The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

It's been a busy two weeks

Posted By on September 17, 2007

Let’s hit this chronologically. So, the long weekend, we painted the porch, and I told all you fine folks about that. The following week (3rd – 7th), we work on the porch some more, and I scrounged up some steel (there’s a pile of it in the woods near the house) and prepped everything for the repair work I was going to do on Saturday (the 8th). Saturday, my folks come up for a visit and my Dad brings his welding machine. In the morning, Liz painted the side door a nice shade of maroon, and I got the plastic trim pieces on the main door masked off and spray painted. My folks showed up and my Dad taught me how to weld. We were welding up some brackets on the mower deck where the welds failed. I was putting a lot of stress on them because the anti-scalp wheels were too low, but the main issue was that the welds were crap. My dad looked at them and said that whomever welded it got really poor penetration, so it was basically just sitting on top of the metal. We welded them up all nicely, and my dad says that it will likely tear the deck off the mower before those welds fail. I welded up some new skis for the snowblower. Basically, the skids that the blower came with are too small for my driveway when it’s muddy, and the blower sinks in to the driveway a little too much. So, the additional surface area of the newly fabricated skis should help with this. After that, we picked up my car from the dealership where it was being fixed from a broken rocker arm bolt which caused a variety of rocker arm related issues which made the engine run like poo. After that, we hit the cheesecake factory for dinner, where my folks split a burger and didn’t even order cheesecake. How weird is that? On Sunday, Liz’s dad came over and we ripped into her car to pull the steering knuckles off so we could replace the wheel bearings. Of course, after 130,000 miles, half the crap underneath was rusted solid, so we ended up hailing out piles of tools (Dremel, sockets, ratchets, hammers, assorted pullers, saws, etc.) and basically attacking it. Luckily, Liz’s dad has experience with these things, so he was able to direct me so that I didn’t feel completely useless. Once we got it apart, we realized that we needed to replace more things – tie rod ends, lower ball joints, struts, rotors, pads, etc. Because of these complications, the project stretched into the week, and we ended working on the car after work for most of the week. To be honest, I rather enjoyed it, though I felt bad that it took up so much of Liz’s Dad’s week. It was also made less stressful by the fact that we didn’t need the car per se – my car ran, so hers could be up on blocks without issue. Meanwhile, I got a spare set of blades for the mower deck, had the old ones sharpened (I need to buy a bench grinder – a $40 grinder pays for itself after two sharpendings of the blades – they’re $6 per and there are 3), had the chain for my chainsaw sharpened, had them order an extra one (where I get a third for free, because they’re doing a buy one get one). I also grabbed a can of paint, so I could wire brush the crap off the welds and prime and paint it, so now it looks less like crap. Let’s see.. other stuff. Got some line for the weedwacker, so I can finish that up, we bought new door hardware (brushed nickel instead of gaudy gold). I think that gets us to this past weekend. Sunday was the Syracuse gun show, which meant about 300 miles on the VW, which proves an adequate test for the new rocker arms.. she’s purring like a kitten. The Syracuse gun show presented me with numerous things which I did not have the money for: – Real HK 91 – $2200 – JLD PTR-91 (HK 91 clone) – $1100 – Mosin-Nagant M-44 carbines – $90 – SMLE’s – $125 – SMLE Jungle carbine – $150 – SAR-1 – $400 The only thing which was really missing was a selection of FALs. Very few, and not very good ones. I did, however, pick up about 50lbs of “mixed range pickup brass” for $25. On the way back, we stopped by Tractor Supply company and I ended up buying a dumping cart (think overgrown wagon, except it dumps) which can be pulled, or if you turn the handle around, you can hitch it to the tractor. With a 1000lbs capacity, I can use it for carrying various piles of crap (rocks, dirt, brush, etc). The short term use will to be pretending like I work on the road maintenance crew – loading it up full of dirt and driving around the yard trying to find all the old post holes and holes which used to have rocks in them. I’m concerned that someone is going to turn their ankle in one of the holes, and we can’t have that. Anyway, it was my father in law’s birthday, so when we got back Liz made him a nice birthday dinner, primarily consisting of Black Bear in a Blackberry sauce. It was quite good. The bear and sauce by themselves were unremarkable, but together they worked quite well. Dessert was a very tasty pumpkin cake, which was not unlike carrot cake in spice, flavor and consistency. Sunday, we got up for brunch with Liz’s folks (I think the main thing he wanted for his birthday was to spend it with his family. He really likes having his daughter back up here, and I think he doesn’t mind having someone to go to gun shows with much either). After that, we went over to this cider mill, which was having a craft show. I was hoping for a rocking chair, but I didn’t like what they had. Anyway, there were a variety of interesting things, and it was a nice, relaxing morning. We took away some fresh apple cider (which we watched being pressed; oh, and it was all water powered, too), cider donuts and fudge. After that, there was a bit of grocery shopping, and some more work on the mower deck and such. Tonight, we picked up Liz’s car where it was getting an alignment done (a useful thing when you’ve replaced all the things we did), and then I put all the bits back on the mower deck, and bent tips on one of the skids for the blower (heat with torch, then bang unto shape with hammer). It’s not perfect, but it will work. Oh, and I’ve decided that the “greenhouse room” (a room with french doors to the rest of the house, and three floor to ceiling windows to the outside, which gets a lot of eastern exposure, so it gets a lot of sun, and we will use it for starting plants for the garden and keeping others for the winter) is a good one to use to make sun tea in the winter time. I love plain iced tea with just a hint of sweetness. Even the Arizona teas are too sweet for me to drink as much as I’d like to. Tomorrow, I figure I’ll put the mower deck back on the tractor and mow the lawn. Wednesday I’ll go to the tractor place and pick up my second set of (now sharp) mower blades and hopefully the spare chainsaw changes. After that, I’ll finish using the weedwacker on the parts I couldn’t get to last time (ran out of line), and maybe this weekend I’ll hit the huge pile of wood with the chainsaw and make it into smaller stackable pieces of wood. Oh, and I need to sweep the upstairs, wash the floors, and vacuum the downstairs. Also, make ice cream (I owe Lizzy some Tiramisu and mint chocolate chip ice cream), and pull out another post which is bothering me. Anyway, I think that about covers what’s been going on in my life.

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