Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Winter Projects at the Urban Ranch

Before we get started, A photo of Nebraska DaveI have to correct a grave mistake that I made in the last post. My grandson was aghast at my utterance of building a Megatron Lego Transformer. I must apologize to those Transformer folks out there.  It was not Megatron but the mighty Sentinel Prime, the once leader of all the Autobots who turned over to the bad side in the last Transformer movie. Anyway, the mighty Lego Sentinel Prime stands guard over the kitchen table as this picture is taken.  Now, since the dynamic duo (grandfather and grandson) did such a great job on this one, Mom, Bradley's Mom, decided to buy us another one to work on with 500 parts to assemble. We haven't started on that one just yet.Sentinal Prime Transformer 

Just a side note about something that's important for one seven year old.  I received my latest copy of GRIT magazine a few days ago.  On page five, some GRIT blogs were highlighted for readers to check out.  I was surprised, to say the least, to find my blog, "Adventures of old Nebraska Dave," was one of the blogs highlighted for the current issue.  The highlighted blog entry chosen for the magazine had a picture of my grandson standing halfway up the bank at the back of Terra Nova Gardens, my land purchase soon to be gardens. What a great surprise for me and for him. Congratulations go out to Chuck Mallory and Carolyn Evans-Dean who also have highlighted blogs in the current issue of GRIT magazine.

I started spring cleaning last week.  It's not that I think spring will get here any sooner if I start the cleaning, but when spring gardening starts, I really don't have the time to be doing spring cleaning inside the house. The cleaning will continue this week as well. Of course, with Bradley, my grandson, being off school two days this week, I'm not sure how much real cleaning will get done. The kitchen and cabinets are finished, and only the scrubbing down of the floors are left. Entryway to the house and bathrooms are on the agenda this week.

OK, now as you recall, the seed starting station was completed in the last blog. I stand ready to fire up the system but will have to wait for April fools day to start the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. This is the hardest part of the season for me, as I really want to get them started now, but the May 15th frost free date keeps me from doing that. All my seeds were ordered long ago and are waiting to be planted and spring to life. I haven't forgotten my backyard beds, and I will be planting the salads there for summertime fresh salads.

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile will remember just how much I really love to work on cars. There was a time when all that was needed was a good strong tree branch, a chain hoist, and a set of tools to fix just about anything on a car. The modern day computerized cars? Ehhhhh, not so much. Cars just seem to break at the most inconvenient times. So at the end of a workday for my daughter, it didn't surprise me to hear that the newly purchased, very used car she is driving had front brakes that were scraping metal on metal. So let the repairs begin. The parts were bought and the proper tools were found to replace front brake pads. I have done this job so many times that it should have taken about an hour. Right, "should have" is the key phrase. Oh, yeah, I see you long-term blog readers chuckling with thoughts of the bathroom plumbing job returning to your mind. Well, the brake pads for the passenger side were ground past metal on metal. They were gouging into the rotor. I happened to buy one, just in case it would be needed. I'm really feeling like a driveway mechanic guy filled with wisdom beyond my years now. Yeah, the rotor and pads fly together. I'm thinking in the back of my mind. This is way too easy for one of my projects. Quit that snickering. I should have never thought that thought. Murphy's law kicked in (sorry, Cindy), and as I eased the car out of the driveway just as the sun was setting, I hear a continuous scraping sound even without applying the brakes.  Now it's starting to snow.  You ever feel the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when things start to go wrong.  Yeah, I'm not even going to tell you the words that were flitting through my mind.  So back to the dark driveway with snow falling.  My garage is not big enough to work on a car as .... well .... ah .... it just has enough room to exit the car if you slide out sideways because .... ah .... it's full of good stuff.  Yeah, I might just use it someday kind of stuff.  Anyway, back to the story. I pulled everything apart under the glowing light of an environmentally friendly spiral florescent replacement bulb for the trouble light. .

Defective Brake Pads 

If you will notice on these new pads the top defective one has the metal back plate shifted down and over to the left, which would cause the bent up part of the metal on the bottom to cause the scraping sound because it would be rubbing on the rotor. I've never had an issue like this before, but leave it to me to find probably the only defective pad in the history of brake pad manufacturing. I used the pads for the other side to replace these pads. Everything went back together smoothly, and the test drive was wonderful. An inspection of the driver side brake pads revealed that whoever owned this car before we bought it from the used car lot had replaced the pads just on that side with new ones. So the five-hour brake job finally came to a finish as the snow continued to get heavier. A hot cup of coffee, a nice hot shower, and a good night's sleep makes for a wonderful way to recover for the next day of adventure.

Remember that basement food storage area that I started last year? Yeah, I'll tell you all about the progress next time. The coffee's ready so I'm going to kick back and let you comment about what's going on in your world. I'm really enjoying reading all your blogs. Keep up the good work.

nebraska dave
2/28/2012 1:38:24 AM

Lori, thank you so much for the kind words. No one was more surprised than me to see the highlighted blog to be mine for this issue of GRIT. One of my God given strengths is "encourager" so it's just natural that it comes out in my blogging. GRIT has great folks to hang out with. The more difficult the project the more satisfaction are the results after it's completed. I may not be spouting poetry while working on a project going awry but I certainly am thinking poetry. :0) Have a great day thinking about spring.


lori dunn
2/24/2012 9:20:40 PM

Nebraska Dave, I'm so excited for you and your Grandson, that you all are now "stars", your blog being featured in the latest issue! I'm not at all surprised! You are a huge asset to the GRIT blogging community! I love the fact that you made the correction on the transformer. It is very important to have this info correct you know! My husband could sooo relate to your brake debacle! He does most all of our mechanic work, and I am so thankful for that. It saves us a lot of money, but I can attest to how things can go wrong at times from the shall we say "poetry" that I hear uttered from the basement when such things go haywire!


nebraska dave
2/24/2012 6:31:05 AM

Mary, I have just come to expect any project to take much longer than I expect and be much harder to complish than I predict. Old houses and cars have a way of testing a person's patience. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


mary carton
2/24/2012 3:20:28 AM

Dave, it was 81 here today, daffodils, star & tulip magnolias and forsythia are in bloom. Rain is coming in and a freeze is predicted for Saturday AM. I put my Brussels sprouts in my flower beds since it was too wet to get into the garden. I had a wreck one time in my Dodge Dart and my brother volunteered to replace the fender if I could find another one. He told Mom it would be a piece of cake as he had replaced the one on his Ford and it only had 3 bolts holding it on. I found a good fender at a wrecking company, went back later to pick it up and Joe started working on my car. Well there were a lot more than three bolts. He worked and fussed and was getting hot under the collar. Mom kept sitting there watching. Finally he asked her ‘don’t you have some thing you need to do and she told him no, I’m just going to sit here and hand you whatever you need. Finally after working most of the day, he got the fender replaced. Nothing is ever a piece of cake. That’s a mean looking Sentinel Prime


nebraska dave
2/22/2012 10:38:44 PM

Christine, the cost for some else to do it is why I usually end up doing it myself. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to do it though. The old creaky body lets me know very plainly that it doesn't like me doing that. Yeah, Bradley can tell you all about each and every Transformer Autobot or Decepticon. As for me I was more of an orginal Star Trek or Starwars kind of guy.


nebraska dave
2/22/2012 9:45:02 PM

Cindy, that's too funny. Well, did he impress you? Some part of it must have worked if you are now Mrs. Murphy. We guys do like to impress the women. :0)


christine byrne
2/22/2012 1:32:25 PM

I just had to have pads put on my car as well. Cost a fortune! I love that your grandson felt you needed to clarify and print a retraction. Cute.


cindy murphy
2/21/2012 2:11:55 PM

Dave, your story about fixing the brakes on your daughter's car reminds me of when I first met Hubs. I was driving a beat up old Cougar (back when the front ends of Cougars were so long they arrived 10 minutes before the rest of the car). When the car started making that horrid metal-on- metal sound, Hubs-who-was-not-even-Boyfriend-yet, offered to change the brakes for me. It took forever, and I sat there handing him this tool and that, holding the whatchamacallit or the thingamabob as he was uttering those words you only thought about saying because things weren't going as smoothly as they should. Good thing I didn't pay much attention to Murphy's Law of Brake Jobs at the time. It was years later, after I became Mrs. Murphy, that he admitted he was just trying to impress me by offering to change the brakes; he'd never done it before in his life.