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Tuesday, April 6, 2010


rolling mandala

I bought a cordless drill today I'd been needing for several years. I get it home, tear apart the cardboard box it came in, because I couldn't figure out how to open it the way it looked like it ought to open. Meaning, I hesitate now to take it back. I've spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get the battery off the bottom of the drill so I can put it on the charger for the initial 24 hour charge. I can't get it off. I read the instruction book front to back and back to front looking for something to tell me how to get the battery off the drill. Not one word. It looks kind of obvious. A thumb print push in place on each side at least implies to me that pushing those tabs or whatever they are should do the trick. It doesn't. They push in maybe a sixteenth of an inch and that's it. Nothing happens. I'm about to take a screwdriver and a hammer to it. That'll do it. But I don't want to destroy the thing before we start. I found a phone number on the instructions. Called the number. This number is out of service. I look for the Master Mechanic brand by google. A little bit, but nothing that led me to learn how to take the battery off. I called long distance information to the company and the address. I got a phone number for the address with an individual's name. Called. No answer. I'll call back tomorrow morning. If I can't get somebody to tell me how to do this, I'm taking it back and getting something else.

I'm taking it back. Even if I do get it figured out or if somebody shows me how, and it works, it's too much of a bother. If I have to go through this every time I want to take the battery off to recharge it, I'll be a raving lunatic in a short time. I like things that work. Especially when I pay for them. Grrr. If I'd scavenged it out of the dump, I wouldn't be so disappointed that I can't even get past the first step. Tools are conveniences. This thing is not convenient. I have put it back in its case. Tomorrow I'll drive to town and trade it in for another. Too, while googling to see if I could get a website, email address, phone number, any kind of connection where I could ask someone who has a fair chance of knowing, I came across a website of a guy who tests the tools and tells what he found. He said this one has plastic parts that wear out easily. It's the generic drill for TrueValue Hardware. It doesn't have much power. I think he gave it 2.5 stars of 5.

A netflix movie that viewers have collectively rated as low as 2.5 is a movie I don't want to see. It tells me it's boring. The movies I've seen with that rating were boring. I'm still bumfuzzled over not being able to figure out how to take that battery off the drill. It's basic. Basic as it gets. And no matter what I do I cannot figure it out. It's a situation where a square peg will not fit in a square hole. Now what? Take it back. Get something that doesn't set me to cussing before I get started. I have problem enough with the physical world anyway. This is why I am not a mechanic. I was using a lug wrench taking lugnuts off two wheels of the car to paint them. They'd been put on with an air drill, tight, but they broke loose, until I found the one that is always in the equation. I tried this and that. Even using a foot to push down on the cross bar and pulling the other end up with my hands. Didn't work. Nothing worked. I took a little walk and thought about it. It came to me to keep at it. It will break loose. I kept at it and it eventually it did, after a good soaking with WD40. I soaked all the bolts and inside all the nuts before putting everything back together, believing it's inhibiting rust a little bit.

The big project of the day was getting started painting the wheels on the Catfish. Initially, I wanted chrome wheels or aluminum wheels for it, but I couldn't find anything for a 14 inch wheel. They don't figure any more. Allen Sparks who liked customizing cars, fixing up old ones, making them nice, told me people aren't fixing up old cars any more. It's something that died in one generation. I want to fix up the Catfish. It has good lines. A good paintjob will bring out the lines. I'm painting the wheels black. This is the solution to not being able to get chrome wheels. Black wheels. They look right. 5 chrome lugnuts on each one and a little chrome plastic hubcap that fits inside the circle the 5 lugnuts make.

I've been buying tools toward this for a few weeks. A jack, the kind on wheels with a handle to pump, hydraulic. The jacks that come with cars won't do. With taking the wheels off to paint them in mind, I needed the jack, a good cross bar lug wrench, made in USA, so it's not going to twist in my hands on a stubborn nut and give me the illusion I'm Superman. Both of them did their thing. The cross bar didn't give a bit. I told Charlie at Napa I want something that works. He came out with this one and I could tell by how it looked that it could get the job done. I despise being on an interstate or somewhere alongside a highway changing tires with inadequate equipment. Been there, done that. Two grades of steelwool, some bright yellow-green masking tape Charlie advised is better than the other to work with. He was right. A couple cans of spray primer and a couple of gloss black. He gave me sound counsel on the kind of paint to put on the wheels. There were so many different kinds I didn't know what to do.

I chose to paint 2 wheels on the same side in case something came up and I couldn't get it done tomorrow it wouldn't matter. Anybody only sees one side at a time. But I will get them done tomorrow. Jacking the car up was so simple it was like nothing. Took the wheels off one at a time. Put masking tape on the tire around the rim. Steelwooled the rim for rust and whatever else. Then a rust inhibiting light gray primer. On the can it said the paint is ready for the next coat after 30 minutes. I used that time polishing the chrome lugnuts with chrome polish. They had never been cleaned. It took at least 30 minutes to polish the 5 lugnuts. Then I sprayed gloss black on the gray primer. The wind wasn't bad. A little bit more breeze than I wanted, but it was manageable. I hadn't anticipated it, but it looks like a race car with the black rims and black tires. Like a dirt track racer. Maybe I'll do like Dukes of Hazard, crawl in through the window and not use the door. Except I'd get stuck. Paint it orange and call it Generally. It's not me. Black wheels I can roll with.

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