Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Gifts - 2012

As a follow up to my What My Christmas List Says About Me post, I thought I would do a post about the gifts I received this Christmas. I took part in five different gift exchanges, so am sorting the items based on the order in which they were received.

Kintrex 12 Inch Measuring Wheel - I had been wanting a measuring wheel for a couple of years, but wasn't willing to spend $60 or more to get one. A few months ago I ran across this one, which was on sale at the time, for half that, so picked it up. My grandmother always gives us money to buy our own gifts with, so this was one of my gifts from her.

Irwin Quick-Grip 6-Piece Clamp Set - On our way home, after visiting family for Thanksgiving, we made a couple of stops in London to check out the Black Friday deals. This set of clamps was on sale for half of the normal retail price so I picked it up. It ended up being the remainder of my gift from my grandmother.

Ozark Trail Propane Lantern - I received this gift as part of the gift exchange game we play at my grandmother's house. I already have a similar Coleman lantern, and really don't need another, so I offered this one to my Dad. He also has a good Coleman lantern, but it uses liquid fuel, so I thought he might want this one. He hasn't decided yet if he'll keep it or not. If he decides not to I may exchange it for something else I can use.

Kubota RTV 500 Front Accessory Box - This is another item that I picked out myself. This one is from my other grandmother. I ordered it from the Kubota dealer several weeks ago, but it have not yet received it, as there have been several issues. It was on back order at first, then when it did come in, they had ordered the wrong item. When the correct item did come in, it was missing the hardware and instructions, so now I'm waiting again. Fortunately, though, I was not in a big hurry for the item, so it hasn't been a big deal.

Highland Deluxe Bungee Truck Net - This is one of the four truck nets I received this year. After closely comparing them all, I decided to keep this one. It seemed to be the best fit for the truck, and was actually the one that cost the least. I ended up opening it the day after Christmas and I used it to make sure the loose boxes I hauled home didn't blow out of the bed of the truck.

Tempest 4-Piece Tape Measure Set - This item was received along with the Highland Deluxe Bungee Truck Net. While we already have several tape measures, I think this set will come in handy. We'll likely put the 12' tape in the car, the 16' tape in the truck, and maybe throw the 25' tape in the RTV once I have the Front Accessory Box installed.

100' ft of T.W. Evans Cordage Braided 3/8" Rope - This item was also received along with the Highland Deluxe Bungee Truck Net. I specifically asked for this, even though I don't have a specific use in mind for it. I figure, though, that a length of good rope is something I should have on hand.

Highland Adjustable Heavy Duty Truck Net - This was another of the four truck nets I received. This one is completely adjustable, so likely would have resulted in a better fit than the bungee version. However, getting that fit likely means the net is a bit more complicated to use than the bungee version, since it would require adjusting the straps and hooks, so I've decided not to keep it. I haven't returned this item yet, but will likely do so on our next trip to Lexington.

Highland Smooth Braid Rope Clothesline - This was received along with the Highland Adjustable Heavy Duty Truck Net. I suspect that it was picked up in order to bring the value of the gift up to a set amount. Since I had asked for some rope, it is likely that the gift giver couldn't remember the specifics, so just picked this one up. This item came from the same store as the truck net, so I'll most likely return it at the same time.

ZipNet Adjustable Cargo Net - This was the third truck net I received. Like the adjustable Highland net, I figured it would require more effort to use. It was purchased from Amazon, so we are going to combine it with a few other items and ship them all to the return center at once.

Fiskars Professional Bypass Pruning Shears - I tend to use pruners and loppers a lot, and can be hard on them. My pair of Fiskars Power Lever Ultrablade Anvil Pruners are starting to get in pretty rough shape, so I thought I could use another pair. I'll keep the anvil pruners in the RTV, and then try to only use the new ones for more delicate pruning tasks.

Outback Steakhouse Gift Card - This was a gift to myself and Andrea from one of my aunts. We like eating at Outback, so this will give us the opportunity to treat ourselves sometime without actually costing any money, which is always nice.

Cracker Barrel Gift Card - This was also a gift to myself and Andrea, from one of my other aunts. We like to get breakfast at Cracker Barrel occasionally, so this card will certainly be used. We actually had breakfast at Cracker Barrel yesterday, but decided to not to use the card.

Reese Deluxe Bungee Truck Net - This was the fourth, and thankfully last, truck net I received this year. Even though it is a different brand, it is identical to the Highland Deluxe Bungee Truck Net. I decided to return this one, as it cost a bit more and was going to be easier to return than the Highland version. We returned it yesterday, and I picked up a pair of West Chester Leather Gloves to replace it.

Reese 8" Ramp Kit - I have been using a couple of 2"x8"s as ramps for several years. They work out ok, but it can be hard to keep them from sliding off of the tailgate of the truck or RTV. This kit is going to make loading equipment into the bed of the RTV much easier. I'm sure that I'll get a lot of use from this item.

Truper 6-Tine Manure Fork - I have a 4-tine fork, but have been wanting a 5 or 6 tine fork as well. I probably would not have bought one for myself, but thought it would be a good item to put on my Christmas list. I'm sure that I'll be using this gift for many years.

Cash - Andrea's grandparents always give us cash for Christmas, which we split. Who can't extra spending money. I usually hold onto my Christmas cash, and use it for picking up small items throughout the year. I'm not yet sure what I'll spend it on this year, but I'm certain I'll find something.

Amazon Gift Card -  I usually get a gift card from whomever drew my name at Andrea's grandparents' house. I've received cards for several stores in the past, all of which were good choices. This year I received a gift card to Amazon, though, which is probably the most useful gift card I could ask for. I'll likely use the card for books, although may also pick up some new music as well, since I'd really like to get some new bluegrass to listen to.

Modern Mountain Magazine - Andrea's great-aunt and uncle bought everyone a subscription to Modern Magazine this year. This is a fantastic gift for us, as it covers the type of regional and cultural stories that we are very interested in. We've actually bought issues of the magazine in the past, so are sure to enjoy the subscription.

Books - In addition to the Modern Mountain Magazine Andrea's great-aunt and uncle also gave us a couple of booklets produced by small Kentucky publishers. The first was Kentucky's Covered Bridges by Stewart Combs. The other was Quilting in Appalachia by Thelma R. Crawford. I actually already have a copy of the Covered Bridges book, so it was obviously a good choice. Since Andrea is an avid quilter, I suspect she'll thoroughly enjoy the other book.

Drill Master 13-Piece Drill Bit Set - In addition to the magazine and books, we also received a set of drill bits from Andrea's great-aunt and uncle. I suppose they thought of the books as being for Andrea, and the bits for me, but really, in our relationship, either of the gifts could have been for either of us. I suspect that anyone with a drill can make use of an extra set of drill bits, and we're no different.

Cabela's Roughneck Thermal-Lined Hooded Sweatshirt - This is yet another gift that I picked out for myself. Normally Andrea picks out the gift for her mom to give me, but since I already had an item in mind this year she let me pick it. I have been wearing insulated flannel shirts as my light jacket when I work outdoors, but have found that the buttons tend to come undone, especially when I'm on the RTV. I decided to try something with a zipper, and since my Dad seems to love his insulated hooded sweatshirts I thought I'd give one of those a try. I looked at a lot of different options to find the one that I wanted. In the end I decided on this item, which was fairly expensive, but I think is going to work out well.

I was very pleased with the gifts I received this year. True, things would probably have been simpler if I had not received four truck nets, but I can return three of them and replace them with other items from my list that I didn't receive. I have plenty of new tools to try out, and you can expect to see some reviews of them in the coming months.

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