"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Ok, the story of the week so far:
Made peace with supervisor. This means I will either go on to become a more valued member of the dept. team or that the axe is gonna fall soon...sigh, I'm SUCH a cynic sometimes -- must be the medication.

I've been off work sick for most of the past week - DEJA VU!!! - and went down to the local clinic to get a note for work. Right...I'm too sick to drive to work, so I have to get up and drive to the clinic to get an MD to officially say so. Ya know, if doctors still made house calls, there might be more of 'em out there...sorry, I'm rambling a little TOO much there.

Visit with Dr. Towill went well, I was surprisingly lucid for most of it. The first item out of the ordinary was the throat swab. The second item was the quickie chest X-ray he sent me down the hall for. I've never had one of those...When I asked what he was looking for, he replied matter-of-fact; "Pneumonia". Geeez, I didn't think I was THAT sick. All I'd had was a little bitty 102 degree fever for most of the previous 3 days. Anyway, no deadly respiratory condition, but bad enough bronchitis to light up the film beautifully. I got a standard 10 day course of antibiotics and the fever went away within 2 hours of my first dose. The wife still has whatever-this-is, but both kids seem to have missed it somehow. Wife is recovering, slowly...

In other news, I missed the Lift Truck Rodeo...AGAIN...on Dr. T's recommendation. He figures I'll be ready to return to work monday, but that I probably should stay home in the meantime because I could still be contagious. I wasn't up to it anyway...

Donovan wrote, ICQ'ed, and Phoned LD to tell me all about the head gasket job he'd done on his hyundai/dodge/mitsubichi excel/colt/whatever...The same car I helped him do an oil change on last summer. Nice little car, but engine compartment is kinda crowded and the engine has a few unfortunate quirks that can bite you on the ass if you're unfamiliar. I had a car with the same series engine so I KNEW why he phoned...

He removed the fuel pump while taking the head off...

Normally, this is not a big deal. The Mitsu 4 Cyl engine on that era of import uses a simple, mechanical drive, double diaphragm pump, driven by a polished steel rod about 4" long. There is NO mechanical connection between the cam and the rod, or between the rod and the spring lever on the pump. The rod sits inside a carefully sized hole drilled through the head...at about a 30 degree angle downward. See where this is going? The pump is also (unfortunate indeed!) located toward the rear of the engine compartment UNDER the manifold. (also, there's a pressure relief vent out the bottom of the pump housing that sits over the alternator...I've always wondered about the wisdom of that...) The short of it is...If you're not aware of the set-up, you will try to remove the pump from above, blind, and that rod will come shooting out of the head as soon as the pump body is no longer there to hold it in place. DIY manual procedures for that model recommend removal from underneath, which is impossible, but insures you don't lose the rod -- 'cause it will fall on you.

Donovan was working outdoors in fresh, powdery, snow...he lost the rod, but wasn't aware of it? Yep.

He did find it again, after the aforementioned LD call to me. I told him to grease the sucker with vaseline ("just dunk it in the jar...") and it should stick inside the head long enough for him to get the fuel pump back on. Since everything ELSE involved in the head gasket replacement went off smoothly, he should have his vehicle back on the road by the time you read this. (assuming anyone besides ME reads this, anyway...)

In Other News, I have decided to buy a used, bare-bones system for the kids instead of trying to build one from all the spare junk I have kicking around here. The P166 I started to build for Coral lacks a HD to make it go. I could get a used HD for it, but for the same price I could pick up an old Corporate Desktop Brick and upgrade it with some of the parts I have on the 166. That way, I would still have the leftovers for spares.

Problem: cash flow.

No, we're not poor...we're in debt...

Not badly, mind you -- the several thou we owe in various directions is a pittance compared with...well, say, the National Average. But the wife wants it paid off ASAP (current climate makes her nervous -- and I ain't gonna argue with THAT), so after three months, we're almost halfway there on paper. But this means NO extra for extras - like a computer for the kids.

Can anyone say: "Garage Sale"?

Heck, If we could raise even 50 bucks I would gladly chip in the rest. Besides, I've been meaning to get rid of some of the junk around the shop anyway. The kids could stand to thin out their toyboxes a little. Some of the wife's "bargains" we don't use could be put to better use by someone else...etc, etc.

Spring Cleaning is coming up too...mebbe we should have the Garage Sale afterward instead of beforehand...must ask the wife.

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