Monday, June 29, 2020

Greenworks 60V Gen2 String Trimmer: Clean Up That Messy Line

Here's a story that most of us are familiar with. You have spent a few hours doing yard work. All that's left is trimming the edges of the yard and then blowing off the hardscape, and you're ready for a shower and a cold beverage. You start your string trimmer, get a small percentage of the way done, and then your string line runs out. You're faced with the dilemma of spending the time fighting with the trimmer to refill the line. I know I'm not the only one who has filled up a dual spool trimmer line, gotten it tightly wound, and then went to put it on the trimer head, only to have the line jump bounce out, unwind itself, and get tangled.  At that point, I'm thinking that the edge of the yard doesn't look that bad and can be taken care of the next time I mow. My neighbor doesn't say anything, but I see him eyeing those sloppy edges.

That happens to me every. Single. Time. It never fails. When the trimmer string needs replacing, it's at the tail end of my yard work but never as I swipe that last blade of grass.
Gen 1 (top) and Gen 2 (bottom)

Enter the Greenworks 60V Gen 2 String Trimmer. Any loyal Renaissance Dad reader

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Patio Bar Rehab for Less Than $200

I tend to be a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, which is especially beneficial in the year 2020. So while there are so many things going on right now that are not great (one of my favorite current sayings is, "Look out the window and see which chapter of Revelation we're in today"), some things have been beneficial. I have gotten to spend a lot more time with my family. I have walked hundreds of miles on all of my conference calls/phone calls/virtual meetings. And I have been extremely productive with house projects.

One project that I have been putting off for a few years is refurbishing my patio cabinets. The cabinet doors wouldn't close and were hanging off the hinges, the drawer bottoms were falling apart, the veneer was peeling off, and I was getting weekly calls from the '80s asking for their mauve back. So once I finished painting my downstairs, laying bricks around the border of my yard, and installing new banisters in my stairway, I figured it was time for me to slay this beast.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Gazpacho: An Authentic Spanish Soup

The idea of cold tomato soup never quite appealed to me. I pictured in my mind a frosty can of condensed, gelatinous sludge. Gross.

But when I studied in Spain, my host family made gazpacho. Being the courteous young man that I was, I went to Spain planning on trying everything at least once (this only backfired one time when I ate a slice of pickled pigs cheek, which was as disgusting as it sounds. No offense to anybody who likes pickled pigs cheek). So as I took the first bite of gazpacho, I had low expectations. But boy was it delicious. I was sold, and upon returning to the States, I started making gazpacho for anybody I could convince to try it.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Quarantine Home Projects: Get the Kids to Help

For the past ten weeks or so, my job as a principal shifted significantly, as did the jobs of quite a few people in the world. I went from interacting with hundreds of people every day, shifting gears every five minutes, and bouncing around my school for 11 or 12 hours per day, to mainly doing one of two things: sitting in front of my computer monitoring online classes or doing my normal email tasks, or having my headset in on a webinar, conference call, or phone call. Rather than sit all day, I walk during conference calls. I spent so much time on the phone walking around either the park or my school that I completely wore through my shoes, and then could not find anyplace to purchase shoes because of the quarantine order. Needless to say that at the end of the work day I was ready not to sit on my computer or in front of a screen.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Kale Chips: Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables

When I was a kid, I had no idea what kale was. In fact, I'm pretty sure that kale didn't exist back then. The first time I saw it, I was an adult, and I thought it was some kind of lettuce. The first time I tried it, I thought it was pretty disgusting lettuce. Although I know it's an important source of vitamin whatever and pure essence of kale, I really wasn't sure why God decided that we needed it.

But lo and behold, if you add a little salt and oil and bake the kale, it goes from disgusting to magical. It is so tasty that your kids will not want to stop eating it, and you will need to hide some away if you want any. Here's the recipe:

1. Wash the kale and pat or spin it dry.

2. Pull the leaves off of the stalk. Some pieces will be larger than others; that's okay.

3. Drizzle oil over the leaves and toss them around. Spread the oiled leaves on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Do NOT allow the leaves to overlap.

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