Field Expedient Repair – Or Not…

A perfectionist meets baling gum and chewing wire…

Can Not Get Good Help

I have a somewhat odd sense of humor. I have been known to say “I ought to fire the guy who does my thinking for me” or some similar comment when I discover a mistake.  Sometimes this doesn’t work out quite as planned.

Some years ago, I dropped a pencil while preparing to hang a monitor, and saw Bob watching to see where it landed. Planning to pick it up later, I said “Never mind.  I’ll let my lackey get it.”  Unfortunately, I was a little slow getting that out, and he was already handing the pencil back when it registered…

Today, a few of us were having a discussion when Alan returned from a service call. Alan dropped a tag, and as I bent to pick it up, I heard Bob say something.  As I hand the tag back to Alan, I finish processing Bob’s comment and the penny drops.  Bob said “It’s okay Alan, your lackey will get that for you…”

Well played, Bob, well played.

Looking for a Ding-Dong…

My truck didn’t have a gentle chime to remind one to remove the keys. No, when you opened the door, a buzzer went off like a fire alarm. I finally unplugged the beast and dropped it in the glove box, intending to find some way to muffle it later. I remembered it when I came out to a dead battery after work one day. Yup, headlight and key buzzers, both in the same box. Ah, but who really needs a headlight warning anyway? I guess that would be me.

Lesson learned about the value of little reminders, I proceeded to try to make the buzzer a little less obnoxious.  I finally stopped the sucker from being annoying – by making it completely silent.

Linda – wanna ride to Radio Shack to get a ding-dong?
A what?
A ding-dong. You know, a little chime thingy.
Don’t go in there and ask for a ding-dong – they’ll think you’re weird.
They know I’m weird – I brought my own record once to check out a turntable.
What’s so weird about that?
It was by Tom Lehrer.
Ugh – point made. It doesn’t matter – you will not go in there and ask for a ding-dong!
Sigh. Okay.

Can I help you?
Yes, I’m looking for one of the two-tone door chimes.
Sure. You looking for wireless, or?
No, no, the component part – it’s for a project.
Oh, you want a ding-dong!


Buzzer with chime – open

The chime on top replaces the now-defunct key/headlight buzzer on the left. The seatbelt buzzer is on the right in the background; the bimetal strip and heater in the foreground serve as a timer to kill the seatbelt buzzer after a few seconds. Threading the orange wire in through the fine wires required a bit of care, hence the hot-melt in the corner to secure it.


Buzzer reassembled

I left the wires long and the back cover off with thoughts of coming back later with more sophisticated logic than (keys and door open) = buzz, but the new chime wasn’t annoying enough to bother with.  I probably did this about 15 years ago.  When I pulled the chime out for it’s photo op, I noticed that the back had been off all this time.  Did I throw the back out?  I walked over to the bench, rummaged around for a bit, found it, sawed a slot in the case for the wires, and snapped the cover back on.  Maybe it’s time to clean up the bench.


Installed back in the fuse block.

And here it is, back in the truck, hot-melt muffling the chime down to a tolerable level.

Project complete…

Plumbing Condos

We began staying at a condo instead of a motel on our annual beach vacation – it costs only a little more and the condos, each being someone’s vacation home, are very nice. Walking through the parking deck to the elevator, I looked up and marvelled at the work of art installed on the ceiling:


I still can’t figure out if they kept changing the goals, piped themselves into a corner, or executed the design flawlessly.  It doesn’t look like the pipes could move enough to assemble some of those joints.

How would you do it?

On Reading – or not

For whatever reason, my eyes just vacuum up words, even when I’m not intending to read. Sometimes things get a bit mangled in the process. Just now, on the way to get a soda from the basement fridge, I walked past a partial box of football screws. (Don’t quite recall where I used them.)  Reaching for my razor one day, I noticed a new tube of Antigravity Toothpaste, just laying there on the counter.  Obviously defective, but I made sure to keep a firm grip on my toothbrush, just in case.


The latest case is when I hopped on over to Ed’s blog at to see if his daily post was up. I glimpse the link to Decorative Slug and hit the refresh button.  The next words that come into focus are “Not quite enough voltage for a two-cell battery…”

But, but – can you even make a battery from a slug?

What, me blog?

Why blog? Because writing good comments takes too long. By the time I have the comment the way I want it, the post is old. (Note the bit about the perfectionist above.) It doesn’t help that some folks post three times a day.

You know how you can be discussing something and the responses don’t make any sense, and then you realize you aren’t on the same subject? No? Happens here a lot. I keep telling Linda that she should blog this, and she says I should get a blog.

Who, Me?  Well, I know what’s good for me, so here goes. (Sometimes that’s called knowing what side your butter is breaded on.)