After reading an earlier forum post about bad days I thought I might add my tale of grief that took place a week earlier.I posted this to another forum in the UK last week.
Some days you should just stay in bed
Starting my second week of temporary bachelorhood as my wife begins her second week in Europe visiting family. I finally get some exhausted but welcome sleep after a along week of attending night school (I'm 63 so it's a real effort), taking care of the house, feeding all my wife's pets, and passing out candy (solo)to hoards of little Halloween Trick 'r Treaters the eve. before. Not a lot of sleep but enough to function.
As I'm getting dressed I notice our normally rambunctious Chihuahua is acting odd. "Beanie' is the most precious thing on God's earth to my wife. He adores her and holds a vigil every weekday waiting for her return from work so he can do his theatrical 'Mom's Home' routine and get over fed with treats. She's called me three times so far since she left and each time she asks first if the dog is okay (then she asks how I'm doing). I know if anything happens to that dog on my watch, I'm as good as dead! Anyway, the damn thing looks sick & he wont get up. So I rush him to the vet. Apparently all that was wrong with him were swollen anal glands that needed to be 'expressed'. Good Lord, what a way to start your morning! $86.00 to squeeze a Chihuahua's ass? Why the Hell didn't I become a vet???
All I've had thus far is a rotten cup of 'industrial coffee' from the animal hospital. I get home and now discover my (adult)daughter's pet ferret has taken a crap in five places, all of them around (not on) the pads we lay out for it to use. Two cat's are howling their heads off at me complaining the entire time I'm cleaning ferret crap (they're probably calling me an ass or something obscene in cat language) because it's now after 10AM and they normally get fed & let out by 6AM.
I finally get a little time to call my own from all the four-legged freeloaders that reside here and I brew a pot of real coffee. Due to medications I take, it's the one vice I have left in this life and I take it to what some might consider an eccentric level. I like gourmet coffee, no I love good coffee. I brew it in a Swiss press, I use one brand of bottled spring water to brew it, I buy very good quality beans and I even make my own blends (a robust morning blend and a lighter roast for evening). I go through my usual routine that I perform twice a day and sometimes three on weekends. This time, for some inexplicable reason, when I apply pressure on the plunger, instead of the boiling water and ground coffee mixture being forced down the carafe, the hot water under great pressure shoots out the top spraying scalding hot coffee all over but mainly on me! Yep, burned my %#@*! hand.
I recover & clean up from that incident and remake my precious pot of Joe using my unburned left. The warm embrace of fresh Arabica beans has taken the edge off a bad morning.
I decide to finish a small T project in the workshop. The project is a; Model 100, Jno Brown, 1912-13, Ford, all brass carriage lamp. I think Henry only used it about 1.5 years because it was too expensive to produce. Yes, it's pretty rare, solid brass, very delicate and one in excellent shape is fairly valuable. The only thing it badly needed (other than a good cleaning & polish) was replacement of one of the near 1/4 inch thick 4" X 4" beveled lead-glass lenses. Nearly impossible to find a good one(Yes, I know, the Big Three vendors sell replacements but they cost more than I paid for the lamp at the swap meet. By sheer coincidence, I found a lens in an otherwise ruined lamp of the same type (Model 110) on eBay. I drove 30 miles to pick it up from the seller. I spent about $30.00 on real silver solder and a butane pencil torch so I could take the glass lens door frame apart and install the replacement lens exactly the way it was done originally (not a simple task). I also had to fabricate two tiny brass hinges from sheet brass to replace some broken hinge sections (three hours of work to get them just right). Let's add 10 days wait to get the correct size sheet brass in the mail to make them.
Everything is ready. I have gone through quite a lot of trouble here to restore this particular lamp because it's fairly rare and I could get good T hobby dollars for it if I get close to full market value on eBay. As you read on, keep in mind, please, that my shop by 11AM was only about 45 degrees F.
I fire up the tiny 'pencil torch' to begin the silver solder process. I am armed with ' video information' from at least a half-dozen worthless youtube videos I watched on how to silver solder extra thin sheet brass. All systems are go.
I begin to carefully solder the two frame halves together taking great care to allow the solder to flow evenly so the repair is original looking. I even have some very dilute nitric acid wash on the ready to 'age' the solder when the job's finished. Suddenly, I hear the most sickening sound one would 'NEVER' want to hear when doing this job, "tink". So subtle, in the key of 'C' I'd say, no louder than a needle landing on a mirror or a field mouse cracking open a hay seed. "Please no"!
I drop the torch and examine the newly installed, impossible to find, replacement glass pane with bated breath. YOU S.O.B!!!! Oh yes it did, it cracked from the heat. Apparently making the brass hinges took so long that the ancient glass pane sitting on the steel clad workbench was chilled enough that the heat generated from the tiny pencil torch cracked it.
Without throwing anything, I simply stood up and went in the house.I didn't curse or get my blood pressure up, I didn't kick any cats, I just plunked down on the couch and turned on a Television program I recorded earlier that I was looking forward to watching all week. Seemed like a very good time for some coffee sipping 'quietude' and watching Gregory Peck & David Niven blow up some Nazis. (Guns of Navarone) I'm holding my favorite coffee cup (Chicago Cubs logo) in my left hand because the right still stings from the earlier minor scalding. The movie has started running the opening credits when it just shuts off and switches to a natural fat burning diet pill infomercial. I start it again, fat burner infomercial. I click on the recording data and the DVR only recorded 2 minutes of Navarone. At 3AM the cable network, for reasons we shall never know, switched programming to 120 minute infomercial.
I hear a retching sound, a cat has just thrown up. like a zombie, I stand up, step over the cat's pile of upchuck and go back to bed. It's not even noon and I sleep for six hours. Now my circadian rhythm is surely 'in the crapper' and I'll probably not get to sleep normally for a very long time. Can't wait to see what Sunday morning holds for me.
I poked my head above the trench and no bullets flew at me, all quiet on the front so I started the morning (after a successful pot of coffee) by raking leaves (hard to screw that up). Leaf raking went quite well so I went back to the carriage lamp and assembled it with the cracked lens. It still looks rather good for a 100 year old Model T running lamp but I'm sure that tiny crack is a good $100.00 + blemish when it comes to my ebay bidders. After that success, I dug out a Model 1915 carriage lamp (far less fragile) and fixed that one up for resale too with far better success. I now await the eBay bidders.
Lamp has only 30 minutes left on ebay and after 7 days, 0 bids! If it sells for my very low minimum, after shipping costs and my pound of flesh to ebay & his evil twin brother, Paypal, Ill hardly break even. "Win some lose some".
Fantastic post. It made my day seem a bit brighter. Good luck
It sold for a modest $89.50 David.
The more common (and less brassy) Model 8 sold for $102.50. Since that grand total wont even put a dent in my Model T budget account needs, maybe I'll buy lottery tickets with the proceeds and in the irony of all ironies, win the mega-lotto and retire in Belize with a warehouse of T projects and hire two German bar maids to peel grapes for me and bring me cold beer while I restore my cars.
It could happen.................... ;-)
After reading that, I guess I won't complain when I break a yoke on my fried eggs in the morning ! ;o)
Have you called "Guinness" yet?
Sure is a pretty lamp though.
Great story, sorry about the lower than expected lamp sales revenue for such a good looking lamp. The only sound worse than a cat retching is a cat retching in the middle of the night! Knowing full well that when you get up to investigate your bare foot will complete the investigation the instant it hits the floor from the bed. (Dang I hate running a bach-camp, wife usually hears it first and gets up.)
I thought that the only solution in situations like that is to open a Guinness or two!
James,that is just about the saddest story I've ever heard....
get rid of the torch,get a big ol soldering iron like they used to make it in the first place. torch it apart, solder back together
My wife and I had a good laugh at your misery! Well written and very entertaining.
Jimmy, good (bad) story...whats going on with yer speedster project ?? Or, did I miss an update lately on another thread ?? Nothing beats a great cup of coffee, any time of day. Can you imagine the bad day the passenger may have had in this Coupe ??
What a rotten day. I know the cat-retching sounds all too well. (Three cats in the house)
As to "Why didn't (you) become a vet?" Would you really want a career helping little dogs with a problem?
I can't believe that is all you got for that lamp. I keep seeing later, much more common, and less valuable side lamps going for more than that on eBad. But then, I have never had good results from selling things there. That is the main reason I don't. I should be trying to sell a bunch of stuff.
Except for one really nasty day, I do hope all is well.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Re the coffee press, do you stir the grounds with a spoon before pushing the plunger down? That makes it a lot easier to push the plunger.
You tell a great story; I know it wasn't that funny on your end - I have had days like those.
I understand the T budget and how sometimes e-bay doesn't go the way you expect. Don't be discouraged - every little bit adds up.
James, I have lived your day many times...and I thought retirement was going to be easy!
My unmarried adult daughter thinks her city dog (Bichon/poodle) needs to spend "quality" time with Grandpa at the ranch each summer! (You know this isn't going to end well)!
So the little stinker started up a howl one night... I rushed him to the 24 hr vet.. foxtail in the ear...$150.00. A few days later as I was starting the 3 hour jaunt to take this "precious little s*** back to his "Mom", I got as far as the freeway on ramp... and... same howl! A quick change of plans... back to the vet... foxtail in the other ear... $150.
Now I love my daughter... and "Like" her little dog, but $300. later and two vet trips, my ranch dogs(Ausie and Terrier mix) don't seem to have the same respect for me they once had. I've concluded that animal social fabric is easily torn... especially if the regulars think you've let down your guard!
This is why I like my old Ford. If it fails to appreciate my affection, I call it a day and get on with other things. It, Old Ford, usually comes around with no offence taken by the livestock!
So many kind comments.
Things have gone better since then. My wife returned home and her dog was in perfect health.
I nailed a paint job a few days later where every application went down like a well rehearsed symphony (British Racing Green). Not a single flaw, no dirt, eyelashes, gnats and no clear coat buffing burns.
Wayne Murry... Nope, you didn't miss the resurection of the multi-part Faultless Speedster thread (PART IV will be the next entry) Just holding off till I do something interesting. I found some awesome Macbeth green eyebrow lenses that will replace the violet tint Ford lenses I have installed now. The Faultless continues (ever so slowly) My engine is about done (The machine work is pretty much completed anyway). Still have a pile of funky transmissions to go through to see if I can figure out how to build one good one. Tranny's have never been my forte so that could turn into another Bad Day story later..
I'm going to try and tackle the upholstery myself too. It's nothing fancy since it's just a racing car/raceabout.
Yep, I do stir before pushing down. First time I had such catastrophic 'blow back' conditions in 25 years.
Great story…better yet, well written.
Just had to chime in to tell you that my Fordor comes from Carol Stream (Naperville). I picked it up about 15 years ago.
James, you missed your calling. I'm sure writing stories about your T's and other ventures could become very lucrative!!
Actually, I will have a book coming out in February titled; IT'S FRIDAY, THE POPE WONT KNOW WERE EATIN' HOTDOGS .
A series of short stories about growing up in the 1950's in middle class America from a child's perspective.
As far as lucrative...........mmmmmmm....better chance at winning that mega-lottery