Monthly Archives: November 2011

Goldilocks Buys a Bed, The “Rest” of the Story

Did you know that in the original Goldilocks fairy tale there was no Goldilocks?  Neither were there a father, a mama and a baby bear.  As originally published in the 1830’s the story involved a disgusting, ugly, fowl-mouthed old hag and three bachelor bears.  Over many years the story evolved to the one we all know with a pretty, little, golden-haired girl and a family of bears.  This all courtesy of Wikipedia.  It strikes me that this is another example of Darwin’s theory of evolution.  A story that might have otherwise become “extinct,”  evolved and, therefore, survived.

In a similar fashion, the American shopper has evolved.  A shopper could not survive today without the ability to stay-up late, wait  in line, pay with credit or debit cards and be adept at using kung foo techniques and pepper spray.  But I digress.  I used no such techniques in my quest for the perfect bed.  During the last episode, if you recall, I had returned bed number two to Macy’s and was granted a third chance to get one that, as the Goldilocks story goes,  was “just right.”

This time I really worked at it.  During my working years, when we did acquisitions, we called this process “due diligence.”  I made a trip back to the store, I lay on almost every bed, and gradually narrowed-down the field.  When I found what I thought was the right one, I lay on it until I actually dozed-off.  But feeling so “snake-bit” after my first two mistakes, I decided to leave the store, and come back another day to make sure of my decision.  I went back several days later, and The Princess came along.  I lay on the beds some more while she shopped.  One pair of boots later she showed-up in bedding wanting the credit card.  I took the opportunity to get her onto the bed…careful…just to get another opinion.  She said, it was “ok,” so, after that additional input, I “pulled the trigger,”  and drum roll……….The bed I finally bought was a:
Simmons,
Beautyrest Black,
Dual-Overhead Cam,
Natalia,
Pillow-top,
Plush,
with a low-profile box spring.  Goodness knows we want to keep a low profile while using the thing.
The mattress has a cashmere top and the clincher for me, my initials, BB, embroidered all over it.  Naturally, it cost $1000 more than the first bed I bought, so instead of stuffing money under the mattress (which is way better than the stock market these days) I just invested more in it. 

Well, it arrived a few days ago, and after sleeping on it for a few nights, is it “just right?”  Nah, it’s just another bed, a little bit better than the first two.  I’m sure any guests that dare visit after hearing this story will be very comfortable, but as for me, I’m convinced that like the Pony, I was born to sleep standing up!

And what a sleep for the Pony!  Going out on a limb here, but after Rip Van Pony’s 20-plus year snooze, we’re going to try waking him up on December 10.  That’s the date Gene and I are going to try to start the engine.  Anyone who wants to be there for this milestone in the Pony’s restoration, you are welcome.  Just know that there are no guarantees.  As a matter of fact, with the Pony’s track record, I’m going to be dang surprised if he cooperates.  But, if you’re coming, send me an email, or leave me a comment on the blog, and I’ll send you directions.  I’m going to set up the camera too, so those of you who can’t make it will hopefully see video in a future post.  Speaking of the camera, The Princess did the camera work on the shot below.

Yes, that’s Baby Bear, and he’s wondering who the idiot is in his bed.  Of course it’s the idiotic author, just after waking up from a dream in which the Pony’s engine is running.  Good omen! 
Thanks for reading.

Getting Closer

I say, “When you’ve got tractor news and good art on top of that, then lead with it.”  So here it is.  I spent a productive afternoon out working on the Pony one day this week.  I hooked-up a couple of oil lines, one leading into the oil filter from the engine and the other leading out of the oil filter and back into the engine.  One of the lines had a bad crimp in it that would very likely have restricted oil flow, so I bought some brake line at the NAPA store to replace the crimped line.  I hack-sawed the line to the proper length, but then needed to flare the cut end so that it would make a leak-proof fit inside the coupler.  Here’s a photo of me using the tool (naturally Gene had one) that flared the end.

 
In this next shot I’m tightening one of the couplers onto the oil filter.

The next challenge was the gas tank.  It’s taken me literally months to get the gas tank ready to go.  I had it dipped in caustic soda over at the machine shop.  I whirled chain around in it over many weeks to wear away as much corrosion as I could, and then I put a double coat of epoxy liner inside the tank.  The outside was primed and then finished with 3 coats of Pony red.  I only have it preliminarily fastened to the Pony, but I just had to include a couple of photos, so here you go. 

Looking pretty cool, eh?  Oh, and I also finished the clutch rod and attached it.

Gene and I fiddled with the governor a bit too, and we’re both thinking there may be a problem, in that there doesn’t seem to be enough play in it.  We’re going to move ahead toward an engine start though, and readdress the governor later. 

Today, Sunday, I spent a few more hours out at Gene’s.  I got the refurbished sediment bowl (gas filter) attached to the gas tank and reinstalled the fuel line.  Here’s a good shot of that.

I’ve drawn an arrow showing how the fuel will flow from the tank to the, what the heck, there’s that damn rabbit again!  He’s actually circling the fuel inlet in the carburetor.

It took a bit of clever work by Gene and my good eye, but we were able to locate top dead center today, so that we could correctly install the distributor and attach the spark plug wires.  Finally, here’s a shot of the Pony with his new $66 battery (yeah, it’s in the C.O.M.).

All in all its been a pretty dang good week for the Pony.  I guess you could say he’s got a lot to be thankful for this year as another Thanksgiving approaches.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I saw the funniest thing.  A group of maybe 8 or 10 wild turkeys were “grazing” in a horse corral, you know, the kind where horses do jumping?  What, did they think, hunters wouldn’t recognize them?  They weren’t actually doing the jumps when I went by, but then I was on the bike, and they could tell I didn’t have a gun.

I saw a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal this week for PETA.  Paul McCartney was quoted in the ad, and he apparently hasn’t eaten any meat in years.  Jeez, what do vegans do on Thanksgiving anyway?  Well, wait a minute; I guess they’ve just got more room for pumpkin pie.  Here at the castle, the Princess has declared a “turkey amnesty,” so we’ll be having a rib roast instead(sorry cows).  I say thanks every week for you folks who keep track of the Pony, The Princess and me by reading my blog.  But this being my last post before T-Day, I want to wish you all the best and hope that you feel as lucky as we do.  

Hold family dear, friends close and say thanks for all that is good.  And, hey, thanks for reading.

So THAT’S What Happened

The Princess and I were at Best Buy this week.  We continue to try to single-handedly keep the economy afloat.  After putting up with a non-vented microwave over the range for 5 years, we finally decided to do something.  Cooking smells in our town home had immediately gone all over the house, and we “enjoyed” them for several days after the meal.  On top of that (literally) is the grease film that built-up, on and in cabinets, and on the kitchen ceiling.  You can actually see a dark area up there.  And no good can come from breathing “second-hand grease.”  There ought to be a warning from the Surgeon General on non-vented microwaves:  “Caution, breathing in the same room as this microwave may cause grease build-up in the lungs, and give one unnaturally lustrous hair.”

By the way, there is no Surgeon General in ThatIdioticTractorLand.  We got an old lady, Ma Cheevers, she’s 97 years old, lives west of here a bit.  That woman lived a hard life, grew-up poor, had every disease known,  worked in a knitting mill for 40 years, gave birth to six kids and raised them all to be successful chiropractors.  So around here, if you want to know if something’s all right or not, you just ask “Ma.”  If she spits and says “Don’t worry about it,” its “ok.”  Conversely, if she thinks something’s stupid she’ll slap ya before you can react.  That seems warning enough for most folks round these parts. 

My face still stings from the day I asked her what she thought about dragging the Pony out of the woods and restoring it.

“You don’t know the first thing about tractors, you got no tools to speak of, and you live in a town home.  Are you nuts?”  SLAP!
“But listen, Ma, I found it, it’s kind a cute, and I want it.”  SLAP!
“I’m gonna tell you somethin now, that I’m hopin will put you off any such notion.  I got the story on that worthless piece of junk, and after you hear it, if you go ahead and pull it out the woods, I won’t slap ya, I’ll pray for ya.  That tractor was used for about 10 years by a farmer just outside Hillsborough, until the Krebs boys, Moonie and Casper, lives up in Kilhowlet, stole it to haul supplies and run “shine” down Kenner mountain.
Those boys were awful; I can’t tell you how many times I had to slap em!  It got to where they’d duck when they saw me, cus they knew I’d just wail on em, on general principles.  They were unschooled, ignorant, filthy and worst of all, Pony abusers.  I’d see that poor Pony struggling up Kenner Mountain most days, and with time, more and more smoke coming from the blown muffler.  Made me sick to see it.  They just gave it enough oil and water to keep it alive.
The sad end came in a way I guess you might expect.  
Early one morning, Casper was towing a wagon a shine through the woods to meet a truck down by the highway.  Moonie was passed-out under the tarp with the shine.  The Feds had had the place “staked-out” for weeks and saw their chance.  When Casper saw ’em he hit the gas and did a hard right down the old logging road that went straight south.  The Pony did all right for a while.  Bottles were bouncin in their cases, Moonie come out of his stupor and sat up goggle-eyed.  When he figgered things out, he threw two bottles of lit shine out the back that burst into flame between them and the Feds.  It went on like this for a while, but the poor Pony started to lose power, so that if they hadn’t in general been headed down hill they’d a stalled.  But as it was they continued on like this for some miles, with the occasional Molotov cocktail keeping the Feds off ’em until finally they ran out of luck.
The Pony flew over a boulder that sent the poor thing off at an angle and then a horrible crash back down to the earth.  There was a high-pitched scream of the engine as the drive shaft broke loose from the transmission and the poor thing came to a rest just as the Feds came up around them. 
As the deputies put the boys in the back seat of a squad car, one of em asked Olipus, the local sheriff, where they should take them.  “You take them boys to the Kilhowlet jail, but first you take em by Ma’s so’s she can give em a good slap.”

Well Ma, that’s a good story, but “checkered past” and all, I still want her.  Jeez, sounds like my first girl friend.  So now Gene and I are trying our best to wipe those bad years away, so that the Pony can live out his years in comfort.  We’ll see….  

Where the hell was I.  Oh yeah, the range hood.  This was a time-consuming, fairly expensive project.  It took the contractor a day and a half with two to three guys working.  So, money for the contractor, money for the home supply store for the new hood, and now more money to Best Buy for a new microwave.  We stood in the microwave aisle looking over the options, no service person in sight.  I couldn’t quite see into a microwave on a shelf above my head, so I grabbed a tall stool, the kind that spins actually, and stood up on it to peer in, while The Princess steadied me.  I was just climbing down when a sales person hurried down the aisle asking if he could help.  Turns out someone had seen me risking life and limb and ratted me out.  So, the lesson here folks is if you need service, do something dumb, and store personnel will come a running.  Just don’t let on to Ma Cheevers.

Well, that’s the news from ThatIdioticTractorLand, where if you live long enough, and have faith, you might one day SOON see the Pony defy all odds and sputter back to life.  Thanks for reading.

Goldilocks (Revised)

So sorry, I made numerous corrections to that last post and then forgot to hit “save” before publishing.  I’ve gone back in and made the changes, so that now, if you wish, you can go to ThatIdioticTractor.com and view the corrected version.
Signed:  Your Idiotic Author

Goldilocks Buys a Bed

I’m telling ya, nothing’s easy.  The Princess and I decided to replace the bed in the guest bedroom, and since I sleep in it more than she does (for reasons not to be discussed here), she allowed as I should be the one to choose the new mattress and box springs.  Thanks a lot!  Buying a bed, that’s a big decision, you know the place where you spend seven eight hours a day for maybe 15 years.  And talk about confusing; its like trying to make sense out of your cable bill.  There are ump de ump manufacturers with multiple lines of beds in a zillion price ranges and made of different kinds of materials, including memory foam?  Man, where can I get some of that, to stuff in my head.  Here are the various lines available from just one manufacturer, Simmons Beautyrest:  Pemberton, Verona, World Class Elderberry, Naomi Yvonne, Coseta, Sasha, Natalia, Ava, Joelle and Celine.  Just guessing here, but I’ll bet most bedding decisions are made by men.  They used no less than 8 women’s names there, no Jake or Bruno, what, no Red Pony line?  To make matters worse, just for example, within the World Class Elderberry Line there are six different choices. 

And from this next thing I guess you’ll get a picture of how long I’ve been out of the bed market.  What ever happened to the mattress that you can flip, so that both sides can be used, thus extending the life of the mattress.  Somewhere where along the line the mattress manufacturers decided, hey, let’s put a “pillow top” on one side, or just a fancy tufted top and leave the other side unfinished.  By doing this, mattresses will last half as long as they used to, and we’ll double our sales.  Woo hoooo!

So, in the Sunday paper a while back I saw Macy’s was having a big mattress sale.  I said to the Princess, “This is perfect, let’s go over and see if they’ve got something that will work, but let’s be careful; if they don’t have exactly what we want, we’ll just walk away.”  So, I planked out on all kinds of beds, I thought being pretty careful, taking my time, and decided on one that was in our price range, and it felt pretty good.

A couple of weeks later, the thing was delivered and with great anticipation I dove in for my first night in the new bed.  I hated it.  Much to firm.  I felt like the damn thing was trying to push me off, out onto the floor.  Huge mistake!  The Princess was really helpful.  “You’re on your own on this one, mister.”  

Ok, so back to Macy’s, this time by myself.  I explained the situation, that I wanted to exercise the one-time option of exchanging the bed for another and that, hey, the box spring was damaged to boot.  The guys in the show room worked a deal for me and waived the usual exchange fees (about $250).  So great, it was back to the beds to this time find just the right one.  Since the first one was too firm, this time I went for something nice and soft.  I was waffling between two mattresses when one of the guys said,  “Ya know, that one you’re on there, an extremely pregnant woman who returned a bed like you did, she went for that one.  Case closed!  I went for it.

Two weeks later, the new bed was delivered.  This time some gorillas showed-up, banging into walls, leaving scuff marks here and there, knocking over an antique (minor damage) and once again, the box spring is damaged (but not as bad).  So “ok,” I called customer service.  A really nice lady asked, “Do you think the damage is worth more than $200?”  I said, well no, and she popped a check for $200 in the mail.  That was pretty cool and I thought a very professional way of dealing with an unpleasant experience.  But speaking of unpleasant, Jeez, the new bed felt weird.  I tried it a few nights, and although I sank down to a level where I needed a snorkel to breath, I did get used to it after a few nights.  Then our son, Andy, showed up for a visit.  He slept in the bed, and after just two nights bailed out.  Actually, he said he kind of rolled up out of it and then bailed.  Oh man, now what?

So, back into the store, where one of the guys, very understanding, called Customer Service from the showroom and plead my case.  I was lying on a nice, comfortable mattress (I think her name was “Natalia”) when he came back.  “I have a little bad news, the exchange deal is a one-time thing only.  We can’t help you.”  A LITTLE  bad news?  I literally took it lying down, but sheesh, why not just send me out for a back brace and say good luck with that FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS?

What the heck am I gonna do?  I decided that in spite of the initial NO from Customer Service, and hoping for a miracle, I’d try pleading my case with Macy’s myself.  Holy cow, a miracle!  They granted me another do-over.  Let me just say here, Macy’s is an amazing store with FABULOUS CUSTOMER SERVICE (Ok guys, does that cover my side of the bargain?).

Alright, so now the pressure is really on.  I’m pretty sure there’ll be no more miracles, and I’m heading back in to Macy’s next week.  I’m really nervous.  How will I even relax on the beds under the pressure.  What if I end-up falling for “Celine”?  What will The Princess think?  For sure, I’m going to screw this up.  Will the next bed be “just right?”  Stay tuned…

Right about now you “tractor heads” are fidgeting kind of like the Idiotic Brother and wondering, Hey, what about the Pony, now that he’s in that nice, cozy garage?  Any progress?  You betcha.  The radiator and starter were installed this week.  Take a look at these two shots.

I’ve got a short piece of radiator hose to attach, and then the radiator install will be complete.  I’m working on getting a number of things painted, waiting for a nice, calm, warm day; the gas tank and bracket are two of them. 

On Friday The Princess and I made another trip down to Siler City for tractor stuff.  Just in case you think I make ALL of this stuff up, I snapped a photo of that sign I mentioned in the July 15 post (click on the date to view that “oldie but goodie).
 
Have a greet week everyone, and thanks for reading.