Walkin Around With Claws Out

posted Jan 17, 2012, 9:52 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Jan 21, 2012, 8:46 AM ]
by BarbJ/Tygress (Yes, I’m a Crabby Tygress sometimes. But I CARE.)
Once upon a time, we thought it would never rain in Texas again.

Well, it did, finally. And a lot of containers are proving less than water worthy. Pretty much EVERY bison tube I’ve cached in the last few weeks has had an at least damp log.
Zippy bags work a couple times, but weren’t created for MANY opening closings. So fail within months. (P.S. NEVER put a pen, pencil, or other pointy object in a zippy bag – it will be perforated in days.)
And don’t get me started on people who don’t take the time to reclose the zippy (an unzipped zippy is just a water collector), or even make sure the cache container is securely reclosed/snapped/all the log bits in. If you don’t put the log coiled in the narrow end – usually the cap – the bison won’t close. You can only CRUSH a log so far. And if ANY log is in the threads, it WILL wick moisture in. Sure, we ALL spend more time rerolling micro logs than finding the cache. Well, that’s caching. You don’t wanna, don’t find micros. As FINDERS we owe the CO some responsibility of taking care with the cache. Or they’ll stop placing!
Sunday TreyB said three of the bison-tubes (you know, those little metal key-chain thingies you love to hate) we found were either not fully twisted down, or cross threaded. Hello wet log! I found on out in Williamson County park where the lid hadn’t been replaced at ALL. (And me with no paper, sorry!)

Finders, please have a care – and if you’re caching with kids (I love kids, but they aren’t as thorough as grown-ups), check their work. ((I’ll rant about replacing as found another day.))
Anyway. Wet/damp log. Compromised container. Pieces of a container. Do I post a maintenance log? NOT if I can help it.
Come ON. We’re family. I TRY to remember to carry supplies. Spare paper/logs, spare zippy bags, duct tape (I HAVE repaired a container with a band-aid), spare containers… a little geo First Aid kit. Especially logs. Especially way out in the country.
Wet/damp log? Swap a new one in. (Exceptions are when the cache is so wet and/or compromised and I don’t have a zippy bag or replacement so there’s no point – and/or again, when *I* have forgotten my fix-its -- and, in those cases, I DO feel badly).
Full log. Also swap a new one in. (Especially nanos, where some people are afraid that initials won’t do – I’ve had sigs take up 3 inches of an 8 inch log. Thanks, but, *really*?)
Pieces of a container? If I’ve got a new one, here you go. Other times judicious use of duct tape may not return the cache to ship-shape, but gives it ‘time.’ Maybe I’ll even order up a bunch of o-rings for bisons (though I think just closing ‘em right will alleviate most the problems.)
DNF’s? No. Unless I’ve talked to the CO (Cache Owner for those new to the nomenclature) and am absolutely certain I haven’t just gone blind, I do NOT put containers in for DNFs but take my lumps like a grown-up.
And then I fess up to the fix.  Tell the CO I have the log if they want it. Got several drying out on the floorboards of the car. Let them know if I swapped containers and why. If I’m not certain of the rehide, I relay that information, too.
It’s not a willy-nilly thing. But it’s a kindness thing. It’s going to be a while before I get out past Marlin to GC1ZXEA A Hundred to One Shot #6 - gotta scuttle. I don’t want to just archive it for a damp log. So if someone swaps a new one in, I’d be GRATEFUL.
Now, true, there are some containers that there is no helping. Certain plastic tubes are amazingly NOT water-tight, and swapping the logs out for the whole series is an exercise in futility. I probably won’t repair EVERY cracked plasticware box I find. (Some things just do NOT make Texas tough caches. You’ll learn that. Some things seem they OUGHT to be watertight aren’t (like certain pill bottles – go figure). Some things are fine in the kitchen for two, three uses, but not in the field for 10 or 20, with rocks dropped on ‘em, and those temperature changes… and… but I digress.)
If a little judicious fixing from my bag o’ cache-aid can save a CO a trip. Why not? I’d APPRECIATE the same kindness.
Now, not all COs are as grateful for the help. You’ll figure out who they are, and they’ll reap their own harvest. But most are so grateful it’s almost embarrassing.
If I can’t do an on-the-fly repair – no hope for the container, or I’ve forgotten my supplies. (I am a forgetful Tygress – bad me) – *I* use the Needs Maintenance flag judiciously as a 9-1-1 sort of call. Usually I just comment in MY log or fire off an email to the CO. And certainly no Needs Maintenance for a damp log. That’s the Check Engine light of caching, not the Needs Gas. If you follow my savvy.
  1. Reinsert logs CAREFULLY in micros/nanos – roll tight, log goes in the NARROW end (yeah, it sucks when it’s the lid still hanging in the tree)
  2. Reclose every cache container carefully and completely – but be gentle with the fragile ones. (Those little plastic inserts that come with some Bison Tubes – yeah, lousy caches, I’ve discovered, but still, don’t OVER twist them and break ‘em, thanks. Same for containers glued up in something – be thorough, but mind the setting and don’t break it). Check your kids’ work – and teach ‘em good etiquette. It’s all fun – it’s funner still when we respect each other.
  3. Wet/damp logs are ubiquitous in Texas when the weather’s normal. Carry spares and be a friend. Or at least don’t go all weird when you find one (gel pens will sign a damp log – just sayin’)
  4. If you’re really gung-ho, put together a cache first aid kit (spare logs, zippy bags, duct tape, monofilament & wire, spare containers) and be a better friend still – hey, those spare caches ready-to-go mean you can nail that cool spot on-the-fly!
  5. Use NEEDS MAINTENANCE flag as a last resort – since it’s essentially a Gibbs-slap to some people. A PS in the log (maybe the next cacher will bring something to fix), or a little email goes a long way in kindness!
Try to be cache family – not too familiar, but thoughtful. Golden Rule, you know?