Monthly Archives: April 2014

I’m Tellin’!

Just when you thought it was safe to read emails again, here’s the latest post from That Idiotic Tractor.

I’m sure if you grew up with siblings around like I did, you heard that headline a lot.  It was essentially a non-violent, first line of defense used to keep one’s siblings in line.  Example, your brother threatens to dig into your share of the Easter candy, “I’m tellin’!”  In my case there was always the older (idiotic) brother and then my younger (less idiotic) brother.  Unfortunately for me, the middle son (not idiotic at all), this defense tool was inoperable on the idiotic brother and very useful to the less idiotic brother.  The problem with the idiotic brother was that for a combination of reasons he was immune to the IT defense.  Jim was bad, my parents knew he was bad, and there was nothing that they could do to him that bothered him.  He just didn’t care, and so he just kept on being bad.  On the other hand, I was the “good” son, and therefore, I had a reputation to defend.  So when my less idiotic brother would threaten me with the IT defense, well I was vulnerable. (1)  By the way, I was able to protect my “good son” reputation all the way up until that unfortunate incident with the bourbon when I was in high school.

I only mention all of this by way of explaining why it doesn’t bother me to “tell” on myself (like the idiotic brother, I just don’t care anymore), as I did in the last post, or as I’m going to do next.  A little while back The Princess bought a thing called a depillatater, not sure of the spelling there. (2)  It’s a battery operated thing for hair removal.  Now you might think that because I’m nearly bald, I don’t need to worry about hair, but I do.  In fact, even though I’m bald on top, I’m fairly hairy on the bottom.  So I was thinking that since I’m in bike shorts so much and for hygiene and comfort purposes, it might be a good idea to run the “tater” over my bottom.  Even though above and beyond the call of duty for a wife (let alone a Princess), I asked The Princess if she might do me a favor and mow my butt.

Right away I should have suspected something when she jumped at the idea.  So, up in my bathroom I leaned forward on the counter and assumed the position.  The next thing I felt might have been the depillatater, but it felt more like a cattle prod.  I jumped about 6 inches off the floor.
“Holy Moses, take it easy with that thing.”
“Oh for crying out loud, don’t be such a sissy.”  Well, she went at me twice more, I mean barely touching my sensitive heinie, and each time, “youch,” I jumped probably even higher than the first time, I guess because I sensed it was coming.  That was that.  As she mumbled something about how men just can’t handle pain, she took that nasty tater and left.

You might think that that’s the end of the story, but if so you’d be wrong.  In the mornings, I shave in the shower, by feel only, no mirror.  I only lose a major piece of my face maybe once every six months.  Last Sunday I was having a leisurely soak in the tub and noticed my razor lying there on the edge.  Hmmm.(3)  Just like every six-year-old cuts his own hair with a scissors (at least once) I was inexorably drawn to that razor and the idea that while lying there in the tub I could easily shave my butt.  I went at it.  Over and over again I raked that razor over my posterior until it felt as smooth as, well…a babies butt.

Everything seemed great until I got out of the water.  Jeez, that feels a little raw I thought.  Within half an hour I had a raging case of razor rash.  About two hours later I went on a three-hour bike ride and that riled it up even more.  Treatments of lotion and baby powder have had some minimal effect.  Now several days later as the new hairs start to grow in I’ve got another sensation, as if I’m sitting on a pin cushion!  You should see me shift around in a chair trying to get comfortable.  Ok, “bottom” line, this was an incredibly bad idea.  If just one person has been saved disfigurement and pain by reading this, well then my experience will not have been in vain.  Remember, as tantalizing as an idea may be, whether your six or sixty-six, if it involves your butt, and something sharp-edged, think twice about it.

Moving on.  I’ve got Pony news.  When I took the carb apart, I found that the needle valve was “hanging-up,” that is, when the float would drop, the needle wouldn’t.  Turns out that the Chinese had put a rubber tip on the needle which on exposure to gasoline got more “gummy” as time went by.  Maggie sent out an all metal needle to replace the faulty one, and after installing it, I’ve got the carb put back together.  Here are a few pictures of the needle valve.  Remember, you can click on any of these to make them bigger.

The first shot shows the needle stuck in the up position, the second, the way it should be, and the third a shot of the needle itself with the offending rubber tip.

Gene and I have never had an easy and accurate way of turning the engine over slowly, so using some plumbing pipe and a 5/16th inch bolt I made a crank.  Here are a couple of shots of that.

The crank was useful in measuring the valve tappet gaps, which is the job we tackled next.  And holy buckets, we found that the No. 4 cylinder exhaust valve had loosened-up and had a huge gap.  See photos below.

That gap was around 1/4th inch and was supposed to be .012.  Between the carb problem and this tappet issue, I’m feeling pretty good that we have found and solved the power issues we we’re experiencing last fall.

Finally, on the last trip out to visit the Pony, I cut, reshaped and rerouted the gas line from the sediment bowl (fuel filter) to the carb (see pic below).

new fuel line

Then, in the category of housekeeping, although no Cost-O-Meter expenses have been incurred (4), the GuineaPig-O-Meter got a little bump.  I visited my friends in UNC’s EPA lab, and I made another sputum donation ($50).  On top of that, I got another little surprise.  The Princess noticed that an old broken earring I found on a bike ride (and which had been in Poodie’s (5) possession) was 14k gold.  Good eye, Princess, $18.

I believe that’s it for right now.  I’ll keep you posted on the Pony, as we should be cranking him back up soon.  Happy holidays and thanks for reading.

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(1)  My psychologist and TIT contributor, Dr. Reinhold Boehmke, advises that this situation is just one of the many factors contributing to what he calls “mittel Kind all gescrewed-up syndrome.”
(2)  Not a “tater” from Depilla, or Oregon, or anywhere else.
(3)  Ahhh, the germ of an idea.  If I could only have known then how bad it was.
(4)  Don’t bug me about the cost of the new crank ($13).  That’s a tool, so doesn’t count.
(5)  If you don’t remember our Poodie shrine of stuff found on bike rides, here’s a photo of him.
Poodie