Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving Forward and Reversals

At the time of his death my dad had almost all but given up on his last parenting goal. Some would speculate (incorrectly) that it was a tongue-in-cheek statement but those of us who knew him best knew better. For a long period he was convinced that his grand finale in parenting was going to see if could make back all the money he spent on raising kids through a reverse mortgage on the family cabin, his legacy property.

If he got the buy in from my mother and the rest of us he might have been able to pull it off. Let’s face it he really didn’t spend that much on us growing up. Maybe 8 eight bikes, five beds (he finally reluctantly replaced my childhood bed when I was in grade 11 after the dog’s ninth near miss from a middle of the night collapse), fifty pairs of running shoes (at most) and a handful of cars that got misdirected on the way to the crusher. That’s not much (comparably): no college or university tuition, no rent money, no gas money and no first home down payments. Although I must say dad was very effective in helping us (in his way) in getting those on our own.

The reverse mortgage idea came from one of those TV ads that targets seniors with no money but lots of equity in their homes. I guess what happens is you sign over the title and they make you monthly payments on the house until you croak. Bruce wanted to do that except me and my sibs would make monthly payments to him until he passed.

Outwardly it seem like a cold gesture but all conversations about it were always ended just as coldly by us reminding him that he wasn’t actually on title at the ranch – mom was and she wouldn’t let him do that to us.

At the time of dad’s passing the only thing in his name was a 1981 Yamaha 1100cc motorcycle. Dad liked it that way – he never wanted to be on title. I think owning businesses in the ’80s economy left him a little shell-shocked. Krista won’t let me do that – she makes me put my name on everything.

I don’t believe we got away scot-free through. I think there is “The Curse of the Reverse Mortgage” and so far the instrument of that curse has been the Grasshopper Lawn mower. Again something has gone wrong with that mower and again it is on us to fix it. I have voted to sell it but it seems I’m in the minority this time. We will fix it again this time and it will cost a lot to do so. Damn you, Bruce!

That and this weekend my sibs are tearing up the porch at the cabin. It’s time to address that porch (fifty years of deck board in the wrong direction is enough) and some foundation issues. I’m in Kelowna with Krista and junior this weekend because of a scheduling error in my favor but next weekend I’ll be out at the ranch pouring pilings. We didn’t get away with anything.

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Orest. He’s a long term TR6 owner. He’s had his car since ’79 (I resisted telling him that was the year that I was born) and has kept it up over the years. He commutes in it from Canmore on the nicer days.

Orest tracked me down on the blog and after finding out we worked close to each other convinced me to come over to check out his car. We had about an hour session about his car, dad’s cars and cars in general. I like meeting guys like Orest who, as Jack Kerouac would say: “not only understands… but cares.” But at the same time stops way short of being fanatical about these cars (I don’t think him and his wife have matching Triumph sweatshirts).

Throughout the week and over the weekend I was tracking the parliamentary proceedings concerning the postal strike and filibuster like it was a sporting event. Boy, was that a mess and a pain in the ass. I think we’ll look back on this strike as the TSN (read: ESPN) Turning Point on socialized mail service in Canada. If you were like me you spent that time taking the last of your eggs out of that basket.

The rest of my weekend was dedicated to installing two new hot water tanks. I believe that qualifies as the modern equivalent of wrestling a bear. I only had one crap-inducing moment where I bumped a gas valve on a line that formally connected to a hot water tank, thus now venting some gas to atmosphere. A quick move, a quick girly scream, some swearing and I was close to being back to a resting heart rate. They both work great and when I muster up some more ambition for non-TR6-related tasks I’ll haul out the old two tanks. Right now they serve as a warning to the new ones especially since I roughed one up a bit.

I’m hoping that my headlights and side mirror arrive this week but who knows what will start trickling in and when. I weaseled Shawn into blasting the front grill for me and as of last night I have a coat of paint on it. As of tonight should have another coat on there.

Orest gave me a hot lead on a windshield and installer so I’m going to follow that up this week also. Things are moving again.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Striking Developments

Tanks, there are tanks in my garage... eck.

I have been and always will be a “water will find its own level” guy when it comes to the economy and business in general but this week I find myself a fluffy-wuffy “the government must intervene type.” The Canadian postal system is shut down – closed – or at least it is as I write this. This is crap! I mean it – this really, really sucks. I have TRF parts stuck some where at a postal depot and no one’s doing anything about it. Forget these Social Security cheques. I need my TR6 parts.

Right before everything went south between the posties’ union (did I mention they get seven weeks a year in vacation time) and Canada Post I did receive a box of want now apparently is considered contraband. That is, of course, my war paint, POR15.

Yes, can you believe it? A few weeks back I called over to the worlds worst located body shop and I was told it was outlawed for sale in Canada and they just finished a fire sale of what they had left. The fact that I wasn’t informed of the sale I think was what pissed me off most – the places I need an email flyer from never send one and the places I do get one from are the ones I really don’t need.

Hello – internet! I ordered another sixer of POR15 arm paint from the USA (between POR15, Ebay, TRF and Moss I’m doing my part for the American economy). It came right before they locked out the posties. At least I’ll have that to do.

But what I have coming from TRF is all the cool stuff: The head lamps, and side mirror (remember only one goes on the TR6 – two means you need to refill your prescription of Cialis – put the tools down). I want to see the head lamps light up and I really want to install the mirror. But it looks like there’s just painting in my immediate future.

Well not just painting thanks to Mad Dog Mikey McPherson I picked the two new hot water tanks I need to install. The little orange car is really starting to get the hind tit with this postal strike and now the life of a married home owner.

I am getting pretty close to ordering the windshield. Looks like the bid is going to Drakes as a) they have it and b) they send everything by bus.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a TR6 doesn’t get built in a vacuum. Life still happens. Granted this car has taken a disgustingly high priority in my life but hot showers still rank way up there.

This passed weekend was the Father and Son fishing trip at the ranch and there were about 15 of us out there from Friday on. I was out on Thursday with the dogs. My Mad Dog had to cancel so I was drinking alone with the dogs Thursday night. I don’t have the same hang ups about drinking alone as the rest of my nanny generation does – often the conversation is better.
I can feel and hear dad out there when I’m there alone. I spoke to him a bit about the car, Hayden and some things that are really pissing me off that only he could truly commiserate with me about. It was nice night – woke up Friday with a headache.

Other than the weather it was a great weekend it was good to see everyone. A couple of groups walked out to the tree to see dad over the weekend. I did early Friday before everyone arrived.

At the end of and another blog and again I find myself hoping. This week I hope this damn strike ends.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father’s days and Plumbing

The Year of the Cat is off to a marginal start. Much in the tradition of this project over the last two years something is again getting in the way. We lost a hot water heater in the new house last week. Krista insists that it’s not something I can just ignore.

On top of that the boiler at my mom’s acreage went south on her so me, and two close friends, (one being Bryan of the KC trip – Bry is clutch) had to spend 12 hours on Saturday installing a new boiler at her place. ARRGGG!!

Having that done I finally got a little work done one the car on Sunday. I mounted the two stainless moldings that go below the doors on each side. That’s a game-changer. Those really give the car a sleek lower line. I also did a little touch-up painting between where the passenger headlight goes and the grill. Tony and I had a bit of miscommunication on if that was supposed to black or orange. He chose black – it should have been orange (Topaz). No biggie and it turned out great.

We’re experiencing a postal strike here in Canada. It’s a rotating deal. They get seven weeks a year off for vacation (I should strike) so I’m not sure what they’re complaining about. Calgary had it last week and I would like to say that’s the reason my headlamps aren’t here yet from TRF – but it isn’t. They are still backordered and because I’m a fool who likes to get pushed around I sent in another order today for the side mirror (only one as God intended), decal for the grill badge and hardware for the front spoiler. I was going to order the lock tumblers also so to finish off the exterior of the car but it wasn’t in my budget (damn you hot water heater!). I hope they read my note and combine shipping or Angy is going to go “postal”.

This upcoming weekend is the Annual Father and Son Fishing Trip at the ranch. It’s been going on for something like 29 years. I mentioned it last year. This is the second year I will attend since dad’s passing. The sibs and I ducked the one in ’09 as it was too soon. Last year was great but I had a lot on my mind with pending employment and the prospect of taking the TR6 to Kelowna the following week. This year I’m in a much better place. I’m headed out on Thursday night with Ruffin, Yogi and the mower and will be way more relaxed then last year. Maddog Mikey McPherson (the other friend on the boiler replacement – to say Mike is clutch is redundant) is joining me that night for porch drinks and I think everyone else is showing up Friday during the day – Perfect.

Eventually Hayden will attend this event - but this year he’s a little too young. I am really, really looking forward to taking him with me to the father and son in three years or so.

Krista notices I get a little owl-ly this time of year and I think it’s related to the father and son fishing trip as I really start thinking about dad a lot. It was one of his favorite events with us boys – and ours with him. Traditionally it would be about today (Tuesday) we’d get an email from him about when he planned to be heading out to the ranch (always Thursday) with his “number one son” Yogi (meaning the dog ranked number one and the three of us ranked somewhere from 2 to 4). He’d inform us that he’s handling the steaks and burgs but we were responsible for our own booze. If I could, I’d join him on Thursday. I think I have an unblemished record for being at the ranch on the Thursday before the father and son for something like seven years – keeping in mind the one I skipped the year after dad passed.

In short there will be no work on the car this weekend. That gives TRF some time to get me the parts I need – c’mon boys lets go!

Everyone have a great Father’s Day weekend and if you can – hug your dad for me.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rubber and Chrome

There’s nothing like black to make Orange really pop. This past week the TR6 had the rear bumper installed along with a new trunk seal, top hood seal and windshield frame seal all installed. All the seals came from TRF and arrived yesterday. Beyond that I installed the windshield washer heads/ wiper moldings.

The car is really starting to look like something. New rubber certainly makes the car. Installing brand new rubber parts is one of those things I didn’t really understand when I was younger. It took being 32 to appreciate that the little things are what make a nice restoration.

I have been pretty myopic lately in using TRF almost exclusively and it’s not like I’ve had a bad experience with Moss – they’ve been great.

Growing up – I can’t help talking about growing up I think it’s having Hayden around – beside my dad’s bed, on his nightstand, he had The Roadster Factory catalogs, various Hayne’s Auto Repair manuals and a Motor’s Auto Repair Manual for Cars from 1961 (It’s stamped inside “Saint Thomas Aquinas School Library”). He was obsessed with the Roadster Factory in a way that someone who only had the catalogs could be - which explains his email to them in 2008.

That being the case there had to be some Roadster Factory parts on dad’s car. I have to say that I’m really impressed with what has arrived so far. Their wiring bullet connectors could use a little refinement but everything looks and works great.

God knows why – but in one of my early part orders I ordered the seal for the front of the engine bay. I’ve had it since spring of last year – really who knows why. I ordered the engine bay seal for the back of the engine bay from TRF this last time around and its way better than the other I’m seriously considering not installing the one I have for the front. I may list it on EBay and get the front one from TRF. I don’t say this to start anything but all the seals from TRF (so far) have a metal inter-liner so they pinch the metal flange coming off the car – this really works well.

I have an order into TRF right now for the headlight kit: buckets, bulbs and chrome. I ordered it early last week and didn’t hear anything back so followed up today and some of it was backordered to late this week (see they’re not perfect).

This weekend I hope to install the lower body trim on both sides and finish bolting down the windshield frame, install the passenger-side defrost vent, glove box and some other small dash stuff.

For those going to Best of Brit’s in Radium – have a great time – you may see me there next year.

Stay tuned…