October 13th, 2012

#3623: And so, the shock absorbers sit on my coffee table.

They arrived yesterday afternoon, as noted in yesterday's post...and I awoke this morning to rain, rain, and more rain. It's now 3 PM and the rain is almost done. There's a couple of minor cells still heading this way, and the last of them looks like it'll be here in less than half an hour.

After that, then, I suppose I'll put on some outdoor clothes and get to work. Today's the only day I have for this stuff, because tomorrow I want to spend my day with Lemonzen. I expect to be too tired on Monday afternoon (and days subsequent) as I'm going to be moving tons of freight all day.

...and it's increasingly looking as if that'll be the day I have to take IttyBit to the vet for the last time. Last night she was bleeding from her mouth; today the bleeding has stopped but she's not eating very much. She'll eat a little, then walk away from the food and hide.

So, it's probably about time, then. *sigh*

Well, I've had a little time (almost two weeks, by Monday) to get used to the fact that she's got to leave us. It doesn't make it easy but it makes it a little easier.

I've figured out where to bury her, and what to bury her in, and what with, so at least I've got those decisions made.

But it's awfully hard to dig when you can't see.

* * *

I'm looking forward to beginning training on Monday, though. It's kind of exciting to realize that I'm going to be earning a paycheck again.

Absent from this is the uncharacteristic dread with which I'd approached the job in Rantoul. I can't really define it any better than that; it was just an inchoate feeling of This isn't right--don't do it that pervaded my being on every day I went to work. It disappeared while I was working, but when the day was done it started right back up again.

That was a good job, working for very good people; for the first year my primary task was just to show up for work every day and learn while doing--at which I excel--and it would have led me to a very interesting and lucrative career...and although it was the right thing, it was in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

This job is almost exactly like my job at Target. I know I can do it, and it'll pay the bills, and it's about a 35-minute drive from the bunker. I'm a bit worried about the physical aspect, but not very, because I've been in shape to handle that kind of job before and I'll get into shape again, fairly quickly.

It's just going to hurt a bit. Kind of like the deal with my cat.


...I was playing WoW last night, and running some quests in Pandaria on Ormus; one of them was to obtain a certain number of vials of tiger blood ("Winning!"). One was in a stream when it died, and I noticed that the body was floating correctly rather than looking like it was laying on a glass plate. That's one of the things that's bothered me about the graphics in WoW, even though I know the game can't simulate physics 100% as it would take too much computing horsepower: when something dies in water, it looks exactly the same as if it had died on land. Well, apparently that's a bit different in Pandaria, and I appreciated the attention to detail that went into building a model for death in water rather than on land.

Then the cat's limp body led me to realize that IttyBit's going to be dead sooner rather than later, and I lost interest in playing.

* * *

Anyway: in order to get to work at 7 AM on Monday, I've got to leave here no later than 6:15. That gives me time to get to work, get organized, put stuff into my locker, etc, and I can be sitting in the lobby waiting for my boss at 7 AM sharp. (As instructed by the HR person: "Use your badge to get in, then wait on the sofa for....")

After that, as I said yesterday, I expect I'll have to be at work at 5 AM every day the rest of the week. Hopefully I won't have to work on Saturday, too, but if I do? MONEY! Which I desperately need.

If things go as I expect, then, I'll work 49 hours next week. If Saturday's a workday, it'll be 57...which is 17 hours of overtime.

And I--same as when I was at Target--really don't care what they have me do. Load, unload, stack, unstack, sweep the floors, whatever, because they're paying me to do it.

* * *

When I ordered the tires last week, I also requested the place's catalog. It turned out to be an inch thick and chock-full of all kinds of stuff. It's got me thinking.

One idea I had was to put a set of driving lights on the road bike. I don't feel like paying $300 for a set of motorcycle-specific driving lights, though. It occurred to me that I can install a set for a car that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, and which wouldn't draw too much power. Find a place to mount a switch and relay, run the wires, clamp them to the highway bar--it'd work pretty well, I think.

There's a way to mount them to the tri-tube assembly, which would probably look better. Or I could get a light bar and mount them that way.

The more elaborate you get, the more expensive, of course.

* * *

The rain appears to have stopped, and I've got shocks to install. Here's hoping!

#3624: When am I going to learn??

So I hied myself out to the driveway to change the shocks on the Jeep.

The fronts went pretty fairly. There was a learning curve involved with taking out the old ones; it took me perhaps twice as long to do the first one as the second, because on the second one I knew what I was doing.

The problem was the top nut: it rusted to the shaft, and although there's a handy little flat on top for holding the shaft while you turn the nut, there's no room to get a second tool in there; it's under the master cylinder on that side.

So after using vice grips on the shaft in the fenderwell, and getting it MOSTLY off, I couldn't get that top nut any further. I tried cutting it with the cutoff tool, but--same story--couldn't get the right angle on the thing due to the master cylinder. No matter how tight the vice grips were on the shaft, it would still turn.

Then it hit me: I could take the die grinder and grind a flat onto the shock absorber shaft. That would keep the shaft from turning!

...and it did, quite nicely. The top nut came off easily after that.

So all I had to do was repeat that process on the passenger side, and I was done with the fronts in a relatively short order. When I went to pry it out of its lower pocket the thing hissed at me (though part of that was probably due to the flat in the shaft) and when I turned it over and leaned on it to see how it was, the dang thing collapsed easily, didn't rebound, and leaked.

"No, that one didn't need replacing!" I said sarcastically. "It'll last another 100,000 miles!"

Then I turned my attention to the rear.

The bottom shock bolts came off easily. Too easily.

The tops? You'd think the tops would be fine, but hell no. I broke one off right away, so what did I do? Why, I promptly broke the other one off too instead of stopping right the hell where I was and taking it to a shop.

And did the same on the passenger side, figuring, "WTF, it's a broken bolt. Buy new ones and a tap, drill them out, tap, presto!"

It was getting later, and when I checked the time I saw that it was 5:30, so I kitted up and rode the motorcycle to the hardware store. Got the bolts, got the tap, then rode back.

Finished drilling, then applied oil to the tap and began tapping the hole. And in the process of tapping the very first hole that I'd drilled, the f-ing tap broke.


Lessons learned:

1) Don't decide to replace suspension components the Saturday before you start a new job.

2) When you break one bolt and it's the Saturday before you start a new job STOP DOING ANYTHING.

3) When tapping a hole with a cheap tap (ie one that doesn't cost at least $25) you must not attempt to tap the hole as if you were using an industrial-quality tap. Advance it a quarter turn, back off half a turn, screw it back in that half-turn and advance another quarter-turn, etc. (On the job in Rantoul, I used industrial-quality taps and had no trouble.)

4) As Og pointed out, "Whoever thought it would be a smart idea to have a stamped steel bracket with a welded nut on top ought to have his head jammed up Oprah's ass for a week." Particularly when it's exposed to water, dirt, and road salt. (The nut on the stamped steel bracket, not Oprah's ass or the jerk's head.)

5) I have good friends and family.

...that last because my uncle will give me a ride to work on Monday (if I need it) and Og has offered to help me try to get at least one shock absorber on the truck tomorrow, so I can at least drive it to and from work before taking it to a shop to get the other side dealt with.


One other thing. Recall here I couldn't find the 1/2" wrench? I found it today. It was laying on the front skid plate, the one that protects the radiator and the front of the engine.

It's been laying there for NEARLY TWO YEARS.

You'd think that after I've been driving the thing all over hell and gone for 22 months, somewhere along the way it would have fallen off; but no, it was right there next to the lip of the skid plate the entire time. WTF.