Sunday, March 31, 2013


Here's the current state of my '77 280Z interior.

I have taken out the seats, the dash, the steering wheel. I have put in new dash light bulbs, ordered a new steering wheel. bought a new center console and put in the stuff from the old one.
I have ordered new carpets, which should be in next week.
I repaired the hot/cold control for the heater. I have owned the car for about five years and it has never worked. It will be nice to be able to turn off the heat this summer.
Next I will fix a broken off bolt in the blower, and start putting it all back together.
I need to have the driver's seat reaposltered.
Then on to the brakes, adjust the valves, fix the clunk in the rear end.
Then Paint.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugarless Balckberry Jam

When we were down at my Cousin Ginger's in Oregon a couple of years ago, Uncle Fred brought over some blackberries he had picked. They ended up in the cooler in my car. I suspect they were Himalaya blackberries, not Wild Mountain Blackberries, otherwise my cousin would not have parted with them so easily.
I have been meaning to do something with them ever since, but as I had never made jam with artificial sweetener, I always put it off. I went as far as looking up sugar-free jam recipes on the internet, but that was as far as it went.
We go through a quite a bit of sugar-free jam, me because I am diabetic, Mrs A because she is usually dieting. When I get a craving for something fruity/sweet I will go out and have a teaspoon of jam, and it satisfies my craving.
Last weekend I finally got around to using some of the berries.
First of all, I always make freezer jam. The reason is that you do not cook the berries, so it really tastes like the fruit, the other is because it is so easy to do.
Now it is even better, There is a product called Mrs Wage's no cook freezer jam pectin. Just add it to the sweetener (Splenda) and stir it into the berries, let it sit for a half an hour, and presto, you have jam. And it tastes mighty good.
We made a batch and it filled five 16oz jam containers. Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks, up to a year in the freezer. So far it has been used on toast, pancakes, and ice cream.
That ought to get us through until fresh fruit comes in season.
A trip to the u-pick strawberry farm will be one of our early fruit destinations.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Car Stuff

Part of the retirement plan is to consolidate my car stuff. The reason for this is to have less stuff to move, because when I retire we plan to move out in the country. We currently have five vehicles, and I want to get that down to four, or perhaps three by the time we are ready to move.
Right now the plan is to get the 1977 280Z up to snuff and sell it. Nothing is majorly wrong with it, but a lot of little pain in the butt stuff, such as the fact that it has no dash lights.
Last year the old points type voltage regulator went rogue and blew out all of the marker lights, dash lights etc. I replaced all of the lights that are readily accessible. Unfortunately, to get at some of the dash lights, you have to tear the dash apart, which is a major pain in the butt. Last Sunday I got in there and started on it. You have to take the radio out, and pull the center console out. The cernter console had a bad crack in it, and when I pulled it out I saw it needed to be replaced. I didn't figure the chances were too good of finding one in good shape, but much to my amazement, I found a new-in-box replacement, which I immediately purchased. I will switch over the switches when the new one comes in. While the radio was out, I fixed some of the crappy wiring that had been done over the years, so that putting it back together will be easier when the time comes.
Next is time to fix the heater controls. I have never been able to turn off the heater. That's OK Spring, Fall and Winter, but Summer is coming, and as long as I have it torn apart I might as well fix the heater control. It is operated by a lever and cable system, but the door that shuts off the air seems to be frozen. It doesn't seem like it will be too much trouble to fix. Knock on wood.
Then on to tearing the dash apart so I can replace all the little bulbs that illuminate the gauges and instruments. A lot of work for a bunch of tiny light bulbs.
Then time to figure out what the clunk in the rear end is. Probably a u-joint in one of the axle half shafts, but I won't know for certain until I get it up in the air.
Then comes paint. I have a couple of estimates for the custom paint I want done. Custom green/blue/purple color changing paint job. Both estimates are for around $2500.00.
When I am done, I will sell it. I should be able to get close to $10 grand.
That money will then go into Frankenhealey and the Westie.
One step at a time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dodging the Bullet

Last fall, the SPEEA (Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association) contract with Boeing expired, and a new contract was negotiated . The Union is divided into two parts, the Professional contract, and the Technical contract. The two are separate and distinct. In December Boeing made a 'Best and Final Offer" to the union.
The Profs accepted it and the Techs rejected it. I thought it was a fair offer, so I voted for it.
The second part of the vote was to authorize a strike. I voted against that. Much to my consternation, the contract was voted down by a slim majority of the Techs.
Boeing and the Union went back to the bargaining table.
I have been saving money in a "Strike Fund" for about a year just in case. I had more in there than I felt I would need, but I am pretty conservative with my money.
So Mrs A and I have been anxiously awaiting a settlement, not wanting to commit to anything until there was a signed contract.
The Techs were in a sticky situation, since the Profs had accepted the contract, and would not be going out to support the Thechs if we went on strike. That means we had no bargaining strength.
To make a long story short, Boeing made the exact sae offer to the Union, and the Tchs had to swallow their balls and get back to work. The voted in the exact same contract that they had turned down a couple of months ago.
No strike translates into me paying off a chunk of mortgage and a chunk of credit cars and a great feeling of relief.
Retirement just became a little bit closer.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Creeping Crud

I've been struggling with a nasty virus for about two weeks. Miserable crud with a wicked cough.
Great grandson Nikko was kind enough to present us with the virus.
I fought the good fight for about a week, not letting it get me down, but a week ago it took me down for the count. Lost the round but not the match.
Cough and cough and cough until out of breath, then cough some more. No sleep, too much coughing.
Went to work every day anyway, just loaded up on ever OTC known to man, none of which did too much  Very hard to think, or work up the gumption to do anything, and meanwhile I am right in the middle of a major screw-up. No one else is willing to step forward and take it on, so I have been creeping along, doing it a bit at a time as I get the energy.
I have finally turned the corner and am getting better. I might live, and it could be a good thing.
So now Mrs A has come down with it.