How many times did you say that as a kid? Two of you walk into the kitchen and there’s one Rice Crispy treat left on the plate, “I got dibs on that!” It was non-arguable, non-negotiable and final, so simple. The one who says it first, gets it. Think how useful this could be in today’s overly complicated world. Divorces would be simple, none of that community property business. The husband just reminds the wife, “No, remember, back in 1998, the year Janie started college, I think it was in her second semester, I saw that vase in the antique store on South Brisbane and called dibs on it.” Case closed. Dibs would make copyright law unnecessary. If you do something and call “dibs,” baby that’s yours forever. I ran into a couple of situations recently where I had dibs rights and someone else horned-in.
First example, about four years ago I was out taking pictures in the woods (this is before the damn ticks called dibs on me) and thought, you know those old rusty, abandoned cars might be interesting artistically. I could use photo shop to isolate certain aspects of the vehicles and massage them into something artistic. So, just to be safe, I remember telling the squirrel running across the hood of one of the cars, “Hey, fuzzy, I got dibs on that idea.” Here’s an example of one of my pieces.
I call this one “Another Galaxie,” kind of a double meaning there since it’s a Ford Galaxie and it looks kind of “other worldly.” Anyway, imagine my surprise when I walked into Starbucks last week and the walls are covered with very similar images. I was outraged, but don’t worry; I got the guy’s name off one of his copy-cat images and I’m going to inform him of my dibs rights.
The other recent infringement of my dibs rights occurred just a few days ago as well. A couple of times over the last few years I can remember thinking how horrible it would be to born a bird and be told, “Now junior, this is the one little tune you are going to tweet over and over again for the rest of your life. You can never tweet anything else.” Can you imagine having to say, “Awesome,” and only “Awesome,” for your entire life. I’m sorry Tractor Man, those are no longer available. “Awesome.” I’m sorry to tell you Tractor Man, there’ll be an hour wait for a table, “Awesome.” I don’t know how to tell you this, Tractor Man, but your illness is terminal, “Awesome.” You can see where that would get annoying. On two particular occasions (once on a walk when I heard the birds singing and once as we were riding in the car just recently) I remember specifically telling the Princess how bizarre this would be to be so restricted in one’s speech. I even suggested that if I had to be born a bird, I’d ask to be a mockingbird, because they’re one of the few birds that just “let it rip” and sound like they’re really having fun. So again, imagine my surprise when I saw this cartoon in the paper.
Yup, my idea, that I had dibs on, again stolen by some guy named Scott Hilburn. I’ve got a call in to him, and will be claiming this under my dibs rights.
Moving on. I was pumping gas last week, while the Princess sat regally in the passenger seat simply observing her subjects. She noted the following. A guy climbs out of his car, smoking a cigarette and heads toward the door of the convenience store. Before he enters, he throws his cigarette on the sidewalk. He later comes out, spies the still smoldering cig on the ground, picks it up and happily begins puffing again. Great! By the way, he did in fact have dibs on it.
The NC summer began a couple of weeks ago, so now we look for those few days in the 80’s to comfortably work on the Pony. We had one of those last Friday, so Gene and I pulled the Pony a little further apart, and I worked on cleaning more gunk out to the Pony’s torque tube. The torque tube is that cast metal casing that runs from the engine back to the transmission and encloses the drive shaft. You may recall that Gene and I were amazed on opening the front end of the tube, that it was filled with an obnoxious mixture of 20-year-old transmission fluid, acorns and other indistinguishable organic matter. Well, on getting access to the back-end of the tube we found even greater quantities of the gunk. The mystery to us is, how did the forest critters get all that stuff in there? As far as we could tell, there really are no significant entry points. These isn’t supposed to be any fluid of any sort in there, and there dang sure ain’t supposed to be acorns in there. I’d like to hear theories on this from you readers. How did that stuff get in there?
I spent a good solid hour with my arm curled around awkwardly inside the torque tube. I looked like James Herriot in “All Creatures Great and Small” trying to deliver a lamb that had gotten turned around in the uterus. The difference was that the stuff I got out, looked more like what comes out after the lamb is born. And stink? Whew! It took all kinds of scrubbing and 24 hours time before I got that stink off my hands. I believe I did get the gist of the gunk out. I might take one more crack at it, just to do a final mop-up.
With that clean-up done, I moved to making a new gasket for the cap that was exposed when we gained access to the front of the transmission. We suspect that this might be a source of the fluid leakage. Here’s a photo of the cap and my new gasket.
The other potential source of the transmission fluid leak could be an oil bearing around the transmission shaft. Changing that bearing would entail taking the entire transmission and differential apart, a daunting task, which I have decided will not be attempted unless on the ol’ Pony’s first time around the block, fluid is absolutely spurting out of its every pore. So, my plan will be to install the new cap and gasket, insert the new cotter pin in the drive shaft and close the Pony back up. That may be tricky in and of itself, with the two really heavy halves of the tractor now about eight inches apart and all “catywumpus.”
I made a big move in the garage too. With the oil pan now sealed-up, the time had come to get the engine back right-side-up, so the head could be torqued down. My plan was to attach a couple of two-by-fours to the engine motor mounts and then simply roll the engine onto a couple of four-by-fours. I would then screw the boards together into one solid base. This will allow room for the oil pan to set between the boards, and the boards will also serve as lift points when we move the tractor from the garage back out to the Pony. When I finally found the motor mount hardware, I was so impressed that I had to take a picture for you.
Here’s a shot of the engine now upright and me screwing the new engine stand together (photo courtesy of The Princess).
Now, the emphasis turns to closing up the top, or “head.” I went out to Gene’s, because he has a wire brush attachment on a bench grinder. With 20 head bolts to clean, I made fairly quick work of getting them all rust free.
Unfortunately, my next move was to email an image of the refurbished bolts to Dr. Fullofit. First, let me say that Gene had already said that if the Pony was a Jaguar (which it ain’t) the specs call for replacing all the head bolts on an engine rebuild. After a thorough review of the bolt photos, and a consult, Dr. Fullofit stated that Jaguar or not, “…those bolts are nasty, and you must replace them all.” Dr. Fullofit revels in this. He asked that I put The Princess on the speaker phone and then said, “Can you imagine how many earings you could have bought with the $1000 your idiotic husband now has invested in this debacle?”
Not helping me here Doc!
Thanks for reading.