Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Kicks

 Yesterday was my birthday. Its funny how when I was a kid that day would never sneak up on me. A month out I knew it was coming and there would be talk of what kids to invite to the party. A week out and everyday would be filled with anticipation. The night before and I wouldn't sleep well. When I was a kid I would strut around like a king on my birthday even though the event wasn't handled much different than anyone elses special day. There would be a gift, a small party, and of course a cake. I suppose I got to make dinner suggestions as well. How have things changed? Well, the "gift" was going out and buying myself a new pair of work boots. The "party" was me and my wife stopping for dinner after the boot buying experience and the "cake" is a slice of cheese cake that still sits in the fridge because I was too full to eat it last night. Except for the fact the the day did sneak up on me, it was just as special as when I was a kid but it didn't start out that way.

 I put my socks on and each one had a big hole in the toe. There isn't much more annoying feeling than a big toe sticking part way out of a hole in a sock. I put my pants on and the main button broke off. I guess its gonna be one of those days. I got a few miles out of town and had to turn around and head back home to get my phone. Grrr.
 That was the end of the stupid stuff happening to me and the rest of the day went fine. At the shoe store I was showing my wife how I have a wedge under one heel to align my back and we needed to find a boot that would allow my to install that and keep it comfortable. When I reached in my old boot, I pulled out a chunk of metal. It was about two inches long and very rusty. That would explain the discomfort I had been experiencing but I wasn't surprised as I had found a big chunk of plastic in that same boot just days earlier. They were falling apart from the inside rather than the sole cracking like normally happens to me. I think some water sat in there cuz I don't really have a sweaty foot problem.

  New boots need a little break in time to get comfortable but heres a little secret. Wear the old boots until rusty chunks of metal occasionally poke the bottom of your foot and pieces of plastic break off and roll around in the boot. Then when you put your new stiff boots on they'll feel like heaven because none of those irritations exist.

 Now heres another tip for you. The weather has been nice for the last few days and a few bikers have snuck out for rides. The sun is low on both the ride in and home from work so be extra cautious because they can be hard to spot sometimes.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Car Wash

 Friday night dinner in Wisconsin means fish fry and brandy old fashioneds or at least that's the way I see it. Follow it up with a piece of cheese cake and life is good. That's just what I did when my wife and I went out the other night. Because I was doing the drinking my wife was doing the driving on the way home. The evening was warm for February so we decided to run through the car wash and get some of that nasty salt rinsed away from the belly of the BMW.

 I had a good buzz going and decided it was picture time. See, ya gots yer basic vertical lines of suds...

 and ya gots yer horizontal lines.

 Then theres just a mess that doesn't go any particular direction...

 and don't forget the spot free rinse! But there is one application called a protectant that is the best of all.

 You know the one I'm talking about. Its the stuff that smells like bubble gum! It kinda looks like a frog with a stomach full of blueberries just blew up on your windshield but that doesn't matter. The sweet smell makes the extra cost of the deluxe wash worth it. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you need to pony up and get the deluxe or switch car washes to a place that'll hose your car with smurf spit.
 I've never washed the old Dodge. The inside kinda smells like ass so maybe I'll run it through the car wash and roll down the windows during the smurf spit app and then I can enjoy the smell on a more permanent basis. I'll let you know how that works out.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ice Storm

 A lot of moisture pushed through the state Monday and Tuesday. The weather liars were calling for a half an inch of ice and power outages for our area and people were scrambling. We sold a lot of salt and applied an awful lot to our accounts. By 4:45am  I thought we were caught up and ready for workers to start pulling into parking lots, then it started raining hard.

 One minute I had these docks melted and wet but temps were below freezing and a few minutes later ice was building up on them.

 As far as ice storms go, this wasn't much but the roads were treacherous for a while. One coworker claimed it took him an hour to travel about ten miles but he drives a Chevy so that might just be how long it normally takes. Bazinga!
 Of course when you have ice build up on trees you get some interesting looks. These trees looked cool enough for me to stop and take a pic. If you squint just right that bright light in the background almost looks like the moon. Squint harder and those storage silos look like a majestic mountain range. Keep squinting and those trucks look like grazing cattle along the edge of a river. Go ahead, most of my pics require some sort of imagination to make them any good and squinting at this one is the closest thing I have to a bike ride out west. Ya, I'm ready for spring.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

General Bullcrap

 Its Saturday night, I've had a few beers and now I'm writing this blog so its a crap shoot on what you're gonna get. What should we talk about? Well its come to my attention that many of you are reading this blog while sitting on the toilet. First, that's a visual I didn't need and second I suppose its fitting that you're reading crap while taking one. This also means you're reading on your phone and I'm pretty sure the mobile version doesn't allow you to see the list of blogs I follow. If this is really the case then get on a computer and follow some of the links. A lot of these bloggers use actual cameras and they know how to take great pics. They also are good writers and have some interesting things to say. Check em out.
 What else do you want to talk about? Did I work on the tool hutch? Yes, but I'm tired of talking about it. I'll show you a pic when its done and in place.
 Hey, I got a piece of "jewelry" from Terry!

 Ya its a trekkie insignia. Science officer Scott reporting for duty. Remove that cap indoors and get a shave! Whatever. BTW, while I am a Star Trek fan, as far as you know this is the only time I'll wear it.

 In work related news, my bench is a mess. If you say that's not news I'd have to agree. I'm gonna try to clean up my act a little bit. It just makes it easier to not overlook a screw if the only ones laying on the bench came out of the current project.

 In other work related news we have finished the "tunnel" F550 project. The truck now has a new aluminum flatbed sitting on the tunnel. The hitch is ready to accept a back blade and next winter the bed comes off and the truck will get a salter.

 In still other work related news, It seems James has become the second operator to bend a back blade wing. (I'm not the other one) When the first one bent I thought there was a one in a million chance of hitting the tip of the blade just right to get it to bend rather than bounce off or break the shear bolt. Now I'm thinking the odds are closer to one in ten. At least nobody will ever hit that post again as James has decided to bring it back to the shop as a trophy. I'm good with that.

 Speaking of trucks, this is my old dodge.

 My wife used to call it barbaric. She drove it to get lunch the other day and has now down graded it to "a hunk of junk". Its gettin kinda crude and we plan to replace it some time next year so I've been giving that a lot of thought. What do I want vs. what do I really need? Well, I need to be able to occasionally tow my 6 x 10 enclosed trailer with one or two bikes in it. I need to get to work sometimes after the county has pulled the plow trucks from the roads. I need to be able to haul some stuff once in a while. I want something with decent power and rust free. Not sure exactly where the budget is gonna be on this one but I got a feeling I'm gonna be right on the edge of rust free unless I buy something with really high mileage. I don't need a diesel or a quad cab long box or a one ton dually or any other small penis compensator. I see a lot of Chevy Silverados out there that seem to be good deals but I'm really more interested in a Suburban or Yukon. I like that they are basically half tons with permanent toppers. If I decide to go smaller then maybe a Jeep Grand Cherokee or even a BMW X5 would make me happy. I've always wanted to own a Cadillac so I'm not ruling out the Escalade or EXT. I guess it just depends on whats out there once I'm ready to buy. Until then I'll just keep borrowing my wifes car on the weeks she is working from home and car pooling with her the rest of the time.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

More Hutch

 I've been struggling with the need for some sheet metal to finish my hutch project. Oh sure I could just run down to any heating and cooling contractor and buy the material but then again I could have just went out and bought a hutch. The point is trying to use existing crap and keep costs down. Its also kinda fun to see how junk can be turned into useful items.
 What you see here are a parts furnace and a working furnace ready to go if the house furnace takes a shit. What I see is the donor for the outer skin of my hutch. I did some measuring and should be able to get all this pieces needed with only a couple small screw holes in the back panel. I'm ok with that. The other advantage of using this furnace is that once stripped I can salvage a few parts and easily haul the remainder away. This one has a cracked heat exchanger.

 Except for the skin, I think the hutch is about done. Lining the inside with pegboard was pretty easy with the use of a few tabs to space the panels where they needed to be.

 I've added a power strip and my led lighting.

 The top will have a rubber mat to prevent stuff from scratching the paint and sliding off. I'm sure plenty of "stuff" will end up on there. I may add a shelf on the left side and need to pick up some peg board hooks. The only other thing I can think of is some type of shelf or docking station to charge my phone while at work. I was thinking it could sit on the front just above the key pad. What else? Possibly a bluetooth speaker. Possibly a slide rail so a laptop can be brought out forward for easier use. Oh, I need to find a handle for the door. I guess that about covers it but I feel I'm forgetting something. Ah yes, to my wife, Happy Valentines Day Sweetums!


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Good Customer Service

 Unless you're new here, you know that we bought my wife a 2011 BMW 328i xdrive back in November. I told you the story about returning it to the dealer for a mirror replacement and headlight adjustment. I also told you about the front differential not having much if any oil in it and the noise coming from it. It's easy to bitch when things don't go as expected. This isn't that kind of story.
 Last Monday their service department looked at the car and put some dye in the differential and asked me to drive it about four hundred miles. I did so and returned last Friday so they could re-inspect the car. There is some question on my part as to how much of a differential leak they found but they stated there was definitely an engine oil leak. The tech had stuck a magnet in the diff and came up with a lot of metal. This wasn't a news flash to me as I already have enough experience with axle problems to know that much noise equaled metal shavings. Anyway, they didn't want me to drive the car and gave me a loaner. Not a car I'd choose myself but I can't complain about a 2018 escape with a thousand miles as a loaner.
 On Monday I heard from them that basically they were trying to decide what to do. My warranty that came with the car was up but this was kinda a grey area. They would call me back with more details. I wasn't nervous but the guys in our shop sure did tease me and came up with a number of scenarios, all of which I came out on the short end. On Thursday I decided to call and was told they were replacing the differential and fixing the engine oil leak but the gal didn't know when it would be done. On Friday they called and said I could pick it up which I did yesterday morning.
 The forty five mile ride home was gonna be the determining factor on how I felt about this whole ordeal. To my relief the only noise I heard on the ride home was the sound of the tires on the pavement. Having a good differential make a big diff!
 In some past posts I may have nitpicked at a few things concerning Holiday Automotive and Holiday Budget Center but in the end they have done everything they promised and then some, all the time with a smile. They did this for us and the only input from me was a four minute phone conversation and bringing them the car. They earned the Greasy Shop Rag stamp of approval because they went above and beyond my expectations and I will go back to them when I look to replace my old Dodge pickem up next fall. You should do the same.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018


 The other day I got to thinking about my grand parents on my mothers side. Visits to their house were always looked forward to. I'm not sure if it was because we lived in the country and visits to the city were exciting or if it was that I looked up to grandpa so much. They lived in a Milwaukee suburb near the Milwaukee river. We weren't allowed anywhere near the river and were brainwashed into believing the river was a dangerous place for little kids and maybe it was. Grandma would say, "You boys dasn't go down there". The only other outdoor adventure on their tiny property was exploring a deep ditch along the property and playing with the dog. "Tippy" was a weiner dog and I remember having a lot of fun with him. I don't know why I'm telling you all this, I'm just enjoying some memories from my youth.
 Gramps liked to go fishing and he took us (me and my brother) to the shores of Lake Michigan a few times. I remember a brewer game too but never really had any interest in baseball. Gramps didn't take any shit from us kids and one threat of using his belt on our ass was really all it took to set us straight. That threat didn't come very often, just a few times when we were being a pain. What I really liked about him was that he did small engine repair out of his garage and would let us watch and show us a few things. We were young and for me I soaked up everything I could learn. All those motors were cool and he had a whole garage full of tools that we could look at as long as it was put back where it came from. I wish some of the guys I work with would have been taught that one simple rule. Gramps was tougher than I am. I remember him showing me how he checks for spark on a lawn mower engine. He would just hold the plug wire and pull the cord. If the motor shocked the shit out of him then the ignition was fine. I don't play that game and use a proper tester for that task. 

 One of grandpas neighbors sold these things called amphicats. I had never seen one before so when this guy showed up at gramps house with one I was excited. We were little kids and had no experience with go karts, mini bikes and the like. This shiny red machine was like nothing I had ever seen and I was thrilled to find out we were going to be taken for a ride. Up and down the street we went. The dude spun the machine around in circles and then raced back down the road. This time we were heading down the dead end that ended in a boat landing to the river. This turned out to be one of the scariest experiences of my life. I knew the machine was called an amphicat but had no idea "amphi" meant amphibious. I was just a little snot nose kid and that word wasn't even in my vocabulary yet. As it became evident we were not stopping for the river I'm sure I let out some kind of scream at a minimum, possibly even shit my pants. We were taught this river was filled with danger and we were about to drive right into it! SPLASH! I'm not a swimmer now so I certainly wasn't a swimmer then and was about to go down with the ship...but the ship wasn't going down. We were floating and under power. Things are a little fuzzy after that and I don't remember details like if we were able to maneuver against the current and come out the same boat landing but I remember a few things, such as the river was kinda scary but obviously not as dangerous as I was led to believe. When Grandma found out she said "Egads and sunburnt fishes"! I had no idea what that meant but she sounded pissed. Grandpa just sat in his lazyboy, sipped his shot of brandy, sucked down a bottle of Blatz beer, tugged on his stinky old cigar and kept his mouth shut. Gramps was pretty cool that way.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Week Five Update

 To start out, I'd like to wish my wife and her two sisters a Happy Birthday. No they're not triplets but they all marked another lap around the sun this week.
 I got the cylinder heads back for the Subaru but its been pretty dang cold out in the garage lately and no progress has been made on that project. Instead we've been staying inside where its warm and passing time with dice games. The knucklehead cats like to watch and sometimes act like they know whats going on.

  The toolbox hutch project is in the heated portion of my shop and that did get a little attention. I added the keyed override in case the Chinese electronic lock gizmo fails, or maybe I should say "when it fails".

In the locked position the spring holds the latch bar upright.

In the unlocked position the latch bar is pushed down,
rotating the latches away from the door catch.

A little progress here and there. Its in the "rough draft" stage but it should clean up ok.

 In work related news, incoming repairs have gone down in general but chainsaw repairs have kept my side of the shop kinda busy. Getting to the saws is another story. Our cardboard compactor is on the fritz and I mistakenly left an empty box laying in my area. I guess that made it the official staging area until the compactor is repaired.

 "I can't understand why my chainsaw doesn't run right. I do all my own maintenance on a regular basis" When I hear those words I automatically know the maintenance wasn't done. It happens every time.

When I wasn't working on saws I got involved in a project the boys were working on in the back shop. We're upfitting another F550 kinda like the one I plow with. It will eventually get a front blade, back blade, salter and truck bed for the summer. We have been building a tunnel to cover the frame and fuel tank and the first time around was easy. This time we want to incorporate a gooseneck ball reciever so there is a little extra work involved.

 I'm writing this Saturday morning because we are getting some snow that will linger on until Sunday morning. Its just starting now so I need to get rolling.