Nothing better than driving the Scout home topless from work in 80° sunshine, an impromptu ride to the Home Depot in a stinkingly fast Corvette, multiple beers in the twilight, kids playing happily on the swings, and an early night to bed for a busy Saturday ahead.
This week has been stupidly busy. Between helping a friend get a responsive website up and running for a client, helping another client with email hassles, research on pre-rolled FTP services and scripts, planning the move of a backyard playground, and fitting in time with the girls, I’m exhausted. I also got a batch of IPA brewed and in the fermenter for the 4th of July party on Tuesday night; it’ll be close but should come in just under the wire. I’m going to brew a batch of Hefeweizen for the other keg, but that should only take four weeks to ferment and carb, so I have a little time.
I’m juggling money right now, trying to decide where to put a little extra cash, and the obvious choice is at reserving a vacation house in Hatteras. It looks like everyone we know is booked or busy this year, so I think it will be the three of us, which is fine by me. Hopefully I can find a 2 to 3 bedroom somewhere close to the beach with a small pool of some kind.
This blue Scout happens to be parked right around the corner from my office. It hasn’t moved in a couple of months, so I think it’s a long-term project for someone. It definitely needs sheet metal work; the rockers are shot and there isn’t a panel without some kind of cancer showing.
Our good friend Linda sent her old Kindle up to Maryland when she upgraded. I pulled it out last week and looked it over, trying to figure out how to get new books on it without erasing what it already held. I’m new to the e-book thing, only having loaded some ePub files on my iPhone a few months ago. Kindles use a different format, so I had to find a way to convert and transfer my books: enter Calibre.
It’s a cross-platform app meant to do a lot of things, so it resembles an OS X app from 2001, before UI standards really got nailed down and people were porting things over from UNIX. It’s cryptic, so it takes some time to sort out what can be done and what will blow things up, but once I sorted out the UI and what I wanted to do, it was pretty straightforward.
The Kindle itself is really nice; I like the fact that it’s got wi-fi and it feels good in my hands. I’ve only played around with it a little bit, so I have no idea what its total capabilities are yet. Jen and I are looking into setting up a house Amazon Prime account so that we can buy more books, as well as stream movies and take advantage of free shipping, and I think that will make it even better. And apparently there’s some way I can access my New Yorker subscription on the Kindle too.
I think eventually I’ll take the plunge and buy an iPad variant, but right now I really like this thing.
I bought a bottle of 303 Aerospace Protectant last week from Amazon for our vehicles, because all I’ve read says it’s supposed to be better for plastic and vinyl than Armor All. I also broke down and bought a bottle of Meguiar’s #17 Clear Plastic Cleaner to refinish the panels on my soft top, which are hazy and scratched. I tried out both products last night, and the Meguiar’s seemed to do a great job of cleaning the small patch I tried. Hopefully I can get a little time this weekend to pull it out, wash the top, and clean the windows properly.
From what I hear, I can use the Mequiar’s on headlight covers too– which is great, because the covers on the CR-V are getting hazy.
Monday morning I dropped Grandma off at the airport and watched as she rolled her bag inside the Departure terminal and out of sight. She flew in last week to help watch Finn while Mama was out of town, and as always the visit was too short but a lot of fun. Poor Finn was sick for most of last week, so she spent most of Thursday and Friday on the couch, which made Grandma’s job easier. Saturday we got up early and spent the morning cruising the neighborhood looking through yard sales, where I found Finn a beach chair, a boogie board, and a 10-gallon aquarium for fish we don’t have yet. Grandma found her a pair of footie pajamas and a great kids’ cookbook.
It was 70° and sunny, so we spent as much of the day outside as possible. Finn dug in her sandbox while I chased the mower around the yard and got some other outdoor chores done. In the evening, we barbecued dinner and then took a drive in the Scout down to Opie’s for some ice cream, where we watched the sun set and made some new friends.
Sunday was another laid-back day; while I went out and hosted the Scout meetup, Mom and Finn walked downtown to the farmers’ market together until I got back. The day was chilly even though the sun eventually came out, so we stayed inside and read books and played together until bedtime.
I always get bummed out when family leaves (or I leave family) and Monday was no exception, made worse by the lousy weather we’re having here. I’m glad that Grandma got to go back to sunny 80° and a glass-smooth lake.
Another thing I got to this weekend while Finn was asleep was to pull out the A/C ductwork under my dashboard. It was inoperable when I got the truck, although there was power to the blower fan. There was no compressor on the engine and the supply/return hoses had been cut just outside the firewall. Figuring it would be a number of years and several Lotto tickets before I’m able to buy an aftermarket A/C system, and because I’d like to get under the dash itself to replace bulbs and fix electrical gremlins, I decided to yank it out.
The vent bar came out easily (in part because one of the bolts was already missing) and the PO had thoughtfully installed quick connects on all of the wiring. Once that was out, I tackled the condenser unit under the passenger’s side. This was trickier because my glove box latch is hopelessly broken, so I jimmied that open, removed the box liner, and pulled the door off. There are four bolts holding it onto the firewall, three in the wheel well and one in the engine bay. They all came off so easily I had to look around to see if anyone was pranking me.
Once that was disconnected and the hoses underneath came off, the whole assembly lifted right out. It’s definitely seen better days. The picture here doesn’t show five pounds of dog hair and mud caked into the rear of the condenser unit.
Now I can get underneath and sort out the wiring, replace all the bulbs, and (possibly) even pull the purple dash off and replace it with the black one I refinished four years ago. But I’ll have to be careful not to anger the Scout electrical gods.
A couple of years ago, when I was in between Scouts, I rode along with a neighbor of mine to a Land Rover meetup at a restaurant in Columbia. We hung out, talked trucks, and then walked inside for some lunch. It was a real easygoing way to meet new people.
Recently I got to thinking about all the guys with Scouts who I’ve met over the years who don’t know each other or haven’t found the Binder Planet, and thought I might try to get a group together for the same kind of gathering. I started emailing folks in the Baltimore area and soon the word was out.
We met at the Famous Dave’s in Columbia this morning, and by noon we had about 15 guys with 6 trucks in attendance. First to arrive were Erik M. and Stu S., followed by Stephen G. with a beautiful red 6(6?) 1200 pickup. Next was Brian T., coming in from the Eastern Shore with his Scout, and Jesse A. from Annapolis came in with his Scout right after noon. We also had a bunch of guys who have trucks in the shop– Jason H., who is doing an engine transplant and bodywork, my neighbors the Dunmires, who have a Scout II in the middle of bodywork, Brian H., whose Wagonmaster is currently with Mike Moore in Virginia, and Pate M. from the Eastern Shore, whose Scout II is also in the middle of serious surgery. Carl B. came in from the west side of town as we were finishing up lunch, the victim of some overheating issues.
We hung out in the parking lot for a couple of hours with our hoods up shooting the breeze, and every once in a while someone would slowly cruise past and stare at our trucks. We even got a nod of approval from a guy in a lifted diesel Ford.
Then, we went inside for some beer and barbecue. (I took no pictures inside, sorry).
When we walked back outside, gray skies had turned sunny, and we stood out in the lot for another hour or so talking trucks.
I had run into the Target before everyone arrived to see if they had a couple of Matchbox Scouts, meaning to give them out for stuff like “rustiest truck” and “farthest distance driven”. This guy got one just cause he was cool.
All in all, it was a great day, and I hope everyone had a good time.