Bob and Marilyn's Weblog
September 2016
Rolling train wreck
September 18
I'm really happy I don't have to vote in the upcoming presidential election south of us.  Its a horrible choice our American friends will have to make - a pathological liar or a complete idiot.  Do you want someone who will use the presidency like a personal piggy bank or someone who could wake up in a bad mood and start WWIII? Its an impossible choice and don't get me going on Gary Johnson, the guy who, as Dennis Miller put it, thinks Aleppo is the 3rd Marx brother.

Meanwhile I'm enjoying watching the libtard media slowly switch from smug assurance that nobody outside the power bubble could possibly believe in Trump to full blown panic as the realization sets in that this guy has a real chance.  I honestly don't know which one would be worse.  Its a sad situation when the voters' choice comes down to the lesser of two obvious evils.
Old Men & Old Cars
Health train wreck
Since moving to Buchanan we've inherited a couple of relatively old, relatively unhealthy male neighbours, one at each house.  We've introduced them to each other and they are sort of company in their mutual misery but neither of them is in good shape.  This week our neighbour at 515 got really low and we finally ended up taking him to Regina on Wednesday and then returning to Regina on Thursday to bring him home.  He's been doctoring in Yorkton, although I use the word "doctor" in its loosest sense.  It sounds more like he's been trying to attract the attention of the medical system and nothing has been happening except during the brief moments when he is sitting in a clinic generating billable hours in Yorkton.  

We were also painting the front of the old school which now serves as the village community centre this week.  Neighbour Keith - the 515 neighbour - showed up to help paint on Tuesday but he looked like a ghost.  He pulled me aside to tell me he hadn't slept all night and that his belly was in anguish.  He asked me if I would take him to Regina if his pain got worse.  Obviously I said I would but every time I checked with him during the day he assured me it wasn't bad enough yet.  Finally that evening he agreed that we could take him on Wednesday so that is what we did.  We dropped him at Pasqua Hospital Emergency around 1:30 and by 5:00 they had admitted him for the night to do additional tests.  By the next day they had figured out that he has some relatively unique internal inflammation that is causing most of his belly pain plus a cancerous tumour attaced to the artery which runs to his intestine.  Obviously not the ideal diagnosis but a hell of a lot better than what he had been fearing.  Most importantly it appears that his doctor in Regina has taken an interest in solving his problems.  His biggest problem in Yorkton appeared to be doctoral apathy so he has made a huge improvement by moving to Regina.  Pasqua Hospital was always light years ahead of General when mother and father were doctoring in Regina so their performance this week didn't come as a complete surprise to us.

Running a volunteer ambulance service means that the "new" Lincoln has had a great workout and absolutely nothing has caused me to regret buying it.  I got it up on the hoist early in the week and literally couldn't find any rust underneath it.  Obviously there's rust on the exhaust system but the body looked like it did the day it came out of the factory.  I bouught 4 cans of DIY undercoating in Regina and got them applied last night along with another can that I had on the shelf but I need to get a couple more cans.  There's such an expanse of clean metal under there that I just can't resist painting everything so its taking way more undercoating than I expected.  

I'm still waiting for the pins and bushings to correct the sagging door but that's also still the only "problem" I've been able to locate.  Today I'll flush the radiator and replace the coolant.  I haven't picked up any synthetic gear oil yet so I can't dump the differential and I'd like to flush the transmission as well but I may just stop at a transmission shop and let someone else do that. 
Painting the school
When the local school closed - I'm not sure how many years ago but it was a long time ago - the community took over the building and it now serves as a very active community centre.  It hosts a pottery room with a kiln and active ceramics group.  There's an exercise room with a complete complement of equipment and an active group.  There's the Black Box Players drama group which uses a lot of space to store props and costumes as well as filling the auditorium annually with its dinner theatre performance.  There's a bingo room with a regular bingo crowd that shows up every Wednesday night.  And there's a kitchen that hosts many dinners, weddings and anniversaries each year.  Six days a week there's a coffee group meets to tell lies and update the members on the community gossip over a $1 bottomless cup of coffee.  I confess that I go for coffee more often than I ever thought I would.  I have to actively try NOT to go every day - some weeks I'm more successful than others.  

The paint on the school was getting pretty shabby.  At some point in its life it was painted that battleship green that all elementary schools in western Canada were painted in the 60's.  The feds must have bought a million gallons of shitty green paint at some point.  That ugly green had been overcoated with a subdued yellow at some point and the yellow had started to flake off in spots leaving a pretty sad looking facade.  In spring the leaders of the centre found a grant and got $2000 approved to refresh the paint but the project had been procrastinated over the summer.  Finally this week we got around to getting the painting done.  My little Genie lift was an important part of the project.  Of course it refused to start one morning which was moderately embarassing but I was able to tow it home with the Scat and was lucky enough to diagnose the problem almost immediately so it didn't hold us up for long.  

Yesterday we finished up the painting and a couple of us spent the afternoon on the roof of the old gymnasium patching flashing and slobbering tar on suspected leaky spots.  Only time will tell how successful that was but we can't possibly have made it worse.  We've been talking about using the Genie lift inside the gym to change lightbulbs but getting it inside the building was a challenge.  Yesterday Clifford pointed out that the cage on the lift actually folds flat on the platform.  I knew we could remove the cage and thereby get it small enough to get through the doors but Clifford pointed out that the whole thing is designed to fold down for precisely that purpose.  Now I need to find a forklift propane tank so that we can run it indoors without gassing ourselves.  A barbeque tank would fit in the bracket but the stoopid engineers use a (very slightly) different thread to attach a forklift tank than they do to attach a BBQ tank.  The threads are so close in appearance that I actually unhooked the tank from the BBQ, moved it to the Genie lift and spent a few minutes trying to thread it on before I realized that the damn injuneers had got me again.  Bastards.

I've been running the butt buggy back and forth to the school enough to get to the point where I can actually trust it.  So much in fact that I had to stop at the Co-op and fill it with gas yesterday.  The night before I rustled up a spotlight that I had on the shelf and installed a couple of red markers on the rear.  Now its as safe for night time activity as it is during the day.  Which isn't to say that its "safe", just that its no more dangerous in the dark than it is in the daylight.  It still has a tendency to stand up on its hind legs and stage a runaway if I'm not real careful with the clutch.  I really should put some kind of wheelie bar on it but there's only so many hours in the week.
9-11 Anniversary
September 11
OK - it needs to be said.  In all the eulogizing on the TV today I haven't heard anyone condemn the twisted desert tribalism masquerading as religion that inspired the awful terror that was inflicted on New York in particular and western culture in general just 15 years ago.  Winston Churchill called it Mohammedanism and he warned against it 50 years ago.  As usual he was right.  

I have no quarrel with Islam or Islamic immigration.  I have a huge quarrel with a society that is afraid to say clearly and openly "You WILL assimilate into our culture and you WILL accept our social norms or you will NOT be welcome in our country." That wasn't a necessary commitment in our last great waves of immigration because it was implicit in the minds of the immigrants and the citizens at the time.  Today it is necessary and we ignore that imperative at our own peril.
Boys & Their Toys
My new toy.  The old grandpa I bought it from evidently had a few incidents with parking pylons or concrete barriers.  Overall its in good shape but there's a few paint "issues"
We had a wet BC weekend with the kids in Sicamous.  Michael showed up with the boat Thursday night and RJ arrived on Friday.  It was great of them to make the effort to spend time with the oldsters.  I hope they didn't do it for the weather because - in typical BC fashion - the weather sucked big time.  

Our condo was one row back from the beach so not exactly as described but it was otherwise good.  It was a weird floorplan but well stocked with basics - we certainly didn't need to stop at Costco for toilet paper. Both of us picked up a flu bug somewhere so we weren't the best company.  Marilyn shook it faster than I did but I was kind of a downer the whole weekend.  

On Tuesday we got an early start heading west again and arrived in Surrey around noon.  The dude that I bought the car from was actually making the deal for his mom & dad.  The car had Vet plates on it and I'd say he was at least a Korean vet and likely WW2.  The car wasn't 100% as described but by the time I knew that it was too late to do anything about it.  In fairness to the seller we settled on a "fair" price but I thought the deal was better than it turned out to be.  I think there was some hood damage at some point which requred a repaint and that paint was really poor.  There was also serious sun fade on the right front quarter panel which should have been disclosed.  The damage that I'm repainting in the photo above is likely from Grandpa not knowing exactly where the corners were.  Otherwise the car is in exceptional condition and the trip home was completely uneventful.  In fact the trip home was damn pleasant.  Its the first time in a very long time that I have driven any vehicle without having the seat as far back as it will go.  I expect the last time I experienced that would be the last time I rented one of this model Lincoln from Budget back in the good old days when Budget only rented Ford products.

As expected, I ran into a bout of ICBC stupidity although in fairness I think stupidity is a necessary condition when you deal with ICBC.  I had checked before I left home and confirmed what I already thought - that I could buy a one way trip permit for the trip home.  The vendor had a bunch of very official looking ICBC multi-part forms that he had filled out so I took them, asked his mom where they bought their plates and off we went.  The first question the woman at the broker asked was "Have you ever had a BC drivers license?" and like a complete idiot I answered truthfully.  I immediately knew I should have lied but by then it was too late.  Then commenced 45 minutes of lunacy.

The woman I was dealing with immediately dialed what turned out to be ICBC support, got a voice menu and got put on what appeared to be indefinite hold.  As it turned out she evidently knew the system and I suspect she dials that number many times every day just as a precaution.  She pecked away at the computer for a very long time, asked me if I was sure my birthday was right, asked me if I had ever lived in Victoria and much other idiocy.  Eventually she asked if I had ever lived on Trepanier Road in Peachland which I had forgotten but was actually the physical address we used for our short tenure as BC residents.  Then she got connected to "support" who told her not to do what she was doing and then found someone living in Victoria that they claimed was me.  At that point the woman I was dealing with got very cross with the support person.  After much more back and forth eventually they took $109 for a 5 day permit (actually 4 days by my count but it's ICBC so you can expect to be treated fraudulently) and sent me on my way.  But not before warning me that the permit was only good in BC.  Which was complete bullshit of course.  I had already checked with the highway permit line which is the only option for phoned permits but they were very clear that they did commercial only.  So I suppose I could have stopped at the Alberta border and walked to --- I dunno - Banff?? and then bought an Alberta permit but I didn't.  I also didn't tell the woman at the broker that she was clearly a fool but I should have.  I did tell her that SGI had already told me she was wrong but her response was that SGI didn't know what they were talking about and they had no business telling me anything about how the world worked outside Saskatchewan.

So far I haven't found any rust anywhere on the car.  It's got an RIV sticker on it and the serial number indicates an original sale in the US so it was imported at some point.  I had it inspected in Regina on the way home and the only thing they could find wrong with it was wear on the driver's door hinge pin.  That's a known problem on those big Fords - the pin wears, the door sags and it gets hard to close.  I can still close the door but its tricky to get it completely shut so it definitely needs new pins.  They're a PITA to change. I hired a bodyshop to change the driver's door hinges on the 2001 Lincoln several years ago and they botched the job so badly I initially thought they had ruined the car.  The 1997 model is more difficult than the 2001 because the hinges are effectively non-removable on the older car.  There's a stud on the back of the hinge plate that bolts to the door pillar.  That stud goes through the pillar and for the top hinge the only way to reach the stud is to remove the dash.  How's that for an engineering fustercluck - pull the dash to change a door hinge?  Not gonna happen.  Fortunately there are pin and bushing kits available online.  The challenge is to get the old pins out without disconnecting (breaking) the door wiring harness.

Maybe I'll remember to take pictures of that project.  I've also got the standard tuneup parts ordered - plugs, wires, filters.  I'll change all the fluids, including a DIY transmission flush but based on the trip home and the SGI inspection I think its mechanically really sound.  That's good because I intend it to be a daily driver.  
My old toy, resurrected.  Bob's Butt Buggy rides again.
On the way through Brooks I stopped to pick up a 20 HP Onan engine that I bought about a month ago.  At the time I thought I might put it in the 2nd little Case tractor but - at least for the time being - it is living in the butt buggy.  I've missed having it for running around town and the 2nd Case is still sort of running on the Kohler that is in it.  The Kohler runs good until it gets warmed up at which point it starts bucking and farting at anything more than a dead idle.  I suspect it is a bad coil and I now have a replacement coil to try so I'll do that first.  Have I mentioned yet how much I detest gas engines?