Nick’s Blog

Mister Goodwrench

 Posted by at 12:40 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 172019
 

Are you sitting down? If not, I suggest you do so before you read on. And I don’t really recommend drinking anything hot or cold while you read the blog today, either. These announcements are made for your own safety.

Back in November, 2017, Terry and I bought a pair of Old Town Predator kayaks from a great family business in Titusville called Kayaks by Bo. We have really enjoyed them, and as soon as the weather cools down a bit we will be back on the water.

At the same time, our friend Jim bought an Old Town Predator PDL, which is similar to our kayaks, with the addition that besides being able to paddle it, you can also peddle it just like you would a bicycle. That makes them great for fishing, because you can slip up on the fish with less noise and water disturbance, and your hands are free. And, with the pedals you can go forward or backward, or pretty much stay stationary if there isn’t much current.

The pedal-powered Predator PDL is very stable, has a super comfortable seat, but it’s a big kayak, at 13.2 feet long, 36 inches wide, and weighing 117 pounds. And that can be a drawback. So, soon after he bought it, Jim picked up a used boat trailer that needed some refurbishing, so we cleaned it up and put new bunks on it, which I wrote about in a blog post titled Without Adult Supervision.

Jim used the kayak a few times and decided it wasn’t something he was really into, so it had been sitting on a trailer in his carport covered with tarps ever since. A few weeks ago, he mentioned he was going to sell the kayak and the trailer he had purchased for it, and he offered it to me at a price that was too good to pass up. I brought it home and put it in my carport, where it sat until just before Hurricane Dorian, when I moved it into the garage.

The one thing we didn’t do when Jim and I were working on the trailer was to replace the old trailer jack. It was showing a lot of wear and tear from a lifetime of being put into Florida’s salt water, the wheel had a flat spot, and the plastic handle on the crank was broken and hurt your hand when raising or lowering the jack.

I ordered a new Pro Series jack from Amazon, and last week I decided to swap them out. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought because the nuts and bolts holding the old jack in place were severely rusted. I sprayed them with WD-40 and let them sit overnight, and that didn’t do any good, so then I went to Strike Hold, the miracle in a can that will do just about anything you ever need done. Well, except loosen really rusted nuts and bolts.

No matter what I did, they just would not move. And it didn’t help that the flanges on the mounts made it just about impossible to get a wrench onto them. I tried using a deep well socket, but the length of the bolts was such that I couldn’t get near the nuts. That’s when I launched into Mr. Goodwrench mode.

Any of you who know me know that I’m not allowed to play with tools, but back before Miss Terry knew how inept I really am, on our first Christmas together she bought me a Dremel tool. I’m pretty sure she’s regretted that decision, and more than once I think she’s probably been tempted to take it away from me, but because it’s a gift and because it’s fairly low powered, I guess she figured I couldn’t do that much harm with it.

Using the Dremel, it didn’t take me long to cut off all of the bolts just where they extended past the nuts, and then I could get a deep well socket over the nuts. With Terry holding a wrench on the other side, and more liberal spraying with Strike Hold, I had hoped to accomplish something. But they still wouldn’t budge.

So I went to Plan B (always have a Plan B) and got out my cheater, a heavy length of pipe that I was able to put over the handle of the ratchet to give me more leverage. It still wasn’t easy, but eventually we did get things moving and got the old jack taken off.
It’s times like this when having a thick foam ErgoKneel HandyMat really saves the old knees. When we were fulltime RVers I always used one when hooking up my sewer hose, airing up the motorhome’s tires, or anything like that.

Installing the new jack was a lot easier than getting the old one off, though Terry got a couple of pinched fingers in the process. But we got it done with a minimum bloodshed.

I’m really looking forward to saying goodbye to the hot weather so we can get our boats out on the water again. I have missed it.

Thought For The Day – Never marry a woman who was captain of the debate team.

Sep 162019
 

Well, I said I was going to do it and I did. I sat down at my computer yesterday and started working my way toward the end of my new book, Dead Romeos, and except for a few breaks to get up and move around a little bit, and go to the bathroom, I kept […]

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 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 152019
 

I never trust anything the weatherman tells me because long experience has shown that they can point to their colorful maps and forecast anything they want and make all kinds of predictions, but in reality all they can really do is tell you what happened yesterday. For example, for the last few days they have […]

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 Posted by at 12:07 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 142019
 

“Keep your head down or you’ll get it blown off!” I can’t tell you how many times I heard drill sergeants and platoon leaders scream that at young soldiers when I was in Basic and Advanced Infantry Training. It’s a lesson that served me well and that I never forgot. It kind of goes along […]

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 Posted by at 12:36 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 132019
 

Thank you to everybody who made blog comments or sent me emails about finally breaking down and ordering my new office chair. I am really looking forward to it coming in so I can start enjoying the benefits. As I said in yesterday’s blog, when I saw the specialist on Wednesday, she immediately suspected my […]

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 Posted by at 12:53 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 122019
 

Yesterday I went a little bit crazy and bought myself a new office chair that cost more than my first new car. It is a Lifeform executive office chair from a place called Relax the Back in Orlando. My pain doctor first told me about them, and my chiropractor was very enthusiastic about them. You […]

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 Posted by at 12:22 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 112019
 

In a blog post a couple of days ago titled Building Stuff, I showed the cable and lock I had put together to secure our Honda generators when we have to use them outside during a power outage. At the time, I had the loops on each end of the cable secured with clamps and […]

Wait Five Minutes

 Posted by at 12:31 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 102019
 

We have all heard the old saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” Apparently the people at Amazon’s customer service department live by that same rule. Or at least the ones I’ve been dealing with lately do. In early August I ordered three Master Lock 265D Door Security […]

How Do They Do It?

 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 082019
 

I’m a small town boy at heart, and though I have been to just about every major city in the United States and a few in other countries, big cities just don’t do a thing for me. So I avoid them whenever I can. But yesterday we took a trip down to Orlando, and I […]