Oh for the love of all that is holy I want this 1960 Buick station wagon. This design was directly after the apex of tailfins and right before the shift to boxy, crisper lines of the mid-60’s. The wraparound windshield is still present, the way the eyebrows over the front headlights curve around the fenders and swoop all the way back to the taillights are beautiful. Those curved rear windows! Those round taillights! So much good stuff here.
The first thing I’d do is remove all of the stupid faux lettering and pull the surfboards off the roof; then I’d source some new door cards, yank the swamp cooler, polish what’s left of the paint and drive the wheels off that thing.
I ran across an auction for a Scout in Gold Poly the other day, and grabbed the photos while they were online. This is exactly what my tub looked like from the factory complete with a true ’75 grille:
Minus the west coast mirrors and black aftermarket wheels, of course. This rig even has the chrome trim strips, which mine was drilled for (Chewbacca did not have this exotic decoration). This one also has a factory step bumper, which Peer Pressure did not.
As much as I despise the purple, I think I like it better than Gold Poly. And I’m much happier with a ’72-73 grille than the odd ’75 grille design.
I also saw this gold ’75 at Nationals this year, parked several rigs down the line from me:
Gold with a white top and Rallye wheels—I like that look a lot more. And interestingly the grille surround is silver as well, something they did on the ’71-’72’s from the factory.
She’s almost as tall as me now. Thankfully, she still sleeps with Ox and sometimes Kasoogi (the purple guy by her knee). Looking at this makes me wish I could still pick up that little squirt and hug her for the rest of the week.
Jen and I were on deadline Thursday night and so the subject of dinner came up and smacked us in the back of the head at 6PM, as it often does these days. We punted and got some grilled cheese from the eponymous shop down the street and devoured it in the living room, spending some time together as a family. We like this restaurant because it’s tasty and because their sandwiches can be split into two meals. Hazel figured some of it was for her because while we were eating she snuck into the kitchen and pulled the other half of Jen’s sandwich down from the counter for her dinner.
This is not the first time she’s gotten up on the counter. The last time Karean came to visit Hazel ate about six muffins before I could stop her; it’s a miracle she didn’t go into a diabetic coma. She’s getting worse about it, too—but I’d be desperate for good food if I was restricted to the weird non-allergenic shit we are forced to feed her.
Even so, it made me mad, so I dragged her right out of the kitchen and put her on her lead outside while we finished our meal. She knew she was in deep shit because she was nervously licking her lips as I hooked her on the lead, but I needed to leave her outside for a while. I put the Scout in the garage about an hour later and she came up to me nervously as I locked the garage; I told her I wasn’t going to deal with her right then and went back in the front door.
Getting ready for bed about an hour later I went out to bring her back inside, but heard nothing as I stood on the back porch—usually she’ll come bounding up when someone steps outside. With a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, I picked up her lead and pulled it all the way in until I was holding the clip, still attached to the empty D-ring from her tac harness, with her tag jingling at the end. Oh, shit.
I walked up to Jen holding the tag and gave her the good news; we went back down and half-heartedly paced the sidewalk in front of the house, feeling pretty helpless. I was about to hit the local Nextdoor social feed with a picture and a plea for help when the front doorbell rang; a nice man Jen knows through school had a sheepish Hazel on a leash outside. Apparently she wandered over to the house where her evening barking buddy lives and the folks there were able to grab her. Because the D-ring still had her tag attached, there was no way to know who she belonged to. But somehow through the neighborhood grapevine they connected her with us, and she made her way home.
She made her way upstairs and curled up on the bed, presumably happy to be home with her pack. I felt horrible while she was missing, knowing that the last two times I’d seen her I was mad at her. Thankfully she was smart enough not to follow her nose to West Virginia, but I half wonder if she’d be able to find her way home when left to her own devices. Either way, it’s good to have her snoring on the bed next to me.
I love a bargain. I’ve haunted the yard sales in our neighborhood for years, looking for good deals, and I’ve been lucky more times than I can count. As Finn has gotten more interested in sewing and creating her own clothes, we’ve been looking for materials to work with. Jen started taking her to thrift stores a while back, and tagging along with them has awakened the dormant thrift store shopper in my blood.
I found a couple of things yesterday that I’m excited about, and one of them isn’t even for me. Our daughter is now a Teen, which means she sleeps 21 hours a day and complains about not seeing her friends for the other 17. Jen has been waking at 6:30 to get her out of bed and off to school by 7:45; the bus picks her up within visual distance of our front door but she’s already missed it once. We are eager to get her functioning as more of an adult, so a better alarm clock was in order. Among the shelves of disused electronics I found the exact same model GE alarm clock I took to college; in a weird bit of circular irony I donated that clock to charity back when I got my first iPhone, glad to be rid of its grating alarm noise. After scrubbing this one with bathroom cleaner and a toothbrush I plugged it in on her dresser and set the time. She’ll need to climb down from bed to shut it off, and hopefully that will wake her up enough to get the day started. Because if it’s in there going off for ten minutes every morning I’m going to bury her body somewhere deep in the backyard.
The other gem I found is a Toshiba 19″ LCD/DVD combo in working order with an attached stand and power cord. I did my best to test it out at the store at the single available power outlet, and all seemed to work OK—for $12 I figured I could deal with some broken features, as long as the coax input still worked. See, I like to enjoy listening to football when I’m working around the house in the fall, and the only room I can do that in currently is the den. For another $20 I can pick up a digital antenna from Amazon and move the TV where I’d like to watch some games before the season is over. For the rest of the year, I can plug a laptop into the HDMI port on the back and watch movies (I checked, it works) or use the built-in DVD player (I checked, that also works).
I tested this plan out on Sunday while I installed a lockset on the new door going into the new bathroom; the TV sat on the dresser next to me, and I got to watch the Packers finally beat the Bengals in overtime while I put a final coat of paint on the back of the door. It’s nice to have something in there that closes and latches and locks, and it’s nice to hear the game while I’m working.
Then I moved it downstairs and addressed a leak in our washing machine, which has been covering the floor in water for the past couple of weeks. I’d looked over all the attachments and found nothing wrong, so I bought a water tray and set it up underneath the washer partially as insurance and partially to see if the leak was under the washer or somewhere else. My hunch paid off when Jen reported a new leak this afternoon, so I pulled the drain hose off and checked it out: a leak at the low point squirted water out into the sink. $15 and a trip to the store fixed that right up; the TV sat on the workbench and kept me up to date on Giants/Cowboys. Not bad for less than $20.
Wing windows on Scouts tend to break in three different places: the metal bar spanning the bottom of the mount (under the rubber) rusts and splits in half, usually around the spring. The inside latch breaks off at the base after years of opening and closing. Or, the hinge on the outside breaks off at one of the welds. The passenger side hinge broke on Peer Pressure’s window a few years ago. I’ve been meaning to replace it for a while now—I’d actually bought a replacement at Nationals in 2019. Saturday I figured I’d break the door down and get the new one in place.
I’ve actually got several spares. The one from Nats was crudely re-welded at some point, and the rubber is cracked in several places. I have a spare wing set from another parts haul but the metal bar is shot. The windows on the red doors look good, but the latch is busted on the passenger side. The wing unit on the Flintstone Scout doors look great: the rubber is in excellent shape, the chrome is perfect, and the latches work. Figuring this was the best option, I broke the passenger door down and got inside, and it was at this point I found that the metal track was rusted and probably stuck to the bottom track.
Sidebar: in order to remove windows from a Scout, you first have to unbolt and pull the wing windows out. Their frames integrate the top section of track that the main window follows upward as it closes; this track slides into a lower half that’s bolted into the door. Then you roll the window down, detach it from the scissor mechanism, and pull it out. Be careful with the scissor mechanism.
Because I was in a bit of a rush, I figured I’d use the Nats window and get it installed, and let the Flintstone door soak in PB blaster until I can get to it.
Getting the broken unit out was the hardest part. On paper, it’s easy. There are three bolts: one behind the silver button on the inside of the door, and two on the front side of the door above the top hinge. Lay some painter’s tape over the paint and use a 5-in-1 tool and a hammer to pop the button off. Two of the bolts are easy to remove but the top bolt above the hinge is tricky because there isn’t much room to get a socket inside the door and keep it attached to a ratchet; you have to pray it loosens by hand or pull the whole door off. Usually the bolts fall inside the door. I have a $2 Harbor Freight magnet for this situation.
Then it took a lot of coaxing, some PB blaster, lithium grease, and a good suggestion from Finn to get the window frame broken free and moving upwards—rain collects in the space between the tracks and welds them together with rust; this is the issue with the Flintstone doors. With proper leverage and a wood block, we worked it all the way out. I put that aside, greased the tracks, and used a rubber mallet to tap the replacement into place. Then I finger-tightened the bolts and tightened them with sockets.
So now there’s a latching wing window on the truck, but it looks shitty from the outside. At some point I’m going to start replacing broken parts with clean new ones; I just don’t know when that’s going to happen.
So, all things look pretty good on the cancer front. There are no new passengers in my abdomen via the CT scan. My bloodwork isn’t yet in the Normal range, but I also just got my flu shot on Tuesday and I’ve felt like I want to take a nap every minute of the day since then. All of the levels seem to be holding steady with no major drops, so I’ll take that as a win.
When they announced the COVID booster policy, such as it is, I made an appointment to get a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at my local pharmacy. Feeling pious about the whole thing, I went in and filled out the forms and waited in line, and then they looked at them and told me that I was a month early and that I’d have to come back in late October for the actual shot.
Tuesday night we took Finn to karate, where she is acting as a class helper by request of her sensei. It means she needs to be at the dojo an hour early, but I think the added responsibility is good for her, and we’re hoping she starts taking things more seriously. In the meantime, with two hours to kill, Jen and I hit the local thrift superstore, where I was able to find a nice Patagonia vest and a couple more of the Harry Potter movies on disc. We only need the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 to fill out our collection; a few years ago a friend’s daughter deep in a Potter phase borrowed our complete box set and we never saw it again.
Meanwhile, the dog was at home by herself. Jen was experimenting with leaving her by herself for short periods of time while I was gone, and for spans of an hour or two she seemed to do fine. We left her for a full three hours on Tuesday, half expecting to find a hole dug through the wall or a giant mountain of dogshit on the couch, but everything was normal when we walked back in the door. Progress? Possibly, but I’m not going to hold my breath until we get a couple of months under our belt.