Thursday, September 24, 2009


There are some lessons we have to learn more than once, or at least some of us do.

I guess I am one of those.

I learned a long time ago that when you are working on a car, you take off your jewelry. I have been pretty faithful about his. There are lots of things that can go wrong if you wear jewelry while you are wonking on the car, and absolutely no benefits.

I was working on Frankenhealey the other night, and because I was just replacing the carbs with the newly rebuilt cars, I didn't bother to take off my watch. Since I was not running the engine or dealing with moving parts, it should be OK, right?


While tightening the bottom rear carb bolt, I got my watch band between the two terminals of the starter solenoid, causing a direct short. It instantly heated the watch band red hot. Thereby melting the skin under the watch band.

I was dancing around, saying impolite things while trying to get the watch off.

That smell of cooking pork? That was me. When I got the watch band free, the skin sluffed off. I now have a very nasty looking spot on my left wrist.

It is going to leave a scar, which will be around for a long time to remind me of a lesson I supposedly learned a long time ago.

Monday, September 21, 2009


It was a long day on Saturday, going with the band. I guess it was about a 20 hour day, all told. So Sunday we just took it easy.
I am still sore from humping around 300 pound speakers, loading and unloading the truck, setting up the stage. Mrs A is getting to the stage where she is about ready to give up job of crewing for the band. I'd still like to do it now and then. Oh well, we'll see what happens.
Mrs A got offered another job today, and I think she is going to take it.
One of the women that she has become friends with is a partner in a local law firm. They want to hire her to work in the office. Part time at first, but with the option of maybe going to full time eventually. She told her friend she would have to think about it, and she did.......for all of five minutes.
I have met the lady a couple of times, and we got along just fine.
It should pay a lot better than Curves, and more important, I think Mrs A will be happy there.
I just hope she doesn't overdo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Road Trip

Tomorrow we are off with the band ML3 to do a gig in Cenralia, at Maple Lane, a Youth Facility. It will be the first time we have done a road trip for a while, with me working seven days a week. We have sure missed everyone.
In case you are new around here, ML3 is a Christian Rock band we crew for. They have a semi and 20,000 lbs of gear. Full sound system and light show. It takes around six hours to unload the truck and set up the stage. A couple of hours for sound check. two one hour shows, break it all back down and load it back in the truck. We will get home around midnight, exhausted and felling like we have done something worthwhile.
The message from the band is directed more towards "You can have a whole lot of fun without drugs and alcohol" than an altar call. Since we are dealing with incarcerated youth, and about 80% of them are in for drug and alcohol related offences, I really believe it is the right message to the right audience at the right time.
We feel strongly enough about this that we have been road crew for the band for over six years now.
So, tomorrow night we will come dragging home tired, sore and fulfilled.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Time of Change

Mrs A works part time at the Curves in Renton. She goes in and opens the place up at 6:00 in the morning, and works until 10:00. She likes doing this for a couple of reasons. One it provides her with a little extra money, plus she gets to work out every day.
I make enough money that we could get along just fine without her working. I have told her she can quit and be a stay-at-home mom any time she wants. She has always worked and supported her family, almost always as the single source of income, struggling to make it day to day.
She feels a little guilty about not working full time, feels she is not pulling her weight. Nothing I tell her seems to make a lot of difference. Her attitude as a working mom is so ingrained into her behavior that she doesn't know any other way to be.
Well, she will soon get to experience staying at home.
The Curves in Renton is closing on September 25th. I have told her she should take some time off and just take it easy for a little while. Collect unemployment for a couple of months. She has a job lined up at another Curves, but I think she ought to just wait and see what shakes out of the tree.
At any rate, it will be a time of change for her. I just have to remember to keep telling her that no matter what she chooses to do, she has my support.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two Steps Back

None of my bright ideas to remove the broken jet from Frankenhealey worked worth a damn.
First I tried using an easy-out to try to lift the jet out. That didn't work at all.
Then I tried tapping threads into the bushing and pulling. That didn't work. Then I tried drilling it out. That removed most of the jet, but there is still a little at the bottom of the hole that will have to be removed before the new jet will fit in. In order to do that I will have to remove the carb fron the engine.

I have a spare set of carbs, so I spent most of the day yesterday tearing down the spare carbs and cleaning everything up and checking them out. Everything looks very good, so I will try swapping the carbs. Then I can work on the screwed up carb at my leisure.

I am crossing my fingers that the car will start when I put the spare carbs on. No reason why is should not start. That doesn't mean it will.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Yeah, I see that glazed-over look in your eyes. There goes Al Again on that stupid car.

It's true.

Yesterday I went out to work on the carbs and tweak the timing. One of the things I need to do is charge out the accelerator jets. This should be a simple drop-in. Unfortunately I broke off the first one I tried to remove, and the second one also seems to be stuck. I am sitting here trying to figure out how to get it out without destroying the carb. I may have to drill it out, which would be a very delicate operation.

Oh well, I will figure out something.

R came by with "i" yesterday. It was sure great to see them. I hadn't seen "i" in a couple of months. and they change so quickly. when he last by he was pulling up on things and taking a step or two. Now he is toddling around everywhere. He's not quite talking yet, but jabbers a lot. It makes sense to him, we just can't understand what he's saying.


Maybe if I drill a small hole in the jet and use an easy-out I can loosen it up. Or Maybe tap some threads and use a screw as a puller.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It's Just A Shot Away

Just to be the antithesis of The Stones, who on Give me Shelter screamed "War, children, it's just a shot away" I give you:

Peace, Children, It's just a Shot Away.

A shot of Tanqueray, that is. After some negotiation, we settled on an apollogy and a bottle of Tanqueray. More expensive than your average bunch of flowers, but less than dinner.

Negotiation hell, she just called me up and said "Instead of Flowers, I want a bottle of Tanqueray". I was not in a position to negotiate.

So all is peaceful in Latteland.

Tonight I am signing the contract to put new siding on the South side of the house. Mind you that side of the house is 40 feet by 40 feet, and covered with 10" lapped cedar siding. Decent tight knot 10" cedar siding is getting mighty hard to find, and when you CAN find it, it is expensive as hell.

I wanted to do the work myself, but Mrs A has a conniption fit if I get anywhere near a ladder. Last time I got up on a ladder to repair a downspout, I had to give her three drinks before I could go up on the ladder.

I haven't seen the breakdown, but the estimate is $3800.00, which seems about right to me. I still don't like paying someone to do something I could do myself, but what the hell.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

In Trouble

I'm in trouble with Mrs A today.
I didn't do anything wrong, mind you, it's something I DIDN'T do.
I didn't give her a good-bye kiss when I left this morning.
She called me on the cell phone before I even got to work, in tears. "Seven years together, and this is what it has come to!"
No way out, no amount of fancy talk is going to change it. Guilty as charged. Sure I have a (to me) legitimate excuse, but the facts is the facts. The question now becomes "How much is this going to cost me?" Flowers at the very least. I don't think this is a flowers and dinner offense.
First of all there is the fact that I do not wake up well in the morning. I stumble, I grunt, I bump into things. I get by by ritual. Things are always done in a certain order. Anything that breaks the ritual or order is likely to end up with the whole morning in chaos.
First of all. V has a zero hour class, so for the time being, I am giving him a ride to school, something I have never done before.
This morning when I came down from upstairs there was a whole pile of papers on the seat of my chair. Papers that needed to be signed and dated. School stuff, field trip, science class, legal release. Stuff that I would like to at lease peruse before I sign it, but no time to read. Glance at it, sign and date.
V. forgets something at the last minute, so I am running late. Rush out the door.
Halfway to work, the cell phone rings and it is Mrs A.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


For the last several years, one of the things I have done for Christmas is take Mrs A and Vinnie and my cousin Lynn to see TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra to you Troglodytes).
Tickets went on sale yesterday at 10:00 A.M. A pre-sale for fan club members only.
Unfortunately I had to be at a meeting at 10:00. I really couldn't blow the meeting off, since I was to receive an award at said meeting.
I left as soon as possible and ran back to my desk, got on line to order tickets.
Floor tickets, eleven rows back from the stage, center of the floor.
Oh yeah!
Screaming electric guitar pyrotechnic light show laser extravaganza Christmas music!
Ho, Ho, HO!