Archive for April, 2009

Bath Time, Villain

After a long winter and a very wet spring, Villain was looking a little rough. His partly shedded coat held enough dust (and other things I probably don’t want to know about) to add another 20 pounds or so to his usually svelte figure.

It was time for a bath. And as usual, I ended up on the short end of the deal .

Here’s Villain after being brushed but before his bath.

And here we are post- bath. I was smart this time. I wore shoes designed for playing in the water.

And finally, just Villain. All nice and (mostly) clean. I feel better all ready.

chris on April 19th 2009 in Animals

That’s not my Door

It’s Spring. And that means most likely I can be found standing by the Toy, clutching a random tool, sobbing staring numbly.

After running errands all over creation. And finding out that the horse had thrown a shoe (a very new shoe, thanks).  And going to a spa in horse / car / caching clothes to pick up some make up [can we say unwelcomed? You’re welcome Mom] . I pulled the Toy out of the garage.

Good Friday’s Mission: figure out what is wrong with the window mechanism in the driver side door.

The part I was assuming would cause me irrational levels of anger be troubling was where I tried to unscrew the rusted screws and hammer out the pins holding both the window handle & the door release handle.  BUT I have learned a few lessons along the way so I got out the ol’ PB Blaster and blasted those rusty, nasty, disgusting screws. Take that! I’m prepared! Know what? It worked!

So screws removed and pins hammered (easily) out of the various handles I began to gentle remove the door panel. Suprisingly enough it came off easily. And the reason my window made such horrible rattling noises? It wasn’t on / in / whatever the track of the lifting mechanism. Yes. For 18 years I’ve driven that car around with the window rattling to wake the dead because it was off the track. Ok, so the dampening material around the opening is threadbare too, and some of the padding inside is pretty much all but gone,  but the big problem was the track <more on this fiasco later>.

HOWEVER, that wasn’t the big discovery. The big discovery was that the inside of the driver’s door panel was baby blue. I had a horrid moment when I thought, “Oh dear lord! My car was blue and the previous owner got wild and crazy and changed the color.”  And then I realized that I was sitting in a car that was nearly stripped down to the metal and all the other metal (floor pans, cabin, even the engine compartment) was black. And that meant one thing  – THAT WAS NOT MY DOOR! No wonder my poor car has always had such an attitude. She’s been running around with a salvaged door. Judging by the giant dent in the inside of the door, it must have seen some tough times. So not only is the door a salvage door, it’s a beaten up salvaged door that was never properly painted.

SATURDAY <because these things never take 1 day>

And back to the door panel itself. The MDF that it consisted of was nasty disgusting barf-inducing. While my sense of cleanliness and order isn’t exactly what I’d call highly developed, I was not keen on putting something  that was A) warped B) busted C) covered in black fuzzy stuff back onto my vehicle.  That left me no choice, I had to make a new door panel.

A brief trip to lowe’s to secure some clean MDF board, a mid-way trip to Walmart to secure staples (how can I own 2 staple guns and be completely out of staples?) a few minor distractions caused by general mayhem and confusion and I had a new door panel. The only problem was (at this time) that I didn’t have any extra marine vinyl laying around. Yes, I know you are shocked. Possibly as shocked as I was. So I did what seemed <at the time> sensible and decided to re-use the old stuff.  You know what? After loads of years and exposure to the elements, vinyl gets brittle fragile annoying on my nerves.

So, to recap.

  • New MDF panel taken from old MDF panel for template
  • New batting
  • Old vinyl
  • New springs Jury-rigged for handles because there were none in the driver’s side door.

And now for the big moment. You know, the one where I put it all back together and it fits? Yeah….

After installing the 500 door clips onto the new door panel and making sure all was still secured I attempted to put the panel on the door. And it did not fit. Nope. Maybe 1 out of 5 of the clips corresponded with an opening. **&&#@%$^?!$!! How did that happen? I took the template from the old door panel. As I sat there, on the floor of the garage, trying to not rip the door itself from the car retain my dignity I had to admit defeat. I wasn’t sure where I’d gone wrong, although I suspect the warped nature of the old MDF may have had something to do with it, but I’d gone WRONG again.

So I did what I usually did. I had a moment. And then I got that *(*%!$&^%#)!!_I*&*^% panel back on as best I could until I could make it work properly. Tomorrow is a new day.

REFOCUS

Having worn out my interest in the door issues, I went back to something way more important. That’s right, building the box for my new speakers. Because in the grand scheme of things, nicely paneled doors are fine, but what I really need to make the days ahead more pleasant is music. And I had lots of excess lumber sitting down in the workshop area of the basement.

First off, make a template of the shelf leaving room for the differential hump. And nothing in this car is square or plumb so while my template may look wonky, it fits the car.  From there it was time to make the top piece to which the speakers will actually be mounted.  And before anyone asks; No I did not come up with this brilliant plan myself. I found it online. And if I can make it look half as good as the ones in the photos online, it was be awesome! So after cutting out circles with a jigsaw in a cobbled together work area I was ready to put in the bars that protect the speakers from any parcels I may choose to throw behind the seats.  A little elbow grease later (good thing I had a new blade in my hacksaw) and I was nearly ready to mount the speakers. Sweet!

MONDAY: Because I don’t know how to relax

Having kept my mechanical support team in the loop about the window developments I was somewhat hesitant to just leave the window sitting in the rail without actually being secured. Mostly because when it shook loose again I wouldn’t have anyone to complain too.  So I sucked it up and resolved to go ahead and fix it the right way. Unfortunately the remedy required that I pull the regulator out of the door. Which, thanks to a healthy dose of PB Blaster, wasn’t too difficult to unscrew. The difficult part came when I tried to extricate it from the door without getting decades of goo all over me.

And that’s where I stopped. Because scrubbing that thing off with a toothbrush and Simple Green at 10:00 p.m. didn’t sound like much fun.

More to follow. There’s always more to follow.

chris on April 14th 2009 in Vehicles

A Little Water Never Hurt Anyone

I’d put out a call for intrepid souls to take on wvcoalcat’s Maxwell Run & Close Mountain pretty much as soon as they were published. They sounded perfect and I was having a severely wicked case of Spring Fever. I tried to be smart about this, as Maxwell Run had 6 required stream crossings and a pixie deer trail. I watched the weather, I made sure everyone knew to bring extra socks and shoes <ok, so I hit nag level about the socks & shoes> and then it POURED rain on Friday. Not a heavy storm. An all day wicked rain that left a small stream for me to cross in my basement. I could only imagine what it had done to Maxwell Run itself.

I checked MAGPI and everyone was still on. And then around 8 p.m. or so, I get a call from a concerned cacher. I see my reputation has preceded me. After assuring wvangler that I would be careful and would be with several other cachers that would ensure I was using my brain (or at least make sure my carcas was waypointed) I hoped that the stream would be manageable and I would not get in trouble for insisting we still go.

Stuffed happily in the backseat of the AquaJeep and full of dramamine  I curled up on my 4 bags as a very nice pillow (yes, I had four bags. sue me) enjoyed the lovely drive to our traditional ‘coalcat assault rendezvous point. As fate would have it we were one man down before even getting on the road. Rock_Rat was feeling under the weather which left us with one Jeep and 4 people. Oh yeah. After a little rearranging (goodbye pillows!) and some serious contortions, Gentleman-Carpenter piled in and we were off.

After all this fuss and carrying on we were shocked to find that our GPSes implied we were only 30 feet from the cache upon arrival. How odd. Was wvcoalcat being tricky? We were puzzled. Until we looked across the street and saw it…Could it be? A ‘coalcat GG?

Unfortunately this hide seemed to have been muggled as Aquacache came up empty despite a thorough inspection of the guardrail. The next nearest reference point appeared to be GC1F07E, so we hit “Go To” and so off we went.

We weren’t far into our hike when we realized that we had a bit of a delima. Maxwell Run was running high and unless someone in our party could either fly or hurl the rest of us across, the theme for today was no doubt going to be soggy feet and squishy boot and a whole bunch of unhappy waterlogged toes. After pondering the possibilities, sidekick noticed a log hanging out nearby. That, he said, would be the perfect way to stem the tide and get us to the other side….oh sure it would.  It couldn’t possibly be THAT heavy, he said as he tried to move it. Oh yeah, this was going to end well.

LWB: it’s light, really. See?

Aquacache:  Uh-huh.

And then things went wrong. So, our best hope for dry feet now laying nowhere useful, sidekick decided to go for it. He rolled up his pants and waded across, leaving me with the very precious digital camera and no room in my backpack. Have I mentioned how clumsy I am? Ok then.

Despite our very nice cajoling and bribing, sidekick insisted that we all join him on the other side of the stream. Because, NO. He was not getting the cache for us while we waited. It’s so hard to find a good sidekick these days.

With not much recourse left, the rest of us rolled up our pants <avert your eyes! Pasty White Winter Legs everywhere!> and waded across.  Note to self, running is not helpful! Despite rolling my pants up above my knees I was still soaking wet up to the middle of my thighs. Oh yes, I’m that smart.

After a brief stop where we wrang out our socks and emptied our shoes <except Gentleman-Carpenter who conducted an experiment by only wringing out one sock and emptying one shoe. This would later come to be an important moment in our hike.> we headed out for the cache and stream crossing #2.

It soon became apparent that despite the perils of having to cross a fast-running Maxwell Run 24 times, the preceding day’s rain had given us some excellent scenery. We paused to take photos every 30 yards or so, often scrambling around the muddy banks and trying desperately not to fall <or get shoved> in.

Somewhere around stream crossing #35 (they all started to blend into one big sloshy mess),  and well after we’d figured out that stopping to empty shoes and wring socks was an act of futility (thanks to G-C’s early experiment) Aquacache suddenly decided that he had HAD ENOUGH. And he began to look about for an alternative crossing. So there the rest of us were, on the correct side of the stream at that particular moment, when his eyes locked on this particular log.  So I did what any concerned cacher would do, I snapped a photo and then pushed record on my camera. Hey, you never know.

There’s no accounting for common sense in this group, that’s for certain. (please note for those who were probably assuming I’d be the one to try this stunt, you were wrong.  I shall mock you later. ) It was touch and go there, our group expressing great concern for his safety. No because we are nice, but  because, quite frankly, Aquacache had the key to the AquaJeep. If he went downstream we were in trouble.

Eventually we finally made it to the cache location. While Aquacache & I pondered if we’d made one too many stream crossings and sidekick wandered around taking photos, Gentleman-Carpenter gave the victory whoop. Thank God. Then it was time for one of the most important rituals of the day – heavy snacks & group photo.

That accomplished we had little to do but head back to the parking coords. This was accomplished in a much swifter fashion being that A) we were already soaked B) we were full up on photos and C) we were hungry still. After speed walking / stumbling / tripping / wading back to the parking coords we were a sorry sight indeed. And I have evidence…

We did manage to recover enough to go after Close Mountain & then Cathedral Cache before heading to our traditional post-‘coalcat reward of delicous Cool Springs food.

It was an awesome day.

chris on April 8th 2009 in Geocaching

Handouts, Checklists & Schedules

There are few things Team Kuclick enjoys more than a good handout.

And this, my friends, is a good handout (courtesy of team member Dee).

Yes, this tiny scrap of paper held the key to successfully navigating London and surrounding areas over our great adventure during New Year’s Eve 2004.

Handouts Rule!*

*exceptions to this rule apply, but they are too detailed and complex to share.

chris on April 3rd 2009 in Travel