24 July, 2013

The Walls Come Crumblin' Down

A new feature in the neighborhood, a hole in the wall magically appeared yesterday at Dr. Mike's place.

When the walls come tumblin' down
When the walls come crumblin' crumblin'
When the walls come tumblin' tumblin'
Tumblin' tumblin' down
- John Mellencamp, 1983, Album - Uh-Huh

I snapped this shot through my fence. Definitely an improvement.
Dr. Mike's New Gateway
Somewhat coincidentally, this was as a result of a sort of 'change of command,' you might say. The previous construction crew at Dr. Mike's has been given the old heave-ho, and a new crew brought in. To say they've made progress is an understatement. On the job for four days and it appears from this sidewalk superintendent's perspective, that there's been more forward motion in that short time than in several months under the old regime.

What drainage existed before the wall, has, since its construction, caused the road to become a virtual lake after even a modest rainfall, leading directly to increases in potholes, mud, and the fact that it takes literally days to dry out after a rain. And that, disturbs our dogs. They can't go for their accustomed walks for those same days until the road firms up enough to walk without getting covered in muck.

And not only the roadway, but the gateway to Elsie's property next to ours, which, incidentally, is used by everyone attending our Friday pool party, 'happy hour' as it's called.
Elsie's Gateway
After a rain, the driveway entrance fills with muck, making for a very slippery and uncontrolled feel as you drive in.

On the plus side Dr. Mike's new crew has brought in several truck-loads of marl and this seems to have somewhat alleviated the flooding potential - of course, it hasn't rained cats and dogs since the marl was brought in, so that may be an illusion.

So, let's see, what else? OMG! First there was current, then Belize Water Service ran a 6" water main up our road, at least as far as Mr. Quinto's place, now, Centaur Cable is stringing cable and fiber along our road! This indicates to me the possibility of fairly high-speed internet, streaming some stuff, and maybe no more HughesNet (who we're with now) Fair Access Policy which has been strictly enforced for some time.now, and that sucks big time. No idea of costs yet. I'm sure someone will come by and let us know.

On the repair front... Our rollup door for the pool house, started slipping again. I opened up the control box to see if I could adjust it. Yes and no. Yes, it was within my capabilities to adjust it, and no, because one of the little adjustment thingies that keep it all in proper adjustment was cracked. Not only cracked, but as I found out when I really opened the machinery up, was actually broken. I took the part that had broken free and went up to Capitol Metal on the Northern Highway (more properly the George Price Memorial Highway).

As soon as Roger Chang saw what I had, he successfully rummaged around in his parts bin and came up with what I needed to repair the unit. He showed me how to really open up the whole thing and installing the replacement thingie looked like a piece of cake.

It was too, until I actually tried reinstalling the thingie. I had to open up even more of the machine to be able to remove the shaft that allowed the thingie to spin on it, which gave the door it's up and down allowances.

There was a flange that covered a brass bushing on the shaft, that needed to be removed before I could remove the shaft. Of course, the two screws (tiny ones at that) that held the flange were stripped, necessitating my drilling them both out and finding some replacement screws that were close enough in size that they would work.

I got it all done and put back together. It looked good. I broke out the trusty remote and pressed the 'Close' button. Almost immediately, more like instantaneously, there was a loud 'pop', and a smallish puff of smoke from a relay. Oops. Not the reaction I was hoping for. I know when I'm beat.

I got down off the ladder and called Roger Chang (owner of Capital Metal and who had sold me the roll-up door) and asked if he could possibly come by, take a look at it and hopefully, repair the stupid thing.

The thing that made this inconvenient was that this happened on a Friday, and I was hoping that Roger could come over soon to fix it. He said he'd try and squeeze it in. It would be my luck if he came over to fix this right in the middle of the pool party. Not necessarily the best timing.

A couple hours later, the party is in full swing and here comes Roger. To their credit the party-goers didn't bat an eyelash. No one except me, hung around to watch the action as Roger and his helper dismantled the machine and took a part into the kitchen to re-solder it.

After reassembling it, Roger pressed the button and got the same result (pop and smoke). Ok. Take it further apart, find the wire that got goobered when I drilled the screws out. Fix them and reassemble the thing.

Roger pressed the button and violà! it worked. Yea! A couple minutes to adjust it and they were done. I now feel confident that I can rebuild the thing successfully - as long as I don't try drilling more wires in the process.

And then this morning, just entirely serendipitously, I found a group in New York called The Fixers (http://fixerscollective.org). The Fixers are a loose group of community-minded folks who get together periodically and fix stuff that has broken, or if it can't be repaired, maybe it can be repurposed and used for something else. That sort of attitude is needed down here. If something breaks you better fix it or find someone who can, because it'll be months till you can find a replacement.


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