I am a really busy guy who works a full time job and manages a long time business on the side, my days start at 6:30 and I often get home at 7:30. I have had Model T's for over 36 years and lots of them. I used to work all day and go right to the shop and work for hours but that changed...
I have this 26 roadster pick up that I put Riley multi-lifts in. A couple of years ago I pulled the valve cover to look them over and 2 of the locking stems had broken so I removed everything to fix it, manifolds, head, valves, multi-lifts and then it just sat there. This week I decided I needed to get the damn thing back together and moved.
I did what was needed on the multi-lifts and took one evening to do that and put them back in. Leaning over the fender my back was like a zipper cracking and every few minutes I had to straighten up and flex it, just terrible. That night I got one valve back in but between the back (ruptured disc this winter) and trying to look through bi-focals up and down and trying to find the valve keeper hole was just terrible. The shop light was either falling over or burning my arm. Gave up.
Next night went a little better and got the other 7 valves in but with the glasses they kept trying to fall off and fingers in a valve chamber are not clean! Back kept snapping and bi-focals are made to read with, not install valves in the side of a motor half standing on your head. The back valve is really difficult as with the multi-lift you can't get a compressor in there so it was screw drivers to lift it up then the Ford "spoon tool" to finish.
Got home tonight after another 13 hour day and thought I would put on the valve cover and hang the manifolds, carb and sediment bowl. Still need to clean out head bolt holes and check coils on HCCT and look over head gasket to see if I can copper coat it...didn't do anything.
Just isn't that much fun anymore, before shop time have to return customer calls and arrange schedule around full time job...there is no such thing as a "weekend" for me.
Life is good, no shortage of work but shortage of play time and the rare time it is there it just isn't the same as when I was young (54 now). I used to throw those motors around like bowling balls but now just throw my back out like a dry twig! I am going to get this T back together I hope by this weekend and started back up and run it down the road and back into the barn. Neat truck with all rebuilt chassis and aluminum warford but unrestored body, it is a "sleeper" car that will run 70 easy with dust and dirt flying all over while passing traffic!
What happened? Maybe if I ever retire things will be fun again but it seems that the evening jobs now take a week.
Tim all I can say is make time ti have a little fun along the way, I have 11 T and TT projects, I've come up w/ a bad heart valve, can't do anything, the last two yrs, muscles all gone. Still in the parts business used, NOS, and reproduction. But w/bad heart valve and other body problems doc wouldn't sign DOT lisc, so now have lost my class A CDL, so I can't pull my 48 foot trailer (w/liv quarters) to shows and tours. So while I'm 20 yrs ahead of you now 74, I wish I could do as I'd hoped to do. I think I met you several yrs ago at one of Speedy Bills speedster reunions. Getting older is hell.
Getting old aint for the squeamish...
John, the version of that that I heard from a 90+ year old friend some years ago was, "Old age ain't for sissies." Same sentiment. Have to agree.....
I like your version better.
Right on John. I get mad cause I can't lift as much, work as much, and go as much. Interesting projects come along and just can't see getting involved in like I would 10 years back. Oh well the projects I have now take longer and give me something to keep me out of trouble (LOL). Getting older is a bitch but so is the alternative. 75 going on 80.
Tim: I remember a saying--The are things I could do all night,HOPEFULLY now it take me all night. There are things I could do all day not I have to find the all day to do it.
Sell something, Tim. Whatever you own, also owns you.
Tim, hope you don't mind me chiming in here especially because i have about 35 1/2 years less experience working on T's as you do. When i first bought my T last April, i spent every waking hour i wasn't at work, working on the T. I was completely consumed about going over every aspect of what i could pull apart and check, or lube, or what i could do to make it better than it was before i bought it. At the same time, i had a million other jobs to do in the house, and on the property, and in the end although my T was in prime shape felt lousy because i had neglected them. My wife never said a thing because she knew how much i loved working on the car, but i can assume she was wondering when the two foot high grass would be cut. I guess my point is similar to what John Danuser has said. Try to find that time in your busy schedule to just have fun in the times that you work on your T, because if it just seems like just another job you have to do, it drains all the fun out of what was meant to be a pleasurable hobby.
Small doses, and variety. Changing transmission band linings for the first time with the hogshead on, I would work on it some, then go do something else. That kept the frustration level down and eventually I got the job done. So fix the roof, pull weeds, cut grass, file receipts, cut firewood, read a magazine, do the puzzles in the paper, plant trees, install lights in the garage, clean the bathroom, run three miles, trim branches, cruise your favorite websites, go to an auction, do some push-ups, do the laundry, darn some holey sox, vacuum the living room, wash some windows, blow the cottonwood debris out of the screens, spray the Johnson grass, etc., etc. Despite the docs occasionally having to carve off cancerous parts of me, so far I can still do that stuff. Maybe slower than I used to when I was a young guy in my sixties, but whenever I think about it I'm amazed at how lucky I am.
Steve, seems you have it down to a science. That perfect balance between the joy of owning T's and the fact that you know when you need to walk away to keep your sanity, and your obligations.
I have a Dec 15 touring in pieces, and a May '16 Dodge Bros touring in pieces. I tell my wife I want to have then back together for their 100th birthdays--but actually, I want then together by then because if I don't, I don't know IF I'll get them done. It seems to take much longer to do anything than it used to!
David, wives are very forgiving, and they know we are completely lying to them when we give these fictitious timelines! As far as your timeline goes, why stress about something like that?..you will get it done in due time, that's all that really matters, right?
I can really relate to what has been posted here. I have many projects that I would like to get done, but, because of several health issues, they are much harder to do now. What used to be fun, now hurts a whole lot more than it used to. Dave
Tim, I feel your pain. I too work full time and have a little off the books side business of working on muscle cars and building engines for them. I have way more work now than ever for both jobs. Time is precious for sure. I finally just the past two weeks had to cut off all work on my side work, so I could finally after 9 years of ownership, get to some real work on the T. I have never driven it more than a half mile since ownership, and it has sat under a cover almost since I bought it. And I can not even begin to tell you about housework I keep putting off.
Sometimes you just finally need to make time. If your shop is at your house, just go out for 15 minutes a day. Just doing something will eventually get it done. Think of it as taking a lunch break---or a hobby break if you will. If your shop isn't at your house, that makes it harder for sure, but try and set aside a little time if you can. You need a hobby to distract you once in a while.
Tim, I'm feeling lucky being a few years younger without any back or eyeglass troubles when I find some time to work on my T's. I used eyeglasses 1980-1996 but hopefully never more, my contact lenses corrects when looking at a distance & my nearsightedness helps me to still be able to read small text at 49. I think there are multifocal contact lenses you can try or alternatively lenses with different strength for each eye that would be more convenient for upside down working positions - or maybe you have kids that can help with a hand when the back says stop? ;)
As you so eloquently posted:
Life is good.... and others have said - it sure beats the alternative.
You can make it !
When I got my T about three years ago, I eventually realized that I couldn't keep up my business at the current rate and still work on the T and all the other chores.
I cut back a little on the business to free up some time. It was a good decision and I've never regretted it.
If your business is doing that well, keep the old customers and tell some of the new ones your just too busy to get to them for a few weeks. Or - hire someone to help and spend your work time supervising them.
You'll be happier and healthier if you slow up and spend more time on what you love to do.
How many people come to the end of their lives and look back and say, "I wish I had spent less time with my family and more at work."?
Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a man who will be turning 80 this year. He is still working. Our conversation drifted to something like this. "It's surprising how many older people are still working" or is it that "working keeps us healthier and we live longer?"
I have found that when I was younger I could do almost as much in my spare time as I do now everyday now that I am retired. That is the time it takes to perform a task seems to grow to fill the time available to do it!
Just remember what Ol' Willie said... old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill.
What you need is a break. Let the T go for a while. Really it's just something you don't need to do. When it's not a hobby it's just work and that's where you are right now. I understand you want to drive it when some free time shows up but like you said: it ain't fun any more. Stop pushing. Stop looking at all that has to be done and focus on one small job at a time. Even if it's just setting the valves on one cylinder at a time then walk away. The big picture is scarey. The small one not so much. I was in the trade all my life and while not exactly sick of it I don't relish big work any more. I just don't want to do it.
To all of you who posted above.....I hear you! When I get up in the morning, my bones really creak, but it gets better as I move around, take a shower, and have a really strong cup of coffee. I guess it's just part of ageing, but at least we can count our blessings. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are with a good hobby, good friends, good standard of living, etc., and as Dave said, it sure beats the alternative.
Have fun and make the most of it.
Once I was aged past it I was always 'something' going on '39' in actions and attitude. This old former Tiger Stripe wearing Seabee was NEVER going to be physically older than 39 with some 'sort' of triangular build and ability to still handle a Little Creek type Survival/Fitness Course!
Then one day in my early 60's I tried getting a hogshead out while lifting like a crane and twisting while hovering over the non-existent drivers door. Doing good until the right knee went 'doink' in the twist right there on the running board! THAT took many months to get healed and back at it on T's and in that time I managed to also quit smoking, gain 20 pounds no matter what I did about it, threw out my lower back compensating for the knee mending, and still have a triangular physique...inverted!
Yup, I think twice before crawling under a T now...but STILL do it! Yup, I think twice before getting down on knees or on 6's now but STILL do it even though most of the time I now sit on a wheeled butt-stool to work...Yup, I have to crab walk the creeper over to where I can use the '15 wheels as a pull up jungle gym...Yup I sometimes have issue with my sight and glasses, but if necessary I turn my digital progressives upside down for a whole new experience that actually works! Yup, my son's 9 car shop/garage has a lift in in about 6 miles away and we have a beaver tail transport...but...still...I won't/don't consider the lift being an option yet. I'll adapt for as long as I possibly can.
Tim, the word is to keep at it...and...adapt. Let the world get slower if you can. I now really underestimate T work...lol. I'm almost ashamed to say it but the recent tail-light/4-way/turn signal project on the Hack took me about 5 sessions over a 2 week period, sessions of 3 hours or so each. Up until a few years ago that would have been done by lunch on the first day and the afternoon spent on debug and admiring my work for the rest of the day. But I'll admit...then it was 'working' at it...now it is puttering at it...and whatever time it takes is OK but I do feel that were I to take a full stop until things felt better or normaled out that it would be a slow restart if at all.
The wife has softly mentioned/hinting selling the stem-winder only '15 Roadster since I play with the '19 Hack more and the '25 hardly at all right now...but I said 'nah'...I keep the '15 tuned and it still starts on mag with a quarter pull or two...
(and chug on two Aleeve daily Those things are 'as advertised'.)
Life is what it is. You can fight it or you can enjoy it, so you might as well enjoy it. ~ Ken Patterson
I feel your pain, Tim. -I really do. -I think your problem is that you're talented, experienced and ambitious—but you just don't have a kid's energy, anymore. -Neither do I, Brother.
Oh, for the days when I'd shovel the snow, not only off my own driveway and sidewalk, but then I'd do the driveways and sidewalks of my neighbors on either side of me—and not even break a sweat. -Oh, then I'd walk back in the house and be greeted by a woman who thought the sun rose and set in my shirt pocket. -It feels so lousy that, after thirty years, three spine surgeries and two new knees, every bodily creak and crack reminds me that those days are long over. -Heck, last week, I sprained my back just getting out of bed. -It's sad.
Well, I'm retired and the rat-race is long over (the rats won) and lately, I've been spreading what used to be simple, easy jobs across vast expanses of time. -Last month, it took a me week just to wash the Flivver, polish the brass and massage in a little Turtle-Wax. -Used to be able to do stuff like that in one evening, during commercials. -Doing an oil-change/grease-job/timer-cleaning took another week, and that didn't even include re-packing the front wheel-bearings.
Fortunately, my Tin Lizzie is in pretty good shape and doesn't usually need the major-surgery of which guys like you are capable. -I futz and putter a little bit here and there, tinker and adjust this and that, and apply grease like a 4-year-old spreads strawberry jam. -Doesn't matter how long it takes, 'cause that kind of easy-peezy stuff is therapeutic. -My wife hates the man-cave, so I'm usually safe in there. -And my 99-year-old, brass mistress always makes me feel welcome and appreciated. -In fact, I think she likes that I go slow.
Well I can relate although I am only 47.
I was in a wreck leaving me with several problems.
But early after the accident I learned that I could hurt and drop tools in the back yard or in the shop,as good as I could hurt watching tv dropping my drink or my fork.
So needless to say I have built alot of stuff and fixed alot of stuff for others since then.But at my own pace and when I am feeling up to it.
Sometimes,like now, I just have to lay down the tools and quit for a while and rest my sore back.
At 47 I have adapted and as time goes by I will adapt some more. Beats the alternatives of watching to much tv or being dead.
Rolly stools and creepers and chairs are your friends, dont be afraid to adapt them to certain jobs you do repeatedly.
A little more progress made tonight. I am an exterminator at MSU and busy there getting ready for student move in and football season and the business is a pest control company so busy with that.
Manifolds are back on, carb is on, linkage is in place but tore out the brass screen in sediment bulb. Head, head gasket and coils and I'll be about there, maybe Sunday after yellow jackets and bald faced hornets on Saturday and then a job with 2 hired helpers. I did the motor and trans in this car and set up the mag and have never used a starter on it so it is a stem wind.
My real motivation is just to get it moved back to the barn so I can bring up a half built racer where the compressor and welders are and get back on that. Starting to get a toe hold and a little bit at a time gets more done than in a long time.
Tim I know you can do it, your a great guy
A movie had a line in it, "Get busy living or get busy dying". I went through chemo and 7 weeks of radiation several years (2005) ago. It takes a hour to swallow a hamburger. No saliva glands. My constant companion is a cold Mt. Dew. My wife and children are first priority. The Model T's have a spell over me that makes me forget my physical condition. They won't win any trophy's but I never get tired of them and their upkeep. Model T disease is a great one to have. No rain on my crops for 21 days, I will think about doing something on my T's instead of fretting over something I have no control over. Great stress relief.
I've been to a lot of funerals, and never heard a treasurer's report given at any one of them.
Tim, make your life easier by swapping those bi-focals for a pair of multi-focals; probably time for a new script anyway.