Squamish with Sue
Wow, I have really got out of the habit of journaling. Not sure if that means life got boring? It’s raining outside with that dreary steadiness that signals fall is here. Clint is on a 5 day bow hunting trip. Lisa is 6 weeks out from having baby Levi.
I stopped daily shaving when I retired. But that leads to problems when my old Remington electric struggles with a 5 day growth. Six months ago I was shopping for a new electric razor when I saw an ad for Harry’s razor blades and started using those when my whiskers were out of control. Harry’s was convenient due to Amazon Prime free next day shipping.
The Harry’s handle is plastic and not inspiring. The 5 blade replacement head feels like it’s going to slip out instead of snapping in place.
Somehow I got obsessed with upgrading to a wet shaving safety razor. I was already using a shaving soap when I used the Harry’s razor…but I hadn’t started down the rabbit hole of the wet shaving world, which involves shaving brushes, fatty shaving creams that suds, and the flashy youtube videos about high end Safety Razors. If I had gone to college like most of my middle class generation, I’m sure I would have been using Gilette razors in the dorm bathroom, absorbing the ancient handed down culture from my peers.
But during that era I was living in a teepee and hitchhiking the west, stoned whenever possible.
As to how I got hooked into this recent revival of traditional wet shaving…just another sheep riding the advertising train. It’s a compelling pitch: disposable razors like Harry’s cost more and end up in the landfill. Also they can lead to skin irritation. Whereas single edge (SE) or double edge (DE) safety razors solve some of those problems.
There is also an old school mystique involved in the process. You have to lather up with the fancy brush, then paint your face white like a Santa Claus beard. You scrape the foam off with the blade leaving smooth skin. And the culture, there are multiple channels on youtube and reddit about this revival of the lost art. There are terms for the stages of shaving. My favorite one is BBS (Baby Butt Smooth). Another is ATG (Across The Grain). I mean, who knew? Bottom line is I’m sure I saw my dad and uncles doing it back in the late fifties, and that is part of the appeal.
This is the first video that caught my eye. Based on his review I ended up buying the Supply single edge Pro. It’s a very shiny little bobble made from a single block of steel.
But once I got it, I found that it wasn’t an especially good starter razor. I immediately cut myself with it, several times, and it was also a little hard to clean. Once you go down that rabbit hole you look around and see all kinds of things, like this guy. He is definitely not what I would consider a peer. He’s clearly not a climber…but when you are obsessed, it doesn’t matter. His content is flashy, will lit with perfect audio and video editing. Very old school in a new school sort of way…if that makes sense. He advocates double edge (DE) safety razors because you get two sides to shave with before you have to rinse. And the blades are far cheaper and easier to find.
Long story short, I bought the Rockwell 6S. It’s a nice stainless steel razor that looks like it could survive the Apocalypse. While using that, I kept watching youtube shaving videos and realized I wanted a razor that could adjust quickly for shaving depth. I got this Merkur Progress Adjustable razor. Now, obviously there are $25 razors on Amazon that work just fine. You don’t have to spend upwards of $120 on a stupid razor. But once the shopping frenzy begins, all bets are off.
In looking at my Amazon Prime orders page it’s clear someone was spending too much time on the couch pressing the ‘buy now’ button. Without a job, I like to joke that my spending habits are helping to support the economy. I mean, somebodies got to do it right? Here is my month of bad decisions:
- Supply Pro $90 – August 17
- Shaving cream, three flavors Taylor of Old Bond $15 ($45 total) – August 20
- Shaving brush $35 – August 20
- Styptic pencil $12 – August 22
- Rockwell 6S safety razor $120 – August 22
- Astra Blades $7 – August 25
- Shaving balm $7 – August 29
- Smaller travel shaving brush $49 – August 29
- Leather Dopp kit $47 – August 29
- Shaving mirror LED lights $14 – September 3
- Merkur Adjustable razor $86 – September 8
- Grand total $512
My month wasn’t all shopaholic frenzy. I also did most of the 50,000 mile maintenance on our Tundra. There are 6 things under there that need maintenance: Radiator coolant; engine oil; Automatic transmission; front differential; transfer case and rear differential. I did 5 of them. Our mechanic does the AT fluid…I don’t want to learn that one.
DIY climbing kneepads
I’ve been climbing with kneepads since 1977. They were common then, rare now. I’ve gone through many iterations of kneepads. They all have the same problem: the velcro and elastic straps wear out. I’ve repeatedly sewn on or tucked up sagging elastic to keep a pair going. Adding leather is easy, but even it wears out.
I’m quite proud of this latest pair. I invented a way to make the elastic one piece, and have it be adjustable for tension. This way it can adapt to different pants and shorts, and even be moved from my knee to my shin. I usually start with a pair of soft hunting knee pads from Lowes. I sew on thin leather and convert the straps from velcro (always wears out) to permanently sewn elastic bands.
But I’d forgot to stock up on a reserve pair of pads. On a side note, Carhart jeans come with a double knee into which you can insert removable kneepads. I’ve worn out several pairs of those climbing. I tossed the jeans but kept the pads. With the pads and leather on hand, plus my extensive experience adapting and repairing knee pads, I realized I could skip the trip to Lowes.
The old Carhart foam rubber kneepads had a shallow formed pocket over the knee. They were also slightly thinner than the ones from Lowes. I used stiff paper to make a pattern the exact size of the pads, but with tabs sticking out. I’ve been doing this on my adapted pads. The tabs give you a place to sew on the one inch elastic bands. But I wanted to improve on that. I could decrease the maintenance sewing (they last years) by adding in lacing holes. Like on shoes, or my crack gloves. I used a patch of full grain leather to reinforce the lace hole and keep it rigid. I also used thicker leather on the main pad surface. It’s not quite full grain. It’s called Kodiak Oil-Tanned Side Weight/thickness: 4 to 5 oz. (1.6 to 2.0 mm). People use it to make $300 carry on duffle bags, or doctor bags.
On the adjustable part, I added one inch webbing for the last 6 inches, but just where the buckle is. I’ve climbed about 20 pitches in them and they are my best pads ever.
Boy, backdating 3 months of journal entries is a pain. I need to get better at this. Partly it has been the distraction of long Covid. I finally got that diagnosed as PMR. Polymyalgia rheumatica is inflammation in the muscles around the shoulders, neck and hips. It could have been triggered by my Covid in April. Both times I got Covid I had pain in my joints. But the second time it stayed and became chronic. He said I could have also got PMR by simply getting old. Like the Menieres disease that took out the hearing in my left ear, I may have just got unlucky. My neurologist is treating it with a long taper of Prednisone. But the side effects are substantial. If I had to choose between extremely sore joints or Prednisone side effects…well, I’m 7 weeks into Prednisone, beginning August 8. I’m following doctors orders which started with 15mg daily, tapered down to 10mg now.
I’m going to insert these photos as a gallery, rather than full size. It should be faster. Also shown, but not written about is the rickshaw I made for carrying grandkids (we have 4 now). My broken bicycle, three trips to Squamish and two paintings