• Work Day

    by  •  • LifeStuff • 0 Comments

    Today was a Saturday well spent, at least as far as I go.

    I usually spend them doing little productive. I’m a very poor maintenance person.

    That said, I had two main goals on my list, and I wasn’t sure if I’d get them done.

    The first, cutting back the rose bushes in the backyard, was more than doable. But the roses on the west side of the yard had formed a pretty good wall against fowl and insects and light, with branches standing at 6-8 feet tall. I didn’t want to do it, but it had to be done.

    photo 1

    I started hacking around nine, and about noon, the roses were all wall level.

    photo 3

    I had to take time to remove the bony growth of a small tree that was growing between the crack in two bricks in the yard. I’ve tried to cut it down like a weed in the past, but this time, it was clearly entrenched and not wanting to leave by mere yanks and pulls. I had to remove one of the bricks and dig it out. It had some thick and long roots under the bricks. I imagine it will come back again. Next time, there will be fire.

    I took a break out back to put a final layer of polyurethane seal on the table in the garage. It was the fifth one, so I figured that would be good enough, and I called the table done (except for oiling the base pieces, which I can do later). I listened to the Cubs crash and burn again for a while I sanded, wiped down, and then brushed the seal onto the table. That was not a joyful experience, listening to the Cubs game. They are slowly chugging toward a forgettable season, and missing the playoffs entirely a year out from their magical World Series season.

    After loading the truck with rose branches and other yard debris, I went out front to go the landfill, and some neighbors across the street were having a small yard sale, so I ended up visiting with them about the neighborhood and life and travel and the HOA, until I realized it was an hour later.

    I got to the landfill by 3, and took my place in the line of pickups bringing home project junk there for disposal as well. And then, when I finally got into the dump area and got out to pull the rose branches out of the truck, I realized I forgot to bring my gloved with me. Sigh. Fortunately a guy next to me had a second pair he let me use. Moments later, the truck was empty.

    After visiting the dump, I came home and deliberated about just taking off and going somewhere to camp for the night, compelled by campfire smoke and quiet reading time in nature, but the other project I wanted to finish this weekend won the mental battle, and after a short rest, it was back outside to the garage, and then off to Lowe’s and then back to the garage.

    My evening project was both challenging and, because it was challenging, nerve wracking, because it involved tools, unfamiliar procedures, and mechanical surgery.

    The driver’s side door handle on my truck just snapped about weeks ago, leaving me unable to open the door when I wanted to drive my truck. After looking at dealer prices to buy parts and have them do the work, I found a video on YouTube by Jason Abston from 2016 that was just an excellent step-by-step guide of how to change the part myself. The guy was even working on my model of truck.

    I rounded up the tools I would need. I picked up some liquid silicone to grease the metal rods that control locking and opening the door in the truck. I got my laptop with video queued. And I started.

    Driver's side door panel removed.  14 years of dirt and gunk. Messy.

    Driver’s side door panel removed. 14 years of dirt and gunk. Messy.

    The process was well spelled out, and yet at some points, quite frustrating, because the guides instructions required good eyes or smaller agile hands to get to parts in the door. After a number of failures and regrouping, I finally got the door taken apart and the old handle off.

    Inside the Tacoma door.

    Inside the Tacoma door.

    Work space to remove the old handle.  Remove to bolts, open to rod clips.  Small working hands preferred.

    Work space to remove the old handle. Remove to bolts, open to rod clips. Small working hands preferred.



    I cleaned up the filthy door panel with some hot water and dish soap. I got the lock transferred from the old handle to the new, and I got the new handle in the door, rods, connected, lock working, and handle working as well. Yes. The surgery was looking successful.

    Tidied a bit.

    Tidied a bit.

    It was getting late, after 10, and I was at the last moments of getting the door panel back onto the door. The outer handle was fixed, the speaker was reconnected in the door to the electronics of the main chassis, the door panel itself had a few damaged clips replaced.

    Closed up.  Duct tape rules.

    Closed up. Duct tape rules.

    It was during final stretch of completing the job when my heart sank.

    As I tried to thread the inside handle through it’s slot in the door panel, I lifted the panel a little to try and fit the handle through at a new angle, and by doing so, I torqued the join between the handle and the latch rod. There was a pop. And a moment for me to try and figure out what happened.

    The joint between rod and the handle was now broken.

    I spent about 40 minuted trying to come up with a Red Green duct tape solution, but to no avail. The inside handle was now broken.

    Red Green technique.  Nope. No go.  No work here.

    Red Green technique. Nope. No go. No work here.

    The handicapped rod clip, and the gaping but usable hole in the door.

    The handicapped rod clip, and the gaping but usable hole in the door.

    The inside handle was broken, the backyard looked great, the reconditioned table top was done, the Cubs lost another one, and I could now get into my truck from the outside again. And the driver’s side door panel was clean.

    All in all, it was a good day.

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    A web programmer by day, I somehow still spend a lot of time thinking about relationships, God, and the significance of grace and love in daily events. I am old school in the sense that I believe in the reality of sin, and in the need of each human heart for deliverance to the Divine. I am one of those who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that you can find most answers to life's pressing issues in Him and His Word, the Bible. I ain't perfect, and a lot of the time I ain't good, but by God's grace and kindness, I am forgiven and free.

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