Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old Jeep

One of my favorite things are old Jeeps.   Much to my amazement and pleasure, when I hired on at my current job I found an old Jeep there for me to admire.  It is a Willys MB made in June 1945.  I don't know when the city obtained it but it was used for many years in the parks that are located in the foothills on the edge of town.  I am told that some teenage workers rolled it down a hill once (end over end) and demolished it but the city mechanics managed to put it back together.  These days it is used only for parades and displays and doesn't get much use.  I haven't taken it for a drive yet but I will soon!

1945 Willys MB Jeep - one of three weapons allegedly credited by General Dwight Eisenhower as the reason for winning the war (the other two are the C-47 airplane and the bazooka)

The Willys in all its glory - sitting on Chinese made tires!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Man vs. Washing Machine

So, the other night I was sitting at the reloading bench in the garage happily cranking out .30-06 rounds and listening to Loreena McKinnett when the Missus came in to check on the wash in the machine and exclaimed in dismay that the machine wasn't working.  I peered into the open tub and saw it full of wet clothes and soapy water.   The machine wasn't running obviously.  Being the man in the relationship I stepped forward to resolve the problem. "Step aside" I said to the Missus so she went back into house and left me to fix the machine.  I pushed the knob in to 'stop'.  Then back to 'on'.  Nothing.  I did it twice.  No luck.  I unplugged the machine and plugged it back in, turned the wash selector around a couple times and pushed it in and out.  Nada.   I opened and closed the lid a couple times.  Suddenly it started!  I went in and told the Missus that it was fixed.  She came out and opened the lid and closed it.  It didn't start.  I opened the lid and banged it closed.  It started.  I knew we were living on borrowed time. 

I consulted the Internet.  The problem was the lid switch.  I found instructions on how to replace the switch so I ordered the part and crossed my fingers that the washer would continue to work until I could get to it.  Surprisingly it kept working until this past Saturday when I decided to replace the switch. 

The directions described two different models which had different steps to get the washer apart to access the switch.  I had to get the control console off but couldn't accomplish it so I pried the back of it open and peered in.  I saw the release clips but didn't have the right tool to reach them.  A quick trip to the kitchen and I found a camping knife that was just the right thickness.  I bent it 90 degrees and success!   The console was off and the clips exposed that had to be removed in order to loosen the washer casing.  Off came the clips and I yanked the casing off.  Except I didn't need to do that.  The switch was in plain sight and popped right off and the new one popped on. There was no need to remove the casing of the washer.   Now I had to put the washer back together.  Note to self:  memorize how everything fit together before taking it apart.  I must have put that washer back together 5 times before suddenly realizing that this part fit behind that part and the spring clips went under the notches and over to fit into the slots.  A fair amount of muttered profanity helped.    I held it all together with 100 mile an hour tape while I fit everything together so it wouldn't all flop around while I tried this and that.

Interestingly once it was back together and slid back into place the machine actually worked.  I think it vibrates less now.  I had fun opening and closing the lid and watching the machine stop and start.  Now I feel ready to fix anything on the washer.   The Missus says that if it breaks again we're getting a new one.  Wonder why?


Friday, November 25, 2011

Fall in Grouchland and a Thanksgiving hike

So, it is often said that southern California does not have any real seasons outside of the four SoCal seasons: riots, earthquakes, fires, and mudslides.  But I am here to set the record straight.  We do have seasons and right now we are in fall like the rest of the country.  Just to prove this, I took a picture after I worked very hard raking the leaves in the front yard!  You can see the evidence below.  Yesterday the Grouch family that is in SoCal assembled for dinner at Grouch estates.  the Missus did a great job as always with the wonderful dinner and Older Son brought his lady friend who baked a pumpkin roll for desert to share.  Yum!  

Today Young Daughter and I went on a hike in the mountains to an abandoned campground.  The last time I did this hike in December of 2010 the creek was running high and after crossing the stream several time there and back my boots were full of water and sand.  This time I wore some GI boots with drain holes in them in case we encountered the same conditions.  The stream was just about a trickle which was good.  The bad part was I hadn't broken in the boots so by the time we got to the campground I had a blister on my right heel so we had to turn around and go back.  Next time we'll go further!   It was a beautiful day and a better way to spend the day than fighting shoppers at 'black Friday'.    Click on the pictures for a larger view!

The evidence of fall in Southern California.

The entrance to Fish canyon and the campground.  It looks hot and desolate but once we were in the canyon it was shady and

The Grouch sets off on the hike
Younger Daughter with Dottie the wonder dog

The trail was paved where the stream would overflow the road; the Forest Service has barricaded the road so only 'official' traffic can motor along, the hoi polloi must move by foot or horse which isn't a bad thing but why can only officialdom drive?

Young daughter and Dottie on the way back.  Citizen Grouch is limping behind somewhere

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Older son's condo

Older son picked up the keys for his new condo today.  Welcome to being a home owner!  He is learning about setting up accounts for electricity and water and the like.  He owns a bed and a TV right now and just got a refrigerator.  What else does a young man need?   It will be sad for the Missus and me to have him gone but he is very happy to have his own place now.  Young son is tape measuring O.S.'s room (the largest bedroom if you don't count our closet and half bath) in anticipation of moving in as his brother moves out.  The good news for us is that older son is only going to be 3-4 miles away.  That may be bad news for him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Jelly Bean Music Video

Anything that employs 288,000 jelly beans is worth watching!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's day to all the vets in the Grouch family on both sides!  We are citizen soldiers and airmen from the Civil war to today.  A special thanks to the Missus who supported me and the Grouch kids over the decades as we did our duty.

Dad and Mom - he was eventually promoted to civilian, the rank he most wanted to achieve!
Older son and young daughter; he is now a vet, she is serving still!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome to the newest Eagle Boy Scout!

Like a song says "It's been a long road, get'n from there to here, it's been a long time but my time is finally near..."

Young son started as a Tiger Cub, then a Cub Scout, A Boy Scout and finally....

Young Son, Eagle Scout!   November 8th, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Young son hears from the Marines

Young son received some letters yesterday from Marines who got the comfort kits that he shipped to Afghanistan last month for his Eagle project. One letter was to him personally and the rest to the school kids who wrote letters and drew pictures to be included in the packages.  The letters were sweet and genuinely appreciative to receive the kits and even more so, the letters from the kids.  It brought a tear to the eye for both the Missus and I when we read them.  Now we have to match up the letters to the children who wrote them and since they came from several classes at two schools this may be a job, but worth it.

Bodfish and Lake Isabella off road trip

A couple weeks ago Young son and I went with some frieds for a jaunt to Bodfish and Lake Isabella via Jawbone rec area.  Our little group had three vehicles and the off roading was not anticipated to be  heavy duty.  Several years ago we took about this same trip in the winter and could only get so high before the road was impassable due to snow.  No snow this time, just lots of dust!  It was so dusty that the air filter on the Jeep became clogged and the engine power dropped off noticeably.  When I got home and removed the filter to install a new one the dust that came off of it was incredible. We traveled up through Jawbone rec area to the Sequoia NF, then down to Bodfish, through the town of Lake Isabella, then back to highway 14 and home.  Total distance was about 200 miles. Lots of driving!  On the way back I happened to stumble on 'story telling radio' on Sirius which had a couple hours of people telling stories at the 39th annual story festival somewhere in Tennessee.  Some of the stories were very funny.  It made the ride home go quickly.

Click on the pics for a larger view!

On highway 14 out of Mojave approaching the turn off for Jawbone recreation area and the road through Kelso valley to the Sequoia national forest
On the road to Kelso valley
In the Sequoia NF, climbing in altitude and in the forest
Stopping for lunch, the next to most favorite part of any trip for the Grouch, dinner being #1
A view from the trail as we start down towards Bodfish

A machinery shed for mining containing a gas engine powered air compressor

The engine - anyone identify what it is?  The data plate was worn smooth and was unreadable

The mine that goes with the air compressor - someone plugged it up so we couldn't go inside and get hurt and trapped, what were they thinking?
Young son takes in the view outside the mine

The Forest service is harvesting burned timber from this area and the machine that they are doing it with.  By this time Young son was wondering when dinner was going to be.
Some of the burned area.