Sunday, May 19, 2019

Busy, Busy, Busy

 Its that time of year at work where all the techs are swamped with repairs. Our own rental stuff needs regular service but all we have time for is reacting to break downs. Lawn equipment repairs are backed up because nobody brought their stuff in until after they needed it. Well when everyone does that you end up with a back log. Wait times before we can even look at something are 1-3 weeks out depending on what it is.  It gets worse. A day at work is never just trying to get caught up on repairs, There are customers walking in the door that need help, phone calls that need answering and then just reacting to everyday emergency repairs. You also have landscape materials that need loading, lp tanks that need filling and shelves that need restocking. Its not unusual for a half day to get swallowed up by other bullshit.
 Thats all fine and I'm not complaining. Its part of the job. What shouldn't be part of the job are a-holes that sneak in the back door of the shop and try to get their stuff looked at right away. We do make exceptions for contractors but the average joe homeowner gets his stuff looked at in the order it was received. This past week some old fart wanted me to look at his string trimmer because he needed it right away. First off, nobody needs a string trimmer right away. If you have an actual trimming emergency then we will be happy to rent you a trimmer for a few bucks a day. Second, we have a whole shelf full of repaired equipment that people needed "right away" but never picked up. This guy starts by telling me its just a ten minute repair and about how he put fresh fuel in the machine but it still won't start. I asked if there was fuel left in it from last year. He says ya but he dumped it out and put fresh in but maybe it needs new fuel lines. I tried to explain to him that old gas left in the tank, lines and carb turns into squaw piss and how just pouring fresh fuel in wasn't gonna fix it. "Can't you just go 'pst pst' or something and make it work?" I think he was referring to some kind of "mechanic in a can" cuz he made a hand gesture like he was spraying magic pixie dust in his carb. I tried to explain that it doesn't work that way and he started back up with his story for the third time. I stopped him short and said "Listen, you ate up ten minutes already that I should have spent on paying customers equipment. I'm not getting anything done arguing with you about your repair. If you want it fixed right then go to the front counter and they will start a work order.  Better yet, take it to another shop without such a back log, or go downtown and buy some magic spray and fix it yourself." I know what you're thinking. I always preach about good customer service and telling this guy hes wasting my time is bad service. Well, he wasn't a customer. He was a leach that snuck in the back door and wanted us to drop what we were doing and pay attention to him. Hes pulled this crap before and I guarantee you that if I would have fixed his shit right then and there that he would have bitched about the bill. He wasted two other peoples time when he told his same lame ass story to them. Thats a half hour he ate up although there was some entertainment value as I listened in on those conversations.
 Heres another classic. "Can't you fix it right away? Its just a recoil rope." In the middle of the season its just a recoil rope and I'll gladly fix those while you wait. In spring its a fuel problem. When I say I need more time to fix their equipment they sometimes get pissy. I'll then ask how many times they pulled on that rope before it broke. The answer is always a big number followed by an expletive and then a light goes off that maybe I'm on to something. I'll ask how old the fuel is and they respond "I just put fresh gas in it..."
Yep. Rant over.

Later.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ass Wipe And Automowers

 I guess I'm not the only one in our house with a sense of humor. My wife sets this on the table in front of me and says (almost without giggling)
"Looks like we have two Scotts in the house. Ass wipe and Asshole".


 Thats frickin hilarious Honey.

 The boss and I did another automower install yesterday. We'll be pushing the limits on the size of the property but I feel good about it due to the simple layout. Also this customer is already familiar with its capabilities and what to expect from an automower due to his involvement with some units where he works. The units are being watched and a lot of people seem to have needed to see them run for a season before making a commitment.
 I guess there must not be many installers in our area because today we have one scheduled in Appleton and I'm currently working on a quote for one north of Green Bay. Thats an hour and a half one way. We'll work the travel time into the quote. Makes no difference to my paycheck if I'm installing a mower or doing windshield time.
 My mower at home has been doing a good job.


 The lawn still needs some work but I like the green carpet look without any stripes or other evidence of a lawn mower. I don't want to jinx myself but Mowby Dick has run flawlessly all spring with no intervention at all from me. Sure I'll play with the settings and then watch it work for a few cans of beer but thats just for my benefit as an installer. While its true these things mow in a random pattern, theres nothing random about the way it takes care of an area before moving on to the next section. My mid and front lawn is broken into small sections and narrow passages and this thing really has it mapped out and under control. For three days I had a physical barrier up so the machine couldn't get out front while we had garbage stacked at the curb for bulk pickup day. I did that because the neighbor told me last year a garbage picker was eyeballing the mower, thinking it might be junk. Anyway, once I removed the barrier the automower took advantage and spent two days cleaning up the area before returning to the back yard.
 I know some people say they like mowing the lawn but I'm pretty sure thats an excuse to not be doing something else. They'd rather be fishing or whatever. I know I've found better things to do with my time even if its relaxing while I watch the mower work. Its like the people that lose at the casino and walk out claiming they had a good time. Bullshit.

Later.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Automower Display

 I've talked about my Husqvarna Automower and how we sell them at work. The things are awesome the way they do the bullshit work of cutting the lawn. Thats funny to write because I've been involved in cutting other peoples lawns for decades. Its not that I'm burnt out or lazy, I think its the techy aspect of the robotic mower that I like.
 My boss likes them too and we both believe these things are the next frontier in the outdoor power equipment industry and we want to be on the leading edge of that. We have an outdoor display near the front door and one that cuts the front yard. How do we put one indoors without taking up valuable floor space? The boss decided the answer was to hang one from the ceiling. My involvement has been limited to bouncing ideas back and forth, making the support rods, and wiring once the display was in place. Hell, someone had to take the pics, might as well be the guy with the bad back.
 The first step was discussing our needs with a glass expert. I think they said this eight foot by six foot piece was close to four hundred pounds in weight.


  They framed it out to create an area the mower could bounce around in without falling to the ground.


 Above I'm just testing a couple of demo modes to see what might be the best way to display this thing. We also decided that the lugs needed to come off the tires so the mower would be smooth and quiet while rolling around up there. The belt sander made quick work of that. Below the crew wheeled the assembled display into the showroom and then lifted it onto a scissors lift. We're in the five, six maybe seven hundred pound range, I ran the camera.



  From here the support rods were attached and the whole works was lifted into the ceiling.


 Terrible glare in the above pic but the next pic shows a mower sitting in its charging station. This underside view of the machine will help us explain a lot of the features and show how these things work. A boundary wire will be added to the bottom of the glass but I'm still waiting on parts for that.


 Keeping it clean may prove to be a challenge. Well see, but I think it will be worth the effort. As you can see below there isn't much room in the showroom to go anywhere else but vertical.


 We've got three more installs scheduled for this week. Just one more iron in the fire as they say.

 I miss my Mom and wish she was here to wish her a happy mothers day. What I do have is a very special person in my life, my lovely wife. Honey I want to thank you for being such a great mother to our children. You're my favorite.

Later.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Photo Dump

Time to clean out my phones photo album again. Heres what was in there from this past week.

I'm tellin ya, drinkin beer and watching a robot cut the grass is gonna be the next big thing.


This was my "May the fourth" photo but I dicked it up and barely got that Vader fellow in the shot. Or was it supposed to be the "Live long and prosper" dude? Or that short green guy? Not sure.

Dad at a carving show in Oshkosh. On this table he is selling chunks of wood that have interesting grains. The far table has some of his finished works.

Thanks Brooke!


Sometimes the security cameras pick up the darndest things.

Good thing we didn't take the big ass station wagon to Galena last weekend. It wouldn't have cleared.

 And finally the bathroom remodel. I pick away at it maybe an hour a night. I'm guessing two more hours to get the rest of those tiles up.


Later.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Anniversary Getaway

 Thirty one years ago I was lucky enough to get a sweet woman to agree to marry me.  We're still together and the 7th of May will mark the official anniversary. We both felt we needed a weekend getaway and took a lot of suggestions but in the end agreed upon Galena Illinois.  It's far enough away that it feels like we really went somewhere but close enough not to eat up the whole weekend traveling. I had been through this area once on the bike and always thought  it would be a nice place for us to visit together.  
We arrived in time for lunch and found a nice place called Fried Green Tomatoes.  The food and service were great as well as the ambiance.  In fact the whole town is pretty cool if you like old architecture, rich history and small shops. I'm good for two of those three. 



 We took a trolley tour of the city and really enjoyed that as well. After pissin away the rest of the afternoon we had a great meal at a place called 1Eleven Main or something like that. Ya we splurged and the bill was over a nert but ya only have an anniversary once a year. Btw, fibs don't know how to mix a proper old fashioned.  What they do know is that a person shouldn't have to choose between soup or salad because it's so easy to just offer both! 



 For lodging we chose the Desoto House Hotel located right in the middle of everything this small town offers. The Desoto has a rich history and is the oldest operating hotel in the country and has it's own restaurants,  bar, shops and even a parking structure. You may pay less at other hotels but it's nice to park the car, have a few cocktails and be in walking distance of all the action. 



 Speaking of walking, the trolley tour guide made a big deal about these steps. Theres like two hundred of them leading to the top where theres a church and school maybe. As the evening progressed and I had a few libations I decided to see what all the fuss was about.



 It wasn't really a big deal, I mean they are concrete steps and a hand rail. Back in the day when they were crude planks I could see it being a pain to climb but now its just a few minutes out of the way to see a great night view of the city. Because of the trolley tour I was able to pick out a few key features like Ulysses S. Grants home.

 The experience was great but unfortunately we had a few issues with the room itself like problems trying to get the heating/cooling system below sauna temps and a broken toilet. When we checked out I handed the gal at the desk a comment card with these and a few other problems listed on it and she offered a free breakfast which we declined because we already ate. I kind of got the impression she thought we were just whining and looking for something for free. Whatever. We walked out to the parking garage when my wife got a message on her phone. I know what you're thinking but no it wasn't the front desk apologizing for the broke ass room they put us in. It was my wifes cousin Heidi who was asking if it was us she just spotted at the hotel. What a small world when relatives from two separate areas of the state coincidentally meet in another state. We had a nice although short visit and went on our way home. About an hour into the ride my wifes phone rang and this time it was the Hotel saying they were mortified at the situation and would comp the room. I guess when they saw I was filling the toilet tank from the shower with the garbage can they decided I wasn't just a whiner. They have earned a second chance at our business.

Later.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

sigh

 Have you ever had one of those weeks? I'm talking about when you think you're doing everything right but outside influences are jacking up your game. Sometimes the problem is easy to see and easy to fix.


 Other times we have to make hard decisions even if not popular with others around us.


 Have you ever set a goal that you eventually had to give up on? Its hard to do especially when that goal was to help someone. It feels like failure.
 I'm just sad this week.

Later.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bathroom Remodel Progress Report

 I realize bathroom updates of any kind aren't very interesting but this is what I've been up to so this is what I blog about. I started this project with the shower because I had to paint the tub from green to white. I installed tub surround panels and had the notion they would be unseen with the shower doors closed.


 I was right about that and am happy with the results.


 Except for caulking the seams, that part of the project is done. We went with a one piece shower head panel instead of a traditional faucet. This thing has eight adjustable jets and I'm hopeful that city water pressure will give them enough blast to put some heat on my lower back first thing in the morning. Right now I have to do this weird thing where I bend over in a stand up shower stall and try to get hot water to relieve the pain. Ya I know, too much information.
 At first I was worried that this type of shower panel would need a master plumber to hook up. I was way wrong about that.


 The back side of the panel has a lot going on but its just two screw-on fittings that I needed to concern myself with. They actually matched up to what I already had in the wall. Two brackets get screwed to the wall and it just hangs there. I did caulk around the top and sides, partially to keep water from passing through the wall where the hoses pass and partially to hold the entire unit on the brackets.
 I stripped the toilet and sink from the room and discovered some writing on the back of the sink.


 Looks like this had a nice forty five year run before we came along and decide it had to go. Now that the room is bare I am working on lifting the tile on the floor. Its not a bad job in the open areas but this little closet proved to be a challenge.


Thats all for now. After the tile is up I'll work on plaster and paint.

Later.