DIY Addict Goes On The Hunt For A Special Skate Screw With A Rare Thread

(Stands up)Hi, I’m Bill!

(Hi Bill!)

I’m a DIY Addict!

And here’s my story.

Not to minimize other’s challenges in life, but this should be easier.

I’m that guy.  I drive a 19 year old Jeep Wrangler.  I still have and use radios, some of them have tubes in them.

Yes, actual Tubes.  Orange glow, hot musty smell, and so on.

They may smell like old wood, but they really do sound much better than the internet feed I’m listening to at this moment.

That would be Valves for my friends Ol’ Blighty.

Why is that?  Simple, I fix things.   Always have.  All the way down to soldering individual components on a printed circuit board.

I remember deeply annoying my father because before he had a chance to get his tape player fixed in the car, I did the repair for him.  It was just a thrown belt off the tape mechanism.

I could see him wind up to get loud and start a shouting match but “Hey, it works now, go play your tapes” was all I said.

Then I walked out and hid in the bedroom where I kept the shortwave radio and tuned in Radio Canada International.  9625 MHz.  They aren’t there anymore.  Too bad, the news was always better there.

That era was where I got hooked on listening to the World Service Of The BBC and the time signal “pips” from the relay in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.

I know, I was weird.  Still am, now it’s all in Spanish and I tell myself it helps my studies.

But all this equipment needs maintenance.

My car, My radios, and even my skates.

I just didn’t think that having “Old Things That Need Maintenance” would include my workouts.

You see, I beat myself up on the trails, hard.  Yesterday was a 2 hour, 2000 calories, 15 mile endurance skate.  Average heart rate is 170BPM, or near enough to that.

I consider that an easy morning at the park.

I have three pairs of skates that I trade off with.  Two are from the last century.  I always have a spare pair in the Jeep when I get to the park.  If the chafing is too bad from the hot spots, I can always stick a square of moleskin on the spot and go on, or if I ‘Throw A Bolt” and lose a wheel, I can swap out the skates and get back on the trail.

That throwing bolts thing.  You see, that’s why god made Lock Washers.  Oh, and Permatex Blue.  You have both of those things and your bolts won’t fly off when you’re on a corner, and at the speeds I do, falling is guaranteed to cause injury.  They just aren’t standard issue on a pair of skates.

I had found some $5 Skates at a local thrift store, still in the box with the original information.  They weren’t anything special but they were NEW.  With that new boot smell.  Tried once and tossed away.  My Good skates are from before 2003 and parts are dry rotting off of the boots.

So I snagged them, used my discounts, and eventually tried them out.

If you are one of the new people considering skating as a sport instead of just tootling around the neighborhood behind your children on the Cul De Sac in the suburbs, let me clue you in.

If your skates are less than $150, they are going to be junk.  If you don’t have a truck (frame for the wheels) that is either Carbon Fiber or some sort of metal, there will be too much flex and you will hate them.

I knew these were … ahem … modest boots, but I had skated more than 10,000 miles on similar boots back in the first skating boom.  I had modded them with a Speed Kit and Heat Molding.

Heat Molding is applying a heat gun to a plastic part to make it soft and to use something that is not heat conducting to push that part into a better shape.  I used a bamboo stick I cut from my yard, and the boots are much more comfortable.

Now, I could have a skate shop here.  Easily.  As in a proper “Pro Shop”.  It’s not a brag, I have skated total just under 22,000 miles (in old money) or 35,405 KM for the imperially impaired.

 

You don’t do that without picking up some tricks.

In this case, you replace the bearings with some faster ones.  I have a couple of old cottage cheese containers crammed with bearings that have been cleaned, lubed, and certified for use.

Next, you replace the wheels with harder and larger wheels.  80 MM wheels, at least 80A hardness, but closer to 90A is better for speed.  Some folks ride on wheels that belong on the bottom of my wheely bin out front – 125 MM tall – Five Freakin’ Inches tall!  On Inline Skates!  WOO HOO!  Speeeeeeed!  I CAN’T STOP!  (OOF!)

Now, bearings and wheels are upgraded.  What next?  What sick trick is Mr DIY going to do with this pair of (ahem) low end skates?

Speed Kit.  At least that is what we called them back in the first skate boom.

I have a different cottage cheese container with a bunch of speed kits.   Typically low end skates come with white plastic things that fit between the bearings to space out things and give rigidity.   Put them in the trash.

 

My cottage cheese container is stuffed with Aluminum Spacers.  To be fair, they’re probably good enough for “you”.

 

In my case, I need faster.   I need a pair with bolts.  They’re screwed in place to minimize friction and stiffen them.   They are set up so that the wheels run free when spun for as long as you have a mind to lube the darn things up.

I had a bunch I scavenged off old skates and closed up skate stores over the years but as time goes on, you start losing parts.  Move 1200 miles south and you lose more.

I found I have 16 speed kits, but only 7 complete sets.   A Set is a spacer that is threaded, a pair of lock washers, and a pair of screws.

So this being a precision set up, turning a Leisure Activity into a proper Sport, of course I needed another speed kit, at least.

Should be easy to find those screws, right?
WRONG.  BUZZ!  TRY AGAIN!

Apparently the two big box hardware stores, that everyone knows, decided that they don’t have the demand to carry that specific screw to hold everything in place.

Lock washers we have!

 

But those bolts.  Have you ever considered how many different bolts there are?

Mr DIY has.  There are bolts with three kinds of methods to tighten them, more if you want to be really annoying.  Regular slotted screw heads are no good on a trail.  Phillips cross head screws can work but that means you take your skate tool with you for the eventual breakdown.   The original speed kit had two “1/4 inch, 28 thread, button head socket cap, 3/4 inch long”.

Yeah I didn’t think so.  Apparently it’s only used in weird applications.  Different threads you see.  Like my soon to be upgraded cheap skate boots.

Went to Orange Big Box store #1.  Nope

 

Went to Blue Big Box store #2.  Nada, although I really entertained the folks there when I rolled in on a pair of skates to the screws and bolts needed on my skates for more parts.  They were unnerved by me being over 7 feet tall in skates, helmet, pads and sweaty from the workout.   Sorry folks.

 

Went to old line hardware store with the helpful hardware man.  Helpful but sorry.  Had a nice chat about my 19 year old Jeep Wrangler TJ.  4 liter AMC Inline six.  Never kill engine.

Finally went to the other old line hardware store with a different hardware guy.

I won’t say success.  I ended up finding a screw with the right threads and length but it has a cross head Phillips in the top.  Everything else fits.

So if you are out on the trail in Pompano Beach and throw a bolt on your speed kit, I have a spare.

Even if the Sport is getting slowly more popular, it’s doubtful you’ll spot me fly past so I’ll skate on happily.

You see, my own Pro Shop Standard is a minimum of 30 seconds worth of free rolling once you start.   I really want a minute.  I’ll let you know how that all works out.

Confusing The Dog With The Haunted Poang

Having a routine is best for your dog.

They confuse so easily.

The UPS/FedEx/USPS drivers come through and I know that it happens because I hear a low grumble from Our Corner of the living room.

Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) has gravitated to a specific spot.  Right next to My Chair in the living room.

My Chair in an All In The Family sense is where I sit.  My Spot.  So he sits there, on a pair of foam pads rescued from a long departed Poang chair that is wrapped in a blanket.  It’s right there at my feet.

We hold discussions, mostly about what I am (constantly) snacking on.  Whether he can be involved in what I am doing.  Whether he can get what I am snacking on.

I used to have the second Big Green Chair in that corner before.  It is moved for now into the middle of the living room because an Ikea Poang Chair just fits my 6’4″/193CM, 220 pound/100KG frame like a glove.

Nobody seems to like these chairs who visit us here.  I don’t understand why they all have to try them out and then bounce out to the couch or one of the big chairs either, but it works out for me.

This Poang is a new one which means it will probably live another 20 years in this house as My Rocking Chair.

I was at Ikea in Sunrise, FL with a friend who gave me the chair for Xmas because I refused to get out of the floor sample at the store.  I guess he got tired of hearing me talk about how comfortable they are “for me”.

This particular morning, I sat down in The Other Big Green Chair on the opposite side of the little table from Our Corner.  Using the electric razor I sat back.  Rack was on his bed in Our Corner happily grooming his oldest hedgehog toy.  It now looks like all the hair has been removed except a patch here and there, and he goes to that one over all the rest.

Our Boy Rack was lost in the Daddy Zone grooming that little hedgehog when I looked over at him.  He didn’t notice me as I reached over to the poang rocker.  I couldn’t see what he was up to so I moved it gently.

It was at this point where I confused Rack.  I might say freaked him out.

Chairs don’t move on their own.

Nobody was in the Poang Rocker.
Dad was in the Big Green Chair.

What was going on?

WHAT WAS GOING ON?!?!?

All that went through his furry black and white mind as every last bit of fur on his body went up on his body and he turned into a Looney Tunes parody of a scared dog.

He immediately forgot about his child, the mostly bald hedgehog.   Forgot about his comfort zone.  Forgot about being in the little corner with the little dog bed.

He basically ripped tire scrabbling across the floor to get away from my haunted Poang that fits my back and nobody else’s.

I had to stop shaving when I had 45 pounds of black and white dog hiding on my other side

from the weird pieces of furniture that moved on their own.

Looking down into those twin brown eyes, I had lasers burning into my soul imploring me to explain why things were moving on their own.

My own laugh was answer enough.  He visibly deflated and went off duty to gingerly walk back into his corner.

Laying down on his bed in the corner next to the Haunted Poang, he plastered himself against the far wall in that little space, returning to his old hedgehog and the morning routine.

The moral of the story is if you are going to Rock Your World, make sure your dog knows you are still in it.

I’m trying out this new all-sugar diet. It’s pretty sweet.

The thing is that over my life, I’ve had to rebuild my body three times.

There was a time my bike got hit by a speeding car, a car wreck, and a dropped motorcycle.

I’ve found that I can do it, but really nobody should have to rebuild themselves. Once is quite enough.

Working out can be a blast, like these insane inline skate workouts that I used to do and have to slow myself down from doing again. 13.5 miles instead of 33 and that sort of thing where a workout becomes an Exercise in Logistics instead of maintaining a steady 173 BPM heart rate over an hour and a half.

If you are looking down at your belt and it … disappears, it’s time to look at ways to burn an extra calorie or five in many ways. When I blew my knee out during a race, I found myself getting off the train an extra stop, then two to walk the extra distance.

I’d get to work and for a while, I would climb the stair tower up and down to the office. Since the office was up on the Ninth Floor, it was a respectable way to burn a few.

These folks here, well they’re working on the 60th floor. I’d suspect if they’re climbing a 60 floor stair tower, they are nowhere near Fort Lauderdale, and have other problems to look after.

 

Three friends work in a skyscraper

All three friends work at the 60th floor.
One day the elevator doesn’t work so they have to take the stairs.
The three friends make a decision that one of them will sing for 20 floors, the next will make jokes for the next 20 floors and the last friend will tell tall tales for the last 20 floors.

Once the friends reach the 40th floor the friends had a great time. The songs and jokes were appreciated.
Now it’s the turn of the last friend, and the tall tales are also very much appreciated.

When they reach the door of their office at the 60th floor the friend of the tall tales and says:

“I have another tall tale for you guys, I forgot the keys to the office…”

Planting A Lemon Tree In A Stump – Video

(WordPress at my level does not provide inline video links.  If you want to see the time lapse, the link below has it.  My Blogger link has it as well here.)

Youtube has an amazing amount of videos on it.

Some of them are amazing.  I don’t really think this one is amazing, but it did give me an excuse to use the time lapse feature on the camera.

Then hacked a bunch of titles on to it.

So the slightly longer story is that I had a rather beautiful palm tree in the backyard.  It was about 30 plus feet tall and you could see it easily a block away.

I did say “had”.

It got sick, infected with some sort of fungus, and started to die off.

We removed the tree, and it produced a trash can lid sized stump in the grass that was begging to have something done to it.

In the meantime, I was growing a lemon tree from seed because we couldn’t find just the kind of lemon tree that someone wanted.

You know “Regular” Lemons.  Not Meyer Lemons or Stripey ones or giant ones.  Regular.

Since the yard is over planted, and I have zero room for anything else, I got the bright idea to grind the stump in the yard and create a planter.

Believe it or not, what gave me the idea was a Grizzly Bear.

Actually the Bear was a statue created by an Artist in Solebury Township, PA.

See, if you are heading to New Hope, PA from my old house in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA, you drive North on US 202 past Doylestown, PA.  Once you are getting close to New Hope, you reach a curve.  On the curve is an artist who makes things with chainsaws.  Believe it or not they’re quite nice, although I can’t see having a ten foot tall wooden Grizzly Bear on my little property up there, so I never got one.

The yard is way too small for a Grizzly Bear here, but if he can cut away a stump to make a bear, I certainly could hack my way through to make a hole to put a Lemon Tree Seedling.

Or it will be “A Tree” in five years or more.  Maybe we will get lemons from it, I don’t know.

To paraphrase the old parable, If you want to drink Lemonade today, You should have planted the lemon tree five years ago.

After all, someone here wanted one, and I figured I owed him something.  More than that little seedling tree at any rate and it is the right type of tree.

Besides, his birthday is coming up so while I won’t call this a birthday present, I will call it a “gesture”.

Happy Gesture, enjoy your little tree.

Oh, and there are two more that I have to find homes for, so unless you want me getting “creative” planting things, you may want to make a “sug-gesture” of your own.

How Long Will They Stay, or, If It Doesn’t Bring You Joy, Set It Free

Over the last few years there have been a bunch of articles.

Actually quite a few articles, so I’ll be lazy and not look for them.

One after another says that when the Boomer goes into the Home, the Millennial doesn’t want “It”.

“It” being “Brown Furniture”.  It’s also the Great Generation’s China that the Boomer inherited as well as a long list of things that they can’t be bothered with.

I’ve come to realize that those Millennials are making a whole lot of sense.

You see, last weekend we went to Ikea. You know the place?  Giant box of a store filled with right-sized food, furniture that you build yourself, and everything is named by throwing a dart at a Swedish Telephone Book?  I am rather fond of Ikea, and the clean lines on the furniture and the names and the possibility of getting some of those awesome cookies at the end is all part of the fun.

Besides being given a Poang Rocking Chair that I am enjoying very much, we got a China Cabinet.  I’ve been trained to call them a Tallboy, but that could just be my own warped version of English so pay me never mind.

It took all weekend to get the mother-lode of boxes into the house, opened, proofread, and then assembled.  The tallboy is taller than I am so it is truly tall.

To get this beast of a piece of white furniture where it is needed, we had to clear out the old cabinet of its glassware.

Now, Husvik the Tallboy, and Poang the Rocker live in my dining room.

This was where I realized the wisdom of the Millennial.

I was confronted with my glassware from when I was in my first apartment.  Some glasses leftover from when I was a child.  Some more glasses that I pulled out of the landscaping over the years.

Rather a lot of glassware.  In fact so much so that we began to pile it and all the Onesie-Twosie oddball glasses into a low box.

After considering how to get rid of all that strange one off and two off drink-ware, I merely moved the box out to the front of the property.

After all, how much of this stuff can you use at any given moment?   We have never had an actual party in this house, despite knowing that it was the party house on the block before my boring self moved in.

Swimming pool and Dry Bar not withstanding.

So how did it go?  The box is still out in front of the house.  I’m going to keep putting it out in the morning, and picking it up at night until it is gone or the next trash day happens.

Stay tuned, Fellow Babies, Stay tuned!

So I waited.  The box went out there at 8 in the morning.  Mind you, I live on a street with a fair amount of foot traffic.  People walk from apartments and day rentals to the Shops and Restaurants here all day long.

Lunch came.

Box Stayed.

Mid afternoon crash happened.  Not too happy about that Nod-Off but blood sugar and high metabolism will do that to an athlete.

Box stayed.

Dinner hour hit.  I walked Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).

Came home and the box was still there.

I stood up to close the blinds and was told that I should just close the blinds and ignore it.  We just don’t want a box of potential missiles to reside on the driveway over night.

It turns out that in the first half hour of night, someone came by and moved my weird mismatched glasses on to their new home.

No more Crown Royal Old Fashioned Glasses.

No more Highball Glasses.

Gone is the cut glass goblet (singular, all the rest suffered deceleration trauma over the years).

Even the “extra” glass that came from a Bag Of Crap that once blinked from LEDs in the bottom of it.

Goodnight Glasses, er Moon!

Bye Bye!  With my blessings.

Now if I can just get rid of those plastic tubs of weird stuff in the back room… Hmmm.  Maybe a handful a day… I wonder if I can get away with that?

Once upon a time, a guy had dementia. What was I writing again?

I had some pretty good professors when I went to University.  Some of them were intensely engaging, and they kept me interested.

My favorite one was in Economics, a basic knowledge of which will help you realize how much, er, Nonsense you are being fed by the people who you voted in.

I can absolutely see him making a speech like this one.

And just think!  You don’t have to pay $100 a Credit Hour to hear it!

 

Marketing concepts.

Professor at college explaining marketing concepts to Students:

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: “I am very rich. “Marry me!” – That’s Direct Marketing”

You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says: “He’s very rich. “Marry him.” -That’s Advertising”

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and get her telephone number. The next day, you call and say: “Hi, I’m very rich. “Marry me – That’s Telemarketing”

You’re at a party and see gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink, you open the door (of the car) for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her ride and then say: “By the way, I’m rich. Will you “Marry Me?” – That’s Public Relations

You’re at a party and see gorgeous girl. She walks up to you and says:”You are very rich! “Can you marry ! me?” – That’s Brand Recognition

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: “I am very rich. Marry me!” She gives you a nice hard slap on your face. – “That’s Customer Feedback”

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: “I am very rich. Marry me!” And she introduces you to her husband. – “That’s demand and supply gap”

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and before you say anything, another person come and tell her: “I’m rich. Will you marry me?” and she
goes with him – “That’s competition eating into your market share”

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and before you say: “I’m rich, Marry me!” your wife arrives. – “That’s restriction for entering new markets”

Happy New Year 2020

All done with Amateur Night I see?

You have hopefully made it home safe without any ahem “legal” problems.

Yeah, we don’t particularly like it when people imbibe and drive.  It’s become less and less socially acceptable to do so during my lifetime.

I will say that the town doesn’t look like it was picked up and dropped after that party that started a block and a half away just after sunset and lasted until after midnight.

Supposedly the fireworks that freaked my dog out until he lost control of his bowels at the front door had ended around 2 AM.

He may be a McNab SuperDog (TM) but Rack is in the majority of dogs that simply don’t fathom why people need to celebrate turning the page on the calendar by using explosive devices long past the point where they ceased to be entertaining.

I’ll be doing an extra laundry today.

And obviously, this happens more than once a year.

So take down the old calendar.  My new one for 2020 is already on the door, and I don’t see that I need another one, perfectly.

Pun Intended.

If you will excuse me I have to “spatch” a chicken for lunch.  We found a Lemon Spatch Cooked Skillet Chicken recipe and apparently I am the little old lady with the technique.  Spatching a chicken is cutting it along the ribcage to be able to flatten it out.  You can do it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, but I think I just may grab the electric sawsall and pretend that I’ll be doing some heavy construction instead of preparing a tasty meal.

So may your chickens be spatched, your dog be not freaked out, and your new year be bright and shiny and in focus.

Happy New Year 2020, where ever you may be reading this.