Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Best Inventions of 2014

It's the last day of the year, time for my 2nd annual list of the best things I invented in the last 12 months.

I guess my life is pretty settled because I can't think of anything I invented this year. I'm still enjoying last year's best invention, the closed cell foam insulating cast iron tub backrest. I did come up with one unique problem solution. I'm going to count that. It also involves rare earth magnets like last year's invention.

I had a weird health year. I spent way too much time reading about how little medical science knows about what might be wrong with me. I found only two useful things I could implement for improvement. One was green lipped mussel extract to help my back pain. It's one of those alternative medicines that's been proved to work. It's basically an anti-inflammatory that doesn't hurt my stomach. The other problem I have is acid reflux where only two treatments have been proved to work. The first is proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Nexium. I have been taking those every day for 14 years. The only other thing that has been proved to help this condition is to elevate the head of your bed six inches. Well my bed is a loft. The mattress is already so close to the ceiling if I elevated one end I wouldn't be able to sit in bed and watch TV. I don't have a couch. My loft is my only place for leisure time. I thought and thought and realized I don't have to sleep the same direction as I watch TV. King size mattresses are almost square. I'm shorter than the width of my bed so there's no reason not to sleep on it sideways. Now every night I elevate one small part of my mattresses and then sleep on top of that hump.

Step one is to insert this enameled steel meat tray under the edge of the mattress
by the ladder. I can stand on the steps to do this.
Step two is to heave up on the tray and prop it up with this live oak mallet.
Pull back the covers, move the pillow from the TV watching spot, climb in and go to sleep.
I mounted a pair of very strong cup magnets on the wall to store the tray
during the day. The mallet fits in the space next to the ladder.
Ready for tonight!

If you have any problem that could be solved with magnets like this, here's the link. I got them on Amazon from Applied Magnets. I bought four but two were more than enough.

I'm pretty sure this is terrible for my mattress. I try not to climb in and out too much when it is deformed in this way. I am pretty light for what mattresses are designed for, so I hope it might withstand this treatment for several years. I have a spare king size mattress in storage so if I break the springs and metal starts sticking out of this one I can dismantle the loft and get it down. Maybe that will be the time to install a dump truck mechanism under the loft so a motor can lift the head of the bed after I lie down. That sounds like a maintenance issue though. This steel tray thing has a very satisfactory failure mode. It won't be in anybody's way if I leave and somebody else without acid reflux wants to use my house. 

I found one more thing that helps my back feel better, a workout video that came with an inflatable peanut-shaped ball. Here it is on Amazon. It involves a lot of stretching moves and core strengthening exercises. There was one more you can download from their website. I do all three. I ripped them to iTunes and put them on my iPad so I can take them with me if I go out of town. If I do it at least five times a week my back doesn't hurt so much. It also involves a lot of balancing. I think that might've helped my recovery from vertigo. Well, it didn't hurt. It made me feel like if I had the illusion of falling over my muscles would automatically take over and correct. I never did fall down, so maybe this is true, or maybe I'm just really careful.

Going out of town reminded me of another invention. Creation really. OK, it's just an outfit. But I didn't copy anybody. I went as Global Sea Level Rise. It did involve making a skirt out of a t-shirt, so that is sort of an invention.

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