Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Dodging Raindrops in Oregon

Yesterday was part of a four-day weekend for me, and we took advantage of me being here and not rushed for time, and the rain being only intermittent instead of continuous to do some car repairs.

Lisa's van broke down on her last trip to California, as the fan belt shredded and tore a hole in the radiator. Very fortunately, she was just barely within 100 miles of home, so our AAA Plus towing coverage got her home.

Lisa had bought a new radiator a few weeks ago, but needed to replace three belts and two hoses. Unfortunately, her father had tossed the bag containing the wreckage of the old belts and hoses, which made replacement trickier. Lisa's van is sufficiently customized and rebuilt -- it's the fifth or sixth engine on this 29-year-old vehicle, as I recall -- that you can't just say "1976 Ford E150, 460 engine" and expect to necessarily get the right parts for it. So she had to measure the belt runs and such before we went into Stayton and bought the parts. It's just as well she did this, because in the process she found that one of the blades of the engine fan had snapped off -- this was probably what caused the original malfunction -- so we needed to buy a new fan blade assembly as well. The people at CarQuest in Stayton were pretty good to her, and even gave us the dealer discount (she buys lots of parts from them, for her vehicles as well as her father's).

Lisa is much more mechanically inclined than I am, but I can be a passable "scrub nurse," handing over tools as directed, keeping track of where bolts have gone, and pulling on levers when she says "pull hard on that adjustment lever so I can get the belt tightened." This clearly is a job that works much faster with four hands than with two.

We were actually pretty fortunate, in that it mostly didn't rain on us and we even had some sunshine, while we were actually outside doing the work on the van.

After remounting the fan, fan shroud, and radiator, Lisa remembered that she'd forgotten to buy the mounting kit for the auxiliary transmission fluid cooling radiator (important when towing heavy loads), which mounts to the front of the main engine-coolant radiator, so we had to run back to Stayton for a second trip. With all the work we'd been doing, we did not feel like making lunch, so we had lunch in Stayton. I suggested trying the 24-hour Mexican restaurant on the main street, if only because I found the idea of a 24-hour Mexican restaurant in a little Oregon town like Stayton someone boggling. It wasn't very good, through I suppose that if I go back there, I'll order differently because I'll understand better what they mean by their menu. (Everyone makes their burritos differently, it seems; you have to order one once to find out what they put in them.)

Today, I'm back (more or less) into a work routine, up relatively early and working from my father-in-law's house. I'm not sure if anyone else with whom I'm working is at their respective jobs, though, as e-mails have gone unanswered. It's a good thing that this week's project is pretty much a solo one for me. However, I would have liked to have had some feedback about the initial color scheme and design of the basic database forms, because it's so much easier to get those right at the start than to go back and change them, on account of I usually make the other forms by cloning the first one.

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