Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend, Day 3

I woke up at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, Labor Day. I finished up the Blog post and processed the photos while slurping coffee.

Then I unloaded the dishwasher and started to refill it with the dishes from last night. Next came shaving and showering. Finally, I got dressed and went outside to hook up the trailer.

The new Mennard’s finally opened and they had a great deal on a pre-hung steel exterior door with a small window (only $99.00 US).  Now, there’s no reason to replace my front door. But the door between the garage and the house always was crap. If you’ve ever been here, you know you had to slam it to make it shut. I wanted to replace it with a fire-rated door, but they are more expensive and don’t have a window, like the existing door. Why is that important? So I can check to make sure the garage door is down every night without going in the garage. So, I thought an exterior steel door would be a nice compromise.

Before I got there, though, I stopped at the gas station and refilled both two-gallon gas cans for the mowers (one for the shed and one for the garage). Then I went to Mennard’s.

The place was a mad house (seriously). I had to park on the lawn (along with about 50 other folks). Once inside, I got a can of polyurethane, a brush and some Draino. Then I went to get the door. When I finally was waited on, three of the Mennard folks there couldn’t figure out if there were any left and, if there were, were they right-hand or left-hand doors.

The computer said there were seven available left-hand doors. But the one guy (who seemed to know what he was doing) said there weren’t any. So, another guy went out to the warehouse to check. About 20 minutes later, he came back in and said they were all gone. They urged me to buy the door, anyway, to “lock in the price” and, in three weeks or so, I could come back and pick it up. Yeah, right…

I took their sheet and went to the checkout. That’s where the madhouse really started! None of the checkout personnel seemed to know what they were doing and had to keep calling the manager or looking through books. The upshot was I had to wait in line with three items for over 30 minutes! I would have been in and out of Home Depot in five.

You can keep Mennard’s!

Back home it was almost noon! I went in to treat the cats, and then had to go out, unhook the trailer and push it into the back yard. It was a pain in the ass, and with nothing to show for it.

I changed clothes and then went into the garage. I didn’t like how dark some of the bench boards turned out, so I got out the orbital sander, loaded some 220 grit sandpaper and went over all the darker boards. The sandpaper kept loading up, so I had to keep replacing it. But, it did bring out a lot of the grain, much better than it had been. I blew it off with compressed air and then wiped it down with kitchen towels to get all the dust off.

I turned the bench upside down, opened and stirred the polyurethane and then coated the bottom of the bench. I turned it right-side up and brushed on the polyurethane. I took my time and tried not to leave any bubbles or drips. I finished up just after 3:00 p.m.

I went inside to take a break and get some food (having skipped both breakfast and lunch). I settled on some crackers and cheese.

The polyurethane can said you could sand it after four hours, but I thought I will let it dry overnight. Unfortunately, that means leave the car out. But, I will definitely sand it tomorrow, both to smooth it and to dull it. Even though I specifically bought “satin,” it was still way too shiny for me!

I went out to the garage and remembered the can of gas for the shed. So, I took it out back. That’s when I noticed all the smaller branches that had come down in Friday night’s storm. So, after I put the gas can away, I walked the backyard, picking up branches.

Back inside, I took a steak and two packs of brats out to come up to room temp before grilling (the last “official” ‘cue of this summer) Then I went out to the garage, opened the door and got back to the engine removal on the Triumph (something I promised myself I would do this weekend).

Now, Jake had asked why I was lying on the garage floor when I had a perfectly good motorcycle lift. Let me explain. I didn’t think I could lift the engine and tranny out (or should even try). So, I decided to take the strain off the bolts by using the bottle jack and a board. That allowed me to tap out the main two double-threaded bolts that hold on the engine after I loosened them. Then I put an MDF board on top the motorcycle lift and raised it up to about the same height as the bottom of the engine. A few more pumps on the bottle jack and I cleared all the brackets. Then I slid the engine onto the board. Bingo!

Unfortunately, there was an electrical connection and some sort of vacuum hose attached to the bottom of the engine that I didn’t see. So, I need to research those in my books and find out how to remove them. I don’t want to deliberately cut anything that I don’t have to, since finding replacement hoses (or anything, for that matter) may be tricky.

But, the main thing is the engine and trans are now free! All the bolts, nuts and washers along with a plate or two, are in the coffee cans with diesel fuel. Please note: There was an ungodly amount of grime covering everything! I’m not sure if it’s just specifically this bike, or any old bike or car that you restore that has this problem, but I wish now I’d bought several of these mechanic’s gloves. The ones I bought are loading up!

Anyway, it was just after 6:00 p.m. and I thought I would stop with a minor victory under my belt. So, I moved the car out from under the tree and into its night-time outdoor spot, wiped down all the tools and put them away (another promise I made to myself), shut the garage door and quit work for the rest of the weekend.

I filled up the charcoal starter with my “Cowboy” charcoal and lit a piece of newspaper under it. This time, I was not gonna dump it until the coals on top were red-hot! As I was standing there, I noticed something on my fence. I went and checked. It was the bowl I left the cherry tomatoes in, along with a butternut squash! Thanks, neighbors!

When the coals were ready, I dumped them, heated up the grate, cleaned it and then oiled it. I made two packs of bratwurst first. Those went inside to cool. 

Next, I grilled the last steak of the summer (I put a steak in the summer of 2013, so to speak). When that was finished (to perfection, I might add), it, too, went inside. I put a pat of butter on it, covered it with foil and stuck it in a warm oven. Back outside, I made dessert: grilled peaches.  You really should try grilling peaches!

Back inside, I made my side dish: Bob Evans macaroni and cheese. I saw them for sale in the Kroger flyer and thought, “Hey, why not give it a try?” So, I did. They are refrigerated, not frozen, BTW.

Dinner lived up to my expectations! The steak and peaches were great. Even the store-bought mac and cheese was good.

I cleaned up in the minimal mess, put the brats and the rest of the peaches into the fridge and then went in to watch some TV. Of course, there wasn’t much on. So, I took my book into the living room and read in my chair (buried under cats) until I got sleepy around 10:30 p.m. Then I went to bed.

Happy Labor Day!!!


  1. Did you notice they only have one electric cart in Menards. According to my new Menards manager, that is a corporate directive and will never have any more. I wrote an email to the corporate headquarters, and they agreed ... one per store. So, you won't see me shopping there.

    p.s. Forgot to tell you the other day...bench looks beautiful short back and all. Adela would be proud.

  2. Didn't notice that they only had one handicap cart. For a store that big, that's ridiculous! But, I'm not gonna go back and check.

    Thanks! My main goal with the bench was to please Adela! :)