Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Peace and Quiet Days of an Immobile Baby Are Now Gone

That's right folks. Parker is officially crawling! It's time to get on my hands and knees and crawl around my house to baby proof. My life?, nay, my insanity is coming to an end, I can feel it. He has been able to plank up on all fours for about a month, and the past couple of days he has been mastering how far he needs to crawl before plopping in front of an object. Today he is crawling, tomorrow, who knows, maybe he'll conquer climbing the dresser. And then the day after that he can be swinging on the shower curtain rod. And the day after that maybe he'll play Tarzan, swinging from window blind string to string. Okay, okay, I may be pushing it just a bit, but I might as well prepare myself for the worst. Right?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fixing the Car

I had been planning on writing a cool little Post about the Survival High Adventure from last week, but decided to tell another Tale.

This one is about fighting, I mean, FIXING the car. I will spare all the details, but will outline what I remember from the 2 week dilemma.

Step 1: Fix the brakes on Infiniti (yes, this did take a couple of days, because I did the brakes AND the Calipers.)
Step 2: Run to the grocery store one morning to get brake fluid to refill. What was that noise I heard on a 1 mile trip? That grinding sound is really weird. I should take a look at it.
Step 3: have 4 other 'experienced' car people take a look at my car.
Step 4: sit bewildered because nobody had ever heard that sound coming from a car before.
Step 5: guess that the sound is, indeed coming from the alternator, because that is something that I could do myself, whereas the whole A/C condensor I couldn't fix.
Step 6: spend several hours trying to look up how to take off my alternator. Nothing online? At All? What? Oh, I come to find out that a 2002 is just too new to have any type of DIY repair manuals. It should be out some time in the next year.
Step 7: I start the car again - wait, where did the noise go? I only loosed a couple of screws. Why would this noise disappear?
Step 8: Decide I need to quit second guessing myself, and take it to Satan. Wait, Dennis Dillon. Sorry - no harm intended, we have just had a terrible experience with them. However, taking it in so that can make a diagnostic only is not above me.
Step 9: They only take 45 minutes to come look at the car, but yes, they agree that it is definitely the bearing inside the alternator that is out. (good news I think)
Step 10: Go home and try to take it out. Spend a few more hours. Realize that the A/C condenser has to come off so I can get that last stupid bolt out. (just unbolt the A/C, don't remove any hoses, that would be bad)
Step 11: Yes, this gets a step in and of itself. Get the LAST bolt out. Most of you know I have pretty small hands. And if I can't reach a bolt, you know it is TOO SMALL OF A SPACE. This last bolt took approximately 1 hour. It was that hard to reach, and a small ratchet didn't fit. I'm shaking my head in disgust just thinking about it.
Step 12: Try to decide best course of action - have somebody fix it (supposedly I've heard that they can get fixed in 20-60 minutes if you have the right tools, and that it can be cheap)
Step 13: Get lied to by Huskey Electric. Don't ever go to them. They are scumbags. They "took it apart" and "it can't be fixed." And then they tried to charge us $40 after they told us it would be a free diagnositc. They didn't even take it apart, and we had already tested the bloody thing at 3 different places. We new that the alternator was doing what it should (recharge the battery) but the bearing was broken.
Step 14: Find a bearing. Call every parts/auto mechanic in town. Call the Bearings specialist. When I take it in, they say, "I've never even heard that part number before." Oh great. I could order 1000 bearing online if I want. Finally get ahold of Durabilt in Nampa. Yes, we have several of them in Stock. Come get it, its $24. (much better than spending $200 on a new one right?)
Step 15: Get the bearing back on. - wait I skipped a step. Somewhere previously I took it to a machine shop to help get it open. He accidentally cracked the casing - it was still good, just cracked. He also Cut off the previous bearing, no big deal as it was shattered and in a million pieces anyway.
Back to Step 15. Get the New bearing on. Not too difficult - just take a hammer and bang away at it.
Step 16: Put the casing back together, lock the brushes up so that the shaft can fit through. (brushes are on the opposite half as the bearing.) Wait, why did one of my brushes just fall off? Not just fall off, but it is broken in half. Hmm, I guess I need to replace that now too.
Step 17 : This is getting pretty long isn't it? Find that the brush assembly is just as hard to find as the bearing, but I can try calling around tomorrow. For now I will just try to get it off.
Again, using the hammer, screwdriver etc. I guess the brush assembly is only meant to be taken off by a pro, cause I spent about an hour on that, and the only progress I made was a few Hammer-in screws that came out and a whole bunch of broken plastic. Well, I guess I gotta get a new one anyway, so I may as well tear the crap out of this one, so next time I will KNOW what I am doing. Nope, it never did come off. It had a bracket, and I could never get it off.
Step 18: Call B & W auto salvage. Go pick up the used alternator. It had been there for 988 days. $65 for the little guy. Doesn't look pretty (at all). In fact it looked as bad as mine did, and mine was smashed into pieces mostly)
Step 19: Put alternator back in. Walker decides to play "52 card pickup" with my tools and bolts/nuts. While I am under the car. So several things get stuck under the hood in different cracks. Some of them hiding behind/underneath things in the garage.
Step 20: Find all the parts/pieces. Why won't this bolt go back in? there are only 5 left, 1 of them has to go in! Walker decides to quietly spill a bucket of paint in the little nook behind the water heater. Why is he being so quiet? Oh, because there is a HUGE pool of paint, and he is quietly brushing it on the walls/fertilizer machine, everything else he can reach. (I just left it there, it will dry up right? Then I can peel it off the concrete in a couple of weeks)
Step 21: Get the belt back on. This goes around the alternator, A/C condensor, Engine, and another pulley (I forget what it is called) Would it surprise you if I said that was the Easiest part of the whole project? That is usually one of the most difficult parts is getting belts back on.
Step 22: Tighten all the bolt. A bit of WD-40 does miracles on bolts. They went on 10 times easier than they came off. Only 30 minutes to get all of the bolts back on, and that is because of the allignment portion. Meaning getting the whole and the bolt lined up.
Step 23: Hook up all the cables. Again, pretty easy. Hook up the battery to the alternator etc.
Step 24: Take it to Schuck's to make sure the alternator is working right. They run a test, and say everything is fine. They check the tension on the belt. Say its good. How did I manage that?
Step 25: Hope that is doesn't happen again!

Total spent: Hours ?? No clue. $$ - $65 got used alternator, $24 on a bearing (can't return it)
$50 on some Angle-adjustable Ratcheting Box wrenches. Those do come in pretty handy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


It's official! Randy and Kristen are finally married! Yay!!! Randy, we couldn't be happier for you and Kristen, you look just beautiful. I especially love this picture.

Walker was being a little cranky due to lack of food by picture time, but considering he's in some of the pictures we got, he did OK.

Amazing what some bread and some one on one time with Daddy will do. Walker requested a photo shoot with just Jason. I am shocked at the result of such good pictures! This one is my favorite!

or maybe this one....

Nope! THIS ONE!!! Does this one look like "Blue Steel" or "Magnum"? Come up with a name of your own and let me know.

Me and the boys.

Our 'Happy' Family. Parker didnt' like the reflection off of the other building.

Parker is so close to crawling! I thought for sure he would get it down before Jason got home from Denver, but alas, he is still doing this.