Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bicycle Repairman

Much cooler today than a few days ago. Record setting heat Memorial Day, 50 degrees today and maybe the 30's tonight. Crazy weather but I can get outside and do something when it's in the 50's. Which is exactly what I did. I put the finishing touches on the front end of the Fair Lady this morning. New brake cable and pads, rim strip, tube and tire, and I got everything cleaned and polished. The front rim cleaned up pretty nice and the stainless fender looks real good after I wiped on a little chrome polish. I pulled the axle and put some fresh grease on the bearings as well. I took the whitewall tire off the unfinished chopper bike project rather than using the new blackwall I picked up the other day. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the chopper bike project, but I can return the blackwalls and swap them out for some new wide whites or put them on the chopper wheels. I'm still kicking around the idea of putting one of those gas motor kits on the chopper bike, but as always, I need to finish a few other things before working on that. If the weather stays cool, I might actually make a little progress in that regard.

Next up on the Fair Lady is the bottom bracket and crank. I think it will clean up fairly well in spite of one crank arm being kind of rusty. The chain guard has a chrome piece on the front of it that should shine nicely after it's cleaned up. The rim on the rear wheel is really rusty and should be replaced but it's going to have to stay. If I could lace wheels quickly, I'd swap it out. However, with my skill level as a wheel builder, that could bring the project to a halt. It would be a good one to practice on and it would sure make the bike look better when it was all done. 

Surly brought his bike trainer down the other day and I got my old Motobecane set-up on it this morning. I loaned the bike out a few years back to a guy who used to work at the school and told him to keep it as long as he wanted it. He brought it back this Spring after buying himself a new triathlon bike so it's now on the trainer after a few adjustments. It's set up in the new barn so I can ride when it's raining out. I'm still religiously doing my rehab exercising a couple of times per day. I'm supposed to keep my heart rate down under 90 beats per minute so no sprints but I'm getting an hour per day in on my off days of either walking or cycling as long as it's not too hot. Hopefully, the exercise will show some positive results when I take the stress test next week.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rapido Air Cleaner

The new air filters for the Rapido showed up and they look like they were made for the job. They're a little smaller on the OD but the height looks to be spot on. They come complete with a pre-filter and the jobber's price of $9.14 each. Not a bad deal at all. NAPA part# 7-02274, Wisconsin part# EY 1573620101.

Just another public service announcement from Shop Teacher Bob.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dead Relatives Tour

Cuzzin Ricky and I did the Dead Relatives Tour this morning planting flowers on the graves of the parents, grand-parents, uncles, etc. as we normally do on Memorial Day weekend. It was a little more somber this year with the recent passing of my brother, especially since we didn't get ten miles down the road before we had a flat tire. Since Johnny decided to go back to college a week ago, I'm not sure where his final resting place will be. The Missus looked into it a little and it appears that if you donate your body to Indiana University, eventually you'll end up in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indy unless you make other arrangements. That's a beautiful place. It's the final resting place of James Whitcomb Riley, Benjamin Harrison and John Dillinger among many others. It's a little far way to add to the Tour, unfortunately. Especially if you're just going to plant a couple of geraniums and pay your respects.

When I did the bicycle ride out west a few years ago, I met a couple of guys on motorcycles who were on their way to visit their father's resting places. They meet up and one year they go east to visit the one guy's father and then two years later they head west to visit the other one's father. Nice deal, really. A road trip with your best bud to pay your respects to your Pop. Indy is not that far for Cuzzin Ricky and I to take the show on the road but with the 500 on Memorial Day weekend, we might want to pick a different time. We'll work something out.

The Boy Scouts were putting the American flags on the veterans graves at both cemeteries while we were there  this morning. Thanks to all of them for doing that. I've been to lots of cemeteries and they all look so much nicer on Memorial Day when the graves are decorated and the flags are out.

John McCrae, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Enjoy your holiday everyone.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Therapy Session

I went down to the bike shop the other day to get the parts for my sister-in-law's Fair Lady. They had everything I needed in stock, plus I got some free advice on how to adjust the three speed shifter cable. They didn't have any white wall tires but I picked up a pair of black ones. I also put a little time in on the Rapido this week. I had bought an air cleaner element for it quite a few years back but even though it never left the original sealed HD package, it had disintegrated. It looks like an air filter for a Robin/Wisconsin 4hp two stroke will come pretty close to fitting so I ordered a pair of those and an air filter for the lawn mower this morning. After cutting some grass and running for parts it was starting to get hot out so I retired to the Lazy-Boy as usual. 

The Missus picked up the book Driving Mr. Yogi for me at the library yesterday so I figured I'd start on that. It's about Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry, former NY Yankee players. Guidry is my age and Berra is 85. The book is about two exceptional ball players of different generations who share the love of the game and the friendship that developed between them. I got lucky and there was an encore presentation of a White Sox game on while I was reading. Great afternoon of baseball. Remembering going to Comiskey Park when I was a young-un and watching the Yankees play the Sox. All the great players on both teams: Maris, Mantle, Ford, Aparicio, Fox. I don't watch that much baseball now, but like most guys my age, it was a big part of my life when I was growing up. There was only one thing that kept me from the big leagues - that would be talent, of course. But if I could have had my dream job, I'd have been a left handed reliever.

Working on bikes, reading and watching baseball, just what I needed today. And the photo above? 2003 Sportster.  They've got one like it at a local car dealer; low miles and good price. If the stress test results look good, I'm thinking it just might end up being mine. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brother John

When everything seems to be going against you,
remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
-Henry Ford

Brother John

Unk's Garden

My brother Johnny passed away. He was an avid motorcyclist and gardener. He was a carpenter and a nurse. He played the guitar and the fool. He served in the Army and was quite proud of the fact. He wrote a blog and had a family. He was opinionated as hell and I loved him dearly. Here's a post from his blog that will give you a little idea of who he was. Nothing I can say will fully do him justice, however.


Embarrassing Moments in the ER.......... 

I've had a few brilliant moves and moments over the years. Times where I've just said the dumbest shit, or spilled a urinal on the floor - after my feet tried to keep the floor dry by absorbing it all. Brain farts and moments of none to graceful acrobatics, brought on by fatigue, being in a hurry or not seeing the puddle of ________ (fill in your body fluid of choice here) and falling on your ass. That sorta thing. 

But maybe the most embarrassing moment I ever experienced was because of Velcro. Yeah, that wonderful spin off from the space program. Here's how it went .........

A small Community ER setting about 0430 or 0500 in the morning. It's been quiet for the last 1/2 hour and everyone is hoping the calm holds till 0700, so we can get the hell out of there.

A car pulls up to the back door. Shit. I slowly get up and start moving toward the direction of the doors, hoping it's someone who works here pulling up to unload something. No such luck. Here comes an older woman in the doors, saying that her husband is "Having chest pains!" 

When you've worked in Emergency Care for awhile, you develop a pretty good sense of Radar about some things and I started moving quicker and snatched up a wheelchair while heading out to the car.
I saw the passenger door swing open and an older guy step out. He had, what we call, "THE LOOK". A sort of sickly, yellowish/Grey hue, profuse sweating and obviously having trouble getting his breath. Along with the classic - Holding his fist in the middle of his chest posture.

I really started moving then, scooped his ass into the wheelchair and hauled into the nearest Trauma/Cardiac room. I hollered for someone to bring the EKG machine and started peeling his shirt off and tossed him up on the cart. 

While I was trying to untangle the monitor leads, which were knitted nicely together, the Tech put Oxygen on him and started getting the EKG together. I finally got him on the monitor and he was obviously having "THE BIG ONE". I started looking for an IV site that I knew we were gonna be needing soon. 

I had left the blood pressure cuff off while looking for the IV site and the Tech was busy with the EKG. The Tech ran off with the EKG back to the Doctor, who was napping in his little area in back as I finished up the IV and drew the necessary labs. I snatched up the B/P cuff, that had fallen on the floor, by the hose to get it on his arm.

As all patients arms are not the same size, B/P cuffs use Velcro to make a snug fit. Generally speaking, that's a good thing. But if you try to swing the cuff up into one hand by pulling the connection hose with the other ...... and that Velcro gets ahold of the Drawstrings that hold your scrub pants up? 

Oh yeah. Impresses the hell out of people, don'tcha know. 

Like most Nurses, I carry a bunch of shit in my pockets. Big scissors, tape, my little cheat sheet book of calculations and such that I can never remember. That sort of shit adds weight. 

Let me tell you, that velcro got a nice good grip on that drawstring and I, blissfully ignorant, kept right on pulling on that cuff to get it wrapped around his arm. And that knot on my scrubs came untied.

Down they went and there I was with my scrubs around my ankles. Just me and my BVD's. 

Now, just what the hell do you say to a guy, who is obviously having a big heart attack, when your pants have just landed on the floor?

ME- "Have no fear. I'm a total professional." 

Patient - 

Patient's Wife - (running out of the room with her hands over her face) "BuWaaaHaHaHaHaaHaaa".

I can tell you this much, it makes a hell of an impression on 'em.
Damn! I'm going to miss that boy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Fair Lady

Actually, it's my sister-in-law's Fair Lady.

Surly was kind enough to ferry me down to see my brother yesterday and while there we loaded up my sister-in-law's bicycle and brought it home. She had asked Surly about fixing it up but since he's limited in free time and I have plenty, I'll see about getting it road worthy for her. A cursory glance revealed it needs a new cable for the three speed shifter, brake pads and tires. That, some polishing of the shiny bits, and the Schwinn Fair Lady should be cruising the backroads of Southern Indiana real soon. I'll scope it out a little closer and then make a parts run. There's a little bike shop not too far away that has lots of oddball parts in stock and if they don't have it, they're more than willing to order it. They gave me lots of help when we were doing the high mileage car - really nice people to do business with.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Project Time

HD Rapido
Torchmate set up and ready to go
I managed to sneak into school over the weekend to check out the new water table for the CNC plasma cutter that finally arrived. My replacement finished the installation and even got a few parts cut - quick learner, that boy. 

Surly came down for Mother's Day and, in addition to helping plant some flowers and a tree for the Missus, he did a little muscle work for me as well. That included moving the Rapido to a spot where I can work on it. The first order of business will be to blow about 15 years worth of dust off it and then see what needs to be done. 

My mental health needs a project. Even though the rehab is keeping my physical strength up, mentally, I need something to focus on. One of the points made in the stress reduction video I watched in rehab was to live in the  present rather than the past or the future. That's kind of tough for a guy like me who is always thinking two jobs ahead. It's even tougher now to turn off the voices in the head when there is nothing to focus on. A little project should be just the thing. Do a little work in the morning and evening when the temperature's nice, do my walkies and then I can nap/read the remainder of the day. I might even have something decent to write about on the blog that way. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Well Read

I'm not getting much done around the shack but I'm getting a lot of reading done. I was once again this year going to pursue my quest of reading 50 books but was way behind schedule. However, due to un infarto, I'm pulling right back to the one book per week I need to get the 50. Additionally, I'm cleaning up on the magazine front too. The autobiography of Ali was sent to me by my nephew - the one who just had the baby, by the way. In fact the book and the bambino both showed up on the same day. My nephew is the proprietor of the Man Cave Consignment shop. If you're ever in Brentwood, California, stop in. Tell him shop Teacher Bob sent you.

If you check out the photo you'll get some kind of idea of my eclectic tastes in reading. The magazines cover topics like boats, cars, guns, bicycles, current events and technical publications. The books lately have been railroad and WW II history, fly fishing, baseball and I'm still working on my Italian a little bit here and there. Of all of my major interests, about the only thing I haven't touched on yet is motorcycles. However, I've got Kevin Cameron's book Top Dead Center that I got for Christmas a couple years ago that I've been holding in reserve for just such an occasion. I'm thinking that's up next with Patrick O'Brian's The Far Side of the World on deck. I've been wanting to read one of the O'Brian novels for several years. I normally never read a book that's more than 500 pages but I've got a book about Henry Ford around here somewhere that's 500 plus that I was saving for when I retire. Might be that I am. After I knock a couple of these others out of the way, I might be tempted to start on it.

Mother's Day tomorrow, don't forget. Give her a hug if you're close, a call if you're not and good thought if she's not around anymore.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Addition

We've got a new addition to the clan. My nephew and his sweetie had a bouncing baby boy yesterday. Welcome to the family Brenden.

Besides the new addition, I attended the retirement seminar put on by the Teacher's Retirement Fund. That made two good things that happened yesterday. I had a pretty good handle on the retirement thing before hand, having attended one of these on a prior occasion, but now that I'm knocking on retirement's door I was able to get some exact dollar amounts. I also learned that you need 60 days to qualify for a half year of service. If I go back, I'd only have to work until about Thanksgiving to get another half year instead of working until the end of the semester. There's  a bright spot to keep in mind. I still need to see what the outcome of the stress test is going to be, however, before making a decision.

The Ag teacher hooked me up with a few tomato plants yesterday, so there's another good thing that happened. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day today so maybe I can get those stuck in the ground. Do that, cut the back yard and go for a walk will make a pretty full day for me. Sure doesn't seem like much but it doesn't take much to over do things. It's not easy putting the brakes on when you've been running close to full throttle for a long time. I'm learning though. I'd better if I'm planning on collecting much of that pension.

Have a good day.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Apropos of -------

Nothing. That's all I've got. Nothing. Even though I'm able to get around and do a little something, I'm still stuck at nothing. I cut some grass and planted some of the garden. Read some more, watched some television and went to rehab. If this keeps up it could end up going one of three ways: 

1. I might end up liking sitting around on my arse doing nothing and decide to try it full time.
2. I might get so bored I want to go back to work.
3. I might go fishing.  

OK, fishing it is. I didn't go at all last year because I was busy most of the time with the barn and other things. Granted that's a lousy excuse but that's the best I've got. It's supposed to rain here the next five days on and off but I'm going to get the tackle out and get myself a license. I picked up a copy of the regs the other day at Wally World and it says a Senior license is only three bucks per year. A lifetime is only seventeen. I'm still a couple of years away from the bargain rate but now I've got something worthwhile to look forward to. If I get the lifetime license at sixty five, it'll only be a buck a year if I make it to 82. If I make it to 90, it works out to 68 cents per year. Now we're talking! Of course I'll have to be careful when I'm out there fishing. I'm still restricted to lifting only twenty pounds, so I'll have to let someone else land the big ones.

Have a good weekend. Do something.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hooray, Hooray, The First of May

I saw both of these at Rocket Garage the other day. The bottom photo comes from a Guzzi site that's in German but there's about 200 photos of Guzzis from mild to wild. Since I'm feeling pretty good but still not doing much, a little motorcycle porn is just what I'm in need of. I should be able to start on a little project or two this week.

I'm going to get  planting in the garden. The farmer got my little acreage planted the other day. So if it's time to plant corn, it's time to put in the garden and because of all the crazy weather this Spring, I've got gooseberries on the bushes already! We had another frost this past week but we're looking at May this week, so if the rain stops, garden it is.

The Doc said I'm up to twenty pounds of lifting now, so I hope to start on the Rapido project this week. I'll need someone to give me a hand digging it out but I should be able to tinker with it without over doing anything. I found the box of new parts the other day, so I should be all set. I can work a little, rest a little, plus, most of it can be done from the roll around stool or sitting down at the bench.

The news was good at the Doctor's office. Besides boosting my lifting limit from ten pounds to twenty, he said most of the damage should be healed within about six weeks time. Unfortunately, there is still a little concern about a blockage he wasn't able to open up. I'll know more about that after a stress test. Hope I'm not looking at open heart. The heart had already formed some new collateral arteries (like a DIY by-pass), so I'm hoping they'll be able to carry me.

Have a good week. Get some exercise and eat right. You'll thank me later.

PS. Happy birthday to brother Dave.