Weekend Wrap Up – Random

I can’t say I liked working at this level, but it looks good.

A Little D-I-Y Project – When I replaced the stacked mini-decks that serve as stairs to the back yard, I anchored them in the same corner, where the fence meets the porch, as the previous stairs. In doing so, I preserved the most annoying side-effect my D-I-Y-ness has ever created – the stair/fence leaf prison. Every autumn, leaves from up and down the street are blown to our yard, turn up our driveway and lodge themselves between the solid side of the stairs and the chain link fence. The fence is a reverse-osmosis leaf trap right out of the Twilight Zone. The diamond shaped holes are big enough for a large full green leaf to get in, but too small for the shrunken, brown, dried-up leaf remnants to escape.

Every year, I try using a variety of small leaf rakes, garden stakes, narrow pieces of plywood and a gas-powered leaf-blower – all to no avail. This is where leaves go to slowly rot.

Earlier this year, it occurred to me that I could modify the bottom rail of the fence to match the contour of the stairs. Saturday it occurred to me that I had enough leftover fence rail to do the job. I also had the tools required and I could probably do the job in one nice day – just like the one we were about to have. Even better, the process required cutting, welding – and grinding, because when you weld like I do you must be good at grinding – steel. Three of my favorite things. And, as a bonus, it was precisely the kind of job that justifies owning those tools. I mean, you can’t buy this fence rail at Home Depot.

If you enjoy D-I-Y projects, the slideshow includes the significant steps.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Office Supplies – A few weeks ago, I received an email advertisement from, oh, let’s call them RedCo. They were offering $25 off any order over $100, and they were offering an even more special deal on purchases of ink or toner. I jumped at this offer because I’m an impulsive marketing sap who falls for things like “while quantities last” and “3-Days only” and “Lowest price of the year.” After I placed my order, The Editor pointed out that the last time we needed these items, she bought them from BlueCo and paid less – even after the discounts and free shipping.

Two weeks ago, RedCo asked me to complete a survey. I gave them a horrible response. I explained in detail the basis for my dissatisfaction. One week ago, they asked me to review the product online. I did, echoing the comments I made in my survey response.

I received an email containing their reply to my review:

“Our stores are able to price match our and our competitor’s online prices at the time of sale. Just let them know, and we will take care of it!”

There are three things wrong here:

  • I didn’t buy the product in a store, I bought it online in response to a special offer.
  • The toner is for an older laser printer and it is never available in the store.
  • Why on earth would I ask one store to match another store’s lower price? Why wouldn’t I just buy it from the store with the lower price?

I wasn’t able to point these errors out to RedCo because my review and their reply have been deleted. I predicted that they would do that.

Walker Lady – Maddie and I walked very early yesterday. When we got to the Veterans Memorial (at the end of the entrance to her park) she pulled me toward the access road that goes behind the baseball field – she wanted to go the long way. It was a cool, quiet morning, and she was being very good, so I agreed. We walked about 90% of the way back to the street, when The Walker Lady came out of her apartment building. Maddie froze. Maddie’s inner Captain Kirk said, “Hard about Mr. Sulu, maximum warp” and she practically tore my shoulder in half (yes, I am still watching Star Trek Original Series reruns, thanks for asking).

We traced our steps back to the park’s main entrance, and Maddie stopped again. She looked over toward the driveway the Walker Lady would have used. We had been walking long enough for the W-L to complete her walk. I assured Maddie, “she’s not there!” but she gave an evil-eye stare and a low grumbly growl, just in case.

Thanks for reading. I hope you had a good weekend and I hope you stay well and have a great week.

Photos in the gallery collected on our walks and while sitting.


  1. Impressive DIY! I am married to Mr Bodge it yourself so won’t let him near anything. I have to store up jobs then get a man round. Is Maddie that lovely red setter dog in the photo?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan – it’s great you are able to do so much of the work yourself … and apparently enjoy it. Anything to make life simpler is good for the heart and soul. Your ‘escapade’ with your purchases is probably so common – the maxim ‘the customer comes first’ seems to have gone by the board … customers need to be looked after – but your eagle eyed and knowledgeable Editor does wonders!! Take care and enjoy the walks with or without your ‘Walker Lady’ .. Maddie will keep you in check. All the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. I do enjoy these projects. There’s something special about projects where you can see the progress. I spent my career developing software, and often, at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure what I had done.

      We will keep walking. In fact, the little red head is trying to get me to go now. I’m trying to hold out until 7:30.

      The Editor is a much better shopper, all around. My problem is I tend to believe the marketing.

      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely blooms, we’re not quite there yet. Good luck with the fence… our neighbor had one when we lived down south and all I ever wanted to do was flatten it with a bulldozer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor Maddie girl. She reminds me so much of my scaredy cat Ace. He didn’t like other people either and certainly would have hid from walker lady. Give her lots of pets from me.

    I am used to buying office supplies for the office at a government discount, so when I buy for home, I am always searching on line or in the store for cheap. Of course, I don’t need much other than printer ink for a very old printer.

    Nice job on the fence. It’s good to have an anti-leaf force field where possible. Happy Monday, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maddie gets so scared when she sees this woman. She’s really inconsolable. Sad he doesn’t relax until we turn off that street.

      I was never buying with a discount, but I was spending someone else’s money. I pay a little more attention now…obviously not enough.

      I’m looking forward to not looking at those trapped leaves all winter.

      I hope you’re in your way to a good week, Mary.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the slideshow and the project. Nerd that I am, I watched it twice to make sure I caught it all. :-) I still have to take down my makeshift fence I put up in one spot between our neighbor where feet of leaves collect each year. Poor walker lady – I bet she’d love meeting Maddie and getting to be friends, but I can only imagine how upsetting it is to Maddie to encounter that strange metal thing banging along on the sidewalk. Looks like spring is popping up all over your yard which is always a good thing. Have a great week and hope you can skip the grocery store like I am this week. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the slideshow. I figured the non-nerds would look at the finished product, but I knew some of you would like to see the step-by-step. I know I would ;)

      I’d really like to put a fence along the street in front of our driveway. The street curves, ever so slightly, but we watch the leaves literally blow down the street and turn into our driveway like they’re coming home from work.

      Maddie has been being nice to several people that we meet on our walks. I even stopped and talked to a guy (him on his porch, me on the sidewalk) for about 15 minutes. He complimented Maddie and said “at least she’s not a barker.” I had to laugh. But the walker lady, there’s something about her. Maybe it’s the walker, but we pass a guy who sits with his walker in front of him, and Maddie loves that guy. I think Maddie senses something else – maybe it’s her perfume ;)

      I do have to make a quick run to the store this week. But my system seems to still be working. I think I’ll be OK.

      Take care!


  6. Smart DIY solution! I am convinced there is a conspiracy a foot with these deals. At the end I’m never really I did get the best deal. It’s like Vegas, the store always wins.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Celebrating Spring despite …. And I’m impressed with your project, Dan. No it is not fun working at that level as I well know from working in my gardens. I filled my huge wheelbarrow three times with a collections of leaves and debris from my gardens thus far. I look at those leaves thanking them for fertilizing my gardens, even though they do not make my life easy.
    Bad reviews ….. I have had those experiences too. And sure enough my review poof disappeared after being contacted by a representative whom I told how horrible their product is. I wonder how many other bad reviews disappear. Does make one ponder.
    Enjoyed your gallery. Keep walking, Dan. Stay outdoors and busy as much as you can. Many states have now reopened so any day ours will too. YAY!!! Happy Monday!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Amy. When I finally had the fence attached to the new rail, I could hardly get up. These knees are not exactly limber. It will get a little better as the summer goes on, but this was tough.

      Between the bad reviews that are removed and the good ones they pay people to write, I really don’t trust reviews. The product is fine, but the price/promotion was a ripoff, and I fell for it :(

      Lots of outdoor projects coming up.

      Stay safe up there!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wear wrestling knee pads, Dan, when I garden. The brand is ASICS. VERY cushiony. I could not stay down on my knees without them. It still is tough. I wish I had projects all year round so that I don’t have to ease into gardening every year. By the time I’m done I feel great.
        I do and I don’t trust reviews. At least Amazon, a place I know you don’t like, does keep the bad reviews. For this I’m grateful. I’ve almost bought something that wasn’t as good as I thought. When reading the bad reviews, those that are not “fake”, (something else I have to discern), I have a better time at choosing something.
        Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I do use knee pads, when I can, Amy, but this got to be uncomfortable (bending) so I sat. I got the job done, but getting up was a challenge.

          I know people who write reviews for a living, so I don’t trust any of them. This site had numerous reviews from people who liked the “quality” of the product – the toner is made by Xerox! They seem to miss the point that the same toner is available elsewhere for much less. My wife shops around. Amazon was the most expensive. WalMart.com was the cheapest – same product. I didn’t overspend by much, but I was so proud for finding a “great deal” that it was hard to find out that I overpaid at all.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The problem comes into play with this back of mine. Liniment. Yep. Lots. And it does work. Stretching also works. I take supplements that reduce swelling so that I do not have problems getting up or down anymore. What a joy that is!!
            Lucky you a wife that shops around. I usually buzz over to Amazon, put an order in, and fly on to my next project. LOL

            Liked by 1 person

  8. I had to watch the video twice, but I see what you did. Looks good, Dan. Marketing sap–me, too! But mine is with food. A special flavor, a one-time holiday offering–I’m there! Ice cream is usually the culprit. Walker lady…..what would Maddie do if WL walked over and wanted to meet her? I guess I am surprised that squirrel tops Blue Jay. Who knew?! Have a great week Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maddie would probably chew my arm off if I tried to keep her in place while that lady was coming toward us. She almost broke my arm, and the woman was walking away! It’s funny, Maddie doesn’t bark at all the people we encounter, including a young disabled man that uses a walker (but is usually sitting behind it when we see him). Some people just bring out the worst in her.

      In my filling in for the grocery shopper, I have fallen for some doozies in the market. We might inadvertently be hoarding a few things as well – sorry, that wasn’t my intention, but “3 for $3” (yeah, yeah, normally $0.99, but…).

      Have a great week, too, Lois.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Once again, Dan, I am impressed with your building skills and the slide show was a slick way to show them off. I had no idea that the solution to your problem with be so complicated, but I guess that is what happens when you need a custom solution. As you note, it was also a great excuse to play around with all those tools. A while back I watched several episodes of a show in which the participants compete in forging knives, or axes, or swords with specific parameters in a limited amount of time. It looked like fun to play with fire and steel and power hammers, but I am pretty sure that it is something I would be afraid to try. My level of skill is more appropriate for changing a toilet’s flushing mechanism and flapper as I did yesterday. I enjoy the continuing saga of the Walker Lady and all of your wonderful photos of all of the critters in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike. It’s funny you mention the toilet flapper. I’m told the one in the half-bath (the ladies room here) needs some attention. I guess that’s my next project. No slideshow, I promise. But, you saved yourself a bunch of money by doing it yourself.

      After 42 years of sitting at a desk, staring at a screen, working with actual material and tools is a welcome change.


      • One of the challenges of working on a project is that when you do one, you realize there are others to do. When I replaced the toilet innards, I realized that the shutoff valve is no longer shutting the water off all the way. My workaround was to shut off the main water supply, but eventually I know I need to replace the shutoff valve. I have replaced one before, but it is at the edge of my comfort zone, but I think I will do it once I figure out what parts I

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oops. I inadvertently sent my previous comment before I had finished it. Anyways, I need to figure out what parts I need and then get them before I attempt my next repair. :)


  10. Murphy reacts to certain people just like Maddie. Even after we’re far away from the offending individual, there’s no consoling her.

    Impressive “fix’ to leaf, fence, stairs problem. I hope you patted yourself on the back when you finished!

    I’m really surprised to learn that a squirrel wins out in a battle with a bluejay for peanuts.

    Even waking up on her own, MiMi does not look happy to find herself awake!! Lol.

    Happy Monday Dan. Enjoy the nice weather.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I’ve mentioned to others, Ginger, Maddie is actually being nice to some of the people we see – but not this woman. I’m going to trust her instincts.

      The blue jays only win if they get to the peanut first, which they often do. Their eyesight is so keen, they swoop down from a high branch and snag the peanut before the squirrel figures out where it is/was. But on the ground, the squirrels run over and challenge them.

      I think MiMi would sleep 23½ hours a day if we’d let her. Her sister sleeps, but only after being brushed and pampered.

      It felt good to be outside, and I’m going to like having fixed this fence when the leaves start flying in November and I can rake them away.

      I hope you have a great week.
      Take care.


  11. Leaves are such a battle, here, Dan. Of course we live on the edge of a forest, so the wonderful blooms of spring through to the colors of fall eventually drop. We have a vortex corner on our back deck which traps leaves. When we had a table on the deck, leaves were always trapped there, too.

    I am the letter writer and official reviewer in our family. I ordered a book of stamps online yesterday and paid $1.50 to have the post office mail them to me. I wonder how many books of stamps I could mail with one forever stamp, let alone how many for $1.50. I decided to cut them a break since they need to find revenue some where. I wanted to write a letter, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have very few trees in our yard, Maggie, so most of the leaves are visiting from out of town, as it were. I don’t mind bagging them, but even after I clean certain places a 3rd 4th and 5th time, they still pile up.

      $1.50 for a book of stamps does seem high. Oh well, my dad was a mailman, and I worked summers in the Post Office, so I have a soft spot for them. Keep mailing letters!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My parents were both mail carriers, too, Dan. I know how hard the carriers work and it can be a pretty thankless job — other than the Christmas gifts of alcohol they seemed to receive every year. 😉.I have a soft spot for them, too. But still, seems a little high.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Why on earth would I ask one store to match another store’s lower price? Why wouldn’t I just buy it from the store with the lower price?

    That has got to be one of life’s great mysteries.

    BTW: Nice work on the leaf trap.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dan, you’ve made my morning. What a fun post. I always enjoy your DIY posts. Wow, what attention to detail. Just the idea of welding fascinates me. The most my dad ever did (along that line) was some soldering — even that fascinated me.
    I have the image of Maddie sitting in the captain’s chair on the old Enterprise. She needs a gold colored sweater. ;) The photo of Walker Lady seems like it should be ordinary, but in the context it just cracks me up. I am glad you included it. LOL, Maddie’s own Khan.
    MiMi is looking quite fetching today. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I like the idea of Maddie in the chair (she sits in chairs often). Her own Khan is a good analogy.

      Welding and soldering always fascinated me. I don’t get to do it often, but I really enjoy it. MiMi says thanks and rolls over 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Time to attend to life’s minor annoyances like a reverse osmosis leaf trap and the offerings of RedCo. My husband is also getting caught up on Star Trek. I’m aging myself here but the Zombies were the first R&R band that I saw in person!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A terrific project, Dan. Thanks for the step by step. I like to see a man with a welder and grinder having a good time. Just say the word and friends of friends can make that walker lady an offer she’ll find hard to refuse. Enjoyed the Jay and squirrel tussle. I have been banned from ordering online. Just as well. I hate sales anyway. Did I ever tell you about going into a car dealership and telling them I don’t want a discount? My reason was if I didn’t like the car I would just drop it off for a refund. They couldn’t do it so we settled on the cheapest price for that model with me promising I would never drop it off for a refund.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It sometimes takes me a while to figure out how to fix something, but when the answer finally dawns on me I’m amazed at simple the fix has been!
    Your fence redo looks great! Our front door alcove is a leaf trap and I have no fix for it.

    I hope your shoulder isn’t too sore! Mimi looks so pretty on the white blanket.

    Spring looks good there, and the river high! The river is high here in places too the geese and ducks look a bit like they’re white water rafting floating up it in a place where I walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I wonder why it takes so long to figure out how to fix these things.

      We have two leaf traps by our side door, but at least I can rake them. This was so aggravating.

      We are well into green. It’s a good feeling.

      Take care, Deborah.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. We have no idea. Maddie starts barking at the first sight of that woman, which sometimes is about 200’ away! She likes a guy who sits behind a walker. She’s not the most social dog, but this lady makes her crazy.


  17. Glad you could feed your inner DIY geek, Dan. :-) My favorites are easy this week: the bird and squirrel shot, “peening” (I know what the hammer is, but never heard this used as a verb, and the Zombies!! My kind of Zombies, not the thumping and dragging sort that seem to abound these days. My questions about them are why are there always so many of them when we first encounter them? Why aren’t there just a few and someone sees and kills them, thus averting the zombie apocalypse? If you know, please enlighten me. I think a good peen or two at the beginning would work perfectly, but then what would they write horror movies about?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet – It sounds like the Zombies got you started on an SoCS post, but I like it. I’m not a modern day zombie fan, and I don’t know why there are so many. As soon as I said “she’s not there” to Maddie, that song was stuck in my head.

      I think that is the first time I used ‘peening’ in a sentence, but I did check to see that it was appropriate.

      The birds and the squirrels are fighting over territory in our rather small yard.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not at all. She gave me a glare one time (which is to be expected when a dog is barking like crazy) but it made me feel uneasy. She’s probably a nice lady, but I’m not taking any chances.

      Our second setter always refused to walk passed a particular house. It didn’t matter what direction we approached from, he would stop at the property line and refuse to walk past that house. We dubbed it the “Devil House” and avoided it.

      Maddie sometimes looks ahead and barks and freezes still. I’ve taken pictures, and there’s nothing visible, but she acts as if there is something evil coming toward us and we usually turn around.


  18. I love that Maddie knows Star Trek lingo. She’s a great security chief with long range sensors operating at peak efficiency. :) Hope you’re shoulder’s okay.


  19. Ah, nothing like a Dan DIY post, and with a Zombies classic AND a Twilight Zone reference to boot! Hope you’re having a good week. :)


  20. Oh, that Mrs. Walker! I think she waits inside her house until she sees Maddie coming. Evil, that’s what she is — Pure Evil!

    I am mightily impressed with your Mad Skillz at welding, etc. That bottom rail design is the kind of simple brilliance that equals genius. Every time you can clear away leaves or leaf debris with ease, you’ll get a big dose of satisfaction. Well done, you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That woman is evil. Maddie knows.

      The rail is one of those things that make you wonder, “why did it take me so long to figure this out?” But, you’re right, every time I rake that spot clean, it’s going to feel good.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Brilliant leaf defense project! I hate raking in May. They were all supposed to be gone on November. I’m not familiar with a sand cherry. Pretty! And thanks for the great song. I meant to thank you for Animal House, too. A favorite movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I laugh at Maddie’s expectation of Walker Lady! LOL OH LOL
    The fencing worked out well!
    I’ve never price matched anything, but I believe, given my retail experience, that many folks do it in order to charge a lower price to their store card as opposed to forking out cash at other stores. Not my gig.

    Liked by 1 person

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