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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Non-restful weekend

Hey at least Family Man had what he aptly calls a “slackerly weekend.” Me, I barely got a chance to do any work work, let alone slacking.

Mrs. Fetched has a little beer money (well, if she drank beer it would be) coming in from videotaping our nephew’s park/rec football games. We did this when The Boy was going to the private school a couple of years ago, and have the drill down: she has one camera up in the announcer’s booth and gets the action from above; I have the other one on the sidelines (a monopod is a wonderful thing for this kind of work). She mixes our tapes together and furnishes the coaches with a DVD so they can see what worked — and what needs to be worked on.

So Saturday morning, she takes off early as I’m dragging myself out of bed and left me with instructions: grab the camera and the monopod and be at the field by 10. Since my car is probably toast, I asked her to leave the keys to the Sunfire where I could find them. To make a long story short, she didn’t. Well… I gave Solar a hard time because he was “channeling Dad” (stressing out over minor things) as I helped him set up his home theater system… now it was my turn. Hey, it wasn’t my fault that Mrs. Fetched didn’t leave the keys where I could find them; why worry about it? It could well be because I love being behind the camera about as much as anything that I can do with my clothes on. I get really cranky when people start talking over the audio or walking in front of the lens — imagine what entirely missing a gig would do to me.

Eventually, it occurred to me that I could bungee the monopod to the cargo rack on the back of my motorcycle and sling the camera bag over my shoulder… and the bike’s battery wasn’t up to starting it. Arrrrrrrgh!!! I plugged in the trickle charger and continued my (fruitless) search for the car keys. After 15 minutes, about the time Mrs. Fetched wanted me there, I came back out in a final act of desperation and hit the starter button — and the bike fired right up. Woo hoo! I grabbed the camera bag and boogied on down to the field. Things were starting to go my way, and the previous game going overtime meant I got there with plenty of time to spare. Nevertheless, I had something to say to Mrs. Fetched before I screwed on the monopod and took the field. The game was a good one; the nephew’s team won 7-0 in a squeaker, getting a couple of controversial calls (but good calls, according to my tape) that went their way toward the end.

That was pretty much the high point of the weekend. That afternoon, I got dragooned into helping distribute feed in the chicken houses. Tyson has this bad habit of creating unfunded mandates — more work for the growers with no corresponding pay increase, although the in-laws recently got a new contract with better terms. There’s a movement afoot to unionize the growers, you see. But I digress. Back when, they used to send out a crew to unload the chicks at the beginning of a grow-out cycle; now they leave it to the growers. Some genius recently decided the growers should drop feed flats along the sides of the feed lines and fill them up, to make it easier for the chicks to get to the feed (there are already flats running down the lines with spouts)… and naturally, they leave the implementation (but not the decision) up to the growers. So. You fill an end-loader bucket with feed and scoop it into the flats and the regular pans, for some reason. It takes two buckets and well over an hour to do each house, and we did three (out of four). In my opinion, a complete waste of time unless you like a sore back.

Now a couple of years ago, a friend asked us if he could leave his go-karts in our detached garage (and let us use them). We didn’t need the space at the time, so we said OK. We played around with them, but they have no suspension and the ride is punishing off-road. Nevertheless, I used the big one on occasion when The Boy was down at the creek and I needed to get him home right away, but mostly they’ve sat unused. Now Mrs. Fetched wants the space back, and the friend wants to sell them. And the nephews have got wind of them, so they wanted to have a look at them.

The larger of the two karts is big enough to seat two adults, and has a 10HP motor with electric start. Since it was the closest to the garage door, we pulled it out first. The battery was completely shot (no surprise), to the point where it wouldn’t take a charge, so it wasn’t going to start at all. The smaller one will seat the two nephews, and has a 6HP motor with pull-start. There’s a toggle switch on the side of the motor, which I assumed was the kill switch. The gas tank was bone-dry — a good sign, that means the carb won’t be gummed up. I seem to remember a problem with it, but couldn’t remember what, so we rolled them back inside for the night.

Sunday after church, Mrs. Fetched surprised us all: “We’re not going to bother with that last house today. I’m going to rest, maybe take a nap.” What actually happened is that she and Daughter Dearest went shopping, leaving me to my own devices. My first thought was to see if the Sunfire would work with my trunk-mounted bike carrier, but the answer there was no. I guess I could have pulled one or both wheels off and stuffed it into the trunk for the short drive to Nimblewill, but there was already a tire in the back (which needed to be put on the car). I did that, tweaked a loose valve on the motorcycle that I heard still clicking after the valve adjustment, then decided since I was already greasy I might as well wrench on the karts.

I attacked the smaller kart first, since it didn’t need a battery. I pulled the spark plug, cleaned it off, and checked the toggle switch — yup, it’s a kill switch, up to run, down to stop. Next step was to see if it would run, so I dumped some gas in it and started pulling. Amazingly, it coughed to life after four pulls. It took a minute to get running, since there wasn’t a choke (I found the primer later), but after that I jumped on and gassed it. Off I went, down the driveway and into the grass along the road and back. It had a hard time going up the driveway; I’m not sure if the clutch was slipping or the tires just couldn’t get enough traction on the gravel (probably both), or if I was just too heavy for it. But hey! it ran! I borrowed a grease gun and filled up the lube point for the clutch/chain oiler.

Figuring they should have fresh oil, and the big one needed a battery anyway, I pulled the dead battery and went to Auto Zone. I put the battery on the trickle charger and changed the oil in the small kart… so that one’s ready. I drained the old gas out of the larger kart’s tank and rolled them back into the garage. I’ll tackle the rest of it today, and the nephews can try out the little one this afternoon.


  1. Hi FARfetched.

    I'm beginning to believe you don't know how to slack. :)

    I tried your suggestion about the reset on the wireless router and it worked sort of. I can get to the Internet, but when I go into "Open Network Connections" it says disconnected. Plus it leaves it as open when I try to put security on it. Just another thing to figure out. But you've gotten me on the right road and thanks.

  2. I don't really remember getting too stressed out setting up my home theater. There were some interseting wiring modifications I had to do to the A/V cabinet, so maybe that was a bit stressful. Overall I thought I was okay because everything worked on the first try.

    I was definately channeling Dad when we moved the old TV and cabinet over to the girlfriends house, and when I have to deal with my cat thinking everything she sees now is a litterbox.

  3. Family Man,

    Far fetched knows how to slack, he just needs the opertunity. :)

  4. Solar's right, I need the opportunity. Not much of that around FAR Manor.

    On the other hand, you can say that a writer is always working.


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