Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Toy Or Headache??

Bought another 4wheeler this week. Didn't pay much, it hasn't been run in 8-9 years. It's probably never been under cover since it was new in '94.

New Toy or Headache??
When he said it had a plow I offered more than I had originally thought to give.

It will be under cover soon, I plan on putting it in the barn for the winter while we are SnowBirds. When we get back in the spring I'll work on getting it working. Right now I know it needs brake work and probably work on the front driveshaft. Hopefully it's only need U-joints. If it needs a yoke for the U-joint, then it'll get pricey!! The back tires are shot, but it came with replacements, all I have to do is get the old tires off and mount the others. I'm going to go see my neighbor and see if his tire machine will work on the ATV wheels.

When I told The Old Lady that I was considering buying it, she said that when I get it running we could both go riding with the two machines. I bought a used machine in working condition 5 years ago and have been using it around the place. Also used it to go icefishing a couple winters.

The machine I bought 5 years ago.

Now I think I'll head over to the neighbor's and see if he can change the tires on the rims.

I Think I Finally Got The Hang Of It??

Making sourdough bread that is. Last winter I created a sourdough starter from scratch. No yeast other than that which is in the flour and in the air. I've tried several times to bake bread with the starter with varying results.

This was my first attempt and it came out OK, a little overbaked and burnt on the bottom. Then I tried baking the bread in a breadpan and less time. Those turned out to be underdone and doughy in the middle. The Old Lady compared some to a brick!!

This is my latest attempt. I made these the other day. Figured out I was rushing things. I didn't allow enough time for it to proof and rise. These loaves took almost 24 hours total from start to finish. I started the proofing the night before and 12 hours later started mixing the dough. Then 2-3 hours to rise, a couple more hours to rise again, and finally a couple hours to rise in the pans. They finally came out of the oven in the evening.

Before I made these loaves I shared my starter with The Oldest Daughter who is a cook. She took it to work and everyone there was excited about it. Haven't heard yet if they have baked anything with it or how it turned out.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scrubbing Bubbles??

The flash really highlighted how beat up the table is!!
This is actually a brush with a soap dispenser. It said it works best with Dawn detergent because that's who makes it.

When I took this out of the package and set it down it reminded me of the scrubbing bubbles in the TV commercial.  But this post is not about scrubbing bubbles, but about a power scrubber.

When I bought this I wasn't sure how hard it would be to just get the brush part. Turned out all I had to do was twist it a little and it came apart. The screw and washer and nut is so I can attach the brush to my drill.

And here is my power scrubber. After I put it together I used it to get rid of the soap scum in the bathtub. It looked so clean The Old Lady took a bubble bath in the evening!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's Still Fucking Magic

I thought putting a new battery in the wireless mouse fixed the internet problem, I was WRONG!! Tonight while trying to watch a show on NetFlix we got the "internet connectivity problem" message again when the picture froze and it started buffering. I pulled the dongle for the wireless mouse and refreshed. We were able to watch a few more minutes of the show then it froze again. Tomorrow I get to call tech support at the phone company again. Whatever it is, it is worse in the evening from 8:30 to 9:00. It's like the internet feed stops completely. It's about an hour after it screwed up and we seem to have service, but I haven't tried streaming anything, just checked emails and now doing a blog post.

The battery in the mouse was weak, but it hadn't started acting up like it usually does when it goes dead, the mouse was still working.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Electronics Are FM, FUCKING MAGIC!!

Recently we've been having problems streaming stuff on NetFlix and other sites.  With Netflix it seemed like we could watch most of a show and then it would freeze with about 5 minutes left to go!! We spent the better part of a week trying to watch an episode of Inspector Lewis on PBS. It would play for awhile and then freeze and start to buffer. We tried various things to get it to stream, would pause it, sometimes we would back it up a minute or so in the hopes that it would continue. Usually it would play up to the point where it froze and freeze again. In trying for 4 nights we managed to get about half way thru the episode.

Occasionally we would get a pop-up saying "Internet connectivity problem." I called tech support at the phone company that provides the Internet. The guy had me hook up the laptop directly to the DSL modem and it still had the problem. Could hear the audio stopping and starting as I tried to play a video. That eliminated the router as the problem. Was wondering if it might be the laptop as it is 6 years since I bought it and it was a refurbished one at that. Borrowed another computer and it worked fine. Tried the laptop again in case the phone company had fixed the problem. Laptop still wasn't working right.

Then I thought maybe the dongle plugged into one of the USB ports might have something to do with the problem. Unplugged it and it seemed to play normally. Then The Old Lady said, "I wonder if the battery is going dead in the wireless mouse?" The wireless mouse is what the dongle is for. Anywho, I replaced the battery in the mouse and plugged the dongle back in while the laptop was playing the episode we had so much trouble trying to watch. It continued to play normally and last night we watched several things on NetFlix with no problem.

What I can't figure out is how the hell a weak battery in a wireless mouse could affect the streaming of stuff from the intratubes??? Like I said in the title of this post, "ELECTRONICS ARE FM, FUCKING MAGIC!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Water Heater

Earlier this summer the water heater died. It was about 20 years old and finally gave up the ghost. I'd replaced the thermocouple a couple of times, but that was the extent of the maintenance. It did get drained and flushed a few times and was moved once. We originally got it to replace the water heater in our 12x60 mobile home. When I built this place it got put in here.

We decided we didn't need to rush out and buy a new one, we could get by for awhile as it was summer and we had the stove to heat water for doing dishes and other stuff (bird bath). Also we had The Guppy where we could take showers. Just had to wait awhile (10-20 minutes) for the water heater to heat the water.

Finally on the 9th we ordered a water heater from Lowes as I have a Lowes credit card and can do 6 months with no interest on large purchases. While we procrastinated the price went up. But on the plus side learned they do a discount for veterans. I knew they did a discount for military and retired military, but didn't know they did one for short-timers like me.

The only bitch I have with Lowes is they didn't let me know when the water heater arrived at the store. When we ordered it the expected date was the 24th, on the 25th The Old Lady called and was told it was there so we went and got it. Asked about the veteran discount and showed my VA card and got 10% knocked off. As I was working on installing it the other day I noticed a tag on the box that said it had arrived at the store on the 22nd. The least they could have done is send me an email to say it was at the store or the store could have called!!

Anywho, the other day I decided to do the water heater swap. Got the big box off the truck and with a hand truck got it into the house. Before I did that I drained the old one. Disconnecting the old one wasn't a problem, disconnected the gas line and the two water lines. Hauled the old one outside and removed the plumbing parts I needed for the new one (water lines and gas fitting). Put the new one in place and hooked it up. Checked the gas line for leaks, checked OK. Filled the tank with water, had a leak at the union on the hot water outlet side, tightened it. Lit the pilot, which is different than the old one. The old one you lit it with a match, the new one had a sealed burner unit and you push a button that creates a spark to light the pilot. Got it lit and turned the knob to start heating the water.

It worked for about 5 minutes and then went out. Thinking Fuck, spent all that money and the fucker doesn't work. Tried lighting the pilot, pilot would light, but when I released the knob it would go out. This new ones has several wires going to the control, one is for the spark deal and there are a couple others. It also has a light that flashes (the light also supposedly will give you codes to tell you what's wrong, from 0 to 8 flashes, well I had 0) when it is working. The light had gone out and would not come back when the pilot was lit. Tried several times with no luck. Then looked at where the wires went and noticed a small button (looked like a small peg between the terminals) where the two wires plugged in, pushed the button and when I lit the pilot the light started flashing and I turned the burner on and it's been working ever since.

The disgusting thing about this is it came with a 36 page instruction manual telling how to install and maintain the water heater. It also has a trouble shooting guide for things like "no hot water" which basically tells you to light the pilot. If after several tries and it doesn't work call a service technician. NO WHERE IN THE FUCKING MANUAL DOES IT MENTION THERE IS A FUCKING RESET BUTTON!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Finally Got The Parking Brakes Fixed

Yesterday I finally got the parking brakes fixed on my truck. Almost 2 months after I bought what I thought was the only part I needed to fix the parking brakes. As I said in the earlier post installing the cable kinda made the brake work, but then I discovered the lining had separated and disintegrated on the side that didn't lock up. I figured no big deal, I'll get a set of shoes and replace them. I didn't get them right away, it was a couple weeks later. When I went to replace the shoes I discovered that one of the shoes with no lining had come loose and jammed against the other shoe.  I removed the shoes and what parts were left to hold the shoes in place. So I bought a hardware kit because some parts were missing and others damaged badly enough to be unusable.

The parts between the shoes was what I needed to finally fix the brakes. This is the old shoes (the ones that were left) before I changed them. Took a couple pictures in case I forgot how to put it back together. 

Then when I had the hardware kit and went to install the shoes I found there was another missing part. Part of the mechanism that pushes the shoes apart was missing. Yesterday I went to see my neighbor because he has a wrecked Expedition. I got the parts I needed and cleaned them up and they were froze in place with rust and crud. A little Never-Seize on the pin the parts pivot on and I got everything installed. Now the brakes lock up and will hold the truck. The main reason I wanted to fix the parking brakes is the truck is a stick and with over 230K miles the engine probably doesn't have enough compression to hold the truck by putting it in gear on a hill with any kind of slope.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I Gave Up On My Half-Assed Smart Phone

Last winter before heading South to Missouri I got a cheap smart phone. I was told that Johnson's Shut-In where we were going to be campground hosts had WIFI, but poor cell service so I got a cheap smart phone that had WIFI  with the thought that if I couldn't use the cell service, maybe I could connect thru the WIFI. Turned out that wasn't the case because the WIFI signal area was so small you had to be right next to the antenna to receive the signal. Turned out I had an occasional cell service so I was able to use the phone to talk and text when I had a signal.

The WIFI part of the phone works great, too bad it sucks as a phone!! I was learning how to operate the phone for various things and downloaded several apps to make it work better. (Didn't like that fact that I had to download an app that would tell me how many minutes I had left on the phone or another one that would tell me how long the calls I had made or received were!!) I was able to do Twitter and facebook using WIFI, didn't want to burn up the limited amount of data I had available on the phone. Using it as a phone is another story.

I had trouble making calls with it. If I went into my contact list and was looking for a number, it would sometimes start to call when all I wanted was to look for the number. I guess I just don't have the right touch with my fat fingers. The sound quality sucked, it would break up and I would miss words, etc..  Like I said it was hard to make calls, either thru my contact list or dialing the number using the keypad (fat fingers again, would hit the wrong numbers or same number twice).

One of the more annoying things about the phone was there was no way to do different alert ringtones for different things. Like I couldn't do a separate one for text messages. It would do the same ringtone for messages, new twitter messages, picked up a WIFI signal, etc... Every fucking thing was the same ringtone for everything other than a phone call!!

My problem was I went with such a cheap phone. It said it was 4G WIFI so I thought it would be good. The WIFI works great, but not the phone. I may try a smart phone sometime in the future, but I would like to be able to try it first, but when all you see is either a dummy one in the store or pictures and info online, that isn't possible. Or maybe I need to be smarter than the phone???

So yesterday I went back to a flip phone. It will be more of a hassle texting, but hopefully I'll be able to make and receive calls.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Another Guppy Repair

Last year I changed the black water tank in The Guppy. When I put the new tank up into place I couldn't see if the vent pipe was in the vent fitting properly. I knew the waste pipe from the toilet was in place right as I put it in from above. We would occasionally experience a smell from the holding tank. Last week I decided to see if I could see the vent pipe connection to the tank from above.

There is this panel in the corner of the bathroom and I figured it was hiding the vent pipe. I was right, when I removed the panel I saw the vent pipe. When I tried to see down to the tank there wasn't a big enough gap in the floor to see down to the tank. I used a hole saw to cut a hole in the plywood between the toilet and the vent pipe. Even then I had trouble seeing what I wanted to see. I tried getting the pipe into the fitting with no success. I cut the plywood from the hole out to the edge and cut the pipe so I could pull the pipe out and see what the fitting looked like. The pipe had been off by half an inch or so and had flattened out part of the fitting. I cut a chunk of pvc pipe about 4-5 inches long and put it in the fitting to make it round again. Later I was able to get the vent pipe back in the fitting, but it wasn't easy.

The problem from the git-go was the water lines that are next to the vent pipe. The one on top of the other was clamped along side the other and against the vent pipe.  I figure they pushed the vent pipe over when I removed the old tank and that's why the vent pipe didn't line up with the fitting even tho I had measured carefully before I cut the holes in the new tank for the fittings.

In my last post I mentioned how I don't throw stuff away. I have a couple buckets full of plumbing parts, pvc fittings, galvanized fittings, copper fittings, valves, etc.. I thought I was all set to glue the vent pipe back together after I found an inch and a half coupling, WRONG!! Somewhere in that joggle the pipe goes from inch and a half to inch and a quarter. Now I got 1 inch and inch and a half couplings in pvc, but not inch and a quarter. So today I made a trip to town and bought a coupling for 89 cents and put the bathroom back together.

The Old Lady is planning on us spending the winter in The Guppy down in the Southwest, probably AZ. We don't want the shit tank stinking up the place if we are going to be living in The Guppy for several months!!!!!