THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

The Problem With Shop Towels

So I picked up another pack of a dozen shop towels the other day.

Really, they aren’t shop towels, they’re terry cloth car finishing towels. But I like them for shop use because the little strands clean better.

I am rough on shop towels. My shop towels handle everything from a coffee spill to getting epoxy off my hands and the top of the table saw. I don’t have a true workbench, my shop is so small, so I use the table saw and router table extension as a work bench, and sometimes I get a little drop of epoxy, varnish or glue on the top.

But I had only two badly stained shop towels left. I wash them for as long as possible, but in the case of things like epoxy, they develop hard spots all over them and don’t work well anymore. I put my new shop towels on the shelf where I keep the old ones.

Invariably, when I need to clean up a mess, I grab one of the old ones. The new ones are so clean and white, I don’t want to dirty them. I do this all the time, until finally the old ones are no longer viable, and with gritted teeth, I foul the first new one.

I’m like that with a lot of things. The byproduct of being raised…not poor, but not having access to anything I wanted.

When I fish my flies, I use a particular one, say a Jitterbee, until it’s so ragged and near-naked it won’t attract a bite anymore. Then I put on a new one. Waste not want not, right?

Not really. I just like things pretty and new and shiny and hate for them to get messed up. You know, like that first ding on your new vehicle. That’s the one that hurts the most!

I tied Jitterbees in three colors, about 30 in each, some four years ago. Still have most of them, that’s how long I fish a fly until it’s demolished beyond use.

Normally, I don’t tie flies, I buy them. This is because my eyes are getting so bad that “tying flies” can loosely be translated to “cussing, yelling, pounding the table and throwing away perfectly good fly tying materials.” But the Jitterbee is not a commercial fly, so I tie my own, usually when no one else is home.

I hate writing on the first sheet in a new notebook. After that, I’m good to the end. I hate taking the first shot on a new roll of film, back when I did such things, but was eager to get to the end so I could get them developed. Interestingly, I have no such inhibitions about an empty memory card.

They say digital photography does not have the warmth and depth of film, and I disagree, I think it exceeds film. The same cannot be said of audio CDs, however. To my ear – and many others feel the same – digital audio just doesn’t have the fullness and warmth of an analog recording on a vinyl record. But until they put record players in the dashboards of cars, we’re pretty much stuck with CDs, anyway.

Which brings me, believe it or not, to birds.

I have recently begun to enjoy watching the birds at Suzie’s feeders around the yard. I even snap their photos…digitally, of course. I never much cared about watching birds. I mean, I appreciate birds, especially colorful ones, but to sit down and watch birds, well, no, that just wasn’t on my itinerary.

But after I built my front porch, Suzie and I would sit out there every evening, and watch the birds on the feeders. I enjoyed it very much, and actually started getting 10-pound bags of birdseed to keep the little rascals coming.

I’ve got titmouse, cardinals, chickadees, house wrens, doves and others I can’t really identify yet at our feeders. We even have a shy redheaded woodpecker around, but he never gets very close when we’re around.

I wanted a blue bird, though. Suzie had one show up briefly last winter, and she got a picture of it, but I never got to see it. My pal has blue birds galore in Cade, and makes me jealous at every opportunity by sending me photos and descriptions of them. I don’t mind, I enjoy seeing them.

So I made a bluebird house according to various plans I found online, and put it on the tree in the back yard. So far, nothing. I watch it every day, hoping for a flash of color, but alas, nothing. I am feeling maligned and outcast.

One day, I looked out the back window, and saw something moving around in my bluebird house. At last! I rushed outside, sneaked quietly up to it, and looked with binoculars into the entry hole.

Looking back at me from inside was a green lizard.

I was crushed. Pete’s got his bluebirds, and they actually raised a family in his back yard just 30 miles from here…I got a lizard. I feel like Charlie Brown at trick-or-treat.

But I remain hopeful. Because you see – and here’s how we got from shop towels to lizards in the bluebird house, believe it or not – once a family moves in, raise some young’uns and moves on, the birdhouse won’t be a brand new shop towel sitting on the shelf anymore. And THEN I get to go build another one to put on another tree in the yard? Ya folla?

Yeah, I know. Fuzzy logic.

2 comments to The Problem With Shop Towels

  • blufloyd

    My bluebird house story. About 15 years ago I got about 7 bluebird houses on clearance at some big box store. Kits actually. I assembled them and stenciled ‘DNR 11 – DNR 77’ on the sides. I was thinking Designated Nesting Region but figured if shotgun wielding ne’rdowell’s thought it was Dept. Natural Resources be fine with me. So I strung them out along sister’s farm ditches and waited a few weeks. Yeah you got lizard, I got vicious tree swallows. Bluebirds are in the teasel thistles by my fall crappie hole and I see them buzz across Chess Club creek once in awhile.

    I need to pick up a couple bundles of towel at Dollar store.

  • Gordon Bryson

    Roger, you might try moving the blue bird house to a fence post, etc. Ours is on a wooden fence right outside our back windows. We have two or three families each year. They don’t seem to want to be close to trees, even though they do nest in hollowed out tree trunks. Just a thought.

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