The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Sunday, January 22, 2023

I get stuff done!

Yesterday was a great day!

I completed tasks! (well almost)

I have three ongoing projects. Actually it is more live five or six but for the sake of avoiding tedium I will stick to four.

A month ago my wife and I helped her friend clean out the shop of an elderly gentleman who was moving into the rest home. I ended up hauling home a Ford 9N. I put it in the barn and then it refused to start. It took me a week or so to figure out that the reason it was turning over slow was that the ring gear was spinning on the flywheel. I fixed that by applying wicking Loctite 390 to the ring gear and turning the flywheel until the Loctite grabbed and it stopped turning. (The ring gear had been tack welded to the flywheel) 

But... I had left the key on and I burnt the coil. So I thought I would do a tuneup. This was a pain in the arse as the distributor is affixed to the front of the engine and the coil is mounted on the side of the distributor cap. You have to remove the distributor (two bolts) to change and set the points. I could not get the new coil and cap to reliably pass electricity between them so I ended up just buying a whole new distributor and cap. ($50 pos Chinese clone) I hooked it all up yesterday. It runs!

I also changed the exhaust pipe and muffler as there was a really bad exhaust leak and it was very noisy. ($65) It of course did not fit. I had to cut and weld the pipe and adapt the exhaust hanger. I am no longer a very good gas welder. Plus I couldn't find any baling wire or a small enough tip for the torch so I had to do a little grinding and painting.

Turns out the exhaust leak is from the manifold. This is not my tractor, I am trying to sell it to a friend. I am getting a little too much money into it. Not sure I want to tackle the exhaust manifold. Things can go wrong with rusty and ancient exhaust manifolds.

I also got the top of the transmission covered on the White 2-155. This was a rather tedious job. The worst part was getting the drain plug out of the bottom of the transmission. I had to put a pipe on the end of a long breaker bar and hold the bar into the plug whilst my brother pulled on the bar. Nearly stripped out the square threads.

I was able to then flush most of the dirt and crap out of the transmission before putting the cover on. There is no way to keep crap out of the open transmission. 

The next problem was getting the three speed cleaned and drained. Of course the pressure washer would not start. Took me an hour but I did it.

My retired helper has been cleaning my shop. He tends to stuff things into odd places. When I get home from work he has a pile of stuff for me to sort through, I have been giving things away and making use of the trash can. He has made his way back to the freezer which hasn't worked reliably in five years. I hauled it outside and put it on a pallet for the guy who repairs old appliances. Of course the tractor wouldn't start and that took a half hour.

But, I got the three speed cleaned and drained and I got it sitting on the bench, the 9N running, the freezer moved. and the top of the transmission cover on. Not a bad Saturday.

Monday, January 9, 2023

My life at the Uni and why I keep using up my sick time

I took the day off work. I don't like Mondays...

Yesterday it poured down rain when I was loading pig feed. 

It stopped the moment I was finished. God was telling me that is what I get for skipping Church and working on Sunday.

One customer decided to delay his pick up. He also noted that he had the same headache as me and it lasted two weeks. I told him thankyouverymuchly!

So I called in sick for Monday. Mostly because it is really getting harder and harder to go to work. It is really silly. I just feel like I am wasting my life. Not sure why I am so reluctant to actually go to work.

My daughter graduates April 29th and so it no longer fiscally makes sense for me to continue my job. It is a problem however to decide what to do.  I have decent insurance. I get 16hrs time off per month. The generous retirement contribution may come back. I get paid $5 an hour below similar jobs in the real world. I do not have to work hard at all. In fact I probably should be doing a second job, or reviving the Daily Strumpet while at work because once the low productivity standard has been set, it is counter productive to improve.

The only marketable skill that I have is my Commercial Driver's License and I don't like driving truck. Scares the poop out of me. I also get lost. I have been looking for Turf Management/Groundskeeping jobs but the problem is that I really don't know that much because I work for people who know nothing. Instead of getting certifications in my spare time I have been working Farming. I should be doing certifications instead of watching old clips from the Benny Hill show at work, Hmm... New Plan for the new year???

I have been trying to be more positive and see my job as a wellspring of bitter humor. It never disappoints. 

Last Friday I was talking to a coworker about the issue of student enrollment. Suckering Hispanic parents who have never attended college into sending their daughters to a Private University by implying upwardly mobile social status is my school's current marketing plan. What is funny is that it is totally working!

The school seems to have lost the previous market where rich Chinese parents sent their underperforming students to America in the hopes of a green card marriage or just to get rid of them for four years. This was an important funding source.

White people are totally out of fashion in the Academic world so recruiting legacy students is a lessor priority.

But, I digress.

I was talking to a coworker. Keep in mind this coworker is a Pastor, he is very serious appearing, he is a man who cares deeply about students and people and who works hard to take on leadership roles no one else will do. In short, an innocent, and a good guy.

So he is telling me about a girl from Spain who wants to attend our University. I not sure his exact connection but I think she is a friend of a friend through Church. My friend contacts the Admissions department to find out how to get her the info on enrolling, to see about foreign student tuition, admission requirements, and so on. 

First of all, the admissions lady wants to know how the girl is paying. My friend says that actually a lady in France is paying. (which was of course too much information.) The admissions lady gets all upset and concerned about... SEXUAL TRAFFICKING!!! My friend was confused and rather hurt as this is just beyond his comprehension. 

He notes that he is 50 years old, he has a son her age, and why would he bring her to the USA and pay that insane tuition just for sex, and I am saying in my head, "Cause she is over 18 and kind of hot..." But, I internalized that. I mean if I had a million dollar income I would pay for her to the come to the USA and marry one of my Nephews just cause I am great Uncle.  Shoot, I were in his situation I would actually be willing to claim she was my daughter, get her free tuition, NOT tell her, and then make her do farm work and go to antique tractor shows, play with legos, go on motorcycle rides, all just because I miss my daughter. (I but I would make a legally binding contract because she would probably find me a bit annoying and want to go back home again.)

But, I digress...

I assured him it was because the Admissions Lady had probably just had some required sexual harassment training that she actually took seriously and is just being extra careful. 

Yup, that's my University! They wouldn't know sexual trafficking if it bit them on the ass but they can certainly alienate well meaning, overly honest, and slightly confused people.

All of us hourly wage folk have to take sexual harassment training and racial bias training and it was not an hourly wage employee who fingered a student and got a major lawsuit against the college! Go figure...

For my next post I am torn between relating the story of my coworker who brutally prunes trees to death and get congratulated by the most of grounds team and supervisor because they have zero knowledge of tree care but don't actually know they are idiots, OR the new publicity girl who actually dresses like Jessica Rabbit, and claims to have invented the term "Adulting."

I am torn, what is the difference between "Absurdism," and "Surrealism." I don't know, I am only a groundskeeper...

Note: This year I have an awesome workstudy student. He really likes to work so we get a huge amount done. But, he also likes to drive around and talk about fishing, building his AR, laughing about the liberal idiots, and Friday he discovered my bluetooth speaker. My phone bluetooth died so he hooked up his. He wanted to know what I liked to listen to. He now enjoys George Jones, Billy Joe Shaver, and (shudder) David Allen Coe. I feel God will punish me for the latter, and rightly so.

I have not introduced him to Scuzzy Twittly...

Sunday, January 8, 2023

I fall behind on my blogging. I suspect the number of readers who wait anxiously for a new post has diminished slightly over the years. I know I have not been keeping up with my the blogs of my gentle readers.

I keep thinking I will become more optimistic and that my blog will become funny and informative, but alas I seem to be in a continual downhill slide that can only end in... well, just me being a grumpy old farmer.

There are interesting things I am doing. I am working on another White 2-155 charge pump. This is the third time I have removed the cover of a 2-135/155 transmission. I have become fairly adept at it. Aside from introducing a lot of dirt into the transmission/hydraulic system.

I was given another Pioneer receiver and am trying to figure out how to fix the hum in the output stage. 

I am into process of doing a tuneup on a 9N Ford which has the coil affixed to the distributor which is in turn attached to the FRONT of the engine and virtually inaccessable. (I figured it out)

I am in the process of building a Colt M1911 Commander and am trying to decide if I should do it in .45 or .22 and if I should buy the jig or just go by measurements in my new book, "The US M1911A1 Pistols, A Shop Manual," By Jerry Kuhnhausen, and use a milling machine.

Currently I am setting on the couch with heat on my knee and ice on my head.

I have had a headache for a week. I feels like my brain is trying to crawl out my left eye. I wish it success as this might end the headache. Strangely enough this started the day I went back to work. Probably only a coincidence.

Last night I was working on my White 2-155, (actually I was listening to George Jones and fixing up a hydraulic jack my wife bought at a garage sale) and I got a call from my wife. The oven was on fire and sparks were shooting out. She couldn't find the breaker and so I told her to hit the main power. I then ran to the house and tripped going up the steps. I didn't notice anything amiss (I fall down all the time) until I tried to kneel down to figure out the small writing on the breaker box. Pain shot through my knee and I almost feel over again.

The stove was not serious. The element decided to die in a rather spectacular fashion. However, my wife is now quite concerned with my health. My brain hurts and my knee hurts. This means heating pads, ice, bed rest and use of my sleep machine.

What I find rather amusing is what I do when I am half asleep. I was having dreams about my daughter and my knee hurt. I got up and found an ice pad. I then pulled the covers over my head as I had the sleep machine hooked to my nose and I can breath under the covers without fear of dying from an accidental toot and I imagined building a sprayer for my Gator. I woke up to my wife shaking my (good) knee and exclaiming that we would be late for Church. It was 10 a.m.

The short of it all was she got me coffee, gave me specific instructions on taking care of myself, but also she expected the fire going and the chickens fed, and she went to Church.

I did most of what was expected of me. (Although I did take a break to go help my neighbor start his car and I painted her garage sale jack) and now my head hurts like thunder. Whatever.... Getting old is a bummer.

I hope you all have a nice day...

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