Thursday, December 31, 2009
I'm watching the teevee weather lady describing the snow that is going to fall tonight and tomorrow and cursing the worker on the assembly line where this Craftsman snowblower was assembled, whenever that was. Yesterday's snowblower failure was a result of another (numerous) failed welds just like the one that already caused me to make repairs just a few weeks ago. There's a bracket that holds a jackshaft in place that completely unwelded itself from the main frame of the machine. I know all that because I've torn the machine down until the frame is naked- all the parts are sitting on my bench. So I need to order a chain and jackshaft and I need some welding done, all before the machine can be available for it's intended use. I really do hate this worn out machine!
Otherwise, and except for the pending unemployment, everything is great.
Ya'll have a great 2010!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There are a couple other similarly related things I discovered today that require my intense involvement tomorrow.
I'm no whisky expert but I know what I like and I like this tasty nectar. There were several other very nice gigts for the BSU and myself in the box- a book to read- Heaven and Hell by Don Felder. It's a story about the life and times of The Eagles and I can't wait until this weekend so I can get comfy with a coffee or some more of this whisky and spend some time reading.
This might be the first time one of my kids ever bought me booze! Sweet.
The drive seems to be farked, just like the very first repairs I did on this blasted machine 3 years ago. I'm pretty certain that the jackshaft with just 11 teeth on the sprocket has ground itself into pulp- just like it did before and is locking up the chain drive.
What a POS! I am really frustrated with spending more time working on this thing than using it to move snow! If I could, I'd go write a check for a brand new machine tomorrow. Sadly, that's probably not going to happen...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Actually, except for Christmas Day, I haven't been doing much sitting. Christmas Eve, as I already mentioned required some very last minute shopping and then a very nice church service at St Peters, our church home. It was our priest's next to last service so it was very special. Christmas Day we did sit around and rest in spite of an 8 AM wakeup call from my Dad telling me that us boys could leave our bedroom and come downstairs!
On Saturday our Very Elderly Visla, Sandy had to make an unscheduled trip to the vet as she had begun coughing badly the day before. She was poked and prodded and x-rayed and the vet came up with a diagnosis of pneumonia! We left with 2 shots of antibiotics in her butt, 3 bottle of antibiotics to take every day and bedtime cough suppressants and my wallet lighter by nearly $300. Argh! Not the best Christmas present for a guy just about out of a job but there it was. So we have been treating Sandy and fixing her boiled chicken and rice to eat so her tummy settles down. Today she seems better, not well but better and her energy level seems improved.
Also on Saturday I headed down to Salt Lake to the boy's apartment to see if I could help him repair a non-working washing machine that has been taking up precious floor space in his tiny kitchen. He's been working on it by himself for quite some time and he had finally exhausted his skillsets and decided to ask Dad for help. I ended up carrying the gearbox home to my shop where I sprayed and scraped 20 years of grunge off the slider bars and added some fresh lithium grease on the moving parts.
Sunday after church- and our priest's final service and the requisite potluck lunch, the BSU and I headed south to Salt Lake again, this time with Christmas presents for grandbaby Ryker and his mama. I also dropped off the cleaned up gearbox and some wire terminals so the son could put his washing machine back together. I still haven't heard if the machine is working but I hope the phone call I missed at 11:30 PM was good news saying that the machine was back in operation.
I missed the late night phone call but not the 4 AM wake up call from my brain, snitching on both my stomach and colon who were planning simultaneous terrorist attacks. I was ill and wishing for a double-headed commode in our bathroom! I slept in and went to work late and struggled though most of a day but finally quit early and went home for a long nap followed later by an early bedtime. By today I was feeling much better.
I am getting close to being unemployed and that isn't a pleasant feeling. I've applied a few places and been rejected by just one that I know of so far. I have some significant writing work to do before applying for any Civil Service jobs that I haven't sat down to do so far. So- I'm a little cranky about the upcoming unemployment circumstances but not discouraged. It is far too soon to get to that point yet but overall, it is having an effect on my generally good humor.
So that's the story. Maybe I helped fix a washing machine. My job is running out. My kids are doing ok- one boy's girlfriend makes tasty cookies, and I fought back a dose of illness. I suppose that's why I haven't written more.
No, I'm not explaining why I know what a handcuff key looks like...
Anyway, I thought it was hilarious and couldn't help wondering about the women that would be opening a package containing one of these on Christmas morning.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
When they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and keep Christ in your heart through this blessed season.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We arrived home last night with no drama and the boarded pets came home this morning. They seem even more spoiled than when they left! Now there's just some last minute preparations to make before Christmas day and some (paid) days off. Those would be different days than the ones I'm looking at beginning on 7 January...
Friday, December 18, 2009
That's what the Dollar Rental folks had lined up for us when we landed in Portland this morning, a 2010 model Camry with Just 165 miles on the odometer. It drives just fine. Manually shifting the 6 speed tranny with the forward/back lever is entertaining for about 5 minutes. After that it is easier to just put the lever in the auto mode and let the car take care of the gear selecting. No sat radio in this on- bummer.
It's got a huge trunk and the seats are firm and comfy. But the body kit looks a little overdone to my eyes.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It's time for the annual sojourn to the BSU's family Christmas dinner and gift exchange. This year we are scheduled to return on Monday so pray it doesn't snow the 16" tht fell last year while we were there.
The snowblower is fixed and functional, the kitten and the dog are checked into the kennel, the food dish for the cat that is staying here is filled up and I think the dryer has finished so I can stuff some clothes into a duffel so I'm ready when the alarm goes off tomorrow.
I've applied for 2 jobs already this week, one with a private firm that makes very large, noisy, sparkly things and another contractor on base where the job description sounded like it had been cribbed from my work history. Wish me luck!
Monday, December 14, 2009
I found out this morning that effective at the end of the current contract option that I am working on, 6 January, I’ll be unemployed. Laid off. Made redundant. Not just me but all three of us that belong to 1 company, my boss and a coworker. There’s almost a zero percent chance that the funding will be found today to keep us on contract after that date. The company has some positions to apply for- in other states! Notgonnahappen!
The organization I’m currently working in expects to begin a major new program in February that should have a budget to allow them to hire a number of people, even more than the 3 of us being laid off but due to the complexities of .gov program implementation, new contracts would have to be negotiated and that program may not get funded as long as the Continuing Resolution for the entire government budget remains in place.
There is also a number of open positions available on base but due to one entire organization packing up and moving to Ohio, all those folks that do not want to relocate get hiring preference until all of them get satisfied with a new job. That could take months before positions get filled with dislocated workers and normal hiring practices resume. I can’t wait that long.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
UPDATE: Go figure, the guy that created this is an unemployed Disney special effects creator. You can read all the details at the link.
Friday, December 11, 2009
After supper and a trip to the big-box mega-store for some victuals, I finally got enough time and energy to put the snowblower back together with the new belt I picked up from my local NAPA store last night. The belt is at least 1 inch too long and would never drive the auger properly so the job remains unfinished until tomorrow when the snow is expected to resume with a vengeance.
Did I mention the belt already? I repaired the broken auger case bracket with bolts the other night because I couldn’t get my welder working properly and everything looked fine for final assembly until I discovered that the v-belt that I just bought last winter was cracked all the way around the inner circumference. So I carried it into the NAPA store where I discovered that a: the guy behind the counter last year had sold me an automotive belt instead of a fractional horsepower belt and b: fractional horsepower belts use a different angle on the driving sides of a v-belt and finally, c: automotive belts aren’t designed for any reverse curve operation such as is caused by the belt tensioner on this machine. So the guy behind the counter this time, exchanged me for a fractional horsepower belt and gave me a refund because he warranteed out the cracked belt. Sweet! Except that it is too long.
I’ll get back there on my way home today and probably get everything buttoned up tomorrow morning. Tonight’s agenda is already full so it won’t happen tonight.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
And I really needed it last night as the city street crews had pile 14” of the heavy stuff at the entrance to my driveway yesterday while I was at work. Unfortunately, I did not get the machine completely repaired and so I had to do the snow removal the hard and back-aching way with a shovel. I did nearly get the powered machine put together last night though. The biggest part of the repair was re-attaching the broken off from the auger portion bracket that holds the auger section to the drive section. The bracket is just a piece of fancy angle iron but the welds had failed and allowed the auger section to bounce around.
I spent more than an hour just cleaning up and trying to get either of the welding helmets I own working. Once I had a functioning faceshield, I couldn’t get my welder to cooperate, it might have been operator error but no matter, I could not get a weld bead to appear where I was futilely making sparks. So I drilled holes and bolted the bracket into its rightful place. I also added a bolt to the other bracket that had 1 broken weld before it failed completely. I installed the new cable that arrived yesterday- thanks Sears Parts Direct! I only ordered that part Sunday evening and it arrived yesterday, that’s good service.
I was just about to tape the drive belt to the pulley so I could rejoin the two halves of the machine when I discovered that the belt- which was brand new last winter, was cracked between the teeth all the way around the inner circumference. I don’t know why the belt was so badly damaged but I decided my repair work was done for the evening and to buy a new belt today before bolting everything back together. Rats! I guess I’ll hit the NAPA store today on the way home and maybe then I convert all the pieces back into a functioning machine.
I did get the driveway cleared out, manually, finally. Neighbor Leonard’s truck won’t be moving until the snow melts because I’m stacking snow in front of it and the pile is already bumper deep! It was 10 PM before I finally made it into the house and got to sit down.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Want to see something really interesting? Check out the 2nd comment in the post below this one. I thought that was pretty neat. Thanks Lori!
UPDATE: My star arrived yesterday. That's awesome service from a company working hard during this busiest time of year. Sadly, it is too small by half. I knew from the web page the dimensions- 16" X 22" but I figured I would give it a try. The star fits 10 feet above the peak of my roof and I'm afraid the star I bought will just not look right so far in the air. So now I have to hunt further and this one is for sale.
Monday, December 07, 2009
This weekend turned into a doozy of fun-filled activity, if you like shopping at Toys R Us, working on automobiles and setting up outdoor Christmas decorations in freezing temperatures. At least that is how my weekend filled up. I actually started on Friday with a Dr.’s office visit for a physical exam. The doc pronounced me healthy, or at least breathing normally for my age and decrepitude. I filled up the afternoon with errands, (oh, for my family- I found the missing pocketknife, which I will now save for youngest brother’s 50th b-day). It was either Thursday evening or Friday when the BSU and I ventured into the big box toy store after spending a hundred bucks at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the same shopping center. We spent more in the toy store than the book store so we went home with my wallet feeling mighty flat.
Saturday I ventured into the base Auto Hobby Shop with my buddy Loc to change the rear air springs on the Lincoln. The car has been sitting down on its bumpstops every time I shut it off lately and new air springs seemed to be the recommended fix. Let me tell you, changing air bags is much easier than replacing coil springs and we had the job accomplished in just a few minutes more than 2 hours. Afterwards we spent a greater amount of time replacing the brake shoes on the back of Loc’s truck before grabbing lunch and heading home about 1:30.
The BSU has fallen victim to a chest cold and was staying in bed so I spent part of the rest of the day tending to her needs.
Sunday I went off to church by myself and in the afternoon dragged the nativity scene characters and stable components out into the front yard and put it all together. The star up on the roof isn’t lighting correctly so last night I found a replacement at Bronners and ordered it for delivery this week. I also ordered the first new part for the neighbor’s snowblower that I tried to use Saturday afternoon to clear the snow out of the drive only to have the auger drive cable separate into 2 pieces. I also discovered the entire snowblower was trying to separate into 2 pieces as one portion of the angle iron that is supposed to be welded onto the auger section had broken off letting it dangle at scary angles. The machine is now in my workshop with parts on order and welding work to accomplish which I might even try by myself.
Did I mention it is supposed to snow every day this week? Damm snowblower!
Anyway, we did not buy groceries that we need and I did not get the haircut that I need because we didn’t go to the giant box store where she can shop and I can get my locks trimmed at the same time. So both of those essential tasks need completed this week. There’s a bundle of Christmas and birthday presents piled up awaiting a wrapping session and then I’ll have to make a stop at the UPS store to get them delivered. I did do some of my holiday shopping online last night before bedtime, further occupying my blogging time. I’m not done and there’s no tree yet but we should get that circumstance remedied this week if the spouse heals up. We haven’t figured out how to keep the kitten out of the tree and away from the ornaments but I guess we will cross that bridge later in the week.
Little Bit the kitten, who will turn into Little Bit the cat before he outgrows his moniker, is fitting in pretty well at WEWHQ. He even lets himself into his kennel when he wants a nap if we leave the door unlatched. He’s great fun and never seems to move except at a gallop and the other 2 pets are grudgingly accepting his antics. He’s a good snuggler when he isn’t playing or racing about so we all are getting along great.
Now there’s things to do while I redistribute your tax dollars.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Congressional candidate Lieutenant Colonel West speaking at the American Freedom tour in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Why can't I vote for this guy in my state? Because he would get my vote!
Thanks to Kevin at The Smallest Minority for introducing me to this gent.
Found at Cowboy Blob's Saloon.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
made from cut up soda and beer cans. They are really terrific, for sale, and the creator will sell you one for your own shelf if you like them well enough. Neat stuff!