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Another Update Post

Work has been a little busy lately which has kept me from posting much. Last Tuesday on my way down to the farm, my engine overheated on my truck. I was 60 miles from the farm and it was 29 degrees out so I was damned if I was going to hike the rest of the way. So I babied the truck home in 2 hours. I stopped every ten miles or so and gave it a drink and let it cool for 10 minutes then got back on the road. I figured it was something simple like a stuck thermostat which I knew I could easily fix. So when I got to the farm, I pulled the thermostat housing off and was pissed to see the thermostat was open like it was supposed to be. OK, next thought was the water pump had gone. So I started the engine and sure enough, no water pumping through. Damnit! So I called the office and left a message for my boss to give me a day off on Wednesday so I could fix the water pump. I went back out and worked until Midnight taking the radiator out and the fan off and the belts off so I could get to the pump. It was then I noticed the retaining bolts on the pump were all star drive heads so I'd have to borrow Rob's set of Star Drive wrenches in the morning.

NAPA opened at 9 and I was there first thing. The new pump cost $24 which was not bad plus a $10 core charge. Then I went and had breakfast with Gwen and borrowed some of Rob's tools. Like all water pumps, this one looked easy but was far from easy to take off. The repair manual tells you to just loosen the 12 retaining bolts and pull the pump loose. What it doesn't tell you is the bolts come in 3 different sizes with two different head designs and that two of them are behind a retaining shroud for the power steering pump which of course is behind the armature holding on the air conditioning pump. So it took 6 hours and the engine compartment looked like an operating room before they put all the guts back in the patient and I had no skin left on 6 of my knuckles but I was down to the last bolt. And of course, the star head had rounded itself out and I couldn't even get a set of vice grips on it.

So finally in desperation, I took a large screw driver and tapped it down between the water pump housing and the engine and loosend the pump enough so I could get my fingers in behind it. Then pulled it forward and cracked the metal beside the stuck bolt and pulled the pump out, effectively negating the core deposit because I had just broken the pump housing. But at least it was off. From there it was a small job to beat the rest of the metal off with a hammer and grab the bolt with vice grips.

Three more hours had it back together. So by now it was 0 dark thirty and not particularly warm. I took it out down the road and the heat was working and everything looking good until I feel a surge in the engine and it starts to overheat again. I park it in the driveway and get the trouble light to look underneath and water is pouring off the back of the engine. Of course there is no room between the back of the engine and firewall to see what is going on. So I shut everything off and figure I'm going to have to take the farm truck that makes maybe 8 mpg on a good day to work the next day. I go in, call Deb and tell her I won't be home that night. It's about midnight by now and I still have to pack up all the jewelry stuff which was the original reason for me to go to the farm in the first place. We were supposed to have a jewelry show with another jeweler in the office on Friday. Around 3:30 am I finally go to bed knowing I have to be up around 5:30 am. I just should not have gone to bed. I hadn't eaten all day and I was a little dehydrated as well and now I was sore and bruised from bending over and working on the engine all day. I was a slow moving puppy.

I did get to work, albeit 1/2 hour late. Then the other jeweler comes down and asks if I mind if we postpone the jewelry show a couple of weeks. At that point I could have cared less so I said OK. Then I called my mechanic and asked them to go get my truck and see what the problem was. They called me later in the day to let me know it was a cracked thermostat housing and a bad radiatior. So now I'm looking at $300 in repair bills for that. I was pretty much in a foul mood Thursday plus not having eaten the day before gave me a headache which lasted all day despite drinking lots of water and eating and taking lots of Tylenol. Friday I was a little less sore but still tired and decided not to head down to the farm until Saturday. So Deb and I popped popcorn and sat around snuggling and watching movies.

Saturday, Jake and I headed back down to the farm amidst a raging snowstorm and threats of the temps dropping into the teens. I tell you, you just have not lived until you ride 90 miles with a full grown golden retriever in the seat next to you sticking his nose under your hand and licking the side of your face.

Saturday I did pretty much nothing but watch rented movies. But you know what, I needed it. Sunday was spent cleaning house, making a big pot of veggie beef stew from scratch amd making another pot of Hawaiian Hot sauce. This one is probably the hottest of all as I used chiefly poblanos, cayennes, jalapenos and chipotles and of course 20 habaneros. It most definitely cleared my sinuses.

Last night, Deb and I watched the Sopranos and talked awhile and headed to bed early. Oh yeah and she gave me a new winter coat her mom had bought me at Old Navy. Courduroy with a sheepskin lining. Thanks Mom!

Today was nice because we got the advance copies of my carpentry book, printed and bound and it's nice to hold in my hands the culmination of 2 1/2 years work. Other than that, I'm scanning stuff for my bosses today and in general goofing off. Back to serious work tomorrow.

In a few minutes, I'm headed to home to make some homemade pasta which I'll combine with the Roma tomato, garlic, onion and mushroom sauce I made back in September. Yummy.




Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

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