10 October, 2012

And Not A Moment Too Soon

It's time for another 'grab-bag Sunday.' And... Whatever I was going to write has just gone up in smoke.

I'm not sure how this is going to go... I just lost everything I had written - several paragraphs and all the photos. Gone in an instant. Technology allows you to destroy stuff quicker than the blink of an eye. In fact, damn near instantaneously. It's so quick, you just sit there staring at your blank screen for a few seconds, thinking "Now, that didn't really just happen, did it?" Then, your brain springs into action, trying to come up with some really pertinent medieval profanity, with the intent being to, one, equalize the pressure between your ears and, two, that somehow, uttering a string of favorite cuss words will instantly restore the now missing words to the screen. Of course, it never does.

The scene shifts slightly, going forward in time several hours, about 24 of them in fact. I wasn't relishing trying to resurrect what I had already written, and the satellite Intertubes decided that I couldn't load even one web page without waiting for hours to pass. So, I gave up till this morning. It always seems to magically ease up download and upload capability during the 'free time', from 2 to 7 AM, Eastern Standard Time. Thanks HughesNet. You're really great.

Nothing I like better than trying to recreate something that was almost done, and yes, I had hit the 'Save' button... several times. Arrrgh! I had gone into the inner workings of the blog to adjust the HTML and [blip] everything disappeared and there was no way to resurrect it.

Oh, well. Take a deep breath, have a cup of coffee and start over. Reload the photos and try to remember the witty narrative I had carefully constructed. Not a problem. So, after having trashed everything I had written yesterday morning, let's see how far I get on re-writing it.

A while back, like in June I think, the Citizens Coalition for a Better Corozal had donated several items to the Corozal Police Department. Handcuffs, batons and five brand new bicycles. All with the idea that this would help combat the growing crime rates in our town. I kept a watchful eye every day for the new bikes. I had heard of folks who actually saw them on patrol, but I never had. And I was in town usually at least once a day, either for walkies or a run to the grocery or hardware stores.

This one morning in September was to be different. As we were walking along the waterfront by Miami Beach, I saw two of the fabled bikes propped up against one of the beach palapas. I just had to take a photo. As we approached, the two officers, who were lounging under the palapa, immediately jumped up to pose with their bikes, as you can see below. "We're doing early morning beach patrol," one said to me.
New Bikes On Patrol
We talked for a couple of minutes about the weather, the new bikes and how slow an early morning beach patrol was, and then it was time for us to continue with walkies. I had finally seen a couple of the new police cruisers in action... sort of.

This next photo might look a little strange. It's up on our back porch. Dianna has a rack for starting seeds. In its former life, the rack was one of those racks that fit over the toilet tank in the bathroom. We had never really cared that much for it, but hated to just pitch it, so here it is serving as her seed nursery.

What you see here is some of the bits I'm using to put together a watering wand setup for Dianna, so she can take care of the little plants easily.
My Stuff Ready To Build Watering Station
Here's a shot of some of the seedlings. Apparently parsley starts very quickly, and, true to form, ours does too. She also has cilantro, basil, lemon basil, chives, thyme, and probably a couple others as well.
It's Alive, It's Alive
I mentioned the watering wand. Here it is. It has a reel to hold the wand tubing. The reel turns to make rolling up the tubing very easy. The wand also has a trigger device, so you can easily start and stop the water flow.
All Done
I tapped into the kitchen cold water supply from downstairs, ran it through a couple of joists and through the wall into the west breezeway where it then went up through the floor of the porch. Once mounted to the wall, I attached a plastic valve and the wand/reel assembly. It's right next to the seedling rack for convenience.

As you can see in the next photo, convenience doesn't get much more convenient than this. I scored a couple of brownie-points with this little project as Dianna is very happy with it. Incidentally, she's been hauling this wand thing around for about ten or eleven years and finally gets to use it.
Here's the Big Picture
This was a day for water projects. If you remember from an earlier post, I had stubbed out a water line to the far side of the compost bin, intending to put my last fancy hose hanger in place there. Well it's been done now and works like a charm.
Last Hanger Hung
Here's the result. Hanger, hose, and faucet, all hooked up and ready to go. I do have to paint the outside of the compost bin, but that's for another day.
Hose, Hanger, and Faucet
Now, this project, the broken pool pump house door, has been hanging around (no pun intended) for months. For starters, we had lived with one then two broken hinges on our pool pump house door for some time. Oh sure, I had intended to call Vasco Doors and Windows, who built and installed the door in the first place, but you know how is, some other project always has a claim on the work priorities.
Rusted and Busted
It's not like this was a new problem. A couple of years ago, a hinge had broken on the door. Vasco had come then and fixed it. Then, a year or so ago, the bottom hinge broke again (quality welding and materials). Back they came and welded that as well, and added a third hinge for safety's sake. Then a couple of months ago, the bottom hinge went again. Then before I could call them, the middle hinge went. I still had some other priorities (something about a 'squeaky wheel getting the grease' comes to mind).

What brought it to a head, was about a week and a half ago, I went out to the pump house to reset the mechanical timer after one of our power failures. As I opened the door with its one hinge... Crash! The door came at me in a hurry. Thanks to some fancy dance steps, I was able to avert disaster, get my body out-of-the-way and rather gently lay the door down without busting my head or anything else on the patio. That definitely gets the adrenalin flowing.

I managed to get the door back into an upright position and propped it in place in the jamb to protect the pump from any rain that might come our way. And believe me, it's been coming our way quite often lately.

All right. I realized that the door had raised its priority level by several notches. I then had to call Vasco, or rather stop by to talk to them as they respond less well to telephone conversations. They said they could come out two days from then.

Dianna and I had everything in readiness for them to come Thursday morning and fix the door. But, having had experience dealing with them, I knew that timeliness was not their strong suit. And, to be totally honest, depending on who did the actual welding, quality may not be quite up to snuff either.

With that in mind, we were not real surprised when they didn't show up at the appointed time or day. A couple of days later (things do tend to get laid back here) I stopped in to see if they were planning to come some time. All right. They were going to come tomorrow, Saturday. I stressed that I now wanted heavy-duty hinges, and I wanted four of them on the door and I wanted their main welder (I still don't know his name). Not a problem. They'd be there at 9:30 AM.

Of course, 9:30 came and went. About 11:00 AM, they finally showed up. They got the welding machine set up, connected to a series of extension cord bits and pieces and some Romex cable as it's about 250 feet from the work site to our power panel out by the street.

We never got any further that day, as they brought out the new hinges – the same size as before. Wrong. The head welder jumped into his pickup, and went back to the shop to get the large hinges. About 45-minutes later, he returned. They didn't have the hinges. They had to get them and would be here first thing Monday morning. After winding up the cable bits and putting all the tools back in the truck they left.

That afternoon I had a Men's Group meeting out at Craig's house. I remember telling them that Saturday morning was alright, but not the afternoon as I wouldn't be there. Dianna told be that evening that of course, they had come back with the right parts. Dianna told them they'd have to come as scheduled on Monday as I wasn't there. So they left.

I thought maybe that would be the kiss of death for the Monday appointment. But no, they showed up about an hour later and things began to get serious.

After a short discussion about hinge sizes,work did actually get going. My concept of a larger hinge was something larger than two inches in height. More on the order of four inches or so. The concept they were dealing with was a hinge that was the same height, but had a beefier central pin. Realizing I was bound to lose if I stuck to my guns about hinge sizes, I said they could go ahead with those hinges as long as they put four of them in place.

So, now here we are, and as you can see below, actual work is occurring. First off, removing and grinding off the rusty stumps of the broken hinges
Grinding Off Old Weld Scar
Then, it's back with the bits and pieces of wire to the power main. Totally bypassing breakers, so their welding machine is at the mercy of the gods of current. Standard operating procedure.
Quick and Dirty Hookup
Here's a glimpse of the welding machine. You can see the head welder twisting the heavy cables together connecting the electrode holder to the machine. You can see the Romex power cord behind it.
Hooking Up The Electrode Holder Cable
In case you were wondering, this used to be a Lincoln arc welder. And, I assume, once upon a time it looked something like this: You can see a couple vestiges of red paint on their machine.
Dreams of A Lincoln Arc Welder
This machine reminds me of my Godson Isaiel's old welding machine. It was so decrepit, that his assistant had to literally stand with one foot in the machine to keep the coil from bouncing around while Isaiel did the welding. Now that I think about it, maybe this machine isn't so bad. But, I digress.

Here, you can see them actually welding the hinges to the door and jamb.
Welding On New Hinges
Surprisingly, the assistant actually got to do a couple bits of minor welding on the back side of the door under the close watchful eye of the master, of course.
The Apprentice Gets To Do Some Welding
Eventually, the job got done. It now works smoother than it ever has. I have high hopes that it will last for years to come – at least one or two.

As a parting gift for having read this far, here's a shot of an unknown flower growing in our patio garden. It's gorgeous.
A Pretty Pink Flower On Our Patio
We have two examples of this plant. One came from the other, so they should both be the same. But they're not. One's flowers start off looking somewhat like a rose, then they open in the morning, pink like this one. But by afternoon, they have become white as snow (whatever that is). The plant from the one above doesn't close up at night and its pink flowers don't change to white. Yet they come from the same plant. Explain that one, Gregor Mendel.


JRinSC said...

Great post Dave!

I have a suggestion that may help when the evil gods of the computer world strike. After several instances just like you went thru I now write everything in Wordpad or Notepad and when all is ready I simply "copy and paste" into the project. Heck, I sometimes even copy what I'm writing right now in case (as has happened several times) I have a problem posting the comment. At least that way I keep from having to rewrite what hopefully was good the first time. LOL

Anyway.. enjoyed the post a lot. A question: did the hinges die from rust and the elements or shoddy welds from the beginning? If it is the rust I wonder just what one could do to make thing last longer. I remember the screens on the old beach house and nothing (NOTHING) held up to the salt down there... we tried copper, vinyl, aluminum -- you name it. Sometimes nature is going to win.


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

I've started doing that very thing myself (using WriteMonkey - cause it makes typewriter sounds. I find it helps with the rhythm).
I think with the first break on this door it was shoddy welding. After that, it's a combination of poor quality steel and the elements. I've had metal almost deteriorate in front of my eyes. Thankfully, there's Ospho, which saves the day most times.
Glad you liked the post. I had fun writing it.

John said...

Good morning Dave, I also enjoy your post and thank you for taking the time to let us know what is going on in your life.

‘We have two examples of this plant. One came from the other, so they should both be the same. But they're not. One's flowers start off looking somewhat like a rose, then they open in the morning, pink like this one. But by afternoon, they have become white as snow (whatever that is). The plant from the one above doesn't close up at night and its pink flowers don't change to white. Yet they come from the same plant. Explain that one’.

I suspect that what you have is a grafted hibiscus and one is the original root stock and the other is the grafted plant, therefore; two in entirely different plants. I have had several incidents of this.

Also, I did not have the opportunity to stop by on my last visit and would you believe the horn on my truck stopped working as I approached you all’s house the day I arrived, therefore; I could not blow as I went by. Now get this it started back working the day I left, after I passed you all’s house on my way out. Now will it work upon my return, who knows, but it gives me something to look forward to.

John - Sopchoppy, Fl. / Copper Bank Village, Belize

Dave Rider said...

Good Morning John,

I think I heard your horn 'warbling' one morning as you passed by.
Thanks for some great insight on our plants. That's the most logical explanation I've heard.
Hey, I've meant to suggest that you too consider keeping a blog. You already do, with your email news update. Just a change of format is all. It's pretty easy to do. I think what you write about would be of interest to a lot of folks. Just a thought. See you when you get back.