That was fast. This 45-lb. beauty showed up on my doorstep this afternoon, and being that it’s 60˚ outside, I had to go out, unbolt the stock bumper, and do a test fit. It looks fantastic, and the workmanship is excellent—better than I was expecting, actually. The clevis mounts aren’t flush-welded—they go all the way through to the back of the bumper through two holes and are welded on each side. The welds are clean and tidy. The bull bar doesn’t stick out too far, something I was afraid of.
It’s raw metal, so I have to pull it back off and bring it inside so it doesn’t flash rust. Then I can weld on some lamp mounts, drill and tap license plate holes, clean it good, and spray it with some black paint.
The guy out in Flintstone with the ex-dealership Scout I pulled parts from still has his truck. During my first visit I was being chased by snow, cold weather, and the sun setting, so I wasn’t able to stay as long as I wanted to pull parts, and I spent too much time heating bolts to pull a hub I didn’t directly need. I’m planning a trip back out there to grab more stuff, because I could be spending winter quarantine time refurbishing parts inside when I can’t be working outside.
I did a shitty job of remembering what to pull while I was there last time, so I’m making a list this time, in order of desirability:
- Both front hubs—I’d like to clean and refurb both of these
- The heater motor unit—we looked at pulling this in December, but there just wasn’t enough time to pull the fender off. It’s pretty rusty but maybe worth salvaging…
- Inner fenders, if they are clean (moon shot)
- The steering wheel—there’s a ton of good stuff in there, including the turn signal canceler, and I’d like to practice pulling the wheel off a spare
- The steering box—it would be good to have a core for rebuilding
- The lower tailgate lock assembly—the spring in my mechanism tends to jump off the cam, which means every three months or so I’ve got to break down the tailgate and reset it
- Door strikers from both sides
- Rear armrests—these are rare in good shape
- 4 bolts where the windshield connects to the roof (always good to have stock spares)
- Any side molding I can get off cleanly—I’ve now got 2 sets of door molding but I’d like to have the pieces that go in front of and behind the door. Peer Pressure is drilled for fancy exterior molding
- The washer bottle
- The fan shroud—I don’t remember seeing this, but they are rare on the ground
- The interior fiberglas panels—especially the middle section over the rear liftgate, if it has the switch
- The hubcaps, if I can find all four
- The cowl cover
- Any spare light buckets that are in good shape
- Both of the 1978 headlight surrounds
- Any good badging
- The dome light
- Transmission cover and plastic shift plate
- Any of the evap gear from the rear access port
- The ashtray—you laugh but I’ve only got one spare
- The slider windows, if they’re still there
- The license plate assembly—it’s a hinged model
So I’ll pack another rescue box, run out to Harbor Freight for an impact driver, buy another can of PBBlaster, and plan an early departure so that I can get as much sunlight as possible.
I went ahead and ordered a bumper! The way the ordering process went was a little strange; the contact from the Facebook page sent me an invoice via PayPal (keyed to the name of the fabricator) so I used my credit card to purchase it. This way I’ve got their built-in protection working for me. I got a notification from UPS that it was shipping yesterday(!!!) but then the contact messaged me on Facebook the same day asking if it was for a Scout II or an 80/800. Later that evening UPS updated me and told me it wouldn’t be delivered tomorrow, which left me with equal parts sadness and relief. And there’s no update on shipping yet.
I’m already thinking ahead to modifications and how I’m going to weld a set of brackets on under the pushbar to mount a pair of fog lamps, as well as a pair of captive nuts to accept a license plate.
I was in on a long empty zoom call this morning where I was just listening, and noticed that I was getting a lot of spam comments on oldlinestatebinders.com. I’d set up the site back in October but never really worked on it since then. I logged in and set up Akismet, which will shut the spam right down, and updated all of the themes and plugins. While I was listening, I swapped the theme and replaced the stock photos with some stuff from previous events.
Clearly, I need to get some more T-shirt designs finished and get them posted.
Sadly, the French electronic duo announced their split this morning, which is as shitty as Monday news gets.
Thomas Bangalter was in another group called Stardust that put out an earworm called Music Sounds Better With You, the video for which captures so much of being around Finley’s age, making model airplanes and watching MTV.
Our house is coming up on its centennial in just a few years. At the turn of the century, this whole area was still sparsely populated with gentleman’s farms and vacation homes for Baltimore’s wealthiest residents; The track for the trolley from the city is still embedded under Frederick Road in front of our house. From our back windows we can see Summit Mansion, one of the largest of the local mansions, whose frontage was subdivided into our current neighborhood in the early 1900’s.
When they put these houses up, the practice of home insulation was still in its infancy, and I’ve been playing catchup for the last sixteen years. With the weather in the teens overnight, I’ve been concerned that our seedlings will get frostbitten in the basement once they’ve grown large enough for me to take the covers off, so I figured I’d make a plan to move them upstairs. The best location I could find was in the den, on the cabinet under Finn’s gallery wall, where there’s lots of natural light during the day and several available plugs for the lights and the heaters.
I built a frame out of scrap wood for the grow lights so that the fixture sits directly over the trays and put some plastic down on top of the cabinet before getting everything situated. Once I’d moved the old light fixture up and plugged it into the timer, it refused to work, so I picked up a new one from Lowe’s and wired the plug into it from the old one.
The new covers are excellent. They give the plants tons of room to stand up, and they feature two vents on the top to let the condensation out. By Sunday evening, everything was standing tall and enjoying the new location.
Other than that, and a bunch of chores and other small projects around the house, I did absolutely fuck-all this weekend. I’ve made it through a bunch of minor quests in Fallout 76 solo and participated in one event with a bunch of other random players, but I got absolutely smoked in a cave by a giant mutated turtle trying to complete a major quest and spent the rest of the weekend licking my wounds.
Wow. If Dad were still alive, I would buy this and offer to fly out to the West Coast to drive it back with him: a 1968 Ford Country Squire wagon, the spitting image of the wagon he had when Renie and I were little kids. This one has a couple of dents and dings, but overall looks like it’s in good shape. Of course, a 390 under the hood means we’d be filling it up every 15 miles, but that would be an epic trip.
I would do some light modification to this wagon—I’d repaint it in the original Ford green, find a roof rack (or the equivalent Thule roof basket) and lift it slightly for some better tires—but keep the stock hubcaps. Refresh the engine, suspension and brakes, sort out the interior, and drive the piss out of it.
So Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday after a bout of lung cancer. Cancer does suck, but seriously, fuck that guy. He and his kind are a cancer on our democracy; maybe that’s a sign of cosmic justice out there somewhere.
Good grief. One of my go-to podcasts, Reply All, did a series on the racism scandal at Bon Appétit, a very popular magazine and online property which has been accused of keeping people of color out of the spotlight. That exposed an identical problem at Gimlet Media, the podcast channel that publishes Reply All. What a mess.
I went back and looked at the Reverb listing for my bass after having forgotten it for a couple of weeks; it’s been viewed 8,000 times but there are still no concrete offers. Meanwhile there are a couple of others listed for more money elsewhere; I’d love to know if anything is moving right now. Here’s to hoping an offer comes out of the blue.
I’ve seen a guy selling front bumpers on Facebook Marketplace for a couple of months now. They’re basic prerunner-style bumpers, with a large pusher bar, two clevis mounts, and upturned edges, much like the bumper Brian and I built. They’re built from 3″x 4″x 1/8″ box steel, while my rear bumper is 2″ x 6″.
(through the magic of Photoshop, I can simulate the look)
But the thing that caught my eye first was the price: $280 including shipping.
I did a quick google search and found the company website where they’re selling the same thing for $15 more without shipping, and so this sounded like an even better bargain. I’ve got a little less than this amount left in the Scout kitty, but I just sold a spare camera lens a few weeks ago, so I think I might pull the trigger on this.
As much as I love the ’72 grille I’ve got, and the overall look of the front my truck, there’s always been something missing. This would be a good start, and would be easily modified for a winch or fog lights.
Every year growing up my aunt sent Christmas presents to be opened under our tree. She was good at sending us thoughtful gifts every year, wrapped neatly and with precise bows. When I was in the 9th grade she sent me a small box that contained a marvel of engineering: a Windsor & Newton portable watercolor set. My aunt was a watercolor artist, and when she heard I was interested in going to art school, she sent me as many supplies as possible. I wasn’t interested in being a watercolor artist but I did use watercolor as part of my process, and the fact that she was a working professional was inspirational to me (and probably helped convince my Dad that paying for art college was not a waste of time). She passed this week after a short illness; she was in her 90s. She raised two boys and multiple grandchildren and remained a working artist up until she died; I have her watercolor of Finley as a baby on our mantle.
This kit is pretty incredible; it’s a small box a little larger than a pack of cigarettes. It folds open into a well of sixteen colors and three mixing trays, holds a reservoir of water and a cup, and contains an incredibly versatile collapsible brush. I used it through the art program at high school, took it with me to college, and used it through years of illustration freelance work. It’s currently tucked into my drawing bag, waiting for post-pandemic figure drawing studio to commence. It was invaluable for years, I think of her whenever I open it, and I treasure it. Thanks, Aunt Lois.
I spent some time on Saturday measuring out the bathroom wall for a mirror and looking over the closet situation based on the designs I’d built, and I think it’s time to order the former and go back to the drawing board for the latter. We’ve got a plan for the mirror which will involve some construction, so I’ve got to find someone who will cut one for us.
The closet is another story. Our current closets are 42″ wide, and we each have one—Jen in the blue room and mine in the back bedroom. They are barely 7′ tall, while the new closet is more than a foot higher (in many old houses around here the closets don’t share the same ceiling height). The doors on the current closets are only 24″ wide, so it feels like you’re reaching in to a cereal box. The new closet is 84″ wide, so we don’t gain any width, but with two large doors, 1′ more depth, and interior lighting, it’ll be a completely different experience.
All of the closet solutions I’ve found want to divide the space into three areas, and after talking to Jen about it, I’d like to split it in half. She wants a rack for long clothes and I want a short rack with shelves underneath. All of the online tools I used don’t offer this, so I’ve got to keep searching for something that will work the way we want.
Monday afternoon we grudgingly put real clothes on, packed the entire family in the car, and drove to the karate dojo for testing. They’ve been doing the best they can with Zoom karate but I know instructing kids remotely is a terrible substitute for in-person training. Finn has been reasonably good about keeping up with it, and when she was done she walked outside with a huge smile and her new blue belt: the next step up!
While we were waiting, Hazel started whining and crying at a plastic owl sitting on the picnic table outside the dojo. I walked out to spin it around so it wasn’t staring at her, and the sensei came out to say hi to us and explain that they’re going to have to go back to in-person training soon. We chatted about the realities of teaching during the pandemic, and I understand his predicament—I’m glad they’re still in business, they are a fantastic dojo.
As the weeks go by my attitude on in-person classes has changed. Finn needs to be around other kids, even if it’s highly compartmentalized. The last couple of months have been really hard for us all, but she’s suffering the most. She needs more formalized structure and to be in a different building interacting with different people, not just for her grades but for her sanity. We’ve started talking to her about it, and where we were dead set against it before, we’re trying to explain why we’ve changed our minds. She’s terrified she might get me sick and doesn’t want to be responsible for killing me (which I appreciate) but I think her mental health is worth the risk.
On the way home, to celebrate the belt, we stopped at a Starbucks to try something Jen had heard about: a pistachio latte (decaf, naturally). I was underwhelmed. Coffee changes flavor at different temperatures, so I understand it may have been the wrong temperature when I got mine, but it just never got better. It was a weak latte with some pistachio waved at the cup; hardly worth $4. Their PSL is unimpeachable but I’d rather save my cash for some ice cream instead.
And, an update: I reheated the second half of my latte and then proceeded to spill it all over my desk this morning. Swell.
The seedlings in our basement are already going nuts, which is fantastic, but they’ve already outgrown the trays I bought to hold them. Specifically, the clear domes that go over the soil are only 2″ tall, which is great for getting them started but now they’re all bent over looking for somewhere to continue growing. I bought a set of 7″ domes for the trays in the hope that they will provide more room, keep the heat and moisture inside, and keep curious cats out.
Also on the delivery list: a queen-sized mattress for our bedroom. We bought a Sleep Number bed ages ago, and while it was nice back in the day it’s pretty much used up now. We all tried the Sealy twin we got for Finley and deemed it acceptable, and the return policy from Wayfair is excellent, so I pulled the trigger this morning. It was relatively easy to get Finn’s bed up the stairs by myself because it came packed into a round plastic burrito, and this one will theoretically be packed the same way, so hopefully it won’t be difficult to move myself. And the price was great!
Our Valentine’s Day was quiet but fun; I made bacon egg & cheese for breakfast (one of the culinary foundations of our relationship) and we spent a peaceful afternoon around the house. For dinner, Jen organized a pair of giant delicious steaks, potatoes au gratin, and Brussels sprouts, followed by a fantastic molten chocolate tart with crème fraîche. While she was putting dinner together, a lovely bouquet of flowers arrived for her, and we enjoyed a candlelit dinner together at the table. I love you blondie!
I can’t do much with the Scout in the shitty weather we’ve been having lately, so I’m trying to find some small things I can accomplish in short amounts of time. One of the things I’m planning for the spring is sanding and prepping my spare sheet metal, and one of the primary pieces Iive had my eye on is the white front fender from the Wheaton Scout. That truck had been used for plowing so there was a fair bit of sheet metal damage to the rear, but the main section of the driver’s fender was clean. I’ve been soaking the bolts holding the splashguard in PBBlaster for several weeks, and pulled it into the basement this afternoon to see if I could get the rest of the rusty sheet metal off.
One of the bolts came off easily, but I had to heat the rest of them with a propane torch and use a vice-grip on the retaining clip to get the rest of them them to budge. Still, anytime a bolt comes off without the sawzall is a good day in my book. I also got the chrome strip off cleanly and scraped out the mud and gunk from the inside, and then hung it back up in the garage.
When the weather warms up, I’m going to hit it with the powerwasher to clean the metal off, then glass bead blast the rusty parts. There’s a set of dents in the front that need to be coaxed back out, and then the whole thing will be ready for a light skim of bondo, sanding and priming. The goal is to get this piece ready for final coat and then put away.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a feeler out with a local guy about a heater core from his parts truck. I messaged him about it, fully expecting to set a date to drive out and yank it myself, but he wrote back and told me he’d let me know when he’d pulled it. I wrote back and asked him what he wanted for it, and then offered to drive out and pull it myself. Then he went dark. I’ve never had someone offer to pull something sight unseen, especially not on a Scout. I don’t want a rusty pile of shit, nor will I pay for one, so I’m curious to see if I ever hear back from him. Either way, I’d love to have a heater box I can disassemble and refurbish while it’s cold outside—I’d like a small project to tackle on the workbench.