Monday, November 21, 2011

Household Essential: 3M Book Tape

Photographed to emphasize tape
It's no secret that we love books. Despite our best intentions, sometimes we even love them to pieces.

Before we had kids (okay, even for a while after we had Ranger), I thought we could maintain an organized library of carefully maintained books. I slowly came to realize that, at least for picture books, I could have readers -or- crisp, clean editions, but not both.

Why have books without readers?

I nearly wept the day Ranger ripped a page out of the hardback copy of On the Day You Were Born that I bought him upon request. He loved that book, and although paper kind of grows on trees, changing that paper to books can be an expensive process.

Then Jim reminded me of book tape. At one point, we both worked in an academic library and regularly traversed the catacombs behind the public areas. In one dark corner of cataloging, dedicated bibliophiles maintained and repaired worn and broken volumes. Little red boxes of book tape sat shoulder to shoulder waiting to assist in the ongoing battle against time, entropy, and abuse.

I use book tape to stitch together damaged volumes, but it also works on puzzle pieces and game boxes. Jim even uses it to reinforce the covers of frequently used reference books before damage occurs.

Corner reinforcement by library (interior)
The tape is slightly re-positionable when first applied (unlike clear packaging tape), but bonds firmly once placed. Its thicker and stiffer than packaging tape. The edges may shed a little adhesive, but it rolls off easily (like rubber cement) rather than creating a gummy mess. The tape can be creased easily over the edge of a softback cover or spine. Our local library even adds it to hardback corners to slow cover wear.

Exterior spine & corner reinforcement by library
Even with three young readers, we don't worry about letting our kids handle books.

A roll of book tape costs about $6 for 15 yards of 2" wide tape. That's far less than the replacement value of most books and a downright paltry investment in independence for a young reader. There's even an 8 roll value pack that might prevent the stink eye when someone abducts a roll "for work."

***Baby Toolkit is the periodic chronicle of a couple geeks crawling the dungeons of parenthood. We're Amazon affiliates, so purchases through our links will help us buy more books and book tape and other bits and bobs. Though we may be categorized as 3M enthusiasts, we have no non-imaginary relationship with the company.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Orbiting Jupiter

Dear friends,

You may think our previous "back on track" post was some sick tease, but two days later I stood holding the baby's hand while a CT scanner roved round and round her head. By the end of that week, she and I were talking to the director of pediatric neurosurgery (okay, the baby mostly listened).

Now we're waiting for a more complete, full-sedation-required, 3D CT and its analysis by a brain surgeon and a plastic surgeon.

That has mostly taken the wind out of our sails.

Yet we are trying to live with mindfulness and intentionality. Time with our daughter has greater significance, time with all three of our kids does. In this strange waiting period, we are keenly aware that time with family passes at the same (too fast) rate even during anxiety or crisis.

Shortly after all this happened, we went to a local observatory (built with a barn silo dome) and peered all the way to Jupiter and saw her icy moons.

Jupiter 22 October, 2011
Jupiter, October 22, 2011. photo credit: Peter Riesett, (LordJumper) via Flickr and Creative Commons. (Thanks for sharing!)

Before Ranger's obsession with space, I couldn't stand to think of the universe's enormity. Now, I'm grateful for the awareness (from our vantage point atop the shoulders of giants). We are markedly different than most of the known universe, and we have the remarkable tools to explore it. Even kids who can't tie their shoes can see more clearly than many master astronomers of past generations.

I'm trying to look at our medical unknowns in the same light. Not to fear the vastness, but to find the wonder, opportunity, and miracles in what unfamiliar territory teaches about our present position.

***Baby Toolkit is the chronicle of two Midwestern geeks encountering the vast and varied realm of parenting.