September 24, 2013

Time Travel To The Present

Just as implied by the title a considerable amount of time has past since I last blogged so let me start with just a few brief events in the years of the recent past. Three "Major" life events have come to past for the Ms. and I. We've had two beautiful grandchildren arrive in all their splendor.
Mason was our first
He's seems to be a clown and we really enjoy the time spent with him. Our second angel was a perfect little girl, Caroline Grace.


Next big event revolved around a years worth of planning and planning and then some more planning. When July of 2013 arrived we finally had the biggest wedding shindig I believe I've ever seen, let alone be a part of. 250 + people gathered for a one night extravaganza and witness the marriage of our little daughter Rachel.

It truly was an event to behold and such a privilege to be a part of. After it was all said and done we had many attendees mention how lovely and special the wedding was. So out of the four children we have be one left. Empty nest is coming sooner or later, I suspect. While we've managed all these things and still maintained full-time jobs my better half and I may be just a few short years away from retirement. Her with 39 + years and I'll end up with around 22, both working as government employees. Then I think we'll both head to the lake PERMINENTLY!!!!!!!!!!!


July 4, 2011

Heat Exhaustion?

Last week temps averaged around 98 degrees (In the Shade) and this past Saturday peaked out at 102 f.  Things are so dry and HOT here in Houston that the entire county banned all fireworks and the sales there of.  Poor fireworks dealers, looks kinda weird driving down the county roads and not one fireworks stand!  Life has succumbed to staying in the ac'd home or car or office.  As pitiful as it may be and just to stifle our cabin fever that wonderfully gifted spouse of mine splurged 30 bucks and brought home our very first pool.

Not much to look at and I can only imagine what four grown-ups look like laying down in 24 inches of water.  Neighbors already think I'm a little strange, so this otta really give something to talk about. Heck, I don't care.  It's hot, all the lakes are at 90 plus water temps and the thought of getting out on the 120 plus degree concrete on two wheels is just not there.  Since Cy blew his starter solenoid and his old metal main fuse I think we'll just sit this hot spell out, continue to let the seafoam soak through those gummed up carbs and pray for cooler weather by, oh lets saaaaaay mid November!  God I hope sooner than that.  Those of you can ride in some sort of sensible climate ride a few for me.  Have a great fourth and God bless those of you who've fought for the freedoms we so often take for granted. 

May 25, 2011

Let The Juices Flow!

Over the weekend I managed to find just the right amount of time to take my scraggly butt to the auto parts store and get Old Cy a bit of new electrical juice in the form of a brand new battery.  By the looks of the old battery ( I used the term “battery” only because it kinda look like that same shape of bike battery) left over from the 80’s I’m sure Cy was in dire need of at least something that would help put fresh juice in his tired out old wires.  Of course the parts store didn’t have anything CY’s size that was already charged up and ready to go so I opted for the next best thing and bought the battery that required filling it with electrolyte and the following the manufactures charging instructions.  No problem, I can follow written instructions, it’s those verbal ones my brain flips out on.  Put it in black and white on a piece of paper and I can read it, and reread and then read it again and slowly it begins to sink in.  Typical Hillbilly!   Reminds me of Uncle Gezer and his new gun.  You see he got him a brand new shotgun one year for his birthday.  First shotgun he’d ever had.   He got so fired up about shooten the thing he grab them instructions, and began reading em out loud.  It sounded something like this,
·         Place gun barrel in right hand.
·         While pushing slightly downwards with the right hand, push the barrel release lever to open loading chambers.
·         Load ammunition into both chambers.
·         Snap gun barrel and gun stock back together.
·         To discharge firearm pull trigger firmly towards the rear of the firearm.
At that point Uncle G, doing just what the instructions said to do, promptly shot off three of his right toes.  Seems the instructions didn’t say nothing bout where to place the gun once it was loaded or about aiming the dog gone thing.  Poor Unc walked a bit to one side from that day on.
Anyway, based on my genetic background I read them instructions about ten times so’s I get em right.  After doing all the filling and charging I slid that new battery in Old Cy and connected up the cables.  Took a deep breath, turned on the ignition key and the idiot lights lit up like a brand new Christmas tree.   I could have sworn I felt Old Cy shudder like he had just gotten a shot of nitrous or something.  So, gently (Like it would have made any difference how I touch that button) I reached over to push the start button, hesitated a second and then pushed.  Cy answered back with, “Click, click”, and nothing more.   As if I didn’t believe what I had just heard I pushed the start button again.   Click, click, same thing like the first button push.  Here’s the Hillbilly mentality thing again.  Did I really think that pushing the button a second time would have some magical way of changing the outcome to something different than the first time?  Yep, I did and no it didn’t change nothing.  Now thinking back to my backyard shade tree wrenching days in the late 60’s and 70’ I figured I had to see if the solenoid had quit or was the starter itself gone.  Grabbing a screwdriver and flipping the key back on, I dead shorted across that solenoid and the starter kicked in and spun those cylinders like someone had poured hot bacon grease down em.  Cy fired a couple of times kinda half hearted but just didn’t seem to have enough fuel getting through his carbs to keep running.  Like a dummy I grabbed the close by can of starter fluid, popped a few shots in his empty air cleaner box and put the fire to him again.  Cy answered with a little more enthusiasm for a second and then voiced his resentment with a resounding POW out the exhaust!  Guess he wasn’t to happy with the starter fluid shoved down his throat.  And I’m sure the neighbors weren’t thrilled with the sound of a gun shot at 9:00 pm.   I decided we’d had enough explosive fun for the night besides I needed to put a can of Seaform cleaner in the tank and start the Seaform carb soak.  It’ll probably be Sunday by the time I get back to Cy and see how he’s doing.  So for now he can just lay back and enjoy the Seaform sauna.  I hope he cleans up his act soon, maybe a couple of new plugs might get him in the “Lets Ride” mood. What do ya think?

May 21, 2011

Jumping In- The Unexpected!

As you may or may not recall from previous blog posts I managed to purchase a neglected 82 Honda CB900custom several months ago.

Cosmetics seemed to be better than the usual faded out paint and tremendous amounts of rust.  Probably because it's spent most of its time in someone’s garage out of the weather.  That's not to say that mechanically it was kept up to snuff.  Yesterday began the rebirth of Cy.  Cy is the nickname the 900 was christened with when we picked him up from the "I never rode it" previous owner.  The buying story goes something like this.
    Bought from a "I never rode it" CL previous owner, Cy had no heartbeat, no electrical signs of life when we turned his key on.  He was DOA!  So out came the trusty jumper cables and a quick connect to my truck, turn the key and Cy lit up.  Hurray I thought, should I press my luck and push the start button or not?   That thought was halted quickly by the excited voice of son #2, "Fire it up dad, let’s see if it'll run".  Okay, why not?  Now lets' see, neutral light green, check.  Stop switch in run position, check.  Here we go!  Thumb hits the start button and it turns over but doesn't fire. Good sign!  Gas, "Hey is there any gas in the tank", I asked.  "Probably not", came the reply from the PO, “but I've got some in a can ".  A few gallons in and we're on the start button again.  Petcock to reserve, choke pulled out, hit the button and the old 900 fired up.  I'll say "fired up" for lack of better terminology.  It sputtered and coughed a few times and settled in on two cylinders running for a second or two then gave a half hearted sigh and stopped.  As he gave up the ghost he let it be known that he wasn't feeling to good at this point and decidedly puked gas out of his carbs and down on the driveway.  Thusly we named this neglected, once someone's road warrior, Cy.
  I knew that with all that happening right in front of the PO and hearing a female's voice from just inside his garage door yelling, " You finally gona get rid of that thing honey, maybe I can park my car in the garage for a change" the poor fella's fate was sealed.  He'd have to get rid of the bike right then and would probable let it go for next to nothing.  With cash in his hand, paperwork in mine, he bolted at the opportunity for a quick sale and offered to help push poor old Cy up in the bed of my truck.
   Flash to the present.  Yesterday I began the hopefully painless rebirth of CY.  Knowing I needed a new battery I decided anyway to throw some jumper cables on Cy and see if he'd try to at least get those two cylinders to fire back up.  If he did I'd spray some starter fluid in those other two that didn't want to fire and see if they fired.  That would tell me if I had an electrical problem in the spark plug systems or if I had a carb problem from it sitting to long and not running.  So with cables hooked up, truck running, I pushed the start button and Cy half butt fired but wouldn’t run.  Once more I tried with the same results.  I grabbed the starter fluid, a quick shot in the air intakes and Cy fired and sounded like he might have come up on three or maybe four cylinders for a second and shut down.  Cool maybe it's a carb problem and I’ll do the straight "Seafoam soak" for a week or so and loosen up what ever is gummed up inside those carbs.  But just to be sure that I can get fire out of # 2 and # 3 cylinders I’ll give the starter fluid trick one more shot.  Fluid shot, key on, push the button and nothing!  No starter, no turn-over, nothing.  Just a dull click from the solenoid. Several more attempts rendered the same results.  So now it’s go get the dam battery, like I should have done from the get go, clean all the starting circuits’ connections, and see if he’ll fire up the starter.  Jezz, I hope I didn’t screw up the solenoid or the starter. But, if I did, lesson learned!

May 14, 2011

Some "Need To Do’s" Done, Some Not!

Being that my last blog entry was back in February one could say that I’m not much of a writer.  And with that said probably not much of a rider either!  I do follow about 30 some odd other blogs and greatly enjoy their stories with the exception of one.  I can’t seem to find enjoyment reading about some aged motorcycle guy’s “self proclaimed” sexual prowess and/or his vulgar vernacular writing skills.  I guess some think that’s funny and that prompt is sufficent to entice his skill level.  Sad!

            I’ve managed to get a few “To Do’s done and have left “Cy” (Our nickname for the 82 cb900 custom) under wraps and neglected. Not unlike the previous owner did for probably the better part of 4 or 5 years.

Just an FYI of the underlying purpose of this whole garage stuff abatement thing. About a year ago my old brain came to life one afternoon, “Hey bud, how come you’re so anal about trying to keep your $30,000 truck so spotless?  Then you just leave it sitting in the driveway, out in the elements day and night.

It’s sat outside since it came home "new" back on 9/11/07. Covered in tree pollen, bird poop, bug poop, water spots and jet engine residual. But you somehow manage to keep a lawnmower, table saw, compound saw, yard equipment and other junk inside in the garage! So let’s logically think about this for a moment.  God I hate when the logical side of my brain wakes-up every now and then. It always cost us money and a boatload of time! Anyway I had this novel idea that maybe our garage could be used to keep my truck in. Whoa, new concept. Less time cleaning, less money on water, soap, ArmorAll, polish, wax, etc. Hey I might be onto something here. So with that said and some questionable handy man skills I began the “His Do List”.

Sidebar: There has been a "Honey Do List" since Eve's first conversation Adam.  So I'm officially declaring the "His Do List" with all the rights and privledges granted heretofore.  Females should feel free to accept and begin any "His Do List" items upon consultation with the originator.

Now , the rest of the story. First I needed a building of some sort to put things in and begin to clear out the garage. Keeping in mind the potential cost, I elected to buy and build a 8 x 10 foot metal shed out in our tiny backyard. Twenty four concrete blocks supporting a solid 2x6 and 2x4 framed floor. Then attach the building to the floor and presto, here’s what you get. Oh and I'll need custom build shelves inside to fit the mower, pressure washer under. I'll also stick in a couple of metal cabinets from the garage and anything else I can cram in.

BTW- Skip the date on the pictures, I'm too lazy to change it!

Now all the yard equipment, outdoor tools and both the table and compound miter saws can stay out there and not take up floor space in the garage. It took about two weeks to final put the lock on the doors and claim it completed. I almost forgot to mention that during the shed build we also got our first outdoor smoker. Of course that took some rearraigning on our tiny little 10 x 10 deck.
I've Never Smoked Anything In My Life! (We're Talken Bout Meat Here, Give Me A Break )

Number 2 on the “His Do List” was to build some kinda box to contain one of those 10’ x 20’ car awnings that we bought back around 1998.  The cardboard box it came in had seen better days and resembled something left for dead. It was a duct taped mess! After a weeks worth of drawings, hardware store trips and busted knuckles I finished up with this.

A 80” x 18” x 11” reinforced plywood crate with a set of fixed roller wheels attached to the bottom, reinforced (Ski-Rope) double handles, hinged fold-up top monster. The old cardboard box with everything in it weight a ton, this new one weighs a ton and a half. Yep, I'm guilty as charged of over building everything I do and this is another prime example! Is there a syndrome name for this besides anal? God, I hope so!

Third “His Do List” item was to consolidate 30 years of motorcycle and auto mechanic’s tools that were either scattered all over the garage or kept in one of the three small tool boxes. I was blessed to find a fellow that sold me this box for a hundred bucks cash. Still trying to keep those cost’s down to a minimum.

Fourth on the “His Do List” was the need for a dog-gone work bench in the garage. Now I had to be creative with this little project. I sure didn’t want to fill up the cleared out space I had just gotten with a hard mounted/fixed work bench. So interneting I went.  There I found a couple of guys who had built wall hinged workbenches. Hmmm, that's a great idea! So pencil hit the paper, tape measure hit the wall, get the saws back out of the shed and off to the hardware, again. I finished up with this.

A 6’ wide by 2’ deep fold-up work bench with removable legs. It’ll latch up onto the wall out of the way should we ever need to get the Ms. little Camry in the garage for some reason. I’m sure I’ll use this allot when I finally try to bring some life back into “Cy” the 900.

The fifth little project didn’t come off the “His Do List”. I pulled this one from the “Honey Do List”. It had been there a while and I needed to get this done before Mother’s Day. The Ms. had mentioned several times here recently that she wanted one of those Scentsy fragrance things for the front entry hall. The problem here was those little jewels are electrically operated and we don’t have a receptacle in that hall. So I make up a plan of attack, gather up materials (Hardware store again) and proceed to knock a hole in the wall. That sounds bad doesn’t it! Really it wasn’t a big deal nor was the project as a whole.

Now when you enter our humble abode we attack your sense of smell.
Our sixth and seventh projects will also come off the “Honey Do List”.  While these are going on I’m gona sneak some time in for Cy the 900. But first I’m gona have to unstick the brakes (I can barely push it around) then get a new battery and anf time permitting start the Seafoam soaking of the carbs. 

The sixth project, the hall bathroom, will take some time and a good chunk of money.She wants the bathroom de-wallpapered, and the remove all the old fixtures. Sink, cabinet, toilet, everthing. Basically strip it to bare walls.

17 Years Of  Use Has Taken It's Toll

Then we’ll stucco texture and white-wash the walls and finish it off with an antique style western vanity sink /cabinet combo and I don’t have a clue what kind of porcelain throne. But I’m sure it’ll be nice whatever it is.

Seventh on our list is to repaint the entire kitchen.

Walls, ceiling, doors, trim, etc. Of all the home improvement things to do to a house I believe painting (Of any kind) is the one task I absolutely can’t stand to do.  But it’s gona get done one way our the other. Maybe while all this is going on I’ll find just the right amount of “Spare” time to clean up that truck still sitting out in the driveway and put it into it’s new inside home. And as for “Cy” the 900.  He sits silent and lonely. Eager for his spark plugs to ignite and his chambers to explode once again. In faint whispers he utters , “How much longer must I wait to again feel the open road!


UPDATE: Now We're Getting Someplace!

Typical Holiday Garage Space Comsumption

Cy came out of hiding and scooted over so the buggy could get in the barn.

Tucked in safe and sound. Home at last!

February 25, 2011

Finally Tackling The "Need To Do's".

Since the Cypress 86er sale a few months ago and the siege of what Texians call winter, theres not been much riding for this old fart.  But I have to say that these few cool weeks have afforded me the chance to get busy and do some of the projects I'd promise myself and my wonderful spouse that I'd do.  We've built a storage building out back, set up and used our first meat smoker, built several standalone shelves and a huge wooden box from scratch.  I've also managed to cleared out a two car garage enough to be able to park my pickup inside for the first time.  I still haven't touch the 82 cb900 custom yet and the day times round here are starting to settle into the early Texas spring season.  I feel the itch but it hasn't gotten too bad, yet!  A couple more projects to complete and then the attention will go full force on the 900.  I recently overheard a couple of relatives mentioning that they would be riding down to Big Bend come this April.  Man, if I could swing that I'd be on cloud nine.  But for now it's gona have to remain a good night time dream. Hope winter ends soon for you folks in the deep freeze areas.

January 29, 2011

I've Waited Long Enough!

For those of you who've followed my blog, Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I'm a much better talker than writer as you can imagine from the nickname.  But anyway, I've been blessed since early on in life to have enjoyed riding all types of bikes. The great ones, the ugly ones, the necessity ones ( no job, limited income) and some pretty cool ones.  And probably, just like many other riders I've run across a bike or two that has just caught my eye.  You know, that super-clean, awsome looking, gota have bike.  Such was the case at Alice's Restaurant one bright sunny morning back in 1979.  A bunch of us had met up at 4-corners in Woodside as we normally did almost every weekend, parked our bikes and commenced partying.  Yea we did the typical seventies stuff, drank some, burnt some, BS'ed some, whatever.  Anyway while coughing one lung out (after a really good you-know-what) a really clean looking Honda pulls in and parks across the street.  Now I knew my bike models pretty good back then and this one I hadn't seen before.  Two tone blue, kinda raked on the front end, four into four pipes, good looking two step seat.  Nice ride!  So like a pot-head to a potatoe chip bag, I went over to investigate.  Turns out to be a brand spanking new Honda CB900 custom.  I think it had like 23 miles on it.   It looked like this one in the photo.

Man that was a nice looking bike!  Well, in as much as five minutes there was a crowd around this fella, talking and looking and questioning.  Mr. "Popular new bike guy" then proceeded to cop an attitude which I didn't care much for at all and besides I needed my roachclips so it was a good time to split before I open my big mouth.  But that damn bike has stuck in my mind ever since then.  I swore that I day I'd buy me one of those and take it off my "Bikes I Gotta Have" bucket list.  Well 31 years later, lady luck turned her friendly smile towards me.   Here, "New To Me" is the latest two wheeler of the Chigger collection.

It's an 82 and it's not blue but hey, for only costing me a few hundred dollars I think it'll be fun to ride.  Poor thing been sitting in a dude's garage for about four years.  He said he started it twice then the battery died about two years ago and he hadn't messed with it since.  He just wanted it out of the garage-period.  I had taken one of our son's with me down to see the bike so we pushed the bike out in his driveway, (Brakes were all but seized up) grabbed some jumper cables hit the starter twice and she fired up.  We could tell she was running on the #1 & 4 cylinders and 2 & 3 weren't firing.  Shut it down and gas poured out the overflows on the carbs.  So you know how I played up that situation to the seller.  We told him, " This bike is only gona be good for parts, there's no way this will ever run" .  And on and on we went till the poor fellow grabbed the couple of hundreds I had in my hand and said, "Here, let me help you guys load it up in your truck".  That we did and away we went.  My son's still trying to figure out how all that went down.
I just keep telling him, "Son, when you get fifty plus years on this earth someday, you'll understand how old men deal with situations like that one.  Until then just be quiet, watch and listen.  You'll learn a thing or two from us old farts, I guarantee it.  So I've got my work cut out for me on this little jewel but I've always enjoyed bringing old neglected things back into their prime.  The Ms.says it's too bad the same can't be done for me-Ha!
Have a blessed day my friends!