Tuesday, March 4, 2014

IKEA Hack, Part 3: It's in the bag

No, you didn't miss anything.  I published my Part 1 IKEA Hack a few days ago and Part 2 is waiting on some specialized hardware to be delivered.  In the meantime, I feel compelled to pay homage to our unprecedented polar vortex weather, so I've decided to put the varukorg before the horse here and publish Part 3 preemptively.
What's remarkable is not the fact that over an inch of rain fell in Houston today, because that kind of rain represents a subtropical normalcy for us.  What's remarkable is that the entire mess fell on us in the month of March WHILE IT WAS 37 DEGREES, AAAUUUGHH!!!!

Screengrabbed from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management (HCOEM) interactive rainfall map.  
So, yes, it's been raining.  Are you heading out to work in it?? Got one of these??
Standard issue computer bag, aka "rollaboard" because of its intended use as carry-on luggage.  This is a hard-done-by Sampsonite (model similar to this one).  It has seen the inside of more airplanes than my fellow Houstonian Howard Hughes, rest his tortured soul.  
Well, if you've got one of those, then you need to get yourself one of these:
An IKEA Frakta shopping bag.  Yes - you are correct - nobody actually buys these things willingly.  We buy them over and over after we've forgotten again and again to bring our own shopping bags to the store. 
How are these two related?  I gave you a hint at the beginning of this post.  Think "inch of rain".  
Standing upright, it doesn't look all that impressive.  But wait for it...
Ahhhh, now you get to experience the absolute beauty of this pairing, which doesn't make itself apparent until you actually start dragging the bag around as it was designed.  The Frakta just happens to be the exact right size, shape, and stiffness to cover a standard 17-inch lateral rollaboard.  (It would probably fit a bigger one, too, but mine is 17 inches.)
Fifty-nine cents??  Are you kidding me?!  There is nothing else I've ever found for sale at any price that does this particular job this well.  I work as an industrial contractor, dragging very expensive electronic equipment around from manufacturing plant to manufacturing plant.  It often means traversing a site, going from building to building, unit to unit, hauling my bag of tricks behind me.  The rolling bag of tricks that absolutely cannot get wet under any circumstances.  

Today during our 37 degree deluge??  No problems at all.  The secret to this success lies in IKEA's dual action fabric handles:
There's a pair of very short fabric handles on the Frakta, and a pair of long handles that you would use if you were treating the Frakta as a shoulder bag.  If the weather isn't that bad, you can simply slip the short one over the telescoping handle of the rollaboard, pull the Frakta into position, and be done with it.  But if it's windy like it was in Houston today...
...you can use the long handles to lash it on securely.  
Now, the IKEA Hackers community has done some interesting things with Frakta...
Someone made a raincoat for their dog, but did anyone think to make a raincoat for their rollaboard??

Screengrabbed from IKEA Hackers Frakta category.  
No.  Apparently I am the first to claim the honor of this use.  And word of it must be spread because, while your dog will handily survive a good soaking, your top-of-the-line engineering computer will most certainly not.
Added bonus:  Just lift the computer bag into your vehicle with the Frakta still in place.  The nature of the contents thus remains concealed, making it a much less likely target for window-smashing thieves.  Which is very important if, like me, you want to run to Whole Foods after day-shift lets out at the manufacturing plant.  Run to Whole Foods in downtown Houston because, tragically, there isn't one within 28 miles of your own suburban dream home.  
So word must be spread, and I'm hoping that Jules will see fit to re-broadcast some or all of this content in the interest of public service.  In the meantime, fellow Houstonians, stay dry.  And warm.  
One more shot to close this post, because it's such a convincingly beautiful thing.  Rode hard, but NOT put away wet.  Hah hah!!

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