Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's a shed, It's a flophouse...

It's an old boxcar?

The grab rails are the best clue.
Heritage still to be determined.

But from talking to a neighbor, it was used by itinerant fishermen. They used batteries and 12V appliances.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something to make you think

Saturday I went to a memorial service for the late president of the railroad historical society I belong to. The last speaker mentioned that in his belief system we will all meet again and that the departed was probably looking down on us and enjoying the whole scene. At that point a cell phone belonging to someone sitting right behind me rang, and his ring tone was a train whistle.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Synchronistic nexus

Last Friday, as I was dropping my car off for service, my cell phone indicated a voice mail awaited. It seems that my renter had called, the spring on the garage door had broken and he was headed out of town for a week.
Visions of a massive time sink hole floated through my head. 90 minutes later my car was ready, but I needed to stop by the caboose to check the tarps because it was raining. It turns out the tarp over the cupola hole had come undone and the new T&G cabinets were soaked. So I retarped the caboose. Someone else showed up and we tied them down.
I went home, had lunch, grabbed a phone book so I could look up a number for garage door repair after I drove up and confirmed the diagnosis.
I arrived at the rental and as I was fiddling with the bypass key, a worktruck drove down the street which proudly proclaimed "Overhead Door Co"! I was too shocked to make my legs run after it, and by the time they unlocked, the truck turned into the parking lot and parked two spaces away. The driver notices I'm staring at him (with my jaw hanging open) and smiles. My renter said nothing about calling and I didn't ask him to since he was leaving. I ask the driver "Did someone call you?" "No, I'm visiting someone" (2 doors down in turns out)
"Have I got a job for YOU!"
Anyway, he put a temporary fix on the door, and came back today with a new spring for the permanent fix. I didn't write about it before because I didn't want to jinx it.
It was like I was in a Murphy's Law free vortex. My jaw was hanging in amazement the whole time he was there. What are the odds?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stolen (borrowed) wisdom

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you their time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then you’re probably a dog.

Quoted by Tara Brach, from an unknown source

Taken from Yoga For Cynics

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Kitties at the Coast

We're spending a few days out at the coast. Lily wants to be involved with the jig saw puzzle. She was quite insistent.
Lenora spent the first 12 hours in bed under the covers. This is her usual 24 hour protest at being uprooted. (Sitting in one spot) This was the only light she saw for 12 hours. We actually couldn't find her for awhile. She laid very flat and hasn't really been undercover before.
Lily, having tired of puzzle solving, joins Lenora (the bump to the left)
Tues. was warm in the 70's, yesterday was cool and cloudy, this morning started off with rain, occasionally heavy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a .....CABOOSE?

After weeks of anticipation, the notice went out, The caboose will be flying "early" on Halloween! Those who read carefully, NOT including moi, read further to see that the time was 7am instead of the usual 10am. I arrived "early" at 9, and it was done, the crane was packing up and headed home! (Thank you Gus C for the flying pictures.)

This was a major milestone.

The president of our group is quite ill it turns out, and I was asked to fill a position on the board (not president) for the remainder of the term of several months.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Everyday art

I often walk by this on my morning walk. It's at the far end, and it's all downstream from here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ah Memories

Someone else's facebook entry reminded me that the physical for my first job as a Firefighter was given by a woman doctor. (in the mid '70's)

Like Arlo, I was injected, inspected and detected. When I got home I announced to my future wife, "Good News Bad news dear! I got the job but I think I'm engaged!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Our first real rain in a very long time. We've had 3 years of drought. We're in between pulses right now, heavy rain this am and more on tap for the afternoon. This is unusually heavy for us this time of year, but we'll take it. Also it seems like most of the good storms the last couple of years have been at night. I love watching storms during the day.

This is out the front door

This is out the back door.

The storm brings high winds which are dropping black walnuts onto the corrogated tin roof over our back bedroom. They sound like gunshots.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Truth in blogging

I hear there's a move to require bloggers to reveal when they have received something back when they have promoted something. So I feel I have to reveal that in exchange for talking up the caboose restoration, they have allowed me to strip copious amounts of paint.

I feel a lot of weight off my chest.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Welding on the ole RR

Today was a rare Friday work day to get a head start on some vital stuff. The caboose has three large timbers that run the length of the caboose. Each has a severe crack. As a consequence the caboose has exhibited yoga like tendencies in that you could pick up one end 1.5 feet and the center would not move. SO, several steel beams have been inserted. Today there was a lot of welding to get them doing their job in preparation for the big move when the caboose is moved onto it's trucks.

So besides a brief round of paint stripping, I spent the day as a gofer/fire watch. More welding & fire watching tomorrow. Plus I have a meeting in the morning and a retirement dinner in the evening!

What makes you think I want a subscription to LOL cats??

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Progress on the P&SR RR

This is the part of the caboose that sits on the trucks. One was missing, but a replacement was located in a scrap pile far away somewhere. There are two and they are now mounted with aircraft grade nuts and bolts. They are VERY heavy.

An interesting bit of information I learned, is that the pin which goes between the two pieces, is dropped into the hole(s) from above.

What this means is we are noticeably closer to the day when we will have the caboose lifted onto the trucks. In fact this last Saturday, "Crane dude" stopped by to work up an estimate.

Another sign of progress is the delivery, and setup of some longer pieces of track to put the trucks on, and then the caboose. An old wooden baggage car will go in the spot where the caboose now sits. That should arrive in the near term also.

So how do you know how far apart to put the rails? With a track gauge of course!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Where to begin?

Well, the most important thing going on is that a neighbor and friend, who has suffered from emphysema for as long as we have known her, was given 1-2 years to live unless she gets a lung transplant. Lots of tears shed there.

There aren't any pictures from the caboose project because most everybody went on a 4 hour road trip to get some rare but vital parts. I stayed behind and vacuumed the caboose because there are going to be people touring in two weeks. This DOES mean however, that I get a month respite from paint grinding! (It was too hot to do it Saturday)

Due to the previously mentioned water leak in the garage, I have been on a cleaning binge, both here and out at the coast. I can see the floor again! Lots of stuff recycled, and thrown away. One of the nice things about getting older is that I no longer keep things "Because I might use it someday" and instead, when I find one of those previously saved items, I can toss, recycle or find a new home for it.

HOWEVER, in the process of cleaning out at the coast, I was making many trips to the garbage can when my eyes wandered to a 2X6 board that holds up some roofing over the cans. "Is that a bit of dry rot?" I guess it's best that I looked, however, this is what I found after poking around.

I was pondering whether to replace the boards myself, or call our favorite contractor for a short little job. My problem was that a 16' board was needed and I don't have a way to get it here unless I borrow a truck. Hassle, but as I left the house, who was parked next door? None other than favorite contractor! So we (he) did the job this afternoon.

Remember the century plant? Here is a picture from about July 4th.

And here is a shot just before I cut it down.

And here is a gratuitous shot of some of the landscaping Moonrabbit has been working on. I just hauled the rock, and made gopher baskets.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Caboose milestone

One of the last big pieces of the truck assembly. I was torn away from stripping, to take pictures for a bit.

Meanwhile, high on a ladder inside the caboose, paint stripping has moved from the "relatively" pleasant heat stripping to the distinctly unpleasant grinding removal. Despite goggles, respirator, cap and long sleeve shirt (in warm temps) I emerge every 10-20 minutes looking like a green tinged raccoon.

Other things birthers believe

My neck hurts from shaking my head.

Check THIS out.

What's next?

On the theory that things go in threes, yesterday the Odessey had a dead battery because an interior light in the back had been turned on, and we didn't drive it for a couple of days. This morning, Moonrabbit, at the last second before leaving for the morning, took something out to the garage and found a cracked water fitting spewing water and soaking a lot of stuff. It could have been MUCH worse, and the garage may get a bit of cleaning as a result , but WHAT'S GOING ON? I can't imagine any reason for this fitting to suddenly crack.

At least it was cheap and easy to fix.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rub a Dub Tub caboose update

So last week it was determined that our ancient claw foot tub was WAY past due for refurbishment. Fortunately, the bathtub refurbishing guy is only about 2 blocks from our house and was open on Saturday and Sunday. So I spent Saturday afternoon uninstalling the tub, and with the help of my neighbor the artist, we got it out to the front porch. Sunday, about noon the refurbisher hauled it away. We got a call later in the week that he could deliver it on Friday, which he did along with some tips on reinstallation.

I call them "plumbing days" and I hate them. I have found plumbing days require a minimum of three trips to the hardware store and some kind of angst. This took four. Who would have guessed that you could not buy a replacement washer for the braided stainless steel water supply lines, but instead, you have to buy a whole new line? Or that two other washers that were worn and needed to be replaced, would have to be fashioned from new washers cut down from a larger size?

So all in all I was a little sore for my 4 hours of paint stripping on the caboose the next day. I did a few other things as a break and because I finished the "worst" of the paint stripping. This is actually not good news. I have finished the beams with their copious amounts of paint that could be easily taken off with a heat gun. What remains is the ceiling, with less paint, that needs to be sanded off. Oh won't THAT be fun?

These are bolsters, they sit on the springs of the trucks. One more iron piece goes where the lads are drilling, and that is where one end of the caboose sits.
This large heavy piece of iron is attached to the underside of the caboose and is where the missing piece of the bolster sits. I hope I don't have to put it back on. (Sorry I'm busy stripping paint!) I'm guessing they took it off to fabricate another one since the caboose only came with one and needs two.
Other guys are working on the cat walk. There is one more board than shown. The catwalk jogs around the cupola. Must have been fun in the show or rain!

Work on the new cabinets is progressing, delayed occasionally by visitors.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aliens have abducted my wife!

1. Today, at lunch, she removed her sunglasses and asked me to look at her eyes. It was then that I noticed they were no longer brown, but they were hazel instead. This was confirmed by two waitresses. I might put this off to bad memory on my part, but we have a framed poem hanging in our bedroom, that I wrote to her when we were dating which is all about her brown eyes.

2. She requested that I cut off ALL water to our tomato plants, "to force greater productivity". The woman I married would have been concerned about their comfort and feelings ahead of productivity.

Who is this woman and what has she done with my wife???

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mish mash

For the record, I had a dream last night that the car # for the baggage car we looked at Saturday is #46.

Saturday night while showering I found a lump on my left forearm. I'm pretty sure it's just fat that couldn't find room anywhere else, but I made an appt. (Of course the first available appt was Wed at 10:20 the precise time I have a dentist appt., the second was within that hour)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The joys of paint stripping

This has been my career in the railroad (volunteer restoration) biz for the last several sessions. So far I'm just stripping the blue painted beams and the 4 or 5 coats of paint beneath that. At that, it's only about half the car since someone else did half. I took a stab at the alligatored ceiling. Merde! The heat gun didn't seem to faze it, sanding was not very successful either.

The morning was spent checking out an old baggage car that has been converted into a small house. We were trying to establish it's origins to particularly see if it was tied to the North Western Pacific RR.

After 3 hours of test sanding in likely ID locations, we finally found what appears to be the letters "E" in gold leaf. It's last years may have been as a Maintenance car.

The car appears to be made of redwood from what we're seen so far, but those could be repairs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Caboose progress report .005

I didn't get any really interesting pictures this last Saturday working on the caboose. But early in the day day I got pulled off (kicking and screaming you can be sure) the paint stripping detail, and helped with a slight "adjustment" of the suspension on the trucks. I don't know all the proper terms (one reason I'm stripping paint).

Painting the board beneath the hydraulic jack was my very first job, so I'm a little protective of it. Basically, the leaf springs sit on this board, in the iron seats. The board SHOULD be able to rock side to side, but wouldn't, so first we tried gently spreading an iron strap apart. This worked on one truck, but not this one. We also exchanged the pinned strap just to the right since the first one didn't hold the board at the right height, but the replacement was thicker, thus necessitating further adjustments to the board width.

So then we had to call in one of the "Skil" players for final adjustments. He desecrated my paint job!

The last picture is with most of the pieces in place in happier times when the board was fully painted (even if you can't see it)

I believe another board goes on top of the springs, and the center pin is mounted on that, and one end of the caboose sits on that!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lily at 100.8 F

Lenora came in and collapsed about 20 minutes ago. We gave her water. I'm guessing that Lily will take off if I approach her with water, (she's going thru her "I'm Feral dammit!" stage) but I should try just in case.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lily, the Hit Cat

When out at the coast, Lily channels Bill Murray from "Caddyshack", "come on out Mister Gopher, it's just me, your friend Lily!"

Rare Gopher cam view

Lily's normal routine is to get up between 4:30 and 5:30 am and try to get us up also. Mornings after she has spent all day hunting, she lays in until after 8, seemingly lifeless.