Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Too Busy

As the saying goes "I'll sleep when I'm Dead."
I had the dubious privilege of working both days last weekend. So I didn't have much time to accomplish anything at home.
The Z will start, but runs real rough and then dies. I'm not sure what the problem is. I think it is probably a vacuum leak somewhere, but I haven't tracked it down yet. I am waiting for a couple of parts to come in before I get focused pon figuring it out. Upper and Lower Radiator hoses, thermostat and gasket. Should be in in time for me to finish putting it back together this weekend. Now if I can just figure out how come it is idling  so rough.
Last weekend we went to see Marcia Ball at Jazz Alley. She was a lot of fun. I love that whole boogie woogie piano blues thing, and she does it the best. Jazz Alley isn't exactly the kind of place where you get up and dance in the aisles, but the crowd was on its feet and dancing. A lot of fun.
Next weekend is Keiko Matsui, who I really like. Best jazz/new age keyboardist in the world as far as I am concerned. I have several of her CDs and play them regularly. Should be a very nice evening.
On an entirely different subject, the balance on my mortgage is $3100. So this retirement stuff is getting real. I am a little uncomfortable with the concept of not working, but will make sure I have enough projects to keep me busy and out of the hair of She Who Must Not Be Named.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Did you hear that?

A rumble in the distance, a low roaring sound. An almost smooth braaap?
The Z has stirred to life again. Not well, but it does run.
I got far enough that I decided before I went any further, I should try getting it to run. It currently does not have a radiator, is missing hoses and has a hole in the exhaust manifold where the EGR tube should be. None of those things should keep it from starting.
You wouldn't want to run it for any length of time with no radiator, and the lack of an EGR tube will make it run like crap, but run it should.
And run it did. Not for long, but just enough to let me know nothing catastrophic is wrong. The EGR fitting on the exhaust manifold is stuck tight. I put a box end wrench on it after soaking it in rust buster, and reeefed on it with a pinch bar, to no avail. All I did was round off the corners of the fitting.
Time for drastic measures. Blow torch? Impact gun and air chisel? Special socket for removing bolts with the corners rounded off?
It's a good thing I don't have access to a cutting torch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last Fishing Trip

Uncle Fred was my fishing partner for about 40 years. He was the one who taught me how to catch trout in the high country streams in Northern Idaho.
Every time I saw him later in life, the conversation would inevitably turn to fishing, usually to one particular fishing trip.
At the time the limit was 15 trout per person per day. We came back with 30 trout and one whitefish. Since I caught the whitefish I was declared the winner of our informal competition. Since there was a whole house full of people, the catch provided a meal for the whole family. And the fish were all substantial. The smallest was about 10 inches, the largest 18 inches. I have never seen a better looking string of fish.
Last year he passed away of cancer. I visited him in the hospital, and he made a special request of me "Would you do me a favor?"
"Sure Uncle Fred, you just ask".
Take me fishing one last time."
"You got it."
We had a meeting of the clan in Sandpoint, Idaho last week, and my cousin Ginger brought his ashes. I had told her my intentions to scatter his ashes along our favorite stretch of fishing water.
On Sunday I set off alone for Deep Creek with his ashes. It is hard to catch fish this time of year. The water is warm and the level low, so what fish there are are laying in the bottom of the holes, under logs and are inactive. If you want to catch fish you need to get your spinner and worm right down where they live. It means you will get snagged a lot and have to wade in to work the hook loose from wherever you have it snagged, but if you want to catch fish, that's the way you have to do it.
I had made my brag. I was told there were no fish in that stretch of creek. I told the family that I was going fishing, and I would catch fish.
The fishing was slow. A few little bait thieves here and there but nothing worth pursuing, so I fished along and scattered ashes as I went. I thought I was going to get skunked.
 I set Uncle Fred's ashes on the bank of the stream, and told him "Uncle Fred, I'm doing my part of this. I am carrying you down the stream and scattering your ashes as I go. It's time you got in the game here and encouraged a fish to bite. I'm doing catch and release, so it won't deplete the stock, so go do something."
I'm not claiming any supernatural intervention or anything. but shortly thereafter I caught a beautiful 10" brook trout. Bright sparkling in the sun, colorful and firm. I went to take a picture with y cell phone, but the phone was dead.
Shortly after that I tied into a big trout. Probably would have gone 18 inches. He dived into the roots of a stump, wrapped the line around a root and broke off my spinner.
Uncle Fred would have loved it, me going home with one fish caught and "The one that got away."
So long Uncle Fred. There will be other streams and other fishing trips, but I will probably never fish that section of stream again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vacation

A guy could get used to this vacation stuff. Or as I like to put it, practicing for retirement. The only real problem is that I still have a sense of urgency because I only have so much time to accomplish a lot of stuff.
So yesterday I slowed down.
The only thing I accomplished was to make a batch of home made applesauce. Nothing like a fresh warm batch of applesauce with a little cinnamon.
I am slowly working on the basement. There was a patch of black mold on the drywall in the basement, so I had to tear a section drywall out. The spare room was a mess, so I had to rearrange everything. In order to move something, you have to have a place to put it.
The drywall was behind an old hide-a-bed sofa that needed to go to the dump. But since it was too big to fit in the truck, first it had to be torn apart, which took most of the day. I still need to finish cleaning up and make a trip to the dump, buy the new drywall, install it, Spackle it and paint it.
Oh, and I still want to get the Z finished and ready to drive.
Oh, and I have a family reunion for four days in Idaho.
Today the powers that be (She who shall not be named) insists I take a day off. We are going to go see Maleficent and then go to dinner. Probably at the Wild Fin.
That leaves me two days to get the Z running. I can do it in two days, if everything goes right.
But when has everything ever gone according to plan?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The End of Civilization as we know it

Yesterday, pot went on sale legally for recreational purposes here in Latteland. For all the hype and stern warnings by concerned conservatives, life as we know it did not come to an end. A 65 year old Grannie was the first person in the state to make a legal over-the-counter purchase, and although she had a little trouble making change, she did not morph into a deranged crazed killer.
The lines were not all that long, and I heard of no line jumping or riots. The crowd seemed quiet, and, well, normal.
In other news a 20 something young cereal killer ate a whole box of chocolate Cheerios.
A couple of hipsters became addicted to blo-pops. They were heard to say "O wow it starts out like hard candy, and then all the sudden you realize you are, like chewing gum. Like when did that happen?"
Energized housewives were seen placidly cleaning house, although they tended to get distracted. "hey look how the light refracts through this cut glass vase! It makes little rainbows!"
There were noticeable fewer road rage incidents, because people went home and tried out their new purchases, and then responsibly stayed home to watch the sprinkler.
Domestic violence reports took a decline, but no one is sure why. maybe the usual participants just couldn't get up the energy to give a hoot.
On the other hand, close call pedestrian/car incidents were on the rise as people stopped in the middle of the street to watch the street lights change.
And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

July?

How did it get to be July already?
Last time I checked it was early June, then BAM, July.
I stall haven't gotten the Z back together, but that's OK I am in no tearing hurry, just want to get it on the road before the Summer is over.
Spent all day Sunday getting the timing chain on, the cam re timed, the oil pump on, the timing chain cover back on.
I checked the timing mark and everything was right on, So I can proceed with no fear. I took a bog box end wrench and turned the engine over very carefully and there is no interference in the engine. Now the only thing left as far a s timing goes is to get the distributor lined up. Since the drive is by slot and key you can only be in or 180 degrees out. Since I didn't turn the crank or cam when it was apart, should be fine as long as the rotor is pointed at number one piston when the timing is at top dead center.
I am putting everything back together with stainless steel allen headed bolts, except for a couple of places where you can't get to the bolt heads.
Next comes the water pump, then a couple of water inlets, then the exhaust manifold.
Then the intake,  distributor, wiring, and valve cover.
Gas pedal linkage and gas/vacuum lines.
Whew, I'm tired already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back on Track

The timing chain cover just came in for the Z. Degreased and bead blasted, it bears little resemblance on the surface to the beat up grimy one I took off of the car. Now I can begin putting things back together.
I also got in all the nuts and bolts to put everything back together, ad well as a new crank seal and gasket set. By the time I get through getting it all back together it will have cost me about $250 to replace the head gasket. A lot more than I figured. It will be sooooo nice when I get it running again and can drive it.
On another front, there has been a lot of e-mail traffic back and forth between myself, my cousin Ginger, and my newly found cousins.
We have also connected on Facebook. I don't care that much for facebook, but it has been good for reacquainting with long lost family and friends.
One of the things that came out of this all was that two of my cousins are going to be coming to the meeting of the clan in Sandpoint this summer. Ben, who lives in Florida is going to fly up to Spokane, where he will meet up with his sister Ursula, and they will come together.
I have ordered three additional copies of "Candles of the Lord" from the Ursuline sisters in Kentucky. They should be arriving next week. I think my one cousin that lives in Spanaway is going to come over and get her copy. The ones for Ginger and Ben I will probably hang on to until the Meeting of the Cousins in Sandpoint.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks.