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Just a Thought - Hunker down for winter
Lisa Hobbs, new mugshot.jpg

Does DIY stand for Do It Yourself or Damage It Yourself?

During the first bout of winter, my electricity went out for four hours. That was approximately 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 3. All we could was call it in, bundle up and patiently wait for Caney Fork Electric crews to get to us.

We were among the thousands who suffered outages.

While waiting for electricity and the return of heat, I started thinking about alternate heat options. So, I turned to Google. I saw something strange: DIY clay pot emergency heaters. It seemed fairly simple: two clay pots, four tea light candles, and one used tea light candle.

I decided to try making my own clay pot candle heater because I had everything readily available. While it did provide some heat, it will not heat an entire room. If you want to give it a go, please use common sense. Only an idiot wouldn’t recognize this as a potential fire hazard.

Candles cause 2% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, and 5% of home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

On a less hazardous note, I’ve always wondered what to do about my icy concrete steps. It’s an issue every winter. Salt can cause them to break down and crack, which I do not want. I found a DIY homemade deicer using a gallon of warm water, two tablespoons Dawn dish soap and two tablespoons rubbing alcohol. It claimed no damage to the concrete.

Thursday evening, I made the solution, shoveled snow off the steps and applied it. An hour later and no ice. Slush, but no ice. I swept and reapplied. The morning after and still no ice. I cannot comment on the longterm effects of using this mixture. I liked the short-term effect (not falling).

Friday was the coldest morning thus far at 14 degrees, according to the app on my cellphone. Baby and Princess watched as I bundled up: Three layers, insulated boots, hat and gloves. If you ignore Princess’ whining, she and Baby waited patiently. Princess is a whiner.

She can’t wait to get outside and bounce around in the snow. Baby enjoys warmth and dislikes change. She refused to drink out of the plastic bowl. I took her metal one.

Along with taking her metal bowl, my winter to-do list includes: Check antifreeze in vehicles, check; store lawnmower, check; cover spigot, check; drain garden hoses, check; close vents, check; bring in the pressure washer, check; wrap the air conditioner, check; towels to cover car doors, check; window deicer for when I forget, check.

All homeowners know the winter drill. Basically, it’s hunker down and make sure winter doesn’t destroy everything you own.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.