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With all the handyman type stuff I've been doing (see the end of this blog post) and with Father's Day coming up, I decided to post some interesting facts about the one of the essentials in any handyman's arsenal - WD-40. I don't remember where I got what I'm posting, and therefore I don't know who the "I" is in the personal references in it. The list on snopes.com has some not on the list I received and some of mine aren't on theirs.


picture of WD-40

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. It's name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product, they began smuggling (also known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home. The executives decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans. The rest, as they say, is history.

It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff manufactured each year. It gets it's distinctive smell from a fragrance that is added to the brew. Ken East says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are some of the uses:

Protects silver from tarnishing

Cleans and lubricates guitar strings

Gets oil spots off concrete driveways

Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery

Keeps flies off cows

Restores and cleans chalkboards

Removes lipstick stains

Loosens stubborn zippers

Untangles jewelry chains

Removes stains from stainless steel sinks

Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill

Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing

Removes tomato stains from clothing (not sure I'd do this since it contains oil)

Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots

Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors

Keeps scissors working smoothly

Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes

Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide

Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers

Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises

Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open

Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close

Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers

Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles

Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans

Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling

Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly

Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools

Removes splattered grease on stove

Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging

Lubricates prosthetic limbs

Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)

Removes all traces of duct tape

I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, knees, etc., to relieve arthritis pain.

One fellow claims spraying it on fishing lures attracts fish.

WD-40 has been designated the "official multipurpose problem-solver of NASCAR," a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. I told my NASCAR loving sons about this and they said they couldn't imagine how WD-40 can solve the Jeff Gordon problem.

In 2003, in celebration of their 50th year, the company conducted a contest to learn the favorite uses of its customers and fan club members, (Yes, there is a WD-40 Fan Club).

They compiled the information to identify the favorite use in each of the 50 states. Naturally I was curious about Georgia and Alabama and found the favorite use in both states was that it "penetrates stuck bolts, lug nuts, and hose ends." Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes lovebugs from grills and bumpers."

California's favorite use was penetrating the bolts on the Golden Gate Bridge. The favorite use in the State of New York... WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements!

No wonder they have had over 50 successful years!

I (Rob) have not personally tried many of these, so I'm hoping some of you readers may give the rest of us your insights in some comments.


This past Saturday I embarked on a fun little project - building a flower box. I'll start off by giving a little history. When we moved into this subdivision 3 years ago this month, we were impressed by the fact that there were flower boxes atop some of the cement drain covers, including a pretty little box right in front of our house. In the past few months, that box has simply fallen apart. I decided to build a new one this past weekend. I bought the wood at "Home Despot" (my name for this great store), and I had them cut it for me to my dimensions since their saws are so much better and faster than mine. Below are several pictures of various stages of the project.

the cement drain cover after I removed the old box...

picture of drain cover

the finished box with five drain holes cut in the middle...

picture of box done

the box refilled with the dirt I'd removed from the old box and sifted...

picture of box filled

Becka and I decided to drive around the neighborhood to see what others had planted in their boxes. We were surprised and a bit disappointed to find only 3 other such boxes in the entire subdivision! I guess as new members of the neighborhood, we saw things a little idealistically. Two of the boxes we found on our drive had either nothing or almost nothing planted in them! One had some nice petunias. We decided to plant in our box a perennial lantana called "Miss Huff" which will eventually fill much of the center of the box. I planted also a trailing petunia and around the edges of the box I've planted seeds of Johnny Jump-Ups, some historic pansies from Seed Savers Exchange, and towards the back some zinnias. Below is a picture of the two plants I bought. After the other stuff comes up and gets established, I'll try to remember to post an updated picture.

picture of box planted

I found a nice picture online of what the lantana will look like when it's mature. I'm putting that picture below....

picture of Lantana Miss Huff


At the cathedral in Lubeck, Germany there is an inscription that reads, "Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us - You call Me master and obey Me not; you call Me light and see Me not; you call Me the way and walk in Me not; you call Me life and live Me not; you call Me wise and follow Me not; you call Me fair and love Me not; you call Me rich and ask Me not; you call Me eternal and seek Me not. If I condemn thee, blame Me not." - Author unknown

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You really need only two tools - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use duct tape.

Computer Error Messages

I know that when I first decided to stop sending my iv's by email and posting them to my blog instead, it was met with reactions all across the spectrum from FINALLY! to RATS! Since then, I've had more and more people thank me for blogging instead of sending the email iv's. To me, there are huge benefits to posting to the blog. First it's so easy and quick, and it's done in one step. I don't have to reformat the iv to put it out in the online archives as a web page. But one big advantage is that I can put pictures on the blog, whereas with the email system I had to use, I could not include pictures - it was plain text only. And with the arrival of our grandson Drew, being able to put pictures out has been great fun! And I know that many like seeing the pictures, which are now out there for return visits to the blog. According to one means of counting visits to my blog, there have been over 20,000 visits to blog.ivman.com since Feb. 14. Now, of course, return visits are counted as individual visits, but still, I'm encouraged and humbled. As more and more people are remembering on their own or through rss feeds to check my blog, the number of those signed up for email notifications has dropped. So this is all good.

Working on computers all day this summer is enjoyable, and helping people with their computer woes is even more enjoyable. I must admit, though, that sometimes it's more than a little frustrating to try to figure out some of the cryptic error messages that pop up. Today's iv is entirely pictorial - funny computer error messages. I'm sure that some or even all of these are Photoshopped or whatever, but they are humorous!


"Keep on drawing near, no matter what's going on. When we feel beaten down is exactly when we need to draw near to God." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Cat Etiquette

The past couple of days have been a special time of bonding between our two cats and me with my wife and daughter gone. Some of their antics made me think of the following list of cat etiquette rules. Cat lovers will be amused as they think of their own little darlings, and cat haters will probably say at least once, "Yep, that's another reason I don't like cats!"

Rules of Etiquette for Young, Inexperienced Cats Who Have a Household to Run...

A. Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get one open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once the door is opened for you, it is not necessary to use it. Remember, as a cat, you have the option of changing your mind.

B. Once you have ordered that a door to the outside be opened, stand half-in and half-out and think about several things. (This is particularly important during very cold weather or mosquito season).

C. Avoid swinging doors, unless you can get humans to catch your tail in it by accident.

D. Should you run into a closed sliding glass door, never let on that it was unintentional - go about your business as if "I meant to do that."

Addendum: If you are an indoor-only cat, use your Cloak of Invisibility until the people forget you're in the room, then make an insane dash for the outside world the instant the door is opened. Then when your people come after you, do that "dancing just a millimeter out of reach" thing until they're not sure they even want you back.

A. If you have to throw up, get onto a chair or the couch quickly. If you cannot manage this in time, get to an Oriental rug. Lacking an Oriental rug, shag carpet is good.

B. When it becomes time to dislodge a fur ball, choose the dining room at dinner time. Carpet or upholstery is always preferable to hard surfaces.

A. After dinner, when walking on the dinner table among the dishes, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea to convey is "But you let me do it when there isn't company!"

B. Determine quickly which guest hates cats. Sit on that lap during the evening because the guest wouldn't dare push you off and will even call you "nice kitty." If you can arrange to have cat food on your breath, so much the better.

C. For sitting in laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select colors which contrast with your own. Example: for white-furred cats, a good black wool is best.

D. Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

E. For guests who say, "I love kitties," be ready with aloof disdain. Later you can apply your claws to stockings or give a quick nip to the ankles.

A. If you allow a dog to share your domain, you are in luck. Should you tatter the drapes or destroy anything for which you fear retribution, wait until your owner is near by, slap the dog and run for it. Dogs are stupid and will accept the blame for anything. If this ruse should fail, simply run and hide. No one really expects to catch a cat.

B. Chase, frolic, and run from Invincible Entities. The why doesn't matter - it is just expected.

C. If you ever catch a mouse, take it under the king-sized bed. Go to the center, out of reach of anyone. Wait until the people are asleep, and proceed to eat your catch, enjoying every morsel as loudly as you can.

D. Any small item is a potential toy. If a human tries to confiscate it, this means that it is a Good Toy. Run with it under the bed. Look suitably outraged when the human grabs you and takes it away. Always watch where it is put so you can steal it later.

E. Hiding is great fun. Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come under any circumstances out for three to four hours. (This is a great time for some extra napping.) This will cause the humans to panic (which they love to do) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and will probably give you a treat.

F. Always sharpen claws on furniture. Ignore those "scratching posts" they get for you, they're not good for your nails. Curtains and the arms of their easy chairs are also great places to scratch and sharpen your claws. You need to leave your mark on the world. If your humans are ignoring you, this is a great way to get their attention.

A. It is important to maintain one's dignity at all times. If you should have an accident during play, such as falling off a chair, immediately wash a part of your body as if to say "I MEANT to do that!"

B. Always look innocent when you've made a mess. Your humans won't believe you did it.

C. If you are overweight, arrange yourself in attractive poses, except, of course, when cleaning yourself.

A. Never eat food from your own bowl if you can steal some from the table. Never drink from your own water bowl if their glass is full enough to drink from.

B. If you become bored with your diet, immediately after food is placed into dish, try to cover it with the newspaper under your bowl - sometimes this can even result in your fresh bowl of water being tipped over.

C. Table scraps are delicacies with which humans are unwilling to part readily. It is beneath your dignity to beg for these as do the lower forms of life (dogs), but try jumping onto the lap of the softest human and purr loudly, lie down in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room, or give the Direct Stare. Other techniques that work are twining around people's legs as they sit and eat while meowing plaintively or resting your paws on the human's leg and mewing to remind them you are starving to death.

When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter as possible out of the box. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes. Also, refuse to use the litter box unless it's absolutely clean. If it's dirty, you can protest by making a little pile right next to the litterbox. That'll teach 'em to attend better to their duties!

A. As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

B. When your owner returns home laden with packages, fall down in front of them - this works best on steps, all the better if the individual is proceeding downward. There is always the chance you may get stepped on, but this usually guarantees a fall and you can milk their guilt that follows. It is usually worth it.

A. If one of them is sewing, or working with paper and pens, and the other is idle, sit with the busy one. This is called "helping", otherwise known as "hampering".

B. When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. This way you cannot be seen and, therefore, stand a better chance of being stepped on, picked up and comforted.

C. For readers, get in close under the chin, unless, of course, you can lie across the book, magazine, or newspaper itself. When a humans are holding the newspaper in front of themselves, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. They love to be startled and jump.

D. For someone knitting, curl quietly into lap and pretend to doze. Then reach out and slap a knitting needle sharply. This causes what is called a "dropped stitch." The knitter will try to distract you with a ball of yarn, which is ridiculous. What you want to go for, and with a vengeance is the moving strand of yarn. What self-respecting cat would settle for a ball of yarn when s/he can pounce on a moving strand?! Remember, the aim is to hamper work. Embroidery and needlepoint projects make great hammocks, in spite of what the humans may tell you.

E. For people paying bills (monthly activity) or working on income taxes or Christmas cards (annual activities), keep in mind the aim: to hamper. First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off of table one at a time.

F. For people doing homework, sit on the paper being worked on. After being removed for the second time, push anything movable off the table - pens, pencils, stamps - one at a time.

G. When people are using computers, be alert! Do not let typing occur without your attention. By sitting on the lap of the person at the keyboard, you can place elbows on the top, making it convenient to play with the keys. If there is paper on the desk or table, biting any piece of paper is in order, or better yet, sit on whatever the person is trying to look at while typing. Always walk on the keyboard.

A. Always sleep on the humans at night so they cannot move around. Get enough sleep in the daytime so that you are fresh for playing catch-mouse or king-of-the-hill on the bed between 2 and 4 a.m.

B. In the morning, when you want breakfast, lick the sleeping human on the face, or on an exposed foot (it is best to do this to the female, as the male tends to become violent).

FINAL NOTE: Start this training early, and you will have a smooth-running household. Humans need only to know a few basic rules which they can be taught readily if one starts in time!


Becka and Nora arrived back home safe and sound at about 6 last evening. They said the traffic wasn't all that bad, having been fearful that it would be otherwise on Memorial Day. They had a very nice time up there visiting with Jim, Meg, and Drew. Here are a few pictures from this last visit....

Grandma and Drew, who is now sporting some newborn-sized clothes...

picture of Grandma and Drew

Drew looking at his mom at bath time...

picture of bath time

Drew practicing his smiling while sleeping...

picture of sleeping smile

Megan did not end up having to have surgery last week, for which we are thankful. She and Drew are both doing very well. Our heartfelt thanks to those who ask about them and pray for them.


"Isn't it amazing that God uses words to change us?" - Dr. Drew Conley

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A dog will come when you call, but a cat will take a message and never get back to you.

Quotations about Grandparents

Becka and Nora left this morning a little after 4:00 and arrived safely in Michigan in time for dinner this evening. On the way they stopped in Findlay, Ohio, to have lunch and a short visit with Becka's aunts. I called a little while ago and got to hear our grandson cry on the phone - I attribute it to his sadness that I didn't accompany them, but it could be that Becka pinched him too. We may fire up the webcams later this evening if things settle down up there. My next blog post should have a fresh picture or two.

Since Becka is getting to enjoy grandmothering in person again and since we're between Mother's Day and Father's Day, I thought I'd share a list of quotations about grandparents that I received the other day. When I noticed that five of the quotations are attributed to Gene Perret, I did a search to see who he is. He's been a comedy writer for over thirty years for such comedians as Phyllis Diller, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, and many others. Some of the others quoted are unknown to me, and I didn't take the time to track down info about them.

Quotations about grandparents...

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. - Author Unknown

What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure. - Gene Perret

Grandmothers are just "antique" little girls. - Author Unknown

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. - Welsh Proverb

A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television. - Author Unknown

Never have children, only grandchildren. - Gore Vidal

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you're just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. - Pam Brown

Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is good because grandfathers have only so many horsey rides in them. - Gene Perret

When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window. - Ogden Nash

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. - Marcy DeMaree

Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies. - Author unknown

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. - Author Unknown

If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I'd have had them first. - Lois Wyse

My grandkids believe I'm the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too. - Gene Perret

If becoming a grandmother was only a matter of choice, I should advise every one of you straight away to become one. There is no fun for old people like it! - Hannah Whithall Smith

It's such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother - that's why the world calls her grandmother. - Author Unknown

Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old. - Mary H. Waldrip

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. - Proverb

An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly. - Gene Perret

The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby's grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida. - Dave Barry

I wish I had the energy that my grandchildren have - if only for self-defense. - Gene Perret

Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love. - Author Unknown

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. - Alex Haley

Grandmother - a wonderful mother with lots of practice. - Author Unknown

A grandparent is old on the outside but young on the inside. - Author Unknown

One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby around the finger of a grandfather. - Joy Hargrove

It's amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one. - Author Unknown

If your baby is "beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time," you're the grandma. - Teresa Bloomingdale

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren. - Author Unknown

What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I'd like to say that grandparents are God's gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate. - Bill Cosby

Grandchildren don't make a man feel old; it's the knowledge that he's married to a grandmother. - G. Norman Collie


"We used to play spin the bottle when I was a kid. A girl would spin the bottle and if it pointed to you when it stopped, the girl could either kiss you or give you a dime. By the time I was 14, I owned my own home." - Gene Perret

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If illegal aliens really wanted to take American jobs, wouldn't they be moving to Asia instead?

The High Price of Gasoline

After spending this past week back at home, my wife is heading back up to Michigan this Thursday. 8-D Our daughter Nora wanted to go see Megan, Jim, and Drew since she has a long weekend and invited Becka to ride up with her. Becka graciously accepted. I envy her the visit, but I don't envy her the highway time so soon, having done almost the same thing myself in March! Ugh!

Part of the downside of Becka and Nora's trip later this week, besides 22+ hours in a car, is the price of gasoline. With that in mind, I share the following....

If you think the price of gas (petrol) is too high, check out these prices per gallon. (Prices came from the internet, so they may or may not be accurate.)

Product Unit Cost Price per Gallon
Lipton Ice Tea $1.19/16 oz $9.52 per gallon
Ocean Spray $1.25/16 oz $10.00 per gallon
Gatorade $1.59 /20 oz $10.17 per gallon
Diet Snapple $1.29/16 oz $10.32 per gallon
Evian water $1.49 /9 oz $21.19 per gallon
Witeout $1.39 /7 oz $25.42 per gallon
Brake Fluid $3.15/12 oz $33.60 per gallon
Scope $0.99/1.5 oz $84.48 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil $8.35/6 oz $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol $3.85/4 oz $123.20 per gallon
Visine Advanced Eye Drops $92.64/1 oz $741.12 per gallon
Revlon Nail Enamel $54.61/1 oz $983.04 per gallon
Chanel No. 5 Parfum $352.00/1 oz $45,056.00 per gallon

I know that the analogies are not exactly the same since we get a lot more "mileage" out of some of the products above, but it does highlight how overpriced some things may actually be. The following picture might bring a wry smile.

picture of gas gauge

Here's a little family news - Megan has to have outpatient surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) to repair something that didn't heal correctly from the C-section. Nora loves teaching pre-school and would be a worthy candidate for the "Best Aunt of the Year" award, if there were such a thing. Mark and Katie have about two weeks of school left and will wed in 40 days, but who's counting?


"Godly disciple-makers will encounter opposition and persecution." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?