp, shampoo, soap, ect. During past months, I figured out the average cost of the items. Sometimes the cost may go up or down depending on usage. Adjustments can be made if necessary.

Below the everyday items, I list the items purchased at the store. I enter the item name, the date purchased and the cost. I get that information from the receipt.

This part is important. When an item is finished, I go back to the spreadsheet and enter the number of days the item was used in the following field (Column E). Then, in the next field (column F) divide the cost by that number. The result gives the user the cost of the item per day.

Lastly, I enter the actual day(s) (column G) the item was used. For instance if I purchased a can of soup and ate it on the 8th, I’d enter the 8th in this column (we’re going to come back to the day(s) the items was use in the next section).

Top Right
Cost / Income Per Day: This is the section that shows how much a person is spending per day compared to how much they earn per day. I entered a sample fixed income amount (detailed below). The income should be adjusted based on the individuals monthly income.

On the sample spreadsheet the data in the last field (column N) shows a spending deficit for December 2nd and 3rd. The deficit is lowered during the next couple days. Going forward the goal should be to acquire a surplus until the spending is in line with the income.

The below information details how to acquire the amount shown in the “Difference” field.

This section of the spreadsheet is where it gets slightly complicated. The formulas accumulate the data from the previously mentioned sections. I’ve added a short video to the bottom of this post showing how the numbers are compiled.

At the end of each day, before I go to bed, I simply type the date in the first field (under Cost Per Day / Income, column I) where it says date. Then I’ll highlight the second field (under food, column J). Once that field is highlighted, I’ll go to the formulas tab and click on Autosum.

Next, I’ll scroll down to the Food / Misc. section (the lightly greyed out area) and highlight the field for the first item under the cost per day field (F-27). In this case it’s the amount spent on coffee ($0.42). Once it’s highlighted, I press the comma key and go to the next item under cost per day (Creamer – 0.81), then press the comma.

I’ll go down the list and click on the cost for each item I used that day. Sometimes I might have to go back towards the end of the month and add additional items for a specific day. For instance, if I purchased chips and wasn’t able to calculate the cost per day because they weren’t finished. When I finished the bag, I enter the days they were used and add that field to the calculation of the cost per day / income section of the sheet.

Remember not to click on fields that were already accounted for in the light grey section. On this spreadsheet I highlighted them in dark grey. After highlighting the last amount, press the return key.

Then, I go back up to the Cost Per Day / Income and click on the “Fixed” field for that specific day. I’d do the same thing as detailed above for the amounts listed in the “Fixed Expenses”.

Finally, I go back to the Cost Per Day / Income and do the same thing for “Assets / Misc.” section.

In the next field under Cost Per Day / Income (the income field – Column M). I simply divide the amount earned each month by the number of days in the month. The result shows how much is earned per day.

Now for the most important field on the sheet (The “Difference” field – Column N): The formula in the difference field simply subtracts the expenses per day from the income per day. This section will show how much is either over spent or saved per day compared to the amount made per day. The result provides the information needed to improve a persons financial situation.

The spreadsheet can be downloaded by clicking here. In addition, at the bottom of this post I included a short video detailing how the spreadsheet was created.

Breaking down expenses and income to the amount(s) spent and earned for a specific day is still complicated and time consuming. Especially, if the amounts are being calculated for a number of different people.

However, the spreadsheet has additional advantages. The Food / Misc. section shows how much specific items cost per day. Purchase adjustments could be made on these items to find similar products that might last longer, while still being a quality item.

The spreadsheet could also be used to prevent extra trips to the store. It will show how long a product lasts. Adjustments can be made to either purchase additional quantities or less to maintain a cohesiveness.

The next five paragraphs are possibly the most important paragraphs in this entire post: Even with the most carefully planned spreadsheet, there is always the chance to make an error.

It’s easy to forget to add an expense or enter a number incorrectly, leading to over spending. I’ve made my share of errors in the past. Businesses often have checks and balances, where different people check and double check financial spreadsheets. Individuals, usually only have themselves. We’re all human and makes mistakes.

When a person overspends, runs out of money and has to miss payments on different bills, its not a joke. These situations can negatively effect a persons quality of life.

The goal of this spreadsheet is to provide a better perspective for a persons finances. If it gets someone a little extra money at the end of each month, that’s great. However, the last thing it is intended to do is lead to overspending. And that’s why I included this section.

The more time, effort and thought put into the sheet, the better the outcome. However, it should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s probably best to use common sense, and not use the spreadsheet as the ultimate factor for spending.

Below are a few additional tips I’ve learned, that have improved my finances:

* Making a shopping list and sticking to the list when the budget is tight, usually leads to savings.

I don’t see anything wrong with spending, owning nice things, eating healthy food, if affordable. These things are not always affordable. The days a person spends the most are the days they take a trip to the store. If money is tight, those are the days to be extra cautious and to remember to only purchase the items on the list.

* Take pictures of receipts. Then, either save them on your phone or e-mail them to your computer. This way you’ll always have a record of the items purchased. Sometimes the ink on receipts wears off. A digital copy of the receipt will ensure it is always available.

* Try sites like eBates / Fatwallet. Many shopping centers allow customers to order items online and then pick them up at a specific time and date at the store. If the items are ordered via eBates, a person might obtain additional savings. (I haven’t tried this yet. Though, I do plan on giving one of these sites a try).

Download The Spreadsheet

Surviving The Apocalypse

October 15th, 2018

Being prepared for emergencies is often a necessary part of life, even if the likelihood of a thousand zombies attacking us is slim. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for unknown emergencies.

I’m not an expert in this field. Though, I do try to stay prepared. I figure, at the very least this post might inspire others to ensure they are prepared for emergency situations.

With that said, there are certain items I feel are important to have in case of an emergency. Others are a bit more luxurious. And a few of the items mentioned in this post are geared towards long term off grid survival as well.

I wanted to be thorough. We’re all different and have different needs. Below I listed all the things I could think of that might be useful in case of an emergency. If I missed any items necessary for survival, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments section below.

Water
The most important item for survival is water. I’ve read about plenty of different approaches to insuring fresh water is available if needed. Given the importance of water, this is probably an area where additional research should be done.

I choose to store glass containers of water in a safe and cool area. These are the glass bottles / containers of water that can be purchased at most local supermarkets. My theory is that the glass bottles won’t leak if stored for an extended period of time. Plus, their caps seem to have the tightest seals.

If earthquakes are a potential hazard, additional measures should be taken to ensure the glass bottles don’t break if jarred.

Adding a Brita type water filter to the emergency supplies should provide additional options for water consumption. If worst comes to worst, they could be used to filter river water or harvested rain water.

Food
Next would be food. Many types of canned foods can last years. Canned beans, soup, veggies and even canned pasta might be beneficial. Both Peanut Putter and Oodles and Noodles are inexpensive food items that can easily be stored.

Another great food item to store for emergencies is rice. A large bag of rice could last years in storage. Rice is inexpensive, tastes good and is filling.

MRE’s (Military Ready To Eat Meals) are designed for survival situations. They don’t need to be refrigerated. Plus, a verity of different types of meals are available for purchase. MRE’s are complete meals and they can pack on the calories. A single MRE meal could provide me with enough food for the entire day. Not to mention, the cool factor that comes with eating a meal designed for the Military.

The simple emergency preparations for food and water detailed above could keep a person alive for months. Given their importance, keeping food and water in an air tight / water proof storage bin might be a good idea. Don’t forget to check the supplies every once in a while to ensure expiration dates are still valid.

Cooking
Having the proper tools to prepare meals in emergency situations is often overlooked. Chances are even with the most basic emergency situation, the kitchen stove won’t be available.

Keeping a grill with a few propane canisters would probably be the best alternative to an actual stove. For the most part they are fairly common and usually can be kept on a patio or in a garage.

Bio Fuel Cans are another great option for cooking. Bio fuel cans are inexpensive. They can cook multiple meals and are very small, making them easy to store and / or transport. They’ll fit in the glove compartment of most cars. They are simple to use and do a good job heating food. Each Bio Fuel can cook up to ten different meals.

Additionally, it might be a good idea to keep a small tabletop electric burner. Many are reasonably priced and would probably work with a medium sized generator or solar panel system. They’re also small and easy to store.

Most food items can be cooked over a campfire. A few pieces of wood, starter fluid / WD40 and matches would provide the least expensive and most adventuress cooking option.

Cooking Utensils and Supplies
It wouldn’t hurt to keep a small pot in with the emergency supplies. In situations where space is an issue, a smaller pot would be ideal.

Paper Towels: Paper towels are one of those items that are always good to have around. In emergency situations, cleanliness is often extremely important.

Additional Emergency Supplies (these are not in any particular order)
First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is something everyone should have available at all times. However, during an emergency they are especially valuable.

Swiss Army Knife: The Swiss Army Knife is probably my favorite of all the survival items listed. I’ve owned a Swiss Army Knife since I was a kid. I can’t even begin to name the hundreds of different ways I’ve used my knife over the years. Though, for starters it will open cans of food. That’s fairly important. Most Swiss Army Knives can be used for scaling fish, as a screw driver, as scissors and of course as a knife. They’re compact, light and easy to carry.

Matches / Lighter: Both matches and a lighter are great to keep with the emergency supplies. I’d throw them in a couple ziploc bags to ensure they stay dry.

Fishing Pole: The thing about emergencies is they are unpredictable and usually present different situations and scenarios. Being able to fish for food at no cost is a good option to have available. A compact travel fishing pole is probably best for worst case emergencies. It can be thrown in a duffel bag, car, and even carried via bicycle without issue. A few fishing lures would be good supplementary items.

Tent: A tent is one of those things that makes me feel much better knowing I have it around. They’re relatively inexpensive and can be thrown in the trunk of a car if required. A tent is a roof. A roof over a persons head is always a good thing. Like the saying goes, prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best. Best case scenario is the tent isn’t needed for an emergency, but used for an enjoyable weekend of camping.

ZipLoc Bags: There is only one sure way to keep food safe and that is inside a zip lock bag. Large zip lock bags are great for small bits of trash as well. They’ll prevent odor and keep ants away. If I’m gonna be out in a storm, I’ll throw my phone inside a zip lock bag to ensure it stays dry.

Duck Tape: This is another one of my favorite items on the list. I’d imagine an entire post could be written just on the different uses for duck tape in an emergency situation.

Extra socks and undies: If careful, a person can go many days wearing only a couple pairs of jeans and shirts without having to wash them. Undies and socks, not so much. That’s why its always nice to have extra clean undies and socks around.

A To Go Bag: A small / light duffel bag filled with only the most important essential items. Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, and shampoo might be a few good items to keep in the bag. Something that could be grabbed in a hurry if needed.

Tarps: Tarps are great to have available. Like many of the items listed, they have a seemingly endless amount of uses. However, I’d imagine the most valuable use for a tarp would be as a shelter. Combined with rope, (listed below) they can be made into a temporary shelter.

Zip Ties: Over the years I’ve realized the value of zip ties. They are inexpensive and often the solution to unexpected problems.

Poncho / Umbrella: During emergencies a change of cloths isn’t always available. In those types of situations, staying dry becomes an important element to staying healthy. Staying healthy is important to survival.

Purell: Purell is a valuable weapon in the fight against germs. It’s inexpensive and has the potential to save water.

Solar Panel System: Keeping a complete solar panel system for emergency situations might be a bit much. However, it’s not a bad idea. Many places offer solar panel kits that are small enough to keep in storage, but still have the ability to provide decent power. Fridges, stove tops, lights, rechargeable batteries and phones are items that many solar panel kits are able to power.

Generator: A generator is another option for electricity in emergency situations. Keeping a generator for basic power outages might be a little much. However, I’d imagine a generator would be quite cool to have around during hurricanes and extended emergencies.

Rechargeable batteries: In general rechargeable batteries are always good to keep at home. They save money and preserve the environment. Much like many of the items listed, its not difficult to find a use for batteries in dire circumstances. Batteries can be used in everything from flash lights to small appliances.

Lighting: Flashlights and candles are both great options for lighting. Flashlights are especially valuable when combined with rechargeable batteries.

Rope: Rope can be used with a tarp to create a temporary shelter. That should be reason enough to keep about 50ft of rope in with the emergency supplies. Additionally, during hurricanes rope can be used to secure outdoor items from being blown away.

Jacket / Coat: Depending on a persons location, a jacket or coat might not be necessary. Although, in the event where relocating to a different climate is an absolute necessity, a jacket or coat might be the difference between life and death for those needing to relocate to a colder climate.

Cooler: A cooler can serve many different purposes. With a bit of ice, they’ll keep food fresh for a couple days. They can also be used for storage and as a table. I’ve even seen coolers turned into air conditioners with the addition of a battery operated fan and Ice.

Large Garbage Bags: Multi purpose items like large garbage bags are always good to keep with the supplies. If a storm causes a leak in the roof, garbage bags can be used to keep medium sized belongings dry.

Books: Boredom can be an issue during extended emergency situations. Having a few unread books available probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. A book titled Far From Perfect was featured in a previous Green Tea Break post. Far From Perfect may be the perfect remedy during an emergency situation.

*As noted in the “About” section, a few posts might contain affiliate links. I only post links to items I feel are either of substantial quality, use, or provide great value. These are items I have either used myself or would use myself. However, I’ve noticed after adding links to posts, a few Amazon items increased dramatically in price. I do try to make adjustments as needed. Though, I don’t continually check each link. Please be sure to use diligence before making any purchase.

Metal Detecting: One Of The Simpler Things In Life

October 4th, 2018

Garrett Ace 350 Metal Detector
Image via Amazon.com

I grew up on a dead-end street in a very old north eastern town. Long before the town was established early settlers and Indians roamed the land. At the end of my street was a dirt road leading deep into a state forest. Much of it only accessible via atv. A few hundred meters up the dirt road, hidden in the woods, and off to the side was an old foundation.

Truthfully, to me, at that age, it looked more like a deep hole in the ground with a bunch of rocks around the edges. I didn’t think much of it. I was young, naive and didn’t know much about much. As I grew a little older I found an old Buffalo Nickel on the dirt road. I probably kicked it up while riding a bike over the dirt. I thought finding that nickel was cool. It could have fell out of a stage coach as it was riding through the road back in the day.

I lived on that dead-end street in the 1980’s. I knew about metal detectors. However, they weren’t nearly as popular as they are today. Nor was the technology as advanced as the technology found in today’s metal detectors. Plus, I didn’t know enough to get one and bring it up to the old foundation.

In the early days of settlement, I’d imagine most people buried jars of coins as a normal security measure. With a good metal detector, who knows what I might have uncovered. Eventually, I moved away. Though I kept the memories of the foundation and coin.

Fast forward almost thirty years later. I lived many many hundreds of miles away from that dirt road. I was much older and just married. It’s the first day of our honeymoon and we’re chilling at the beach. I’m wearing a brand-new shinny wedding ring. The weather is great, and I can’t wait to get in the water. I enter the ocean and dive under. As I do I watch my wedding ring fly off my finger, sink to the bottom of the ocean and disappear into the sand.

After freaking. Then thoroughly searching the entire area, the ring couldn’t be found. Neither my wife at the time, nor I knew what to do. We kind of both stood there, not wanting to leave the spot, while knowing the chances of finding it were slim. As we stood in the ocean, I looked down the beach. There was an older man in the water with a metal detector. The second I saw him I knew he’d be the best chance we had to find the ring.

We called him over and explained what happened. He walked over near where I was standing and waved his metal detector a few times just above the sand. He stopped. Reached down with a scoop and scooped up a bunch of sand. He sifted it through his scooper. I watched the sand fall back into the ocean. Then, presto. At the bottom of his scoop sat my wedding ring. He found it a few feet from where we were looking. He saved our entire honeymoon. We graciously thanked him and offered him money. He wouldn’t accept the money and went on his way.

After that day, I started thinking about the old foundation and metal detectors. I researched them on line. They had become extremely popular. And the technology was quite impressive. Many were able to be completely submerged under water and could detect metal buried deep in the ground.

I purchased a metal detector. It was completely submersible and very cool. Even though I looked at it mostly as a hobby, I couldn’t wait to get to the beach. I thought about the different cool trinkets I might find. The first year or so I was able to make it to the beach a bunch of times. I’d search in the water, the sand and near the docks, while the wife got some sun. I’d spend almost the entire time looking for different trinkets and treasures.

Though, due to many of life’s struggles I was only able to make it to the beach with the metal detector a few additional times during the next ten years. During that span I owned two different metal detectors. The first one I purchased was a Fisher 1280x Aquanaut.

The Fisher was a great metal detector. It never gave me problems and I found it to be durable. I felt it exceeded expectations for its price point. Unfortunately, I didn’t own the 1280x Aquanaut very long. Due to reasons not related to the metal detector, I had to sell it.

Eventually, I was able to get another metal detector. I got the Garrett Ace 350. This is a great metal detector in every way, shape, and form. It is partially submersible. It is extremely efficient and could detect even the deepest of objects. Not to mention, it is extremely modestly priced.

The few times I was able to go detecting, I didn’t find any items with a monetary value. I mostly went to beaches that were thoroughly searched by various metal detector enthusiasts. Plus, most days I was only able to stay a few hours. However, I did find the time spent at the beach valuable. I always enjoyed searching in the ocean, digging up bottle caps along with the occasional coin. It provided an interesting and trouble-free way to spend time. I still have a Garrett Ace 350. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll come across another ancient foundation. This time I won’t let the opportunity slip away.

Mid Week Break – RC Car Race

August 8th, 2018