21 July 2014

All is quiet on the home front

The wife and kids went to visit her family up north.
It's so quiet!
With 3 kids it seems like everything is an event.
Like a breakfast Jenga game is an epic stressful battle.
Then when I need new shorts,
there's never a lack of help.
Yeah that's how we do it...
Glad they're having fun up there...

17 July 2014

pave the world - part 1

A couple months back I wrote about some free bricks.
The idea seemed easy,
pave our little world.
Time flew by.
The plan was a summer project,
and now it's summer!
The hard choice was where to start.
The easy place would be inside the fence,
where there are no borders just flat dirt.
The needed spot was alongside the alley.
I didn't write about this,
but during the wheel swap on the merc,
a jack stand was mounted on the dirt/cement,
and kinda slipped.
Nothing major,
just a wake up of how we could use every precious square foot of hard land.
In addition the weeds won't get so crazy,
and the dirt will not blow into the garage.
One evening with the help of the moon,
we whipped through a couple rows,
realizing this was way more work then anticipated.
The free bricks were only half cleaned.
Many required tedious chipping of old cement.
The hard pack dirt was full of little rocks,
and needed to be dug out flush with the alley cement.
Holey chit.
A weekend lunchtime Craigslist hunt found another free brick stash.
Nice and clean but a newer style,
a little thinner and sharper.
Guess these will go on the other side of the fence...
We powered down on Sunday.
You can see the dirt had to be dug out to make level with the cement.
using mainly a putty knife.
I missed the pic of the previous edge.
The line up was stepped and too high,
with big triangular gaps.
Not good for skating.
Time to do it right and fit the edges.
We do rent,
however the bricks will be here forever.
May as well do it right.
The kids helped a ton.
Chipping the bricks clean,
bringing water,
playing in the dirt...
Little by little the area was filled.
All of this was with chipping hammers and a putty knife.
I must be part chameleon,
as my skin started to blend in with the brick red surroundings.
You'd think I'd know better!
Now it seems like the end is near.
A couple hours every evening when the sun is low,
maybe by next weekend.
Funny how the nasty spots turn into the nicest spots!

16 July 2014


With the neighbors gone,
It seems like a weight has been lifted.
Since we lived under a magnifying glass,
it was uncomfortable to do what some people consider fun.
One thing we hadn't done for a long time was take out the little inflatable.
We've got two smaller outboards,
and they hadn't ran for over a year.
The last thing the neighbors could stand,
was 2-stroke engines idling next to their rear entryway.
To make sure things ran smoothly,
I pre-ran the 15 hp Johnson at the house.
Good thing as there was no cooling water.
There were enough vanes to push water through,
the problem was the keyed metal insert would spin separate from the rubber.
No problem.
That's what the backup 9.9 Cabrea is for.
Super clean compared to the Johnson,
it's actually a rebadged 80's Suzuki.
I hadn't realized how opposite the two engines were.
One is metric, the other standard.
The Johnson has the side water inlets,
and the cabrea/suzuki has a horizontal inlet under the wing.
Instead of the typical rubber hose clamp adapter,
there's a threaded fitting for the flush plug.
Easier to use a 5-gallon bucket.
Of all things,
no go on the water cooling during warmup.
This impeller obviously grenaded,
And if you look closely the pieces plugged the hole.
Holey chit...
No surprise that the impellers are a hot item during summer.
The local shops wanted $20-30.
Since there was no rush and I'm cheap,
replacements were found online for half price.
Luckily they fit.
Now the kids are set for the summer. 

14 July 2014

a wonderful thing

So you remember how we went to see that Bob Weir show at Humphries  last week?
Well we got there a bit late,
and come to find out 
missed the mini-migration of moochers.
The kids and I returned from a wet boat ride,
and the beach was packed.
There were seriously 20+ kayaks and sevylor inflatables jostling for position on a super-moon high tide.
This creation took the cake.
We had watched them dismantle the beast last time.
Powered by two electric motors,
complete with a pee station.
Not too much attention to weight savings!
Over the years this party barge has evolved,
from 100's of plastic coke bottles to this.
We were on the exact opposite time schedule,
missing Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band.
Yesterday I'm sure these guys hooked it up for Steely Dan.
Good times!!

13 July 2014


The kids are getting bigger,
and after the short July 4th bike ride,
I realized it was time they move on to big boy bikes.
Jaxon was easy,
he'll fit onto one of my 3 now vintage mountain bikes.
Jakob was a little trickier.
After a critical mass bike ride last summer,
we found a small mtb frame/fork on eBay.
Perfect fit and decent quality.
Then in December,
a friend Matt moved to Maine,
and I scored his old salty bike.
A weird South American brand Calois aluminum frame,
 with all deore XT parts.
It was a tough decision to tear it apart.
 That was until it sat for 7 months unridden.
We tore into it,
and in 4 hours had the new jake-mobile.
Cool to have his help swapping the parts.
He even shortened the bars to fit.
Am I teaching him to never buy anything new?
In typical PB&S fashion,
we did finish to the single light bulb.
Their first ride up to the Point was flawless,
and they realized they could go 9 miles in an hour,
not an all day cruise.
Stay tuned as the donor will become a super-light single-speed.

10 July 2014

Controlled Delinquency

By chance I found out that Ratdog was playing down at Humphries,
a local concert venue.
Tickets were outrageously priced,
however this location is like the Cove at the San Francisco baseball stadium.
For years kayakers and little boaters have filled the waterway during shows.
A view and clean sound,
what more is needed!
We rigged up the inflatable just before show started,
missing a couple of the good first songs.
The kids were surprised to hear grateful dead tunes I've drilled into their heads. 
Of course after a while the novelty wore off,
but what can you expect during a 10 minute space jam!
The show was great.
I've seen Bob Weir play during the Dead days,
and back then he focused more on solo songs.
Why would he want to play the same GD tunes on his time off!
Now the band revolves around a dead-set,
and after 20 years since my last real dead show,
it was fun to hear.
After the show the kids we're let loose.
They had wanted to swim during the show,
but I had to play mean dad.
I may have gotten into a little trouble,
dropping off their friend at midnight!
Ahh well controlled delinquency...

09 July 2014

Police Caps

What's better then a trip to the junkyard on a 90 degree day?
Ken rallied out to procure parts for his multiple projects.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity,
although there isn't really anything needed right now.
Fun to see the methods of mechanical desperation.
Perfect uses of driveshafts and seat belts... 
Figure some guy with a bag of limited tools,
trying to scrounge up parts to fix or flip,
while baking in the hot sun.
Surprised this big block was still there.
Ken scrounged hard and got way more then this pic suggests.
The SUV was packed when we left.
My score was the elusive set of mini police caps.
There's usually only one lying around,
not the complete set of 4.
More importantly I gathered the special stepped lug nuts.
Of course using the shortest and sharpest ended lug wrench.
These high speed rims were also cool but so ugly...
Back home,
Jaxon and I rotated the wheels.
Now the wife's car looks even more like a  police cruiser!
Need to find a chromed front push bar...