I have been into fixing things since i got here. It started with one of my rules, when i was packing I did bring some things which needed a bit of work, and some things that were down right broke. But they were things on my list of ‘things i intend to fix.’ Well one of the new rules is to fix things or get rid of them, there is no in between…there can’t be, there’s no room for anything to sit and wait for me. The lantern was not one of those, it was actually something new off ebay that i bought already broken with the intentions of fixing it. The currently manufactured version of this folding lantern sells for $40 and I am too cheap to pay for something like that, so i found this 1970s japanese knock off on ebay for $10, though its mica windows were all broken. So I bought replacement MICA cut to size for about $10 from the UK and bobs your uncle. i confess I don’t really need a folding candle lantern, i have plenty of the non folding sort on the porch and a number of battery powered lamps and flashlights. I just liked the idea of rescuing this one, i felt a little smug, melting off all the old paraffin candle wax with boiling water and taking knife to it to make room for the new windows. Now it’s fixed with a beeswax candle dancing about in it. Technically I could put it back on ebay, but I don’t want to. I’d rather have the one I fixed than one didn’t have to fix.
Over Thanksgiving we lost power for about 19 hours…i know it’s rather a first world problem. We had a storm that knocked out a power in lots of pocket neighborhoods. Everyone I had previously asked about it, had sworn up and down to expect to lose power for only a few hours and that only rarely…yeah…i know and I believed it too. Over 19 hours the house, the two thousand dollars I spent on insulation proved itself, as the house only lost 10 degrees. The cats didn’t seem to mind and I dealt with it by burrowing under a blanket fort. But after shoveling myself and a couple of the walks of the neighbor ladies who had sensibly packed off for warmer houses, all I really wanted was a cup of tea. I really had no way to make FIRE, which was pretty sad state for a human. Actually that’s not true, I had plenty of candles and matches and batteries, I just couldn’t make TEA which was profoundly sad. So I cobbled together something using a silverware drainer,a pie plate and a candle, which warmed up my travel mug. So tea was eventually had. (i drove down the road to Dunkin donuts and bought it first, then just kept it warm.)
The first thing i ordered once I the internet came back was a tiny camp stove $20, though it doesn’t really boil anything it just seems to make tea, thus insuring i probably wont’ need to it this winter. Knock wood.
Another thing I bagged over the holiday was a pretty decent Leatherman while at the pawn shop trolling for a birthday present for myself. The Wave model of the leatherman usually sells for about $80, and though i have an old micro on my keychain which i use for cutting the tags off things, i never could justify buying what amounts to a Swiss Army knife with a pair of pliers – both of which I already have. But this little dear was sitting in the case marked at $34 and was so stiff and dirty they sold it to me for $25. after about 45 minutes of boiling water, cleaning and lubrication I had it opening like a whirlygig. I admit I bought a new sheath for it $7 and replacement drill bits $9. But I think I still made out like a bandit. It’s always nice to have the right tool handy when it comes to fixing things.
While working at the Portland gear hub I bought another backpack $20 for a nearly new old Kelty …. not that i needed another one, but this one i packed as a Get Home Bag for the truck. Mittens, hat, scarf, socks, radio, first aid, etc.. a bag just to sit in the truck, in case I end up in a snow bank some place. Not very likely considering I have developed a serious aversion to driving DURING active snow storms… maybe its age, maybe its fear, maybe i’m just a coward. But its Maine and unlike most of the places in Mass I could indeed find myself not within walking distance of anything very easily. So it doesn’t hurt just to keep it handy just in case. I also found a second hand walking stick there, but that’s another story.