Forehead Thermometers – The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, but…

Why the hell do these stupid things have a memory recall on them.  Better yet, why are they always showing you the last temp read.  Like BTW two weeks ago your kids forehead read 99.1 – okay, so what.  As with anything, I’m sure there are people who like that feature, or need it for a specific purpose.  Though most of us only need to see the temperature once.  It’s pretty easy to remember, given that these thermometers are designed with children in mind and that said child’s health is paramount to the parent means they aren’t likely to forget.

Our Experiences:

We have the Wal-Mart ReliOn brand currently and aside from the memory recall complaint the device actually works pretty well.  In all fairness the memory only shows for a second or two when you power on the device.  It was also very affordable, I don’t recall exactly, but I think I only paid about $10.

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We have used it in conjunction with a traditional thermometer and found that they gave similar results (though don’t forget, foreheads read cooler than the mouth, armpit or elsewhere…).  One other downside on this model is that the battery cover comes off very easily and can be bumped lose from regular usage.

We purchased our previous forehead thermometer at K-Mart for $50.  It was a Vicks so I figured it would work well.  Considering we had to buy another you’ve probably already figured out that this one crapped out on us.  We bought this one in 2013 just after our first child was born.  I thought, better get a good one and we can amortize the cost over the years of use we’ll get from the thing, right?  Wrong!

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It looks pretty cool, well packaged, the actual device has a nice overall design with a comfortable grip.  It certainly looked better than all the rest on the shelf.  Sadly though, within two years it was broken.  It never really worked very well to begin with, frequently turning off while it was supposed to be reading the temperature as well as sometimes getting stuck in memory mode.  I mean hell, if your kid is sick, you need to read their temperature right now.  And if they are sick, they probably don’t have the patience for you to try and take their temperature over and over again because your POS thermometer keeps on messing up.  Its life ended when it got permanently stuck into memory mode and we finally gave up and threw it out.

A Quick Word On Ear Thermometers:

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We very briefly tried a Walgreens ear thermometer after the Vicks thermometer broke.  Unfortunately we weren’t sure about the temperatures it read out.  Additionally it doesn’t seem like most kids can sit there with this thing in their ear long enough to get a reading.  Even more, the ear part is too big for younger children on this particular model.  So there is another $20 in  the toilet…

Now what did I learn?

Perhaps nothing I suppose.  I’m sure I knew already at that time that you should always research products before you buy them.  However, spending the better part of $100 on thermometers in less than three years should teach me something too.  But truth be told, when I bought the ReliOn type I just went out to find a cheap one.  Maybe what I really learned is that you don’t necessarily get what you pay for.

Trust Me…

This is a time honored truth that I have “learned” time and time again.  Basically I’ve come to understand that you can never trust someone who tells you “trust me”.  On the surface that seems pretty obvious, someone shouldn’t need to tell you to trust them.  However, the people who have burned me in the past with “trust me” always seem to have a way about them.  Something about their personality when they say trust me somehow puts their victim at ease.  Clearly they can sense the other persons trepidation, this is when the “trust me” appears.  But what is it that makes that “trust me” so convincing?

The last time this happened to me was when I sold my AMC Eagle SX/4 near the end of 2012.  At the time I had a collection of 4 vehicles (this was pretty impressive as I was living in the downtown of a college area, where parking was at a premium).  A number of things happened that year that forced me to move to a city about 45 miles away.  With the move I was going to lose the extra parking spaces I had, so I decided to sell off two of my cars.  I had placed an add for the Eagle on craigslist and got few responses.  Soon enough though someone was interested but they only wanted to pay half.  I was asking $1200, mostly because the car was from California (I live in the north where cars rust).  Not to mention it only had 66k on the odometer, black interior (in decent shape) and it was a 4 speed!  Anyway I spoke with the guy about the car and he came over to see it start.  It had lost the clutch cylinder so it couldn’t be driven at the time.  We got the car to start and I agreed to $800 on the car and a tow for my 1983 Camaro Z28 to my new place.  I’m happy to help someone out a little and I thought it was a reasonable deal.  Payment came in the form of a check that the soon to be buyer had received from a painting job he had done.  Certainly this was a red flag, but time was short for me to finalize things at my old place.  We made arrangements for him to come back and tow my Camaro and I gave him the title.  This is when I make the fatal mistake.  After I give him the title, I still had the keys.  I was going to give them to him, but then I hesitated.  That’s when the “trust me” came out.  And as you already know, I did, and I gave him the keys.  Well sure enough, the car was gone when I got home from work and I never heard from him again.  He got just what he wanted, the car for $600, and I was stuck without a way to tow my other car.  I called, he never answered.  Luckily there wasn’t an issue with the check he signed over to me.  I suppose I could have pursued things further, but to what end?  Can you partially steal a car, or would I have been on my own in a civil case anyway?  I guess it matters little now.

So this was just one example.  I’m sure that many among you wouldn’t be so easily fooled.  However, I know that many others have fallen victim to similar situations.  I guess all you can do is try and learn your lesson and keep your wits about you in the future.

How I Made the Peppa Pig Red Family Car

Recently my wife was planning our daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday party.  While doing so she came across a picture wherein someone made a 2D cardboard representation of the red Peppa Pig family car to be used to take pictures with.  This was a great idea.  However, I didn’t think that would be nearly as much fun as a “real” 3D Peppa Pig car that my daughter could get inside and pretend to drive.

Creating the shape/body:

To begin I went out to our garage to look for a box suitable for this project.  We had a nice box from a stroller/car seat combo that looked just about right.  The tools I used for the basic construction included a hot glue gun, scissors, utility knife, pen/marker, tape and a tape measure.

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I drew freehand to make the initial curve for the front of the car.  I then used the piece I cut from the one side as a template to mark/cut the other side.  As you can see, I left the bottom flap on the box, this will become the front nose of  the car.  Inside the box I added triangular shaped support “beams” that I made from the two flaps that got cut off when I made the side profile cuts.  These are perfect for the job as they are the same height as the box itself.

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Next, I attached some small flaps to the bottom main flap of the box to be used to secure the main flap to the new contour of  the box side.  In the picture you can see where I should have at least put those small flaps inside the box before having had glued the other side.  I was trying to keep the attachment flaps on the inside of the box so that the outside would remain “smooth-ish”.  However, with the papier-mâché I did in a later step, any attachment flaps put on the outside ended up being hidden and smoothed over.

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Now that nap time was over for our kids, I needed to hide the Peppa car in our bedroom if I was to continue work without my daughter’s knowledge.

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My next step was to make a cutout for the top of the car.  I drew some lines so that some of the cardboard could be used as a dashboard, and the rear part as a reinforcement as well as a way to hide the rear side supports (not yet installed), and really the rest of the inside of the rear of the car.

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Now, I moved on to the rear contour.  For the back, I didn’t start the contour cut until after the main bottom flap (box half), but otherwise, I did the same thing I did for the front contour.  Also as with the front, I used the removed box flaps to make the rear supports.  Each flap gets 3 lines cut into it as shown in the image just above.  Then I folded them into a triangle and put hot glue on one of the short edges.  Once the glue was set on the one edge I glued the other edge and formed the triangle.

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For the front and rear hood/deck contour I found some large pieces of cardboard with the lines/grain running the width of the car to facilitate curving the piece.  I folded a small flap along the bottom of the hood piece and hot glued that to the bottom flap that was already on the car.  I tried to keep gluing flaps on the inside of the hood piece, but ultimately this proved impossible near the top.  With the dashboard and support beams installed I was hardly able to get my hands in behind the hood, let alone get hot glue on the tabs.

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Paint and body work:

Next we moved back to the living room once the kids were asleep for the night.  I wanted to do papier-mâché so that there wouldn’t be any seams, and I also hoped it would cover the attaching flaps used on the outside of the body.

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Fortunately the papier-mâché did cover all of the spots as I had hoped.  One thing I did not anticipate was how water logged the cardboard beneath would get.  If not for the support beams I installed, the Peppa car may have died right there.  If I did something like this again, I think I would cover the entire car in some tape to give the boxes beneath some water resistance.

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Once dry, the Peppa car looked a little wavy.  I’m not sure why, but I didn’t have anytime to try any fixes.  I did however use some tape along the bottom on the one side.  The papier-mâché had some bubbles and spots lifting after it dried.  But the paint soaked right into it and fixed most of that.  We used regular latex house paint, and were able to find a perfect Peppa Pig red car color.

Adding the finishing touches:

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I used some automotive grade vinyl material for the body lines (you can get scraps of this stuff at the smaller sign shops willing to deal with individuals).  The material comes in rolls and can easily be cut into strips.  I used a paper plate to draw and outline for the wheel outlines, then thickened the lines with a thick black marker.  For the hood line, I did the same thing, but I used an 18″ cardboard cake circle.  (And don’t worry, we put ears on Peppa before the party started!)

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I used LibreOffice to create some oval outlines on the computer.  Then I just used the printout as a template to cutout the headlight and headlamp bezel from construction paper.

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The final piece of the Peppa car was the windshield frame.  I took a flat piece of cardboard of the right width and ruled out five 1.5″ sections.  Next I folded up the top of the frame and hot glued it down.  With the bottom portion of the cardboard sheet, I made a left and a right bar with five 1.5″ sections each.  The portion below the bottom line is discarded.  Then, I cut the left and right sides at the bottom of the top of the frame through to the last section, discarding the center piece.  I left two tabs of the bottom squares on each side to fold into for a flat base.  The final step was to cover the the windshield frame with painter’s tape to make it blue (as well as give it strength and cover the holes on the end of the top of the frame).

The finished car:

The Finished Peppa Pig car IMAG3155_cropThe Finished Peppa Pig car IMAG3153_crop

My daughter had a small pink chair that I put in so she could sit down.  The car turned out to be a huge success.  My daughter loved it and had a great time playing in it.  My wife predicted that I would still be working on the car at 2:30 (when the party started at 2:00 lol).  Though she was right, it was only the windshield frame that I was still finishing.  The car held up pretty well, especially after my daughter got in and out of it a dozen times.  The windshield proved to be an especially attractive hand hold and ended up detaching somewhat soon after being installed.

How long the red Peppa car will last is unknown.  We’ll probably keep it for a little while at least.  This project did take a while to make.  Total time was about 6-7 hours over 3 days- 1 hour body construction phase 1, 1.25 hours body construction phase 2, 1.5 hours for papier-mâché, 45 minutes to paint, 2 hours of finishing touches.  I didn’t actually keep track of the time.  I tried to look through my photo timestamps, but I didn’t always snap a shot at the beginning and end of each time I worked on the car.  I had considered putting a plywood sheet underneath the car- that way I could raise the car up on blocks to add the wheels- but I ended up running out of time.  This ended up being somewhat of a blessing, as the car was already a bit too tall to start.  In addition, the car is probably just plain safer with the bottom of the box as the floor.

I’m really happy with the way everything worked out.  Our Peppa party was a great success and the car was a hit as well.  The smiles on my daughter’s face were well worth the time and effort and few dozen first degree glue burns, lol.

 

A Penny saved is a Penny Earned

As I was writing another post, I came upon the occasion to use the phrase a penny saved is a penny earned.  In the past I had always had ideas in my head regarding that saying.  Something to the effect of the money you have saved up is the money you have actually earned.  Recently I had a revelation about the meaning of that saying, and while writing the other post I decided to do a few internet searches on the phrase to be sure I was on solid ground.  The first search result provided a relatively good account of what the phrase actually means.  The others were almost as ridiculous as my own contorted ideas.  One site even said,  “Money that you save is more valuable than money that you spend right away.”.  To this I say, how so?  Another says, “Money not spent is money that is in one’s pocket.“, well duh… but still not what the saying means.  And yet another says,  “something you say that ​means it is ​wise to ​save ​money”, well duh again- but it doesn’t tell you when, and that is the key.  But don’t fear, hopefully this post will help others understand this old idiom.

A penny saved is a penny earned is not about putting money into your bank account.  It isn’t about being frugal, it’s about getting a good deal.  A penny saved is a penny earned means saving money (when making purchases) is as good as earning the same amount of money that the full purchase price would have required.  Lets say you buy something for $50, but it is actually worth $100.  Then in the time it took you to earn the original $50, you actually earned a $100 value, while not actually having to earn the other $50 in the traditional sense.  In addition, your personal value for time ratio is increased.   But remember, this doesn’t mean that buying something cheap is the same idea.  If you buy something for $5 that is worth $5, you will still have $45, but you have added no value.  Your total value would still be $50.

That’s it.  And it is a principal that I have been following for quite some time (even though the revelation of the meaning of the saying came recently).  It just seems like a no-brainer, right?  Try to get the best price you can on every purchase, and in the end you’ll have more of everything.