The trials and tribulations of shopping for protective gear

I’m in the process of loading our pickup truck and trailer for our penultimate trip to Texas, to sign for our new home and begin the process of sorting it out.  We won’t make our final move until the end of January, but that’s getting pretty close.  We’re taking my ammo reserves down with us, because I don’t want casual laborers (whom we’ll hire to help us load the rented truck) to be exposed to too much temptation when loading them.  (Over the past few months of sorting out and throwing away excess stuff, it’s amazed me how many boxes of ammunition have appeared in cupboards, boxes, nooks and crannies.  I’ve filled several military surplus .50-caliber ammo cans with them!  I may not be a pack-rat, but I’m probably an ammo-rat . . .)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find our protective kneepads (they’re probably “in a box, somewhere”, as Miss D. ruefully observed).  So, late on New Year’s afternoon, it was off to Walmart to buy another pair.  That didn’t work very well.  It seems that everyone who bought bicycles, hoverboards, skateboards and the like as Christmas presents also bought protective knee- and elbow-pads, so the store was sold out – all except for a few very small, very pretty, very pink sets with ‘Hello Kitty’ stickers on them.  Not intended for my demographic, I suspect (or, if they are, I’ve got some very peculiar people in my demographic!).

Walgreens didn’t have any protective gear to speak of, and many shops were closing early for New Years Day, so I was getting desperate.  I got to Lowe’s with two minutes to spare before they locked the doors, hurried down the aisle (well, ‘hurried’ in the sense that I limped a little faster than I usually do) to the protective gear display, and picked out a reasonably-priced set;  then I stood in line for what seemed like an inordinately long time, waiting for other last-minute shoppers to run their purchases through the tills.  (Is it just me, or do others also find so-called ‘couponers’ excessively annoying?  I mean those people who clip coupons from advertisements and flyers with obsessive fanaticism, then hand sheafs of them to the sales clerk and insist on their being scanned and applied to their purchases.  They argue if the clerk tells them the coupon isn’t for that item, demand that it be honored even if it’s date-expired, and generally make an inordinate fuss and bother – all the while holding up everyone in the line behind them.  To call them irritating is a gross understatement.  I’d like to make them eat the damn coupons!)

Anyway, I made it home at last, kneepads clutched triumphantly in hand.  I can now crawl around the bed of my pickup without causing myself excessive pain, which is a win right there.  Most of the packing will get done tomorrow, when I can see what I’m doing;  but I’ll be properly equipped for it, at least.



  1. Knee pads are a wonderful invention!! I first used a pair when we were redoing the kitchen floor. My son is a roofer, and loaned me his pair. I loved them so much I went out the next day and bought a pair for both of us. I hadn't even thought of them before, although I use a kneeling pad when I weed in the garden and have for years.
    Good luck with your move!
    Happy New Year from a long time lurker 🙂


  2. RE: ammo, etc. Worry more about who helps unload at the destination than who helps load at the origin.

    Keep your eyes peeled for deals on work site job boxes; every now and then Tractor Supply puts the Delta 48"x24"x24" on sale for 10% off, getting it into the $280 range, and I saw Home Depot put their brand on sale in November. It's not a safe by any means, but it does allow keeping the ammo secured, in one place, and while two padlocks certainly aren't perfect, it does keep the unauthorized from "adjusting" your quantities. Not to mention it's pretty difficult to cart off a well-filled steel box. Pro tip: figure where you want it before filling it, and be mindful of floor strength. Weaponsman did a post a whle back on structural reinforcing of floors that's interesting and useful.

    I've got two – one for all the hand power tools and one for, uh, "other stuff." When I realized how many $$ I had in power tools, and how quickly someone could relocate them if they broke into the garage it seemed prudent to secure them. Got 'em on sale at TS, and another $20 off the pair by buying two at once.

    Moving is easier than one thinks – rent a fork lift and driver (IIRC, palletizing stuff fo rmoving was discussed here a while back)

    2nd Pro tip: Put them close together end-to-end, in the right place, and a 4X8 sheet of 3/4 plywood laid on top makes a handy, if a bit low, work surface (lengths of 6X6 under the "feet" of the boxes raises it to almost the right height). Couple of 2 ft lengths of 2X4 screwed to the underside keeps the plywood from shifting yet still allows easy removal. Plus, most of the people who wander in won't realize what's holding the tabletop up, and if they ask, "shop tools" makes a good answer.

  3. Having moved way too many times in the last 10 years, my wife and I settled on an amazing solution. Several manufacturers of cat litter use a plastic bucket 1 foot by 9 inches by about 18 inches tall. These buckets are designed to hold what is basically rock and clay, so they're good for 60 or 70 pounds of weight and have a very nice ergonomic handle. When handle is in its rated position is about two and a half feet off the floor so it's easy to pick up and move the container without bending much. The lid snaps down tight, and you can't see into it, and the boxes stack easily and securely.

    There was, however, the question of explaining why we had so many cat litter boxes to the itinerant movers. The answer we came up with was to label them "paper weights", and keep one bucket open that we would be wrapping and loading the last few of my wife's glass paperweights into as they came to the house. We would then simply tell them that this is my wife's paperweight collection, and to be careful because they are both extremely heavy and fragile.

    Moved about two and a half tons of ammo several times using this method. Oh, I suppose it would help to have to have a cat, in order to collect the buckets. Maybe I should have started with that part. Your mileage may vary.


  4. Two other things on the cat litter buckets. First, in order to keep them safe from prying eyes, we put a layer of duct tape around the seam at the top so that the itinerant help couldn't easily pry them open. Second thing, our chosen brand of cat litter switched to a bucket that was translucent rather than opaque. To combat this we simply lined one full sheet of newspaper into the open bucket before loading ammunition. Then all they could see was more newspaper, which is the same thing we were wrapping the paper weights with when they showed up. If you have a cat or a neighbor with a cat, this is something that's worth trying.


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