My last expedition out into the world before total COVID lockdown was to go pick up two pieces of trim for the bathroom. I ordered two lengths of wood that I could cut down for custom kick plates under the sink and cabinets, because the pieces that originally came with our order were about 1″ too short. I had to shim the cabinets up a fair amount to get them to be level to the walls and the floor. Today I got cracking on getting them cut down, fitted, and installed. Both of the cabinet pieces went in pretty easily, and the sink section took some trimming before it went in completely.
While the paint and caulk was drying there I rolled another coat on the ceiling and touched up the walls. Then I hauled the miter saw and the compressor back down into the basement and scrubbed the tile with a mop.
Without all the junk in the middle of the floor, it looks so much bigger and cleaner. The closet is still a question mark, and the left sink drain is still being a leaky bitch, so there’s some things left to tackle. But I think one more day in there will get the rest of the big stuff sorted out, and then we can figure out what to do for mirrors and lighting over the sinks. And how to get it here…
I’ve been working pretty much nonstop on stuff for work, going on late into the night, so I decided to take a little mental health time during the day when the sun was out to go get my hands dirty on the Scout. I have a long punchlist of stuff that I want to get accomplished, but today I had to choose some stuff I could accomplish in a few hours, which left mainly cosmetic improvements. The first thing I did was to adjust the parking brake, which has been weak ever since we did the rear brakes. This is a pretty simple matter of loosening two bolts attached to a wire running to each rear brake drum, tightening the wire, and then retightening the second bolt. After tightening, I tested it and it felt good.
Next, I wanted to clean up the janky speaker wires I installed ten years ago when I swapped the original stereo for the new one. When I put it in, Finn was a baby and I had the duration of a nap to get any project done, so I hurriedly carved metal out of the dash, quickly ran wires from the holes hacked in the tub up to the transmission tunnel, and ran them out of the transfer case boot up into the dash. They’ve been there ever since. This was a pretty simple fix, but took some time, as I had to disassemble part of the dash, disconnect the stereo, and re-route the wires through an existing hole in the firewall. But once I was done, it cleaned the dashboard up really well.
While I had that apart, I put some new LED bulbs in two of the light sockets in the speedometer, which has been dead for several years. Getting to all five of these bulbs is a royal pain in the ass, because the only really good way to get the speedo out is to disconnect the hardline and unplug the speedo unit, which is dangerous, because the 50-year-old pins on the back of the units are notoriously brittle. So I fought with the lousy angle and the tangle of wires and the tiny bulb sockets and got two of the LED units in place. Then I buttoned up the dash and left a complete rewire and rebulb for a future day.
Then I tested the parking brake, and…it’s still weak. Two out of three isn’t bad.
I read this morning that Adam Schlesinger, the founder and songwriter of the band Fountains of Wayne, died from complications of coronavirus on Wednesday. I was never a giant fan of FoW—Stacy’s Mom was a pretty good tune—but I was a huge fan of another band he co-founded called Ivy, whose album Long Distance has been one of my favorites since I stumbled across it ten years ago. He was, by all accounts, an extremely busy and prolific writer with multiple projects, so Ivy’s output was sporadic; their last album was released in 2011. In any case, this is shitty news.
Back in 2012 or so I started watching a goofy YouTube show called Roadkill, about two guys who would drive somewhere remote to find a junky car, fix it up, do some burnouts, and drive it somewhere else. It was pretty popular, and eventually the two hosts—who then were both editors of Hot Rod magazine—quit their jobs and hosted Roadkill full time. A couple of years ago it was put behind a paywall at MotorTrend, and I missed the show.
Last week, deep in Week 3 of working from home, I was actually on the “buy” screen for a year’s worth of MotorTrend On Demand, but for some reason I never pushed the button.
This afternoon, I got an email from Hagerty announcing they were giving us members a free year of MotorTrend On Demand as part of our membership. I’m looking at several days at my desk making edits to WRI’s Annual Report, so this gift could not have come at a better time. Bravo, Hagerty, you just made my quarantine 100% more bearable.
I spent most of a gray rainy weekend at my desk working on WRI’s Annual Report, flowing new copy in where the old was and researching photography to place the FPO stuff I’d dumped in there last week. It all came together pretty well, and I’m hopeful the team will have only minor edits to things from this point forward. We won’t be getting a physical proof before printing for obvious reasons, so I’m a little worried about how it will print, but I’m determined to stay cautiously optimistic.
Planting update: I’ve got about 5 Chef’s Choice, 10 Cherokee, and 4 cherry tomato sprouts, as well as 10 lettuce sprouts germinating in the basement under the grow light, which is a lovely treat to watch every day. I’ve been turning the light on at 7AM when I let Hazel out for the first time, and shutting it off at 11PM, so they’re getting a full 16 hours of light daily. This evening I pulled the plastic cover off for the first time and we raised them closer to the grow light to keep them from getting too leggy. The question now is how to get them from tiny seedlings to healthy plants and then out into the greenhouse without frying or killing them. For a total investment of about $15, I’d say this is an experiment worth trying until I figure it out.
Governor Hogan says, Don’t Call It a Lockdown, but it’s pretty much a lockdown. Good to know that we can still go shopping for liquor when the stocks run low. Seriously, it’s about time the dumb fucks in our neighborhood leash their kids instead of letting them run around in packs, which I see daily from my front window. There’s no possible disease vector there, no sir. Downside: I can’t pick up the bathroom wood trim that’ll be available on Monday.
Teleworking has made me an expert on switching between seventeen different videoconferencing applications in one day. Zoom, one of the most popular, was outed as being completely scummy several years ago. It’s still pretty scummy. Apparently it likes to send data to Facebook without your consent. Unfortunately, it works better than Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, so lots of our teams use it. I’m just thrilled to death about sharing everything with Facebook, can you tell?
Are you actually working? We’re comparing cats.
I got a very heavy package delivered to the house yesterday: a shiny remanufactured starter motor from AC Delco. The weekend forecast is for warm weather but showers and thunderstorms, so I probably won’t be able to take advantage of the time to put it in.
Top: original crusty starter motor pulled in 2011. Bottom: sexxxxxy new reman unit. Y’know, I think I’m going to bust out the pressure washer and see if I can clean the old one up.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about are the points of failure and wondering what they might be. It’s been so long since we pulled the last unit, I don’t remember what the issue was—if it was making the same noise, stopping intermittently, or something else.
There’s the possibility that there are missing teeth on the flywheel, based on the sounds the engine is making when I turn the key. It could be that the solenoid isn’t working correctly, and getting stuck could be the reason I get a grinding sound. It could be that the contacts aren’t clean enough, which means there isn’t enough juice getting to the starter (the single biggest current draw on the whole truck). One other thought is that we didn’t get the bolts snugged tight enough in 2011 and they’ve come loose.
Once the contacts are clean on both sides, and the new starter is in place, I should be able to walk through the rest of the symptoms and figure out what’s happening. And hopefully, there will be no more grinding.
I’ve been on an XTC kick for the last couple of days. This is one of my favorites, off Oranges & Lemons, from 1989.