Last day

Man it is just incredible how quickly this staycation have evaporated.  What is also insane is just how little of it I spent doing any sort of relaxing.  Outside of the Saturday Supercon trip every single day has just been filled with getting stuff handled.  Another slightly negative has been the weather, the last three days have had a bunch of rain which is good for the sod I laid on Wednesday but bad for doing much else.  The only PEV riding I have done this entire time is the 10-12 mile ride to Katie and Daniel’s place to install the TV which is ridiculous.

Yesterday the work continued. In the morning I went to my accountant’s house in Fort Myers.  The husband/wife team had done my taxes for the last 20 years almost.  Well roughly a year ago the husband had a massive heart attack and died which was a shock to me.  This was the first time I saw the wife since then.  She asked if I could come up to help determine what computer equipment she needed now that the business has been moved out of their home office.  I spent most of the morning there trying to sort through it and wiping the hard drives of the stuff that was going to be given away or donated.  I actually took one of their old systems to refurbish and give to Katie to use at her new house.  During the work we talked about the tragedy which made her tear up multiple times which was hard to see.  It was a reminder that anyone’s world can be turned upside down in an instant. We all live inside of a false reality that can be shattered without notice.

During the afternoon my main focus was getting the tractor working again.  I pulled it into the garage to do the work since it once again looked like it was going to rain.  I pulled the deck off to get a better look.  What I saw pissed me off.  The blades were not seated correctly on the spindles.  The keyed fitting on the spindle has rounded half circles, the key on the new blades was more of a star formation.  WTF, the package specifically said the blades fit Craftsman mowers as well as some other brands.  Since I threw out the packaging and had already mounted these blades I figured I was f’d as far as getting my money back from Home Depot.

I instead headed to Lowe’s and got a set of blades with the correct key pattern.  When I got home I installed them and reattached the deck, hoping my issues were over.  Well when I fired up the mower deck it still sounded terrible.  I immediately shut it down, assuming the right spindle, which I suspected was bad, needed to be replaced.  When I took the deck back off and turned off the main securing nut on top of the spindle the guts of it spilled out onto the garage floor, yep it is bad.

Now the one stroke of good fortune I had was I actually had a replacement spindle in hand.  The other spindle failed a year or two ago, I bought two of them at that time, just in case.  All I had to do was remove the old shitty unit so I grabbed my impact wrench and started backing out the old bolts.  In the process I snapped three of the four bolts.  Little did I know how lucky I was to at least have one intact.

I went to the local hardware store with my one good bolt to find replacements.  The bolts I bought matched in thread and size but were a little different in design.  The old bolt had a small section at the bottom with no threads, I didn’t know why.  When I got home and tried to test fit the new bolts into the new spindle I discovered the reason.  The spindle bolt holes are not threaded, the special bolts are actually designed to cut threads as you turn it in.  The new bolts were not designed to do this.

What I wound up doing was putting the spindle into my vice and turning my one lone original bolt into and out of each hole to thread it.  I was quite nervous that the bolt would snap as well during this process but it held up.  After doing this the new hardware turned in as you would expect.  After mounting the spindle to the deck and putting everything back together I pulled the tractor out into the rain and engaged the blades.  Finally things sounded normal.  Hopefully I should be good to go for the rest of the summer/fall.  I still have my eyes on a Husqrvana tractor with a fabricated deck but I need to take a financial breath before considering it.

During the tractor work I managed to rip a couple layers of skin off my lower right shin.  I was not dressed appropriately and was wearing flip flops.  I had the deck propped up haphazardly on a tire as I tightened the spindle bolts.  At one point the deck slipped off the tire and slid down my shin.  Despite it only being a skin wound it bled badly as there is a few square inches of skin removed.

Last night I still found myself busy doing things, despite the sun being down.  I had finished up reloading my buddy Lou’s laptop that he sent down from NYC.  I also had a number of things to get ready to go with some more 3D store sales as well as doing the initial legwork in assessing the computer I inherited from my accountant.  I only got to play WoW for maybe an hour after that was all done.  It blows my mind that I only have only fired up the game briefly twice during my time off.

This morning I was again up and running early.  After chicken duties I loaded Elsa up in the truck with me to go to Home Depot, Ali’s place to pick up Sadie and the recycling center to drop off some stuff that has been sitting around for weeks.  I am waiting for an AC guy to show up for maintenance on the unit.  He is already 90 minutes late.  I hope that by early afternoon I can stop doing chore/projects and just not care anymore.


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