Sunday, 1 September 2013

By on September 1st, 2013 in personal, science kits

10:05 – As expected, August was our biggest month ever for science kit sales, about double August 2012. (I was hoping to triple sales month-on-month, but as Mick Jagger famously sang, you can’t always get what you want.) We passed total 2012 sales in mid-August, so meeting our initial goals of doubling sales year on year should be reachable. If last year is any guide, we should do about half our total 2013 sales in the final four months of the year. September is starting out pretty well, with three kit orders so far this morning.

Meanwhile, we need to do more about getting downstairs organized and some of the stuff that’s currently upstairs moved downstairs. I’m going to pick up one of these shelving units just to make sure it’s suitable. If so, I’ll install more of them. That’ll help with the intermediate goal of getting the finished area downstairs cleared out. Currently, there are stacks of boxes in there with stuff like hundreds of test tube racks, thousands of beakers, etc. That’ll let us move the two 6-foot tables we use for building kits out of the unfinished area and into the finished area. That way, if we want to use the finished area for normal stuff, it’s simply a matter of folding those tables and moving them out of the way.

If (when) we need more space, I think I’ll just buy a car cover for my Trooper and park it at the end of the driveway. That’ll free up enough space to install several more of those shelving units. At one point, I was thinking about getting a shed built at the end of the drive but it’d need to be a large one with power, heating, and cooling, which’d make it an expensive proposition. Eventually, we plan to relocate, probably up to the mountains, where we’ll buy or build a home and a work building. But that’s probably several years off, so in the meantime we need to plan for expansion here.

13:15 – Barbara and I just got back from a run to Home Depot for shelving and some 70-quart plastic storage bins and Costco for some storable food. Home Depot had some of the 4-foot (1.22 meter) shelving units down near floor level and one set up as a display model. They had four of the 5-foot units in stock, but they were on the top shelf. I seriously thought about buying a 4-foot unit instead. The 4-foot units were $99 and the 5-foot ones $129, so the smaller units actually provide more bang for the buck.

Getting the 5-foot unit down was a major production. They closed off that aisle and the adjoining one and brought in, well, not a fork lift, exactly. More of a portable elevator. The operator rode in the movable part up to the ceiling, latched onto the box, and lowered it down to floor level. The unit weighs close to 100 pounds (45 kilos). At checkout, the woman asked if we needed help loading it into our vehicle. Barbara immediately said no, but I was thinking it won’t be too much longer before we’ll need to answer yes to such questions.

At Costco, we picked up three more 17.5-liter cases of bottled water, two dozen cans of tuna, a dozen cans of chicken, a case of soup, two boxes of canned pork & beans, boxes of canned peas, corn, black beans, and probably some stuff I’ve forgotten, along with a 25-pound (11.4 kilo) bag of rice. They didn’t have small cans of fruit, only #10 cans and plastic cups, so we passed on those. Eyeballing it, I’d guess we got two person months of emergency food for $120 or so.

12 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 1 September 2013"

  1. SteveF says:

    I have several sets of almost-identical shelves in my garage, the difference being particle board shelves rather than metal. Mostly, they’re great — easy to assemble, lots of room, hold a ton. (Fine, they hold 800 pounds.) The only problem is that the shelves bow if I put small, not-even-especially-heavy things toward the center; a few gallons of antifreeze and windshield washer were enough to put a serious bow in one shelf. Probably that wouldn’t be a problem with the metal shelves in the unit you linked to.

  2. bgrigg says:

    Car covers can often cause more damage than not using a car cover by wind buffeting and by keeping moisture held against the surface. Save your money and just park the Trooper in the driveway.

    Automobiles are, not too surprisingly, made to deal with the outdoors. Clear the snow off, wash off the dirt occasionally and let your car live up to it’s name. It will survive your winters just fine.

  3. brad says:

    Particle board sucks as material for a horizontal shelf. Even the cheapest pine boards are better – I say this from having custom built bookshelves into every place I’ve lived. Why any furniture mker would ever use particle board for shelves, I have never understood – and yet most do.

  4. Alan says:

    These are surprisingly sturdy for plastic construction – shelves are an open grid similar to the metal unit:

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, the unit I linked to is steel frame and steel-wire shelves. I couldn’t figure out why Home Depot had an apparently identical unit from the same manufacturer (different line) for only $99 versus $129. I finally saw the specs for the cheaper unit, and it was particle-board shelving, which I wouldn’t have on a bet.

  6. SteveF says:

    In my defense, my wife is the one who ordered these shelving units, not I. On the other hand, I know that she just doesn’t comprehend a lot of the distinctions, so I shouldn’t have let her order them.

  7. Miles_Teg says:

    All my bookshelves are pine, they look much better and as has been noted are more secure. I guess particle board has its uses but bookshelves and areas where visitors might see them are not amongst them.

  8. Lynn McGuire says:

    Eventually, we plan to relocate, probably up to the mountains, where we’ll buy or build a home and a work building.

    Are you thinking about going totally remote, away from the wandering masses after The Great Default ™ ? You might want to scope out a place that is remote yet close to decent medical help. None of us here are spring chickens and very subject to heart, cancer, bear, moose, or other accidental conditions. I would not want to be further from decent medical help than one hour by car and good road. Heart is kinda dicey at one hour if you survive the initial attack (been there, done that).

    I’ve got about a month’s food in stock if we go kinda lean. Do you have a plan for cooking the rice without electric and natural gas?

  9. SteveF says:

    Do you have a plan for cooking the rice without electric and natural gas?

    Solar oven

  10. Lynn McGuire says:

    “The image John Kerry WON’T want you to see: U.S. Secretary of State pictured dining with Assad and his wife at Damascus restaurant before war broke out in Syria”

    What a tool!

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    Do you have a plan for cooking the rice without electric and natural gas?

    Solar oven

    Whew! For a minute there I was worried that we would be talking about pressure cookers and backpacks prepared for a quick escape to the mountains.

  12. OFD says:

    Wood and charcoal are also fairly reliable heat sources.

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