time travel in a garage, winter cleaning

Todays tasks involved the beginning of project, Garage Cleaning and reorganizing. To be fair, this is always a task that I never look forward to, and put off till events lead to there being no choice but to begin. The “event” this time, is a week of rain that is coming my way.

I have 2 saws that have been out under tarps that I wanted to get into the garage. The process to make that happen included the following, (not necessarily in this order):

Move Jolene out of the garage and onto the street. (She likes the looks she gets there, but I get paranoid everytime a car slows down to look at her).

Move cart with big red’s old motor and transmission out of the garage and to back patio. (Needs to be gone through, but that is another project) Make room on Patio for cart, then cover with tarp.

Move Boxes of books (I can never get rid of books), out to driveway. (Will move back into garage till they can be gone through.

Empty wall cabinet. (or set up table in garage and move stuff from cabinet to table) Remove wall cabinet from wall. (lots of measuring now) Resinstall Wall cabinet 2′ higher. Clean off table by placing things back in the cabinet, another shelf or trash can as needed.

Go outside to RV slab and begin moving stuff so I can even get to saws. Move shelving material to either inside shed (have to post how we built that) or along house under eve.

Move both saws to garage and place under shelving.

Begin the archaeological dig at my workbench.

Activate the time machine.

My bench has been cluttered and covered, oh……. since the last time I cleaned it off. What makes it a time machine? As I go through the “stuff” I find things that take me back in time. Most all memories are happy, as they usually remind me of a someone I deeply care about. Some are bitter sweet, as the person that comes to mind has moved on from this life.

Tonight I tossed items from cars I no longer have:

Bmw parts, (some broken, why? just why?)

Ford Excursion Center caps (attempted ebay sales, never sold)

Ford Falcon pieces (Really? my last falcon was sold in like 1989)

Boat parts from projects that have come and gone.

Receipts ( man do I have the market cornered on those. Happy memories of hwy 1 and hwy 101 travels.)

And then tools.

Tools from my dad, that I have recently acquired. Some items that I have seen since I was a young boy in his garage, they now reside in mine. Some even have Kline etched into them, others came as Kleins, Ill keep them both.

Tools I forgot I even had. I started today with no hammers and no tape measures. I now have a drawer full of hammers and 6 tape measures. Crazy.

Then there are the old tools. These bring me to a stop. Time stops. These tools have a different name and a different story. The black carpenter square I hold almost reverently in my hands. The name “Sinner” etched into it by my grandfather. I can see it hanging in his garage still. The hub puller, still in its originally box, that is only used to pull the rear drums off of  big red. The small 4 drawer box that sits in the center of my bench. Made by grandpa, and still has the nails in it that he used for his many wood projects. (Bird houses, bird feeders, dog houses, and other items).  I can see him opening the drawers, grabbing a handful of nails and hammering them into the shingles of the doghouse. I miss my grandfather, but his presence is all around me in the garage. (Down to the 6′ long metal 6 volt battery sign that used to hang outside of the garage and gas station his father and uncle owned.) There is even pieces of wood up in my rafters that I moved when they cleaned out their house. I have a Keg of nails, I believe that he had hauled on his semi.

Then the phone buzzes, and I am brought back to the present. Two trash cans full later, the garage is beginning to come together. Jolene is back tucked in for the night, and progress has been made.  It will take many more nights and weekends to get the garage in shape for me to clutter it up again. I look forward to the memories it reawakens.


Whats in a name, or a title for that matter?

I have always been an avid reader, yet shunned writing. So, it is with some amazement, that I have started writing a book. Crazy, I know. It will be my story about a guy that puts himself in impossible situations, and finds way to survive them.  My friends from high-school and on know I used to consider myself the schlep-rock of my time. Always having the worst luck. But, when looking at event in its entirety, one with see that I have some of the most amazing luck, more that I deserve one could argue.

This book, by the way, is not to condone my personal exploits, but rather serve as warning to others. So back to titles for my book, choices I’m considering, and feel free to throw in your thoughts:

He took a big gulp, to a knife fight,  and won. (Cheesy, but true story, you will have to read the book)

The knight in tarnished, dented armor.  ( I like this one, yet may need some rewording.)

Just at the thought gathering stage, but a good use of my time. Idle minds have time to conceive bad ideas, that the body then tries to complete.


A man lost in the desert, with a compass in his pocket.

Back over 10 years ago I was told, on several occasions, quote,” that I was like a man lost in the desert, with a compass in my pocket. That I had everything I needed to get out of the desert, if I would just use the compass.” My father told me that, over and over. I hated it. It was usually when I was in some kind of predicament, of my own causing, through my own actions or lack there of.

I would get angry when I heard those words. I was looking for him to provide the quick, easy answer, not give me stupid advice. My fathers wisdom took years for me to understand, much longer then it should have. As the years past I took a different view on that phrase. I made it my own, and in typical John fashion, warped it to my own meaning. I relished in the fact that I was in the desert. It was where I belonged. Here I would meet people who were lost, or on their own journey through the desert. I would help them on their journey. Maybe they just needed someone to talk with,  a different perspective, or a nudge in the right direction. In any case, I enjoyed the thought of how I helped them on their journey. Then, mentally at least, I would go back to the desert where I would hang out. This has been the cycle of my life.

Four years ago, a special soul came into my life. She was on a journey of her own. Already a butterfly, she was in the process of transforming into an even more beautiful person. We journeyed a long way, and to many destinations.  Like any good book, it had all the parts. An attempted murder, surprising plot twists, tears of joy as well as sorrow, and we both survived.  During this journey, I often contemplated on how far she had gone, while ignoring that I continued behavior that would lead me back and deeper into my desert. Finally, she stepped out of the desert and breathed in the fresh air of life. Although the desire to travel together was still there, she was unable to continue with me on my reoccurring path of destruction,  that I have been bound to for so long.

The next 48 hrs was not typical for me. Usually a life event like that would have sent me for a ride in Jolene. An out of control, high speed ride, putting myself and others possibly in jeopardy. There would have been loud verbal outbursts, against the very universe itself, and how it was conspiring against me. All followed with a late night session of drinking beer, playing and posting songs from my youth, as well as a good pity party. Instead,  I spent 2 days finishing an important project, that was needed due to poor choices from 5 years ago. I studied for an upcoming test, including making a 1 page study guide, for use during the test, (although I have had that option in many a class, I had never used it) and believe I did well. Then the clouds cleared from my mental vision and I saw it.

All these years I had been in a desert, and yes it was my own making. But I was the only one staying there. I often rejoiced when I succeeded at overcoming a bad situation. (One I had put myself in). Instead I should have been learning to not put myself there. I wasn’t there to help others, they were sent to help me. I should have learned through my own advise. Over and over the universe sent people to help me get to through the desert. Each time I would follow them to the edge, and then, turn back, sometimes deeper into my own.

My Dad had tried to tell me so long and so often. The universe had tried to tell me over and over. It wasn’t until someone who I had such a connection with, told me they couldn’t watch me continue this cycle, and choose to walk away, that it became so clear. She put it in words that resonated with my soul. That I lived for the moment, not the life. That there cant be “a life’, if I never stopped to look at the ripple effects of my actions and in-actions.  I can never tell her thank you enough for giving me the most important gift. The chance to live.

This week, instead of going back to my area of plotting in the desert, I pulled out the compass and walked into the light………


Keeping on task

Been awhile since I have posted, so I thought I would do an update of some of the items that I have been working on, and will be posting under projects. The problem that I find with my projects, is actually getting started. I love to research, plot and plan out the project. Gathering parts and equipment is exciting and kind of a scavenger hunt. However, once I get everything, I still need to start. Once I start, I am very task minded. I will work through the hours, or days to achieve completion. That said, the following projects will be posted soon.

How to build a 10X12X7 shed for under $300

Rebuilding a Holley 4150 4 barrel carburetor.

Changing a 2 barrel intake to a 4 barrel intake.

Will be posting these project along with the photos.

Organization is the key

Today’s goal is to put the new door and shell locks on Big Red. We had all the locks re-keyed. When we went to put them on we needed the special clips that hold the lock onto the door, however, cant seem to remember where we put those clips.

On any kind of project, organization is the key. This is especially on these long term projects, where it is weeks, months, or in this case, years, since the original parts have been removed. Here are some suggestions to help sort out the parts, and know where to find them.

Get a box of zip lock bags, a couple of Sharpie markers and a package of manila envelopes.

Before removing any part, take several pictures from different angles. This will help in the reassembly phase.

Then, as you remove parts, write what they are and put them in the zip lock bag.

Larger parts can have a tag, like a luggage tag attached to them.

Print the photos you take at the end of each day .If you print them, put the photos in the manila envelopes and organize them in your file cabinet. Another way is to save them to a folder on your computer and then Organize your files in a directory to have quick access to the component or system you are working on.

Reserve shelf space in your shop and label old parts, new parts, or component type.

Parts you want to save, but will not be used to complete your project, should be boxed up and put away.  This will keep your area free of clutter and help keep you organized.

Luckily, we found one clip in the glove box, and one on the magnetic tray tray we keep for odds and ends. If all goes well tonight Big red will be secured once more.

Package arrives!

The mailman and UPS drivers, are like Santa Claus around here. Today the mailman brought a package. Inside was the engine bolt kit I have been waiting on for Shelia, the 1976 Nova. With it, we can finally get the motor closed up and ready for install. Cant wait to show Jr when he gets home.

Greetings and salutations traveler.

Either by chance, or design, you have found yourself here. Welcome! Here you find information on my passion, by 1970 Cuda’ “Jolene”, as well as the other past, present, and future automotive projects.

I want to thank Dan R, for putting this page together and giving me the gentle push, “hands on shoulders, foot on rear” to get going on this project. Please see techSavvyKidz.com for more info on Dan and his great page.

I have loved cars since childhood, working along side my father and our family vehicles before getting my first of many vehicles. My first car was a 1963 Ford Falcon Futura, that we pulled out of a field at my aunts house. It had served as a first car for her three kids, and was mine as well.

Needless to say I learned a lot of my mechanics skill on that first car. I think I will make separate posts for each vehicle, and you should be able to see the journey I have been on for the last 36 years or so.