Saturday, March 12, 2016

Improvements to the Portal to Hell

When I purchased this property 16 years ago, things were in tip-top shape. The man who sold the place was one of those great American jack-of-all-trade guys, always industriously working at something and producing excellent results. He had done so much carpentry work, plumbing, painting, and general sprucing up that the place was move-in ready. There were only two items that I should have used to negotiate a much better price: the roof on the house and the roof on the garage. There were several layers of shingles and it was obvious they would need to be replaced. Eventually I had to replace the roof on the house. I begrudged every penny spent because that roof was destined for a landfill when the new house was built. Such a waste! Once a roof begins to leak it accelerates right into decay and deterioration. I had no choice but to replace it.

The roof on the garage lasted another ten years but it too, at last, succumbed to the Second Law of Thermodynamics - all things tend toward disorder. Due to the new house there was no money for repairing that roof, so in dismay I have watched it fall into ugliness and decay. There was actually a round hole directly above the basement where the pressure tank of the well system resides, the tornado "shelter" - as if I would ever take shelter there! The entire building has fallen into disrepair, and any item "stored" in it is actually just waiting to be hauled to the landfill.

Until this week!!!!

I called for bids two weeks ago - received them in the mail on Monday, accepted one that night. There was no discussion of when it would happen but Wednesday I came home to a yard full of equipment and ALL the shingles off. I came home from work tonight, Friday, and the new roof was complete. I do not mind spending the money for such immediate and professional work.  What a relief to have this major problem resolved at last!

It surely is the nicest roof of any portal to hell any time, any where. I hope the whangdoodles appreciate it as much as I do.

Ugliness and an eyesore - and the winter portal to hell when I have to go in the basement to turn on the heater.

Still the portal to hell, but much nicer looking.

Post Script:
The reference to hell makes more sense if you recall the ordeal of descending into hell documented here: Portal To Hell

Monday, March 7, 2016

Assembly Instructions

Some months ago, I purchased a 9 cubic foot dump trailer to pull behind my lawn tractor. It was the alternative solution to carrying heavy buckets of water up the hill for the horses when it is too cold to use the garden hose to fill the water tank.

The trailer is ostensibly a Craftsman trailer, purchased at Sears for $115. I was thinking it was a GREAT bargain until I went to get it. It was in a long, impossibly narrow box. Some assembly required I correctly surmised. I was not worried. I built a Barbie Doll Dream House one Christmas eve. I have single-handedly assembled bicycles and swing sets and cheap furniture. I routinely make minor home repairs. I maintained my own Harley Davidson motorcycles. I can read assembly instructions like a boss because I was a professional technical draftsman for 20 years.

Thanks to a very warm winter, there were only a couple of times I had to carry water to the horses, so the box of unassembled pieces remained untouched in the garage until today, when I asked myself: Why not tackle that little project? I can use the trailer to haul rocks and limbs out of the yard before mowing this spring.

So... I tore open the box. Nothing looked too challenging and the assembly instructions were in well-translated English, always an auspicious beginning. I read: "Tools required - large flat screwdriver and 1/4" wrench or socket". What they REALLY meant was a Phillips screwdriver and a 10 mm wrench or socket. It went fairly smoothly after that but the instructions were not authentic Craftsman instructions. They were "Universal" instructions, apparently a generic brand of trailer. The trailer pictured did not show Craftsman on the side, but Universal. (No mention of THAT on the box, at Sears, or on the Sears web site!)

The instructions were for several different models but I figured it out because I am a goddamned American genius! That is what I told Jake when I had finished and stood back to admire the newly assembled little trailer.