November 15, 2017

Productive Monday & Rain Tuesday

As you can tell by Stella napping in the yard on Monday afternoon it was a really productive day. I have a 5"x8" notebook in front of my keyboard where I write notes about everything from computer codes, troubleshooting notes, shopping lists, data stats ... basically everything but not every day. So for the first time on Sunday night I wrote down some things I wanted to get done on Monday. I was leaving the electric world of reminders on my iPhone for a good old fashion written list. With the help of Stella's and Sadie's supervision I got everything done on the list except one thing.
Last Sunday night I received an email from the company where I bought all the BMW OEM parts to repair the damage to the Z4 grille and plastic plates under the car, that not only had my order not been shipped on time but there was a delay in shipping from their vendor. I remained nice and calm and replied to the email as they requested for confirmation.

I would like to get this job finished so I can drive the car on the dry weather days but really no rush. What did bother me was when I placed the order, EVERY PART said on their website that the part was in stock and would ship immediately. As soon as I closed the website shopping cart and paid for everything, it gave me a shipping notice of going out their door in two days and would be at my door two days after that. It's now Wednesday when they were suppose to arrive LAST Friday and now will not ship until THIS Friday.

Amazon was the better purchase. They don't mess around and that little blue can sucking the oil out of my Z4 engine up through the dipstick tube, was at my doorstep two days after I placed the order. I have had a string of good purchases lately and the TopSlider Oil Extraction system is one of those three. I cannot believe I didn't find out about this sooner than I did.

Why do I continue to change my own oil when its fast and easy to have it done at the dealership or one of those QuickChange places. I have a history of those places screwing up even the simplest of jobs. At least this way I can assure myself the job is done right plus I am saving a ton of money. For two vehicles oil changes can be expensive over the year based on the current prices of labor at ~$65 per hour.

That extraction system cost me $54. It's a familiar tool to all that have motor boats. For the first time ever after and during the oil changing job I did not have a drip of oil anywhere. Shall I go through he process? To start you clamp that white clip down tight closing off any passage of air through the clear tubing. You pump that handle 30-40 times to build up pressure and then slide that clear tube down the dipstick tube until it hits bottom, wiggle and try for 3" deeper.

As soon as you release that white clip, oil is immediately being sucked out of your engine just like that. It took about 15 minutes to drain 6.5 quarts of oil. I put that small hose through the Z4 hood clamp running straight down into the blue can to clear out the hose for storage. You unscrew the pump, put the other lid on. You take off the hose with the smaller drain hose fitting it into the metal piece making it very easy to store. Then close off that opening with another lid that came with it.

Take the can of old oil to your local auto shop or recycling center and it's easy to dispose of, and again I didn't have a drip of oil anywhere to clean up. I'll admit though, I wasn't happy with the dark color of the used oil. That just told me the dealer I bought the car from did not change the oil before they put it on the lot to sell it.

While the oil was draining my curiosity got the best of me. I laid on that cool concrete floor to get a better look under the Z4 at the damage. With one air duct piece missing on the driver side, I was able to slide the damaged grille out that opening. Not only did it have silver paint over spray from the previous owner's repair but I found a piece of masking tape still on the grille.  Those small holes must be for venting because there is nothing inside the bumper to screw anything into, nor insert any kind of plug.

With the Z4 moved over into the large parking space, I was pretty sure the FJ would fit in the smaller space. You have to remember that in the summer of 1975 my great aunt and great uncle plus the Menonite house builders didn't plan to use this smaller space for parking. It's actually very nice as a porch but when you have 2-3 vehicles at one time, parking space is at a premium up here on the hill.

You'll notice I have just enough room to clear the passenger side mirror as well as the driver's side mirror. If needed I could have folded both mirror inward to give me more room. I should be able to squeeze the FJ into this space as the Z4 is being repaired.

Either my head is permanently crooked when I take photos or the lens is out of adjustment. I now see I forgot to straighten this one and my FJ looks like it is leaning to the right just like that pole next to it.

With all of this activity going on, Sadie was stymied. She didn't know what to do. Cars were being backed out then moved around and pulled back in different parking spots. At the same time the bloodhounds thought they were going to get to ride somewhere but we never left the driveway.

I can go look for one bloodhound but I can't let two of them get away from me. I knew from experience that Sadie would wander off into the field while I was working outside and a lot of times outside the range of my own eyes. So Stella was chosen to be tethered. She doesn't mind. She can walk all the way out to the edge of the field and then into the back yard.

By this point in time I had already been on the roof clearing my gutters full of leaves. It was going to rain today so I wanted to have clear gutters before that took place. I had put my ladder away and she had been outside long enough it was past her nap time. I could tell she was tired.

Sadie was checking me out to see what my next project would be and if she would be able to escape again. I had to yell for her three different times by now as she was nowhere near the house in the field ... in fact she was nowhere to be seen.

With the Z4 maintenance finished, the FJ moved, the gutters cleaned out, it was time to rake as many leaves as possible because the rains would start after midnight. Stella has to have her afternoon nap.

While I was raking the north side yard and bringing a 32gl trash can full of leaves to the burn pile one can at a time ... Sadie was out in the field giving me the final glance before her escape.

For temps in the mid-50's I had overdressed so the jacket hung on the fence while I raked. That lower part of the yard was solid leaves.

I then made a nice long row of leaves all the way down the house. It was a combination of leaves tossed over the sides of the gutter by me and all the leaves that had collected near the house by the strong winds. All I wanted to do at that time was clean up and burn that row of leaves. Then I thought I'l do the same thing on the other side of the yard where the leaves were caught by the taller grass in the field. Stella continued to sleep and Sadie is nowhere around.

I still felt pretty good so I decided I'd start raking the backyard from the north edge. You can see the section of yard I did rake before stopping. By this point I was exhausted. I had not eaten, the morning coffee was way out of my system ... and I had to go find Sadie. I yelled her name over and over .. no Sadie. As I turned to go get the FJ to drive out through the field to look for her, I see her running into he field from the woods directly behind the house about half way to the first turn we make on our walk. She had been down in the gully of the woods !!!

I was glad she came running. I didn't mind her being gone in that direction since its opposite of the highway. Yet, I was extremely tired. I really don't care about the number of steps I do each day but the Garmin vivoSmart watch does. It's a little annoying at times, telling me to move and vibrating on my wrist to let me know it wants me to look at the message being sent. By mid afternoon it is telling me I am having a lot more activity than my normal Tuesday.  (who cares) As I stumbled and staggered inside to the fridge for an ice cold 7up, it vibrated on my wrist again to let me know I had taken over 15,000 steps.

I didn't care about the steps at that time. I needed something cold to drink with some sugar in it to help my energy level and I decided I'd take some Ibuprofen before taking my shower instead of waiting ... I already knew I was going to be sore. Yet, I had done almost everything I had listed.

Even my Sacramento State ball cap got a good workout in 50° weather.

Being outside all afternoon is tough work if you are a bloodhound. When you miss your afternoon naps right after lunch inside ... that even makes that day harder, to the point Stella was exhausted last night by 6pm. In this position she not only sleeps but does yoga at the same time. Yes, her rear legs are pulled up straight all the way to her nose.

The 2nd of 3 good purchases I have made was my new $10 rake that has all it's teeth. It is one of those wide leaf rakes and I have found that when a rake has all of its teeth instead of 2/3 of them, raking leaves goes much faster.

I never have any luck with power tools. I am tired of running a 100' to 150' of extension cord to use my two different kind of leaf blowers and/or vacuums, depending on their setting. Those small 2-cycle gas engines are the devil too me. They might work a few times after I have wasted my money buying them but stop soon after never to start again.

When my small gas powered leaf blower wouldn't start yesterday I did what I have done in the past when it finally worked. I swore at it and threw it into the backyard while standing on my roof. That flight and hard landing usually makes it come to it's senses and start right up ... not yesterday. So I was on my hands and knees crawling along the gutter/roof line grabbing wet and dry leaves out of the gutter and dropping them over the side.

What has worked has been anything Black and Decker with a 20v battery or 32v battery. So why not spend some bucks on a smaller, lighter leaf blower that uses one of those 20v batteries because I have two more of the same batteries on the charger for my trimmers. The batteries would not only be interchangeable but the leaf blower it self would be light enough for me to take to the roof when I blow leaves out of the gutters.

So today I retired the gas powered leaf blower and the two larger electric cored powered leaf blowers and bought a new one powered by a 20v battery. It may have been raining here all day today but with my large overhangs I had a few dry leaves along the edge of the house so I could test out my new toy when I got home. I find out it also has enough power to blow wet leaves from the driveway.

The 3rd good purchase lately out of 3.

Did I mention rain?

For once the weather experts were right as well as the Weather Underground. Sometime during the night I heard the roof being pounded with rain. In my mind half awake, I could see a river of water flowing through those clean gutters from Monday afternoon's work. It was still raining when the hounds went outside for the first time. It continued to rain through two cups of coffee. It rained the 4 hours I was gone shopping for 'toy's plus a pizza at Mother Bear's, now located on the west side of Bloomington.  Great pizza btw.

It rained all the way home ... and when I walked into the house ... I caught Heidi barely awake in the same position I left her on the couch. Her eye is okay, that's just a normal basset hound eye when they are partially asleep or when they just wake up.

While driving home in the rain I kept flashing back to our trip in June 2015 to Colorado and Utah. Stella was not here yet, she arrived two months later. So on this week trip it was Sadie, Heidi and Winston. I figured at this point of the trip the traffic was light enough that the hounds could be fed a late lunch. They did not start having lunch at noon until Stella arrived.

This is one of my all-time favorite photos. I had all three tethered to the FJ while I set up the tent. Temps were in the 90's. Moab was packed full of people, 4x4's and ATVs. We were somewhere in-between Green River and Moab Utah and 35 square miles of total silence.

I had not even installed the full coverage fly over the tent and Winston had already crawled inside to sleep. All three hounds were great travelers on that trip, a little over 3,000 miles in 6 days.

What was the one thing I didn't get done on the list??  Since I didn't get my shipment of Z4 parts, I didn't have the tool to take off the oil filter cap. Those that I looked at in auto parts stores did not seem to look like they would fit nor work on the one the Z4 has. I wanted to play it safe and use the correct tool. After all the car isn't going anywhere until the new parts are installed.

Well the rains have finally stopped late this afternoon but it's too wet to walk and with all the activity the last two days I am thinking I need a nice siesta before my ballgame tonight on tv.

Retirement is a tough job in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana but someone has to do it.


  1. LOVE Stella's yoga sleep pose.

    1. That makes my lower back hurt just looking at that picture. LOL