Is someone Phishing?

August 31, 2019

Had a strange call from my Mom about some one calling her about a reference I supposedly made and who owned/lived at my address.  Mom did not give out to much info but she did verify my first name and that I am her daughter during the call.  I don’t think the call is not that nefarious other than the person making the call was pfishing  awkwardly for info about me and my home.  But I don’t know that person. Nor did that person leave a name and number with my Mom for me to contact him/her.

Now I don’t try to hide my identity on line but I don’t do facebook and/or twitter sharing my entire life online.  The first place these scammer go for personal information is social media.  Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google itself stores and sells all of the data you give them and shares that data with each other and anyone who will pay for that data. I’m sure you get scam/robocalls on your cell phone at least a couple times per week, empty voice mails, text messages etc.

Many people got wise about the Robo-calls spoofing phone numbers with out of state area codes. So the Robo-callers spoof you by using your local area codes.  It is a lot harder to not answer the phone for local calls. The scammers also prey upon your feeling to help a person.  I bet you have received a call asking for Robert or Mary and if you are not named Robert or Mary they say perhaps “you” could help them….  This scam does work with some people because it happens all the time.  These scammers have computers auto dialing random phone numbers 24/7/365. All they need is 1-5% of 330 million USA population to make the scam is profitable.

What can you do to stop this nonsense?

  1. Stop sharing private info on social media platforms.
  2. Keep your private family groups protected.  Much like STD’s. Sharing info with friends on social media means you share all of your info with “friends” who share all of their info on social media.
  3. Never give out your cell phone number:  This number has become the “tracking device” of the social media mob.  If you need a cell phone # to sign up  to a site that is a big RED FLAG to check what you are signing up for….
  4. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number.  The robo callers are getting smarter as they wait for a vocal response.  Be quiet for 5-10 seconds after you “pick up” the call.
  5. Use a search engine to check out the call.  If it is a business you want info from, the search engine should give you some sort of feedback even if they don’t  have a webpage. Honestly if a business is not on a search engine that is a big RED FLAG!
  6. You are not required to be nice, helpful or even answer a phone call.  If you want to interact with these idiot robo callers always ask for a callback number or ask to speak with the lead/manager/supervisor.  I’m guessing these robo callers or the computer dialers create a list of phone numbers not to call.
  7. Watch your language:  Never say “yes” to these sort of call as they will use that as an acceptance of the scam they are running.  Some might threaten a lawsuit and getting a lawyer for simple stupid shit will cost you money.  Hello should be safe and if the call is BS just hang up/end the call.
  8. Always ask for a name and call back number if you answer a robocall.  Never give your name or information over the phone to anyone you can’t verify.

I know many people run business over the web and you are promoting your products via social media.  This post is for just an average person on the web trying to be safe and protect some of their personal data.


Yard cleanup, fire starters and kindling OH MY

August 26, 2019

I’m getting leaves on the ground along with apples and walnuts.  Keeping the apples and walnuts cleaned up is critical for me as I always find those gifts and either a twist my ankle or end up with Apple goo on my shoes.  Neither outcome is what I consider positive.  The B&D air sweeper/ blower worked well blowing the leaf materiel into a pile, without blowing away the mulch. After that quick blow of the air sweeper it was easy to rake up the heavier stuff and toss it in the garbage.   Speaking of tools Mom and I are trading my B&D 20 volt weed eater for her 18 volt Ryobi. Mom doesn’t feel comfortable using the Ryobi,  based on the tools larger size and over all bulk. I’ll let Mom tryout my smaller/lighter B&D and see if that tool is more comfortable for her.  I think Mom is going to fall in love with the smaller size of the B&D weed eater.

On to making more fire starters. I had a little bit of leftover wax from last year so I bought four pounds of wax for this years batch of fire starters. I used about 1.5-2 pounds to make 120 individual fire starters.  I use 1 fire starter a day in my wood stove. Theoretically 120 fire starters should last about 4 months or from about mid October to February of next year.  Of course things seldom work out as perfectly as the theory says it should and I’m making the fire starters for mom and myself this year.  Mom is bringing some of her extra egg cartons to make more fire starters so that the both of us have at least a couple of months worth on hand this heating season.  Honestly I see my fire starters as a thing to get a fire started fast to warm up the house as quick as possible, rather than a “It would be nice to have a fire tonight” sort of thing.  For that sort of fire I’ll be using newspaper to start that type of fire.

The kindling box or should I say that “Freaking Huge Kindling” box?  I did about 30 minutes of chopping and I managed to fill the bottom of the box about one layer thick of kindling.  That was a little discouraging but I’m glad I gave my self a time limit as I have not chopped wood for almost 2 months and my muscles are out of practice.  I had a little muscle tremor when I was finished with that job.  While my muscles were challenged  by cutting kindling. The Dremel tool and stone sharpening of the axe and hatchet worked great.  If you buy a cheap axe/hatchet like I did the Dremel tools does a great job of putting a better edge on a tool without heating up the steel that might change it’s “temper”.  Yes, I still needed to use the stone to clean up the edge but the Dremel made getting that basic “cutting edge” faster and easier for me.  I have a lopper that crushes rather than cuts. I think the Dremel might put a good edge on that tool.  I want to learn how to maintain those yard cutting tools and make them better at the job.  I don’t remember who said it but there is a quote about someone given a job to cut down a large tree in 6 hours and the first 4 hours he spent sharpening the axe/saw.


Catching up this weekend

August 24, 2019

I catching up on my weekly household clean up schedule that went to crap when I hurt my back.  I still have to get the kitchen mopped and cupboards wiped done Sunday.  Overall it feels like I’m back on my house cleaning schedule.

Using the new washer is strange because I’m washing relatively small loads in a huge tub.  I doubt I have washed a load of laundry that fills the new washer tub more than 1/3 full.  That feels odd because I was taught to do full loads of laundry so you did not waste water.  Now I cant even set the water level on the new washer!  I know there can be a lot of hate for new appliances.  Gosh I was one of haters or at least darn dubious about most of the new technology but after using the washer the last couple of weeks I do have a few good things to say about this washer.

  1. My clothes are cleaner:  I had a few color t-shirts that had grease stains that did not get pre-treated and got “set” via the dryer.  Most of those stains have disappeared.
  2. The fabrics feel softer:  I don’t use a fabric softener or dryer sheets. Using the new washer my clothing feels softer to the touch.
  3. My old dryer drys fabrics faster:  With my old washer the spin cycle was okay but was getting less efficient.  It took the dryer about 60-70 minutes to dry a full load of laundry.  With the new washer my old dryer drys the load in about 50 minutes and I’m going to a test setting the dryer at 40 minutes to see if a load of laundry is dry.

So far I’m getting a little pay back with the new washer.  Clear/ stain free clothes. I think I’m using less water but I need a couple of bills to see if the water use has changed.  Big energy impact is less drying time.  An Electric dryer is one of, if not the biggest “energy hogs” in your home.  If you cut your dryers use by 10-20 minutes each week.  That could have a significant impact  on your monthly electric costs.

I’m not sure this was the best choice going in debt for a washer. I could have used a laundry mat for a couple of months and bought an older refurb washer  for about $300.00 installed debt free.  So far I think I made the correct choice for me. I have already started paying off the debt but I’m sure I’m going to hates seeing the debt bill in the mail. I can pay off the debt in about 6 months so by next year the debt will be gone from the budget.

Debt/credit in and of itself is not evil.  If you use it wisely.  I knew my appliances were getting old and I should have set aside an emergency fund for replacing appliances.  I’m doing that now as some appliances have failed. Do you pay off the debt as quickly as possible or start saving for the “Emergency Fund”?  I don’t have the answers for that question.  All I can provide is what is working for me.

Honestly replacing a large appliance is a bit annoying and takes bit of shuffling money around but it is no hardship for me.  I bought the washer from newegg.com on credit  because I found a sale and I don’t like going to a Laundromat to wash clothes.  So far I’m liking this washer!


Finished up my shopping and firewood

August 22, 2019

I got a lot of bargains in the last couple of weeks, so I stocked up on some snacks and got the big freezer full of beef.  Having a full freezer feels almost as good as having a full wood pile.  I bought another couple of pounds of paraffin wax to make the fire starters.  I wanted a good supply of wax to melt before I started making the fire starters this heating season.

Last heating season The fire starters were an experiment based off some ideas rolling around in my head.  I saw many decorative fire starters that people made that were pretty and smelled wonderful and were to costly for me to use every day.  So I made a cheaper fire starter using an egg carton, wood chips/saw dust and paraffin  wax.  What do you know it worked!  Now these fire starters don’t look pretty nor do they smell nice, if you want to start a fire quick they work great and the starter are easy to make.  I use paper based egg carton but I think cupcake papers would work as a substitute.

I got started on filling my new kindling box and it seems my efforts seem pathetic.  There is something satisfying about filling up a kindling box that makes you feel you have got a job done. Filling this big kindling box is going to take much more effort compared to the smaller boxes I am used to filling.  Building a larger box of kindling was my goal. I sort of forgot about how much effort it would take to fill that box.  😉

I will fill my “old” small kindling box and then dump the kindling in the big box so I get an idea about how long a full “new” kindling box will last.  I know my small kindling boxes of wood I keep in by the wood stove will last 10-14 days depending on the weather.  Using those small boxes of wood should give me a good idea about how long a full large box of  kindling will last this winter heating season.

Update on using the washer:  So far I think the clothes feel cleaner, the fabrics feel softer as if the detergent and grime is more washed out compared to my old washer…?  I’m having a mental issue with not having an agitator in the middle of the tub, the lack of sound and not setting the load as heavy/light.  It feels strange having such a large capacity washer and my load of laundry fill less than 1/3 of the tub and washer selects the amount of water it needs to wash.  In comparison to the older washer the new washer is slow cleaning clothes.  My old washer ran a load in about 30 minutes.  The new washer loads are at least 45-90 min. long. For me electricity is cheap, water is not as cheap.  While I did not consider the water cost as much as the electrical costs I think this washer might save me a little bit of money on my water bill.

I have been trying to catch up on clean up around the house.  When I spronged my back I got behind in my cleanup of the house to keep it livable. Washing dishes and toilets needs to be done and a couple days down for injuries can screw up the schedule for cleaning. The normal schedule of work is FUBAR all I can do is the basics and get back on the schedule.

Sort of off topic but many people in the USA seem to not be clean, nor care to be clean.  From personal baths/showers to how the treat/trash their own personal living areas.  I know youtubers are not a great example but many live in filth, instagram and face book have photos of this life that is beyond trashy it dangerous to your neighbors.   I can’t imagine living in those conditions and claim it is someone else’s fault. I’m going off on a tangent that I should cover in future post.


Sorry about not posting….

August 20, 2019

I seem to have pulled a muscle in my back and gosh it hurt!  If your back is hurt everything you do becomes a challenge. Heck, just finding a comfortable potion to sleep is a challenge.  I spent some time in bed laying on the heating pad, putting on a lot of the essential oil pain cream and using the TENS device “electric muscle stimulation” to help clean out the “waste” that causes muscle ache as well as keeping the muscle moving despite me resting in bed.  Movement is critical to healing the back/muscles as not moving makes your body weaker and it hurts a lot.

I did not get a lot done for about 48 hours.  I vacuumed my carpet, washed dishes and mowed my lawn. There were a lot of other projects that did not get done because my pain level was to high for me to do the work.  One of the things I learned about becoming disabled is:  Some times you can’t do the work because your body can’t do the work.  This is not about using an injury or handicap to excuse you not working.  I know the difference between being lazy and being hurt.

Anyhoo, I got some jobs done by working up to each job and taking rest breaks to see how the injury reacted.  There were some major twinges but I did get a couple of easy jobs done.  It is okay to take time to heal and test out that healing in stages.  Trying to do much to quickly often bites me in the butt, so I have to remember remember slow and steady wins the race.  Learning what does not work for you is just as important as learning what works for you.  Failure is just a way to learn about what does not work.   I’m still in recovery mode with the pulled/sprained muscle but the pain cream is doing great but it’s tough to rub cream on your back yourself.

Mom got the rope and PVC tube secured under the tarp to help prevent the tarp from being lifted by the wind.   One thing I have learned about working with chicken wire is I hate it!  Yes, I know it is cheap, but that is the only positive attribute to using chicken wire fence rolls.   Chicken wire shred protective tarps and leave anyone working with it battered and bloody.

I have more shopping to finish up and overall I’m feeling a lot better. I have a few yard jobs waiting like cutting back the grape vines and weeds.  I need to start filling up my kindling wood box.  Filling the box is a challenge but I would not be surprised that filling that box full would give me 6-8 weeks worth of kindling this winter. I’m buying paraffin wax for the “fire starters” and last but not least looking for a Chimney sweep to clean the wood stove by the middle of September.  My goal is to have all of the jobs for heating with wood this winter will be complete by the end of September.

 


Working with tarps, helping with Mom’s wood pile. Clean up and some fall prep

August 13, 2019

Yesterday I got out to Mom’s place to replace the tarp over the chicken run. This one of those jobs that seems almost impossible to by yourself but is easy with two people.  Because of Mom’s location she gets a lot of wind blowing daily and often at a brisk 20-30 mph so if a tarp last a year in that type of breeze it is a good tarp.  We have noticed that the cheap “blue tarps” shred in a matter of months.  We suspect that the blue tarps are not UV protected.  We both have used the low cost brown and green tarps with UV protection and those tarps handle high winds/ beating solar rays.  Getting 9-12 months of use out of those type tarps very is doable.  Trying a new way of keeping the tarp on top of the chicken run in high winds.  I ran some rope through some PVC pipe and will place that pipe in the fold of the tarp and see if that keeps the wind from getting under the tarp and moving it around on the chicken run.

Mom stopped by today and got the rest of the mill ends, 2 old pallets for the base of her wood pile.  Mom’s wood storage area is a “Work in progress” but she is getting the the stuff needed to get the wood off the ground and the tarps to cover the top of the wood pile.  I was able to give Mom a couple of smaller tarps that I replaced with one larger tarp over my Doug fir wood racks.  I had a large tarp covering the mill end wood storage area that was a little worn around some of the edges, but is in good enough shape to keep rain and snow off the wood pile.

I got my Doug fir wood pile covered by tarps.  The wood pile is in old dog kennel and is a long but narrow space so a 10 x 12 foot tarp covers most of the wood.  A few of smaller tarps will cover the wood racks so the wood can dry/season but is also protected from rain and snow.  The carport  has over head cover and the shop and RV provide some protection from the weather.  One of the trickiest things about heating with firewood is exposing  fire wood to the weather/wind so it can dry/season but also protecting it from absorbing moisture while it is drying.  I’m hoping that I won’t use a lot of wood to heat this winter and I can build up a multi-year wood pile of dry and seasoned wood.

Lessons I have learned:

  1. I hate chicken wire!  I understand it works and is cheap but if I want a good fencing that lasts and is easy to work with I’d go with some sort of hardware cloth for retaining small critters of a larger panel square for larger critters.
  2. Even a cheap Dremal tool can sharpen tools and it is less intimidating than a grinder.  A Dremel is not a replacement for a grinder it is just a tool for stuff.
  3. Always try to repair things right the first time.  If you think the job is beyond you call in a pro.  I can replace a toilet.  I can’t replace a plumbing valve that is frozen that uses copper/ plastic/steel pipes that have galvanic corrosion.  I know enough to know I don’t know enough for that sort of repair.
  4. I’m learning a little bit about some electrical work.  I hate getting Zapped by electricity especially if that zap could stop my heart.  If I cut power all of my outlets installed seem to work without  electrical arcs.

I’ve rambled on a bit but replacing an electric plug really isn’t a big deal unless it is your first time and it works.  You need to smart and research how a repair job is done properly.  There is a “Fear Factor” of doing new stuff.  Unless you do new stuff you will not grow as a person or add new skills.  I was terrified of using a chainsaw. Now I respect the power of the chainsaw, I don’t fear using a chainsaw.


Cooler weather helps when working out side. Finish a job, start a new job around the house!

August 11, 2019

Having this cold front move through the area has felt so good!  We got some rain and my little Tucker dog no longer has an “Anxiety Attack” from the sound of thunder.  After several 100 degree days that rain and cooler temps this weekend helped my attitude.  I got more of the dropped apples and black walnuts picked up.  I filled up a 33 gallon trash container and the bag was so heavy lifting it was out of the question.  Those nuts and apples are a twisted ankle bomb just waiting to be stepped on.  I have to many other jobs to get done other than saving apples and nuts.  But I have to keep the yard clean so I can walk about safely and not let fruit rot on the ground that attracts vermin.  So into the trash for these tree byproducts.

I attack the grape vines again  to clear the way to chop wood.  I’m always playing catch up with the grape vines.  I have not found a way to make the vines drape artfully around my home.  I’m always doing cleanup or getting the grape vines out of the way for work.  The grape vines take no notice of all my work and keep on growing.  Good news I have cleaned out my wood chopping area so now I can start filling my  wood Kindling box.  I used my Dremel tool to sharpen up my cheap axes and wood cutting tools.  The hatchet is sharp, perhaps a bit too sharp for cutting kindling long term.  I cleaned up the hatchet edge using a stone, using a Dremel tool to start an edge on a tool does work better than a grinder for me.  Actually I think both tools have a place in sharpening tools.

I’m playing with the new washer settings. I have to give 5 stars to Samsung on trouble shooting the washer and Mr Appliance of SW Idaho getting the washer working.  Samsung stood by their warranty despite the washer being a 2 year old model, that I bought new to me.   Mr. Appliance of SW Idaho was great,  Richard was very personable, brought little rugs/carpets to place the tool bags upon.  Mr. Appliance showed up early after calling if it would be okay to show up early for the work.  That tends to be a very rare thing working with repairmen or contractors.  I understand that Good contractors/ repairmen are very busy.  As a customer I’d prefer a date for a non-critical repair and if the repair person gets an opening, a call to fix the issue.  I know it is never that easy as “Emergency” repair request happen all the time.

I spent about $6.00 at a laundromat over 2 weeks waiting for the new washer.  Drying clothes at a Laundromat  cost the quarters.  No big deal!

I cleaned up the wiring  of the light fixture in the Laundry room.  I added a couple of guides made of rubber to isolate the electrical cable.  Along with buying a big plug of rubber to make the light work.  The light is safe,  but I’m not happy as light should have been tied into the electrical of the add on of the house.  I’m trying to repair terrible half ass “solutions” and it always costs more to fix.

I cleaned caulk around the bath tub and the fiber board shredded.  Was that bathroom install to code?  Nope! I will save a couple of months to fix that problem. I’ll have to get green board sheet rock to make a good base for the new tub surround.

 

 


The washer works. Huzzah!

August 3, 2019

I hoped/thought the washer pump was unplugged or a wire had shorted out.  The washer literally had an unplugged “neutral wire” and once that was plugged in the washer drained.  I want to give PROPS to Samsung for helping me troubleshoot the washer and getting a local tech to fix the washer under warranty.  One of the washer’s plastic legs snapped off but they tech ordered a new leg to balance the washer next week.  I’m allowed to do small loads of washing until the techs get the washer balanced.  I doubt I can fill the washer tub half full of my weekly wash of colors and whites.

I have been wanting to clean up the caulking around my tub.  The caulking was a bit dried out caulk and  a bit of  visible mold that needed a more pro-active solution.  Welp! I cleaned out the caulk and all of bath wall surround paint/top coating started peeling away and exposed fiber board. Not good and it will take a couple of months of pay checks to correct.  Probably about $500.00 in materials going cheap. but that job will need a couple of months for funding out of pocket.

I finished up the “Kindling Box”.  I might add a few boards  to retain smaller wood/kindling, if needed.

I’m guilty of “Wrong think”.  I bought/ stacked over 6 cords of wood.  A disabled vet on SSD did this on under $1700.00 per month.   People like me get Rekt by the progressives as we make do with what we have.  We are not into the poverty pandering that progressives love.