Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Post # 50 The Trip West

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Like Dropping your Child off at College

More on this next week but the good news is that the car made it to Kelowna safe and sound... and I made it back safe and sound. There is some bad news but we can get into that next week.

Hugs and Kisses,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I've had quite the horrifying day. It's hard to tell by this blog but I am not a drama queen by any stretch of the imagination.

Headed to Kelowna tomorrow morning - very early. It's going to take a six hour drive to put things in perspective.

It's quarter past eleven and I just walked in. I spent the late afternoon in Red Deer loading the car. Bryan and I pushed it on the trailer with little trouble. Before we did that I changed out the rear brake cylinders and installed the hardtop.

I don't want to say too much right now as I am in too much of a dark place. I'll have more to say tomorrow night from Kelowna.

If it's not too much trouble, and if you haven't done so yet, hug your dad.

"There are never enough I love you's" - Lenny Bruce

... Stay Positive

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Way Beyond My Means

At the end of last week’s blog I posted a list of things that had to happen to keep this project on schedule. To be clear, only one of those three things had to happen to keep the schedule.

In the words of my father: to make a long story longer and more drawn out, none of those things happened… not one. The Lebaron didn’t sell, My new job didn’t start (and doesn’t look like it is going to in the near future) and my former employer lost the bid on the contract work they wanted me to perform.

As much as I feel sorry for myself, my fiancé, my family, her family and our dog, I feel sorry for you the reader. This is quickly turning into a Greek tragedy. If I were you I would have stopped reading this by now... we're weeks away from me eating a gun.

The job thing is disappointing - to say the least. There are mitigating circumstances that I can’t relate in this blog because it’s not my story –but amazingly interesting and tragic. Very simply (and the part I can print), is that the business case that made me a shoo-in has dissipated in the last two weeks. Everyone wants to see this go ahead but time is a factor.

To that end… out of the blue… another career opportunity has been offered to me… and I don’t want to say anymore then that… until someone hands me a pay check.

In car news Don’s Tire and Auto has come through with fixing my flat bad-tire. With that done brother Neal and I spent Saturday afternoon bleeding the brakes on the TR6. It was going very well until we realized that both rear cylinders were bleeding brake fluid. I tried my best to rectify the problem but it seems that both cylinders are a) screwed or b) when I rebuilt them I rebuilt with the wrong size of piston seals. It seems rebuilt bores and factory bores are two different sizes.

After some research I figured out new cylinders are only 20 dollars each (rebuild kits were 9 dollars of false economy). That being the case I’m ordering two new cylinders from Len. The good news is that I was really impressed with how well the front brakes worked – especially since I had both callipers completely apart.

To add pressure to the project (if that is even possible) my mother was hosting a bridal shower for my lovely bride. With that much estrogen in the air Neal and I hid in the shop as much as we could. We drank beer, swore and talked about sports to keep the estrogen at bay. Unfortunately we had to abandon the car eventually because of a lawnmower-related emergency. While being used by our resident Scottish person/my sister's bf, David, the mower deck differential locked up and melted down on the family diesel-powered Grasshopper zero-radius mower. My dad loved that mower – I hate that mower.

For 20 years had a Toro Whirlwind front-deck mower from the sixties that ran on the power of positive thinking and sheer will. The gear box on that mower bit the dust 5 years ago and dad finally scratched his itch for a Grasshopper.

The mower does double duty at the acreage and our ranch out west. Last year the sibs and I had to drop 700 dollars into it and with Saturday’s fix we dropped another 300. I repeat – I hate this mower.

To add insult to injury the replacement part wasn’t the same size as the original and so we had to spend an hour and a half grinding out the opening in the mower deck where the diff fit. I also had to grind down the fins on the diff’s casting. Eventually it clunked into place.

That distraction took up the rest of my afternoon and some required socializing stole my early evening. I got back out to the car around 9pm and tried again, in vain, to repair the rear wheel cylinders. I did something else to but for the life of me I can’t remember what (8 beers over a hot afternoon will do that). I crawled into bed around 1:30 AM.

Sunday I cleaned up the transmission and put the new gasket in between the tranny and the overdrive. If you remember I removed the overdrive when removing the engine and tranny because I couldn’t get the rear tranny mount off. I was quickly admonished by Mike, my engine guy, as the overdrive is very difficult to re-install. I’ve now done it twice – and although tricky – it wasn’t the hardest thing I have done on this car. My suggestion is, if you can stand the transmission on its bell and lower the overdrive unit down onto it – that makes life exponentially easier. If the tranny is in the car – good luck.

The tranny and o/d look like the automotive equivalent of a piranha

I drained the tranny and ran some leftover (new) diff gear oil through it. I didn’t have the right gear oil on hand so it’s on the bench awaiting 2 liters of the good stuff. After that I pushed the car outside so I could take a look at it in the sun. It was a beautiful weekend. I think the car liked being outside.

I didn’t break any records this weekend and I would have liked to get the car out to BC but it wasn’t in the cards.

Oh, I forgot to mention I dropped the rad off at Calgary Radiator Service in Bridgeland. Kevin re-cored it, painted it and apparently it’s ready to go.

This weekend is the 30th iteration of the Father and Son Fishing trip at the family ranch. Last year the bros and I opted not hosting it as we weren't ready for it as dad’s passing was still very fresh. Dad has been hosting it at the ranch for the last 25 years.

This weekend marks the last of the “firsts” – as in the first occasion since dad’s passing (ie: Christmas and such). I am actually looking forward to the Father and Son – although it will mark a weekend where I am not working on the car. Just to be clear - very little fishing goes on - it's more of a drinking/ Liar's Dice/ barbecue thing.

I hope to get my wheel cylinders installed this week and get the car off to Kelowna next week. I do a lot of hoping these days.

Stay tuned…

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All this things I’ve done

It’s Sunday and I’m up late tonight because I was up late last night and the night before. I got back to Calgary from working on the car a few hours ago. I got to Red Deer Friday morning and worked late both Saturday and Sunday. Both nights saw me crawl into bed at 12:30.

I find it interesting that last week the question was asked about my job situation as I neglected to mention it. I guess since I whined for so long I need to follow that story up. The truth is that I’m waiting for it to start. I have training for it tomorrow evening (hence blog tonight) but I still don’t have a start date.

The plot thickens with the interesting twist that, out of the blue, I have been offered a little contract work with my former employer (think: plot to “Space Cowboys”) and that hasn’t started either. I suspect everything will go down at the same time making a mess of everything. No neat conclusions here – the beat goes on.

But, in another world, an easier and gentler world, stands a small British sports car that is every bit as rewarding as a career should be; except for the inverse flow of money of course.

This weekend I finished the welding on the rocker, mounted the driver’s side door, got the driver’s side fenders mounted, resealed the differential, mounted the differential, installed new fuel lines, fuel filter, installed all the brake lines and painted everything with Por-15 (including my forearms again).

I spent over 30 hours working on this car this weekend. And I don’t want to tell you anything about it because it was pretty dry stuff.

I could go into detail how I bent and re-bent fuel lines for most of this morning. I could also tell you that both joints have a coupling in them as no one sells 6 foot fuel lines – they only sell 5 foot fuel lines in 5/16. Why such a small car has such long fuel lines is a mystery to me.

I could tell you about how a million dollar Snap-on torque wrench that my dad had to have Christmas ‘95 failed when tightening down the diff cover and caused me to break a fine thread bolt in half. OK, I should have clued in on that but I, like an idiot, needed to hear the click – and the only click I heard was the bolt breaking in half.

I’ll be honest I don’t love every minute of doing this. Sometimes I rather go outside and play but I set a goal and damn it I’m not going to do my best to make it. There are small victories like riveting in the fuel line retaining brackets and having everything look as it should. Or having the diff finally clunk into place and slide up its mounting poles without falling off the jack onto my head.

I got some great news this week when Mike, of “where’s my engine, Mike?” fame emailed me that it would be reasonable to suspect that if I got the car to him in two weeks he would be ready to install the motor. That’s great news. Still haven’t seen a fricken picture but still – great news.

On the list of things I need to do before that can happen is: getting the rad pressure tested, bleeding the brakes, mounting the transmission (yes I’m going to do that) and getting a tire fixed that decided to go flat this weekend ‘cause I looked at it the wrong way. Sunday-second-stringers, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart, couldn’t handle putting a tube in a tire so I shoved it over the fence at Don’s Tire (have to remember to phone them tomorrow).

I’m getting pretty tired of answering the question, “what’s this off of?”

If a) the LeBaron sells b) the new job starts or c) the contract work goes ahead this week getting the car to Kelowna becomes very doable. If none of those things happen my schedule takes another big hit – which I can’t afford.

Stay tuned….