This, That and the Other – Amazon, Time, Invention of Ikea (Video)


I, however, am expecting those craft supplies…

If it wasn’t for the delivery guys, our social life would be almost zilch.

The only upside to Covid is that many retailers have made online shopping really easy! We don’t need to drive anywhere, delivery is quick and products are available that aren’t always stocked in the local stores.  What’s not to like!

The King/Queen of online shopping is Amazon. It has more than 2.5 million retailers selling on the Amazon marketplace (according to Marketplacepulse, 2019).

We ventured out last week to buy a new kitchen tap set at Home Depot.  They were out of stock, but we could order online from them. Delivery was in one to three weeks. Amazon had the same product for the same price and it was delivered two days later… though it might take The Car Guy one to three weeks to decide whether he is going to call the plumber to do the install.


How did IKEA come up with their business and marketing plan? Dude Dad has this very funny explanation!


This ‘Lest We Forget’ admonishment arrived in my Facebook feed a few days after I had put up my Christmas Tree. I’m not really sure how decorating for Christmas implies disrespect for anything, but if that is what some people feel, then they have every right to feel that way…

…and I have every right to do what feels right for me. Hence the tree. Right now it is the brightly lit beacon in the corner of the living room that dispels the late afternoon gloom that came after we changed the clocks.

My previous post about time change was:  Daylight Saving Time.

My Remembrance Day Posts were:
Lest We Forget
Belgium – WWI Memorial – A Brooding Soldier
In Flanders Fields – Canadians in World War One

This was from this past spring. Turns out that 4 months wasn’t forward enough.

Indoor Cold Storage – Project Accomplished!

New fridge

The new fridge finally arrived. Twice actually. The first time, the delivery truck couldn’t negotiate the deep snow in our drive way and had to abort the mission. With little hope that the snow would melt before spring, The Car Guy abandoned his plan to mow the grass one more time this fall. He removed the mower from the tractor and installed the snow blade. I helped him. We had some brief discussions about either buying a new tractor with easier implement changing, or moving to the city…

Two days later the fridge was delivered. If you have been following the Fridge in the Middle Story, you will note that the fridge just fit into the cabinet and all is right in the kitchen again. Now, and here is the ‘cool’ part, we have a water and ice dispenser – and not just cubed ice – crushed ice too!

Think of the summer drink possibilities – except now it is fall.

Fridge with a graphic filter

Or, it should be fall except  winter arrived first. The two seasons have been exchanging blows – snow, some melting, more snow, some more melting. Today we are back into snow.

I tried to dig the potatoes during one of the melting spells, but the garden was one large mud patch. It just wasn’t worth the effort for a bucket full of potatoes. It really is too bad, because the hills I did dig yielded very few potatoes, but they weren’t scabby. First time ever. The weather forecast says we return to normal fall weather next week. Maybe I’ll get the spuds out of the ground yet.

Spuds, taters – is there another word for potatoes in your part of the world?

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.
– Bill Callahan, Letters to Emma Bowlcut –

Another snow day

Fridge in the Middle

The Car Guy and I decided to replace our refrigerator. It is over 20 years old and well past its ‘best before’ date.

This is a haiku
Haiku’s don’t have to make sense
– Author Unknown –

The appliance store had so many fridges to choose from – at least, that is what we thought when we first walked in the door! But, as our sales associate, Todd, walked us through the choices, it became clear that our new fridge would be ‘one of a kind’. Yes, if we wanted a fridge with an ice maker/water dispenser, with two upper doors and a lower freezer, that would fit in the space we had, in the colour white (to match the appliances we weren’t replacing) – our selection was one fridge.

So we ordered the fridge. It was supposed to be delivered in a week – two weeks tops! That was almost two months ago.

On a very local scale, a refrigerator is the center of the universe. On the inside is food essential to life, and on the outside of the door is a summary of the life events of the household.
– Robert Fulghum –

In the meantime, my old fridge is in a ‘not so convenient’ place in the kitchen. The Car Guy had to pull it out so that he could add the plumbing for the ice maker/water dispenser. He also had to raise the cabinet above the fridge by one inch.

He didn’t move the fridge back into the fridge ‘home’ because the fridge is heavy, awkward to move and only fits into the space if you give it a mighty shove… and the new fridge might arrive any day now!

Figuring out why people who choose not to do something don’t in fact do it is like attempting to interview the elves who live inside your refrigerator but come out only when the light is off.
– Eileen Pollack –

A fridge in the middle of the room seemed like a huge inconvenience initially. Now it is merely a mild annoyance. We can still use the fridge, even if the doors don’t open all the way. We can still get to the coffee maker and we can squeeze by the fridge to get from one room to another!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
– Erma Bombeck –

In the grand scheme of  Red House Renos, the ‘fridge in the middle’ is way down the list of projects that seemed to take forever to finish!

Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.
– Bill Bryson –

What is the oldest appliance in your house? Which one would you love to replace?

How many times have you been watching an episode of ‘South Park’ and thought, ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?’
– Trey Parker –

Over the Air Television – Anticipating a Better Picture

Christmas Reindeer inspect the new flat antenna before it is positioned for best reception.

One of the things on our Christmas wish list this year was a gift for our TV set.

Television – in my lifetime, I’ve ‘seen’ it all! Our first TV had rabbit ears which were enhanced with wire and tinfoil. In later years we had roof top antennas, then big satellite dishes, little satellite dishes, and cables. Our first TV gave us one station. In later years we had dozens of stations, then hundreds of stations. Our TV screens were sometimes as small as a laptop computer, sometimes big boxes that took two men to lift, and finally flat screen lightweights that hung on the wall.

We wanted to see if we could ‘cut the cord’ on our Satellite TV service. To do that, we needed a digital antenna that would pick up free Over the Air (OTA) television. The Car Guy chose a TERK omni-digital antenna for 1080 HDTV broadcasts.

Like children who peek at their presents before Christmas morning,  we opened this  gift a few weeks ago. The installation was very easy once The Car Guy had finished exploring all the possible ways not to connect the cable.  We were pleasantly (okay ecstatically) pleased with the crystal clear High Definition picture we now receive thanks to an uncompressed signal.

The antenna cost just a little more than the price of one month’s satellite TV and gives us free TV from 6 local stations: GLOBAL, CTV, CITY, CBC, YES and OMNI.  Three of these stations broadcast the seven shows we like to watch each week. What a great Christmas present!

Have you ‘cut the cord’ on your TV service? Discontinued the phone land line and gone cellular? Turned off the internet for more than a day? Moved out of your parents basement? Finished your Christmas shopping? Do you anticipate doing any of these things?

This week’s photo challenge is Anticipation.

Lighter Shade of Grey

Black and white. One viewpoint or the other. This or That. No compromise.

Shades of Grey. Not Black, not White. Somewhere closer to a common ground. Possibility of compromise.

A Lighter Shade of Grey. Serious contemplation, but viewed with a more light hearted perspective.Yes, I like that.

Which is why, for a while, I named my blog – A Lighter Shade of Grey.  I like to change things around now and then. Especially the furniture. But  the Never Ending Reno has resulted in furniture being placed such that moving options are pretty limited. Once the TV was mounted on the wall, the Car Guy gave me that look that said, “Eternity, this thing is here for eternity”. And that pretty much defines where the sofa and chairs need to be. The Dining Table is rectangular and the Dining Room is rectangular. And so on. Close to Black and White now, actually.

But words in a blog – now those are nice and grey. Not like a book, where, once printed, the white pages and black words are immutable. Blog words can shift and reshape themselves as circumstances dictate. Today I can look at something and think it is light grey. Tomorrow, I might have some new information, and my viewpoint might change a bit. I can rewrite and give it a different shade of grey.

Grey – the Shape Shifter. Kind of describes my hair too…

Well of Lost Thoughts 2011 – Authors

When I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them,  I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

For more posts is this series, click on Lost Thoughts.

Stuart McLean
I just finished reading “Extreme Vinyl Cafe” by Stuart McLean. I love these stories about Dave and Morley – you’ll want to read the one about how Dave got to know the inside of the trunk of his car while looking for an escaped pet rat…

Robert Fulghum
Robert Fulghum is one of my very favourite authors. (Not a Canadian, unfortunately, but no one is perfect…) One of his essays last  month discusses Fulghum’s Tool Rule:  “Unpredictable complexity that replaces reliable simplicity is not progress.” He gives the following examples of simplicity that would be hard to improve on:
A Wheelbarrow
A pencil made of wood and graphite, with an eraser on the end.
A paper clip.
A clothes pin.
A claw hammer.
A pocket knife with two blades.
A classic mouse trap.
A shovel.
An axe.
A broom.
Can you think of other examples?

Rare Birds
Last night we watched a Movie called Rare Birds. Filmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, it stars William Hurt, Molly Parker, and Andy Jones. Mary Walsh has a cameo appearance. If, after watching the movie, you want to see this part of the world  for yourself, head over to the Newfoundland and Labrador website (which tells you what kind of Rare Birds you might actually see!) to plan your trip. Don’t forget that Icebergs and Whales can sometimes be seen off the coast of this dramatic land.

TED Talks
TED is a  nonprofit program dedicated to spreading Ideas. Themes include Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, Culture, Arts and Global Issues. To date, almost 900 talks have been filmed, and are available for viewing at the TED website. Try Sir Ken Robinson speaking on how Schools Kill Creativity then move onto his Bring on the Learning Revolution.

My just about favourite TV show was Top Gear. We got it here on BBC Canada. Yes, it was about cars, but it is a British Show, so it was nothing like anything made in the USA. We used to watch it when we lived in the UK, and were happy to find that we get it here in Canada too. One of the three presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, apparently lives in the Cotswolds, in or near Chipping Norton. We have toured through that area on several occasions and it remains right near the top of  my list of best places in the world to visit. I love all the old place names – Chipping Norton, Chipping Campden, Morton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water.

Top Gear Guest
Last night it was a Comedian by the name of Michael McIntyre. He did a short monologue about overtaking a Porsche on the motorway while driving his old British Leyland Princess. Of course, it might not seem quite so funny  if your ear isn’t tuned to the British accent, and you don’t know what the Loser Lane is…

Harley Owners Group
With the addition of a Harley to the Car Guys fleet, came the absolute need to join the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.). The HOG Magazine arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, and one article was of particular interest – Sky to Sea. It tells the story of a couple, Bob and Candace, who had planned to ride across Canada. These plans ended when Candace died from cancer. Bob eventually decided to undertake the journey alone, and his blog, Sky to Sea, chronicles the trip. Very interesting blog, even if you don’t ride a motorcycle.

How to Boil Water on an Induction Cooktop

It was the start of Day 3 of the installation of the new kitchen counters. It was going well, but it was not over yet. It was a bit inconvenient not being able to use the kitchen sink or the cook top. And I was always looking for the telephone, because it wasn’t where it should be on the kitchen desk. All the pots and pans were on the table in the family room. All the cookbooks were on the dining room table. Toaster, coffee maker, the knife block – all were residing in places they shouldn’t be. We ate take-away a lot.

Last night, however, The Car Guy connected up the wires for the new Induction Cook top and we were ready to try out this amazing technology. We decided to start out boldly – we would Boil Water! Before you scoff, Boiling Water is actually a very complicated process. The simple act of heating water involves quite a few variables, including altitude, weather, water hardness and anything else that is in the pot such as salt. We chose to boil just plain water.


We chose three pots of different sizes, put some water in each, and set them on the cook top. I put the manual beside us on the counter top and opened it to Page 13 – Getting Started. I had, of course, read up to that Page at a previous sitting, because I am a Manual Reader. It might seem to you that there must be a lot of information to grasp before even turning an Induction Cook top on, but this manual doesn’t actually have Pages 3 to 6 for some reason. Pages 7, 8 and 9 are Important Safety Instructions and 10 through 12 talk about Things Never to do, Things Always to do, and Proper Cookware.

Before I had even got past the Familiarize Yourself with the Appliance on Page 13, The Car Guy was stabbing at the On/Off button. “I’m ready to boil water,” he said impatiently. “How do I make this thing go?”

I skipped forward to Page 15. Operation. Switching the Cook top On and Off. Adjusting the Elements. (I’d have to go back to Page 13 afterwards.) “Press the O symbol on the corresponding element,” I read to him, “Then press the number on the number bar for the required heat setting.”

boil water

He soon had all three elements turned on, and then stood there expectantly. It wasn’t very long before the water was merrily boiling in each pot. Satisfied that water would boil fairly quickly, he was eager to test out how hot the element is as soon as you turn the element off. He started with the saucepan. Element off, pot removed, gingerly put finger on the element. And sure enough, it wasn’t hot enough to burn anything. Next he removed the fry pan, and that element wasn’t too hot to touch either. The last pot was a simple small pot intended to quickly melt some butter or something like that. When he turned that element off, and removed the pot, the element indicator warned him that the element was too hot to touch.

Then, like a kid with a new toy, he returned all the pots to their home elements, and turned them all on again. Soon they were all boiling. Then he turned the elements off, and suddenly they weren’t boiling. On – off – on – off. Satisfied that he could boil water, he wandered off. I think he hoped that the new cook top would also wash up the pots and put them away.

What he really would like to do is duplicate the video demonstration where they have cut a fry pan in half, set it on the element, then crack an egg into the fry pan, such that half the egg is in the fry pan, and half is on the element. The egg in the fry pan cooks, and the egg on the element doesn’t. I think it would be a good party trick, but I’m not ready to sacrifice a fry pan for it.

A nuclear power reactor is just a fancy way of boiling water.
– Leslie Dewan –

Nostalgia – Old Time TV’s and Toasters

In the early 1950’s, the neighbours next door drove to the city to buy a Toaster. They came home with a Television instead. It turned out they didn’t have enough money to buy the toaster, and the appliance store wouldn’t let them pay for it in installments. They could, however, buy a TV in installments…

The new TV made the neighbours the most popular people in town. I remember watching Howdy Doody and the Ed Sullivan Show in their living room. A few years later, we had a TV too. I came to think of it as the family pet. It had spidery legs holding it up, and rabbit ears on top.

Many, many years and a few televisions later, we moved into a house with a Satellite Dish! It was a very large thing that took up a fair chunk of real estate, and the program choices weren’t really worth what the service cost. We contracted an installer to put a TV antenna on the roof, instead, and contented ourselves with the local broadcasts.  Ten years later, the same installer was back at our house, this time with a much smaller satellite dish and a wealth of program choices. Another ten years passed, and the same installer was back  with a new dish for HD TV. We joked with him about what kind of technology he would be delivering to our house twenty years from now. “None,” he said. “I’ll probably be dead.”

Back to toasters. We didn’t have a toaster when I was a kid. We couldn’t afford butter, either. We had margarine that came with a coloring pack, so that you could make the white margarine at least look like butter – sort of. But even if we had been able to make toast, the bread at our house was a mass produced bland brand that was delivered door to door in a bread truck. But my grandmother had a toaster, wonderful bread from  the Loblaws bakery, and real butter. When we stayed at her house, our bedtime snack was toast and butter.

1947 Toastmaster toaster model 1B12

Her toaster was a Toastmaster model 1B12. I know this, because it is my toaster now. It has been making toast for 3 generations of our family since it was manufactured sometime between September 1946 and July 1947. (There is a Toastmaster website that tells you these things.) I’ve never had to have it repaired. It just keeps making toast.

I’ll have to think for a while to see if there is some great life lesson in this story. Or a social commentary about technology, or modern manufacturing…

When I was a kid… no, wait, I still do that…
– Author Unknown –

This weeks WordPress photo challenge is Nostalgia.