Monthly Archives: June 2015

Lost My AC and Some Self-Esteem

Junk in the Frunk

AC junk in the SW20 frunk: (A) Low side port, (B) Refrigerant sightglass, and (C) High side port.

Around April I turned on the air conditioning for the first time this year in my Toyota MR2. Have you ever had that experience where the initial result was lukewarm airflow?  Then you’re in denial. You wait a little longer to let it “cool down” thinking maybe it will take a few minutes. Of course it doesn’t.

Then you’re kind of sweaty and feeling a tinge of guilt for not having paid more attention to maintenance. Guilt gives way to remorse, “Oh, I should have… turned it on more often. Or had it checked. Or…”. Then you think the worst, “It can’t be fixed. It will cost too much. Parts aren’t available and no one knows how to fix these old systems anymore. I’ll have to buy a new car.”

You start shopping in your mind and mourning the loss of your car while you’re still driving it, “If I had to buy another car it won’t be the same. I’ll never find another car like this one. It’s the only one in the world for me.”

Finally, despair sets in when you see even the sorry excuse of a new econobox with the too high seating position in the next lane at the stoplight has cold air conditioning. And a cupholder.

Continue reading “Lost My AC and Some Self-Esteem” »

Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 2

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During the initial drywall and paint phase of my garage makeover I moved most of the stuff to the basement, leaving the big stuff like a cabinet and bicycles in the garage since they could be moved as needed. There was a lot of back and forth carrying all those knickknacks down the stairs. It also made me feel like I was a hoarder every time I set foot in the basement.

Garage Door Openers

Once the garage was mostly cleared the next phase involved installing garage door openers and finishing the floor. Yes, the elusive clean and bright floor most garages sorely lack. But first there was the matter of clearing everything else out. Not only did I become a craigslist jockey for an afternoon to sell random junk I’d never need again, I also got to truly decorate my basement in what’s best described as modern hoarder-style.

In keeping with the concept of starting at the top and working my way down – the opposite of a career path I suppose – the next step involved ordering garage door openers from my local Home Depot. As with my electric go kart, I went with beltdrive for the 1/2 horsepower openers that are less noisy than chain drive units. After I picked out the units I scheduled the installation, which went really well. The installer exceeded my expectations.

The only thing I may have done differently had I known is that the wall panel for controlling the doors is not wireless, as I had been led to believe by the rep at the store, and I would have had installation occur before the new drywall went in since it requires a hole to be cut into the wall and wires to be run to each of the motors. Continue reading “Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 2” »

Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 1

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For ten years I had been dragging my feet, all talk and no walk, about finishing my garage. Yes, I watched the house get built and I dreamed about the garage but never did much to get going on it. Oh, I knew what I wanted but never really seemed to be able to take some definitive action toward the goal.

Two manual garage doors, each with a rope to pull it up and down, the bare, unfinished drywall, the lone 40 Watt bulb casting a dingy shadow over the concrete floor that absorbed and duly displayed every drop of oil or whatever else you could spill on it, all conspired to keep me down. Continue reading “Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 1” »