Short Bits

Short Bits 2022

Updated on 2023-01-07

Short Bits is my method of sharing information that would be too short for a separate blog post. Following are my short posts for 2022.


01 – What Is He Wearing?! (2022-01-26)

Did I become a crossdresser? No. Did I become a transvestite? No. Did I become a gender denier? No. Depending on what part of the planet you visit, the garment goes by a number of different names. Throughout the remainder of the post I’ll refer to the garment as a sarong. The sarong is worn by adults and children, male and female.

I began having problems sitting in my office chair last year when wearing shorts or sweatpants. The seam pressing against my lower back bothered my back, so I thought maybe a sarong might be more comfortable since there is no thick seam.

I found a vendor located in Thailand who sold sarongs on Etsy. Knowing that the climate in Thailand is hot, I knew that the sarong would be lightweight, but I thought I’d buy one to at least try wearing it to see if it was more comfortable than sweatpants or shorts when sitting in my office chair.

Unfortunately, the sarong turned out not to be much more confortable than wearing sweatpants or shorts in regards to my back discomfort. However, sarongs are very simple garments and they are very easy DIY sewing projects. My wife knows how to sew, so I thought about buying fabric and having her make me a few sarongs for winter and summer use. The sarong I’m wearing in the post header image is for winter use. I figured the cost of fabric would be much cheaper than purchasing a pair of sweatpants or shorts, and since my wife would be doing the sewing, there would be no labor cost involved.

I also thought about other benefits of wearing a sarong. You don’t have to worry about losing or gaining weight, you don’t have to worry about a method to keep sweatpants or shorts secure (belt, elastic waistband, etc.), and you don’t have to worry about an elastic waistband wearing out. A sarong is easily adjustable by adjusting how much fabric you wrap around your waist.

A Hobby Lobby store recently opened nearby and I thought I would buy the fabric there, but my wife told me to check out JOANN Fabric and Craft because she felt that they have a better selection of fabrics. So one day in December 2021, I visited a local JOANN Fabric and Craft store.

I initially thought of buying flannel fabric because I knew flannel was good for winter use. However, I didn’t like the flannel fabric pattern offerings I saw at the JOANN Fabric and Craft store I visited. I continued perusing the fabric offerings and I came across a fabric called Blizzard Fleece. The Blizzard Fleece seemed like it would be warmer than the flannel, I found a number of patterns that appealed to me, and JOANN Fabric and Craft was running a 50% off sale at the time. So I purchased five different patterns of the Blizzard Fleece fabric for a little over $50 and my wife sewed them into sarongs.

My wife told me that I would be too warm in the Blizzard Fleece sarongs, but they have turned out to be perfect for cold weather wear.

When late Spring comes around, I’m planning to buy some lightweight fabric to have my wife make me some sarongs for warm weather use. I will definitely purchase the fabric from JOANN Fabric and Craft. They have an awesome selection of fabrics.

How does one wear a sarong? I’m glad you asked. I found a nice video provided by a guy in India demonstrating three ways to wear a sarong.

If you have a question or comment, there’s a Comment box at the bottom of the page.

2 – Toothpaste, Fluoride, Hydroxyapatite, and Dental Sensitivity (2022-01-27)

I’ve had dental sensitivity for a number of years, quite possibly due to grinding my teeth in my sleep. I began using Sensodyne toothpaste, which contains potassium nitrate for dental sensitivity, and it has been helpful in managing my dental sensitivity.

In May 2021, I was told that a molar that had previously been crowned was showing signs of cavity formation at the baseline of the crown. The cavity removal performed in September 2021 was the most painful I’ve ever experienced. Even additional novocaine injections didn’t stop the sporadic pain that I experienced during the cavity removal procedure. I was told that eventually the tooth will probably require a root canal.

After the painful cavity removal experience, I decided to make some changes because I don’t want to go through the experience of a root canal and I don’t want to lose a tooth. I decided to cut back even further on my sugar intake, something I began after experiencing my second kidney stone. I also began researching toothpaste and discovered that stannous fluoride was supposedly more effective at cavity prevention than sodium fluoride.

On 01/21/2022, I decided to do some Internet research on potassium nitrate versus stannous fluoride in managing dental sensitivity. I didn’t expect to find yet another option in dealing with dental sensitivity. I also found out that the amount of fluoride in consumer grade toothpaste isn’t high enough to really be effective at cavity prevention. Another post implies that fluoride generally isn’t necessary for most people for cavity prevention. I already knew about the possible dangers of ingesting fluoride.

Note: One brand of hydroxyapatite toothpaste not mentioned in some of the above posts by Dr. Burhenne is Dr. Brite Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste, Dr. Brite Extreme Whitening Toothpaste with activated charcoal, and for kids, strawberry flavored Dr. Brite Kid’s Mineral Toothpaste, all available at iHerb for a better price than the brands Dr. Burhenne recommends.

The Dr. Brite site has additional varieties and flavors of toothpaste and you can save a bit of money by subscribing to an automatic shipment every 30-90 days. However, free shipping is only provided for orders of $50 or more, whereas you can get free shipping for orders of $20 or more at iHerb.

A Comment box is provided at the bottom of the page for your comments or questions.

3 – Whirlpool Side-By-Side Refrigerator and Freezer – You Need to Clean the Condensor Coil (2022-05-13)

The General Electric side-by-side refrigerator and freezer that was probably installed when our current home was built died toward the end of February, 2017. I say probably because we were the second owners of the home.

The General Electric refrigerator and freezer had a water and ice dispenser built into the freezer door. The ice maker took up quite a bit of space at the top of the freezer (unusable space), so I wanted to get a new refrigerator and freezer that didn’t have an ice or water dispenser. Chilling water in stainless steel containers in the refrigerator works fine for me.

I visited a fairly new appliance store that I passed by sometimes on my commute to and from my last job. I found a Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator and freezer that didn’t have an ice and water dispenser; model #WRS325FNB. I placed an order for the refrigerator and freezer.

Sometime after installation, I was reading through the numerous manuals that came with the refrigerator and freezer. The use and care guide stated that the condensor did not require routine cleaning in normal home operating environments. I mistook the mention of condensor to mean the condensor coil, but I was skeptical about not needing to clean in that area (underneath the refrigerator and freezer) based on my experience with our General Electric model.

One day in April this year, I dropped something on the floor in front of the refrigerator and freezer. When I looked at the base grille, I found this:

So I made some time a week or two later to clean the base grill, the condensor coil, and underneath the refrigerator/freezer. Reference the post header image to see what the condensor coil looked like before vacuuming. Following is what the condensor coil looked like after vacuuming:

Because the condensor coil is V-shaped, you can’t get to the back of the coil unit. There is also not enough room to get behind the condensor coil to clean the front of the condensor, which I didn’t see, or the empty space behind the coil. The refrigerator brush I have was pretty much useless for cleaning the condensor coil. I cleaned the best I could and called it a day.

The condensor coil in the General Electric refrigerator and freezer that we previously had was flat, so it was fairly easy to clean using a refrigerator brush and a vacuum cleaner. If you have any ideas or tips on how to better clean the Whirlpool V-shaped condensor coil, let me know in the Comment box at the bottom of the page.

Image courtesy of Tahiro Achoub at Unsplash
4 – My Infuriating Experience with the IRS (2022-07-20)

I attempted to learn the refund status for my and my wife’s 2021 tax return via the Where’s My Refund option on the IRS website at least 3 times and I could never get a status. I’ve tried using the same option 3 years in a row and I’ve NEVER been able to obtain the refund status; your tax dollars hardly at work.

Finally, I begrudgingly decided to call the IRS refund hotline on 07/06/2022 at 1-800-829-1954. I say begrudgingly because I had a feeling I would probably not be able to actually speak to someone. I was correct in my assumption. Not only was I not able to speak with someone, I was asked by an automated voice system the same questions asked via the Where’s My Refund option on the IRS website. I was unable to get any kind of information about my and my wife’s tax refund.

I then went to the IRS’s Tax Payer Bill of Rights page. On the Taxpayer Bill of Rights page, there’s a link to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2: The Right to Quality Service. On the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2: The Right to Quality Service page, there’s yet another link to the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service site.

On the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service site, there’s a section where you supposedly can get help with a specific tax issue. There was a Refunds link, so I clicked on that and was taken to the Refunds page of the Tax Payer Advocate Service. On the Refunds page, there was a link to I don’t have my refund, so I clicked on that and was taken to the I Don’t Have My Refund page. This was turning into quite a whack-a-mole experience. But wait, it get’s even more infuriating.

On the I Don’t Have My Refund page, there’s a What should I do? section, so I clicked on that. There, you’re told to first attempt to use the Where’s My Refund option. O–k–a–y…I already did that multiple times. Another option offered was to call the IRS Refund Hotline. O–k–a–y…I already did that as well.

Finally, at the bottom of the I Don’t Have My Refund page, there’s yet another phone number you can call; 1-800-829-1040. So, I tried that number; I’m a glutton for punishment. After entering a few details via my smartphone keypad, I was once again taken to the menu of the IRS Refund Hotline. When I sensed that I was going to be asked the same questions again and wind up with the same result, I ended the call.

So, I spent all of that time, I was never able to actually talk to someone, and I still don’t know the status of my and my wife’s refund. I could call, email, or write my so called representatives, but they’re both Democrats and I absolutely despise Democrats. They probably wouldn’t want to take the time to help anyway. I’d probably get a blah blah blah blah response.

This is the kind of stuff that pushes people off the deep end. Like the Linkin Park song One Step Closer says, “One step closer to the edge and I’m about to break!”

Have you had trouble getting refund information from the IRS? Let me know in the Comment box at the bottom of the page.

5 – I Finally Found a Decent Brush to Clean My Electric Razor (2022-08-05)

I used to buy Remington classic razor cleaning brushes ten at a time. However, a few years ago I was no longer able to locate a vendor that sold them. Therefore, I continued using the last two that I had for quite some time. When the brushes began becoming deformed from long-term use, I decided to try using an old toothbrush that I had been using to clean my dental night guard.

The toothbrush worked well and after it became too worn to use any longer, I bought two new Equate brand toothbrushes from Walmart. That turned out to be a mistake because the toothbrush bristles would get stuck in the electric razor head during cleaning, resulting in the bristles being pulled out of the toothbrush head.

I then decided to purchase a better toothbrush in July from Wegmans. While perusing the toothbrush offerings at Wegmans, I didn’t see anything that looked like it would work well. Then I saw a denture cleaning brush manufactured/distributed by TopCare. The denture cleaning brush looked sturdy and the price was right ($2.99 plus sales tax), so I purchased it.

I first used the denture cleaning brush a couple of weeks ago and it worked wonderfully and none of the bristles were pulled out while cleaning my electric razor head. The bristles are fairly stiff and clean well, which is exactly what I wanted.

Your comments and questions are welcome by using the Comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you for visiting.

6 – I Made an Interesting Quick Bread (2022-11-15)

I finally got around to making an interesting quick bread recipe on 11/13/2022 that I collected last year. The recipe is called Masala Chai Date Bread. The recipe is interesting in that it calls for the use of an Indian spice blend normally used in tea called masala chai spice blend. Additionally, it’s the first quick bread recipe that I’ve ever made that doesn’t call for the use of sugar, eggs, and butter or oil (except for greasing the bread pan).

I had a bit of trouble finding the masala chai spice blend. I went to Wegmans and Trader Joe’s, neither of which carried the spice. I knew that masala was typically associated with Indian cuisine and a bit of Internet research confirmed my thinking. There’s a Korean international grocery store not far from my home, so I thought they might have the spice. Sure enough, the store carried the spice in the aisle containing Indian spices. However, the spice package wasn’t labeled as masala chai spice. The spice package was labeled tea masala and I had to ask a young Indian woman who was also in the aisle to confirm that the spice was the same as masala chai spice blend.

The smell of the bread while baking is reminiscent of gingerbread and the finished product looks like gingerbread. It took 35 minutes in an electric oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to bake the bread. Following is the finished product right after being taken from the oven and set out to cool.

Quick breads are easier to slice when wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I wrapped the loaf of bread in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. I then placed the bread in the refrigerator.

I took the masala chai date bread out of the refrigerator the following day and I sliced it. I then double wrapped the slices in plastic wrap to store in the freezer.

I ate the two end crusts and not only does masala chai date bread smell and look like gingerbread, it tastes like it as well, although a much spicier version. The predominant spice in masala chai spice blend is black pepper.

The dates (I used Medjool dates) add a subtle sweetness and an exceptional moistness to the bread. Whipped cream would be great on the bread, as it would probably somewhat temper the spiciness. I had a half glass of milk with the two end crusts I ate.

Due to the spiciness of masala chai date bread, I don’t think children would enjoy it. I made the bread for my wife, but I found out that she hates the taste of gingerbread. Oh well, I’ll have to eat it all by myself.

Do you think you would like masala chai date bread? Let me know in the Comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you for visiting.

Post header image courtesy of Schwoaze, at Pixabay.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *