Day: July 23, 2017

Sunday, 23 July 2017

09:15 – It was 72.5F (22.5C) when I took Colin out at 0645. More heads-down work on science kits today.

I’m very disappointed in the Netflix DVD service, which has become pretty much worthless. We were members for about a decade, ending in 2012. I kept a log of everything, including the date the shipped us a disc, when we received it, when we sent it back, when they received it, and when they shipped the replacement disc. Back then, Netflix operated seven days a week, and the USPS also worked with them every day of the week.

When Netflix got a disc back from us, they’d immediately ship the replacement disc, which would arrive the next day. We’d watch it and return it the following day. They’d receive it late that night or early the following morning, and immediately ship the replacement disc.

They no longer work that way. I signed up for the 2-discs-at-a-time plan at 0928 last Monday morning, the 17th, expecting them to ship the first two discs that afternoon. Instead, they didn’t ship them until 1350 the following day, Tuesday the 18th. We received them Wednesday morning, the 19th, watched them, and returned them Thursday morning the 20th. They emailed to acknowledge receipt at 1242 on Friday the 21st. I expected them to send the next two discs that afternoon, which we’d receive Saturday the 22nd. Nope. Not only didn’t they ship the replacement discs Friday afternoon, they STILL haven’t shipped them. So, assuming they get around to shipping them tomorrow, that means their cycle is about one set per week, or roughly 10 discs/month. At $12/month, that’s $1.20 per disc rental charge.

So I won’t be continuing the service once the free 30-day trial expires. In fact, I may just cancel it immediately. Until 2012, we had the 3-disc plan. It cost $15/month for 3 discs versus $12/month now for 2 discs. Looking at the 1,500 or so discs we rented over a decade, back then it was costing about $0.70/disc, so they’ve basically increased their prices by more than 70%.

I understand that Netflix would be operating at a loss without disc rental revenue. And they have only four million or so people on disc rental plans, a number that’s dropping fast. I don’t expect the service to last more than three or four more years before it loses critical mass. Oh, well. They just lost me.

Email from Kathy. They got a lot done Friday, working straight through. They got all of their bulk rice, oats, beans, and sugar packed in foil-laminate Mylar bags, sealed, labeled, and put on the shelves. More than a half a ton worth in total. They got partway through the flour and other bulk staples.

Mike got the second island shelf unit finished earlier in the week, and got all of the canned goods, herbs/spices, etc. moved onto the shelves, with the latest best-by dates toward the rear and bottom. Kathy was about 95% happy with how he’d done it, but made a few adjustments. She’s in charge of LTS food and cooking, so she needs things where she wants them and where she knows where they are.

Mike got the propane tank on order. It’s supposed to be installed and the lines run next week. They ended up with a 330-gallon tank like the one we have. Mike also ordered a propane space heater from the same company that’s installing the tank and lines. They didn’t carry cooktops. The propane gas cooktop is on order from Lowes, and is supposed to be delivered next week. Coincidentally, they ended up ordering exactly the same model we have other than color.

Mike got the upper and base cabinets and laminate countertop at the local building supply store, which delivered them. He’s installing those himself. Kathy talked with the Prepper Girls about pressure canning. She dithered about ordering a <$100 Presto pressure canner like the one we and several of the Prepper Girls use versus a $350 All-American unit. They talked it over and decided to order the All-American. She also has a bunch of canning jars on order with Walmart, as well as canning accessories.

She almost ordered a gross of wide-mouth reusable Tattler lids, but chickened out at the last moment. She (and several of the Prepper Girls) are concerned about them making good seals. Most reviewers give them glowing reviews, but more than a few report failures to seal, either during the canning process or weeks to months afterward. And some of those are people who have 20 or more years of canning experience.

So Kathy is debating with herself about ordering enough of those to match the number of canning jars she has, with a few spares, versus just ordering half a dozen one-use lids for each jar. The upside of the Tattler lids is that if she can get 10 uses from each, it’ll cost about half what it would to use reusable lids. The downside is that she’s afraid they might not work reliably.

Kathy also has a new Nesco dehydrator. She thought about buying an Excalibur, but decided the Nesco would do the same job at a third the price. So she picked up a Nesco on their shopping trip yesterday. They decided they didn’t need to make the 3-hour round trip run to Sam’s Club so instead they made the 90-minute round trip to the Walmart Super Center where they usually shop a couple times a month.

She decided to try out the dehydrator with some strawberries they picked up on the same trip. So after dinner yesterday she spent some time prepping and slicing the strawberries and loading up the trays to dry them overnight. One thing she hadn’t thought about is that their whole house now smells pleasantly of strawberries. She said she’d glad she didn’t decide to start by drying garlic. If she does stuff that smells bad, she plans to do it outside.

When they got up this morning, the strawberries were dry enough that they crumbled to powder. She made the mistake of letting Mike sample one, which he munched dry. He says they make a great snack. Kathy’s afraid she won’t have any left to store.


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