Saturday, March 31, 2012

First motorcycle repair made

Yesterday I was finally able to take my motorcycle out for a spin. I ran to Coborn's for a quick errand and came back, then later in the evening, I went out for a little longer drive. About a mile from home, I noticed my speedometer gave out. Being pretty mechanically inept, I didn't know the first thing to do to diagnose -- I don't even know the mechanism or from where the speedometer gets its telemetry.

This morning, I ran to Coborns and back for coffee. (My motorcycle is a better grocery-getters than our Honda Odyssey, I think.) I parked the bike, went inside, and got some programming done. Then later on, I decided to rearrange the garage so I can access my bike from the third stall garage door. That's when I noticed a cable laying on the floor that definitely should be attached to the bike.

The cable put back into its guide.
I tested the front brakes, and they seemed fine. Besides, this cable has a smallish metal wire coming out of it -- definitely not the hydraulic cable of the front brakes. It didn't occur to me that this was the cause of my speedometer issue.

I found a repair manual online that I could download, and I scanned through the entire manual until, 90% of the way down, I saw a reference to the speedometer cable and a picture of what seemed to resemble my issue.

A few minutes of tinkering with the cable and I was able to get it back in its proper location. Then I took a spin down the road and saw that I now have a reading on my speedometer.

From as far back as I can remember, my dad showed me everything he could when he was repairing or maintaining vehicles. The problem is I never paid enough attention and never took the plunge into trying and failing for myself (which I think is a crucial component of learning new things).

To this day, I do my own oil changes, but that's about the extent of it. This minor victory is pretty awesome. It certainly helps that everything on a motorcycle is very accessible.

Now that's quality.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A monolithic update on our hedonistic existence

March has been all about hedonism, it seems. Jacob and I spent one morning before preschool at the ING Direct Café eating some blueberry crumb cake.

In sticking with the coffee shop theme, this last Saturday, I took the boys to Nelson Brothers for "coffee" (ice water in a 12oz coffee cup) and a donut.

The next day, Andrea had to go to the Blaine Becker Furniture World for a one-off job. We erroneously thought it would be a good idea to bring the boys to the Cities: we'd drop Andrea off, the boys and I would run errands, go play, etc., then we could pick her up when she was done. Bad idea. Being away from their natural element was quite difficult for Jacob and Reed.

Jacob has learned that money can be exchanged for goods and services, but he hasn't yet learned that money is a finite resource and should be treated as such. When we went to Cub Foods to get groceries, he asked every two minutes or so if we can buy this or can we buy that. It was hard explaining that no, we can't. Well, no. Actually, it was quite easy for me to explain, but it was very hard for him to accept.

Toward the end of the day, we went to Al Flynn Park in Blaine, and the boys played quite nicely for a half hour or so.

And they enjoyed being first and second mates of the ship.


I was finally able to finish True Love by Thich Naht Hanh. It's a very quick read, but I've been very slow to get around to it. I guess that evens it out. I'm also reading One Minute Mindfulness (Altman), though my approach is to read one chapter (two or three pages) per day, so I'm intentionally not reading it fast.

I was going to post a panorama of some shots I took while laying in my hammock at Lake George, but I can't seem to get the photos stitched together. It seems my Nokia camera phone doesn't have a known focal length multiplier, which may or may not contribute to the fact that Hugin can't align the images well.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cache-sitting is awesome; Uncle Josh is awesomer

While Aaron and Elissa were away last weekend, we dogsat Cache. He was incredibly well-behaved, and both boys took to him being in our house. They actually were initially excited because they thought Cache was going to start living with us permanently. Reed especially loved being with the dog, regularly calling out, "Come here, Cachey!" and "Cachey, you can't come outside! What are you doing out here?" (while being very excited that Cache came outside to play with him).

Reed holding his dog, Clifford.

This morning, both boys wore their sunglasses on the drive to daycare, and the first thing they did when they put them on was immediately flip their glasses over their head and around back, saying, "I'm Uncle Josh."

Two Uncle Joshes in the car.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

For Christmas, instead of buying something for Dad that he didn't particularly need or want, I found plans online for a toy airplane. I figured the boys would each get a well-made toy and the experience (even if they don't remember it) of making it, and  Dad would get the joy of woodworking -- some by himself, some with his grandsons. Win-win.

On Saturday, we went over to Mom and Dad's house to assemble the planes. Dad had everything setup for us; the boys applied a little glue, gently pounded some dowels into pre-drilled holes. The things practically put themselves together. Dad worked with Reed, I worked with Jacob, and Abe and Toby worked together. (My parents very frequently include Toby on gifts that they make for our boys. They're very kind and generous like that.)

Reed liked having earplugs in.

The assembly line.

Jacob showing off the fuselage.

Three airplanes for three boys.