atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5650: OH BABY

So, after getting the grass cut, I did some more work on the garage, because I was rarin' to go.

You know why? Because here's what I had for lunch:
Ed's Garlic-Parmesan Pasta with sausage

1 serving of your pasta of choice--I use farfalle or whatever
2 sausages, sliced (italian is best but your choice; today I used leftover bratwurst and polish sausage)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp parsley flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to instructions in a medium saucepan. While this is going on, sautee the sausage in about 1 tbsp butter in another pan. (You might want to start the sausage when you put the water on to boil, if it's not leftovers.)

Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Add remainder of butter and stir until coated. Add garlic powder, parmesan, and parsley; stir well. Serve in pasta plate with sausage on top, serves 1.
...and will fill him with high-octane physical labor fuel.

I had to fix the riding mower before I could cut the grass. Got partway to the east 40 and it just sputtered and died for no apparent reason. Sighing, I went and got the jump pack (still need battery for the thing) and started it again, and it ran fine all the way around the perimeter of the property until I got to the immediate back yard, where it again sputtered and almost died. I made a beeline to the patio and tried throttling it down but it just died completely.

"Well," thought I, "it's acting like it's a fuel problem." I went into the garage and got an empty gas can and some tools and tried draining the fuel tank first, because there's an in-line filter and I wanted to check it. Well, I pulled the fuel line off the filter's inlet, and the gas went


...and then stopped flowing entirely.

"Ah," I thought, "we have a plugged fuel line. Or do we?" I reached up and unscrewed the gas cap, and as soon as I did, GUSSHHH gas came out of the fuel line and into the spare can.

While the tank drained I had a look at the cap. It's a vented cap, so I have no idea why it's no longer venting, unless the rubber swelled or something; but even after taking it apart, sussing out how it worked, cleaning and reassembling it, I still couldn't get any fuel from the tank with the cap on tight.

So: took it apart again, went to my nice clean workbench, plugged in the Dremel, and drilled several small holes in the bitch. Reassembled, refilled, put the cap on, and the mower didn't miss a beat after that.

This is the first time that mower has given me any mechanical trouble in the nine years I've owned it. (I don't count the battery issue because the battery is a wear item.) Oh, I'll get a new fuel cap sometime or other, when I get around to it, but really there's nothing wrong with the modification I've made to it. The fuel tank and its cap are under the engine cowl, so even if I were caught in the rain, water couldn't get into the tank. It would take some very special and unlikely circumstances for water to be blown up and around and through just to get to the cap, for friggin' my snack. Screw it; "eventually" is good enough.

But! Got the grass cut, got the Toro out and did the trimming, then parked the thing and had a gander at the garage. Decided today was the day to work on the section immediately to the left of my workbench, try to make some kind of sense out of that crap. So I pulled it all apart, then reassembled it.

The ancient chest of drawers from granddad's old paint store--I needed to move it over about six inches, and it wouldn't budge when I tried pulling it, so I grabbed a scissor jack and a hunk of plywood. Put the plywood against the wall, the jack against the chest, crank crank crank, presto.

With the result that, instead of a bunch of stuff haphazardly leaning against the fireplace bulge at all angles, now it's all neatly stowed. Very neatly stowed. I spent not more than forty minutes on this project and reclaimed two square feet of floor in the process.

Looking over my handiwork, I realized that I am one good afternoon's worth of work from being able to park a friggin' car in that garage with the motorcycles and lawn equipment and all the other stuff that's in there. (Excepting some junk I'd get rid of, of course, but who cares about the junk?)

If I had a free hand--or if people would come get the useless dreck they say they want--I could have that garage so clear of shit we could park both vehicles in it with room for the lawn implements and our motorcycles. (But I remember how hard it was to get my brother to take his mini-bike, which could not be thrown out or sold but only transferred to him, so I'm not holding my breath on this one.)

Furthermore, if I somehow get my hands on a trailer any time in the next month or two, that old stupid stove is going to the junkyard. It's got broken pieces all over the place, no one wants it, it's just taking up room, and it's not worth anything. I've researched it; the best price I've found on one that's in decent shape--which is to say, NO BROKEN PARTS--is around $200 or so. This one, someone might give me $50 for it and use it as a planter. Why bother? The only reason it's still in the garage is because I can't lug it anywhere in the Jeep; it's too big and requires a trailer.

Someone might pay something for the big saurkraut tubs. But no one will pay anything for moldy back issues of Saturday Evening Post even if they are from the 1920s. In good condition they get listed for $10 on eBay, and these are moldy and ridden with mouse turds. Trash.

Big planks of old wood--it might be mahogany, but it's just as likely to be something else; in any case we have two or three lengths of it which have split down the middle. The bar top: someone in my father's immediate family salvaged it from a bar which was being torn down, because it was still good hardwood. I'm not sure when that was, whether it was the 1940s or 1950s, but that bar top was stored in Pops' garage for thirty years (conservative estimate) before being transferred to this garage, where it was then stored for another thirty years without anything being done with it other than it being moved occasionally. Why not be rid of it? Someone in 1955-ish had the good sense to toss the damned thing; why did we have to keep it? (I suppose I could take all this old wood and cut it into 24" sections for firewood. You can't hardly give firewood away, either, not around here.)

I loved my parents dearly and I miss them terribly, but there's so much JUNK. Even now, even though I've chipped away at the junk pile every year since Mom died, there's still so much to do.

Well: my next aim will be the northeast corner of the garage. That's where the most junk is; and I'm going to grind through it with a vengeance and get rid of anything which is worthless. Same reason I get rid of anything else with no immediate and obvious value: because it sat there for 40+ years and all that's been done is for it to be moved from place to place. Show me something I can identify as a valuable antique--an icebox, a vintage TV--and I'll keep it; but a broken chair? A solitary table leg? Bed slats for beds we no longer have? Most of the stuff of that class has already been tossed, but I know for a fact there are still things in there which are useless dreck. And when I next work on the garage, that will be what I aim to be rid of. Stuff which was saved only because my parents grew up during the Depression and came of age during WW2.

The nice thing about this is that when you chip away at the junk piles, at first you don't see much...but as you get closer and closer to the end of the job, you start to see how much improvement all those tiny chips add up to. Soon you've completed everything that can be done without hauling out the big pieces, and that's the final stage. I'm nearly there with the basement, and I'm nearly there with the garage, and then they'll be clean and we'll be able to use those spaces for something other than storing useless shit.

That is what I call a win.

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