The morning started pretty well. Jen convinced me to keep the lift in the driveway and take time to re-spray the large sections where we could see uneven coverage on that side, and because she is smarter than I am, I listened to her. That took less time that I figured it might, so by 11AM I was driving the front wheels of the lift up over the curb and onto the front lawn. Once I convinced it that it wasn’t going to tip over, it was happy, and I drove it over the front walk, through the holly tree, and into the side yard.

Starting with the front of the house, I sprayed out a bunch of the siding next to Finley’s window until I was used to the height, and then extended the boom higher so that I was level with the eaves. Some scraping and cleaning got years of flaking paint off the wood, and two coats of exterior paint later it looks a lot better. I scraped Finn’s window and 1/2 of the dining room window, and sprayed out as much as I could on that side.


The sun was much brighter and hotter today. It got up to 90˚ with full humidity, so by 2PM I was melting. I rigged up our table umbrella to the side of the basket and that made a huge difference in the afternoon, but I’m still sunburned and drinking lots of water to recover. The system I’ve got set up—a $30 latex sprayer from Home Depot, a full-size compressor, and the boom lift—makes short work of this.

Tomorrow is my least favorite part of this whole project: the peak of the west side. It’s where the boom will get the squirreliest, as it’s nearing its full extension, and it’ll be the highest I go in this contraption. As it is I’ve got some serious sea legs when I come down off the boom, as my inner ear expects every one of my movements to send the couch or my bed swaying underneath me.

Hopefully I can finish most of the west side tomorrow, and then we move around to the back, just in time for three days of rain.

Date posted: May 26, 2021 | Filed under general, house | Leave a Comment »

house day 1

Here’s the east wall of the house after one day on the boom lift. The paint is on, all the windows are scraped and painted, the eaves are scraped and painted, and the gutter is rehung and cleaned. Can I say that I love the boom lift and would like to own a boom lift?

Date posted: May 25, 2021 | Filed under house, photo | Leave a Comment »

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had most of the day to fart around when I should have been painting the house. So naturally I turned to the Scout and wiring the foglights. First I pulled the cowl cover off and drilled two holes to screw in the relays, then laid out the wires in their general pathways. The passenger side was relatively easy once the wires passed over the rat’s nest that are the bulkhead connectors. I routed the wire over the heater box, then under the washer tank and down the front of the fender to the lead for the light. The wire for the switch went up in through the two empty holes from the A/C hoses.  There was already a ground bolt connecting to the transmission case directly under that, so I took advantage of the situation.

The driver’s side was more difficult, because space is a little tighter on that side and I wanted to both piggyback on the existing positive battery cables and avoid the hot areas around the brake booster and power steering pump. So that wire and the positive lead go around the back of the firewall, duck behind the battery and down the front of the inner fender to the other light.

As much as I want to trim the wiring down to fit exactly right, I don’t want to tear the looms apart just yet, so I zip-tied the excess into bundles and tucked them out of the way on both sides. None of the wiring in the engine bay is pretty, but that’s a project I’ll gladly hand off to a pro shop to take on in a couple of years when the whole truck gets rewired.

Finally I broke out my Horror Freight dremel and started widening the choke hole to the left of the steering column to fit the switch. But my last $.05 steel grinding bit broke and then so did the chuck on the tool, so that whole thing will go in the trash until I can get back there for another one.

This evening I took the trash out and while the dog did her business in the backyard I tested them out in darkness. First I used the running lights, which are very nice for extra illumination pointed at the ground.

Then I tried the full setting.

Oh my god.

This is blindingly bright. Like, I’m going to need to take this to a flat area, aim it at the side of a building, and adjust the direction so I don’t cause accidents if I ever need to use these on the road. But, success!

Meanwhile, because I am a dork and a brainless tool of our capitalist system, I had to spend money on a six-pack of this coffee to try it out and to have a couple of the cans. Entirely too expensive, and I’m embarrassed to admit it. But I had had a couple of beers, and I thought it looked cool.



→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: May 24, 2021 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Wired

A very nice man dropped off a 45′ self-propelled boom lift this afternoon as the rain continued to fall and I was fucking around with the Scout. It’s a diesel-powered, gargantuan beast that takes up a good chunk of the driveway. There are more controls up in the basket than a cruise ship. From the lift, one can control the height and length of the booms, the angle and tilt of the basket, as well as drive the whole unit like a car. I’m going to have to study it carefully before I start operating anything; we’re going to start on the driveway side so I can get used to it before I try to get it around to the backyard.

I put together a list of stuff to throw in the bucket with me before I extend it all the way to the eaves: a toolbox full of scraping, sanding, and painting supplies, another toolbox full of general purpose tools (hammer, screws, screw gun, boxcutter, brushes, rollers, etc.), a cooler with water, and a bag of stuff like batteries for my phone/AirPods, Clif bars, a hat, etc. The idea is to stay up for as long as possible without having to come down and go back up repeatedly, as well as attempt to scrape and paint the eaves as much as I can while I’m up there. Hopefully the driveway side will go quickly so I can focus my problem-solving skills on getting it up over the driveway curb and around to the back lawn.

Date posted: May 24, 2021 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »


Problem 1: It’s raining.

Problem 2: the boom lift I reserved, while sounding like it was the perfect solution on the phone, turned out to be larger than the Scout and I could tell it would be impossible to jockey around our yard. So I returned it and they’re going to deliver a 4WD self-propelled arm lift later today.

Date posted: May 24, 2021 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: May 22, 2021 | Filed under friends | Leave a Comment »

It’s been a hell of a ride so far, blondie. I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

Date posted: May 22, 2021 | Filed under history | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: May 20, 2021 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »


Jen got to drive her dream car last night! She was nervous but I think she had fun.

(P.S.I’m triggering the photo with my phone, not influencing my Instagram followers).

Date posted: May 19, 2021 | Filed under cars | Leave a Comment »

I mailed off a check and an entry form for IH Nationals last week, and talking with Brian and Bennett, we’ve got a room reserved at the hotel in Ohio. Barring any major outbreak of COVID or zombie apocalypse, we’re definitely going to head west in August for the full event.

I spent a lot of time working on other things over the weekend but I did put a half an hour into planning out the wiring layout for the foglights. Because I am impatient, I hooked both leads up to the battery and flicked the switch—I didn’t realize this when I bought them, but the lights are actually dual-position: a small line of LEDs on the bottom work as running lights, and the other toggle is for the main bank of LEDs. They’re bright! I bought LEDs because the draw on the battery (and thus the alternator) is significantly less than incandescent Halogens and I’m happy with how they look.

As I mentioned earlier, the harness is set up in a way that assumes there’s space right next to the battery to mount the relays—which Scouts do not. The battery is up front, tucked next to the coolant overflow tank, and the rest of the driver’s inner fender is covered with stuff:

Clean 345

My plan is to lengthen the positive battery lead and mount the relays on the firewall. There’s a ground connection already available there, and the leads to the lights will drop down along the frame and up under the bumper. I sourced some 14AWG wire, clipped the connector off the harness, soldered the two together, and covered them in heatshrink tubing. I’m going to head back out and rough in the wiring to make sure everything works, and then I’ve got to figure out how to get the switch inside the cabin.

Also on the menu this year: a new battery tray. Having moved batteries around over the last couple of months, I was shocked to see just how lousy the tray looks (and how much has been chewed out of the inner fender).

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: May 17, 2021 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Plans