An Hour Well Spent

We last visited Grammy and Grandpa GeoK well over a month ago and since Grandpa’s new greenhouse / garden shed is just about finished, we decided that Sunday was the perfect day to go check out his latest project and catch up on what’s going on in southeast Calgary. We noticed that their community association has put out all its big planter boxes in anticipation of planting season! And we saw a lot of signs supporting the various candidates running in the upcoming Alberta provincial election, which turned into a good topic of discussion between grandparents and grandkids.

After chatting for a bit, Grammy brought out a half-dozen cherished Enesco music boxes and the boys had a chance to watch the various actions and listen to the tunes. Then Grammy brought out one of her most prized possessions: a Christmas ornament we gave them in 1998, featuring a recording of our Oldest GeoKid (then aged 20 months) doing his best to wish them a Merry Christmas. She was quite unhappy about the fact that it was no longer working and hoped we could swap out the batteries for her. Once Oldest GeoKid opened up the back, he discovered the 4 triple-A batteries had corroded all the contacts. Fortunately, with the aid of a small slot screwdriver and a cotton swab, we were able to clean up the contacts to the point that a fresh set batteries finally worked.

But seeing the damage caused by several-years-old batteries got us wondering about whether we left batteries in any of the toys we hurriedly packed up before moving out for the big home renovation project. So later Sunday afternoon we spent an hour digging through three boxes of toys that our boys have outgrown (but we’re saving in hopes of having grandchildren some day) and looking through our Lego shelves for any Mindstorms, motorized Technics or other sets requiring batteries. Sure enough, we recovered a several dozen batteries – mostly double A, some triple A and a few button batteries.

Thomas the Tank Engine

The bottom of the box is covered with engines, sections of track, loads of cargo and other accessories.

Not surprisingly, the button batteries had all started to leak. Surprisingly, none of the “no name” batteries had leaked but several of Duracell’s industrial “Procell” batteries were starting to leak. We collected the dead and leaking batteries into a sealed plastic bag and will take them to the nearest electronics recycling drop-off later this week.

As we packed the toys back into storage we agreed that it was an hour well spent. What about you? Are there some little used devices, toys or other gadgets you should be checking for old batteries?

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