Coping: With the Idiot in the Home Body Shop

A week or two back – before the gates of Hell opened to push us up past the 100-degree comfort mark – I was mentioning my research into auto body repair and shopping for a few simple tools.

Although I have plans for a lot more work to come, this is how my “rough, take one…” has come out:


This is not as neat as I wanted it to be. There is still some visible bending in just the right light. But for a first take, I figure I’ve gotten $100 worth of education for the book money and that spent on the cheap hammer set.

That all puts me maybe $700 ahead of what the job would cost if done by a professional. Maybe more.

If this had been in a more accessible area, it would have been easier. After sizing the situation up for what seemed like hours, I decided to punch in a series of holes into the hood frame so I could get some wood doweling and some rebar “spoons” I made up into the injured areas.


A real workman would have taken the hood off, and would have figured some way to separate the sheet metal from the frame. That would have made the job worth some money to see. But not $700 bucks worth.

So holes it was, and a good slathering of self-etching primer.

The books were right: If you get the order of attack right, the problems all pop right out and it’s fun.

There is a ton of sanding and additional glazing to be done…and then I will do a better job on the color and clearcoat. This looks tacky but after 3-4 coats and a good going-over with some cutting compound, it should begin to look like a decent (and best of all: long paid-for) farm truck.

When the cold weather shows up, we’ll get the a/c fixed this winter when we don’t need it. I figure mechanics will charge less for a/c work when temps are in the 40s than when it’s in the 90’s. But you never know about people, do you?

Where’s Our Perfect Working Weather?

I didn’t get anything done Saturday. I was hip-deep trying to figure out why my new (refurb) computer (Win-10, 8GB, Core2Duo) was NOT running the virtual com port (VCP) that it needs in order to talk to my main ham radio.

The point is not to whine about the ease with which a Kenwood TS-590 doesn’t want to talk to the computer, or my lack of a gender-changer adapter so I could try the DB-9/RS232 port. It’s to point out that I can still enjoy being bottled up for 7-hours non-stop because the weather here in East Texas is hotter than a $3-dollar pistol. (Although thanks to Obama, $3 pistols are now $400 collectibles…No telling what that Saturday night special is worth.)

The temp Sunday was totally sauna: As we climbed through 90 – on our way to 94 – the “feels like” was in the 105 range and climbing.

Saturday was a gem, too: Temp was 93 ­and it was raining. That is the hottest rain I have been through in my life.

The good news is next week we are supposed to end all this foolishness. Upper 90’s until Saturday and then next Monday, it will be passable for outdoor work at last!

On that GLORIOUS day (at least as promised) we should a high of 80 and a low of 62.

Work has been piling up outdoors. Hangar needs to be hosed out and new bug killer put in. Lower 16 acres needs to be whacked to keep the goat weed down. The back 12 needs a haircut, too.

That’s only the warm-up. The five cans of No Hunting Purple spray paint have to be applied. Minefield signs will go up, too. Hunting season is coming sooner than later.

Then there’s a new deck to be built and another coating of anti-mildew spray to go on the existing decks. The Scott full-face, works with tear gas, face mask will get some use, after all.

Ham radio antennas are lurking, too. But in deference to continued marriage, some of those items have slid down the list a ways. We still have that kitchen rework, too….

Being of northern European heritage, I’ve always taken “good outside work weather” to be a day that starts off somewhere above freezing, but doesn’t get above about 60, or so.

Sure, a week of 70-75 if doing house painting works, particularly if you have pressure washing and prep to do. Caulking isn’t hard work. We have a air-driven caulking gun.

Still, when you’re single-handing a lot of long 2-by-4s through 2-by-8’s, the ideal operating temp is just below where you would begin to break a sweat. Which for me makes it about 50.

This all figures into prepping in a strange way. People THINK they can handle what happens with TSHTF, but most don’t crank in the extremes of weather into the mix. Hot, sweaty, having to filter water, and fighting off the bugs isn’t exactly a dream come true. Neither is the couple’s verion of “Tick Hunters.” We’ve done more than expected this year.

The real “work season” around here is not until after hunting season.

We’re getting to the time of year when rural Texans actually rent-out their kids since the Youth Opener gives the blood-thirsty adults a chance to “help the kids learn the sport.” You have no idea how many Texas children are dead-shots with a .308. After age 9, mostly. Below 5 (or still in Pampers)  the game wardens become skeptical.

I was telling a friend up the road: I don’t have any problem shooting deer, but I’m keeping the herd here well-fed and alive until Wal-Mart, Kroger’s, and Brookshire’s – our three big grocery outfits here – all run out of any kind of meat for a week or two.

After that? You don’t want to be underwriting Bambi’s whole life policy.

Skepticism and herd protection aside, hunting is good for the kids. Prepares them for life in the real wilds: Places like New York, Minnesota, and Chicago..

The Bates Luck

Been a while since my last chronicle of The Bates Luck.

As you’ll remember, my retired S.F. bro-in-law and his new wife are about to close on their new home. 22nd was all locked in.

Until….his luck showed up.

No paperwork from the V.A. on their appraisal. They say it’s done, but no sign of docs at the closing office. Closings are scheduled out, so it has been pushed back for what we hope is only a few days.

Mr. and Mrs. Bates can hardly wait because this is like the 8th or 9th house deal that they’ve tried to do. Offering a good price and all, but OMG: They spent thousands in the past year on home inspections just trying to find a home that would pass.

Now that they have one, a few kind thoughts on his behalf would be appreciated. Or a word to whoever in the Dallas to hurry the %^&* up.

There’s a notion that people should become more patient as you get older. Honestly, though, the closer I get to the Finish Line, the less patient I become.  Downright cranky lately.

I can’t be the only one like that, can I?

Life is too short for bullshit. Shouldn’t it be…oh…Tuesday by now?

Write when you get rich,

9 thoughts on “Coping: With the Idiot in the Home Body Shop”

  1. In the PNW wet does not equal warm. I know I’ve been drenched often enough (don’t use umbrellas) that I’ve got used to it. But one time down in New Orleans, going to a wedding, I was ‘suddenly’ rained on thanks to a thunderstorm. I would have been upset with my best clothes getting wet, but warm water like a shower was surprising . . . and I mentioned to my husband that it was so warm it was a shame one had to wear ‘clothes’. He laughed, worried that I would be angry.

    I think you did a fine job with the truck. As with all things in this world, eventually everything will ‘break’.

  2. George I am selling my complete auto repair/body shop. If your interested send me your e-mail and I’ll send pictures. This is nice stuff and cheap.

  3. I put up with bureaucratic BS for 30 years in my business.Finally, in my old age, I just snapped. I will not tolerate some pimpley faced know nothing giving me the run around just because he can. There are a number of places in which I am not allowed anymore. My wife will not go with me to Sears. I have become the “get of my lawn” guy.

  4. Bates Luck —
    Trying to handle a home purchase during Mercury Retrograde! Mercury goes direct on Thursday 9/22, then communications and transportation and documents should get better a few days after that. The Retrograde Station (8/30/16) tends to be a focus of errors, false assumptions, lack of clarity and proper execution, the Mercury Direct Station tends to be a focus for revealing the consequences.

  5. Ticks are back here in Central Tx, too, along with fireflies. Part is the extra rain. But another part is the critter that wiped out our chickens while we were on vacation. In Summer they have to be told to go in the coop, so we left the coop door open while gone. Cheaper than paying a pet sitter to come out twice a day. The dogs failed to protect them this time, and now, six weeks later, ticks are appearing for the first time in years. Replacement babies are almost big enough to allow to range. Time for game camera, etc. to identify the killer(s) and remedial action. I guess our dogs are too old.

    But lesson learned is that even 4 chickens can radically reduce bugs on a couple of acres of wildish land. And when we buy “free range” eggs at the store and crack them open, the response is something like “Seriously?”. Don’t get me started about “vegetarian” eggs.

  6. Tell your bro-in-law not to sweat it. Mecury retrograde ends at the end of the week so everything should straighten out no later than next Monday.

  7. Leave it primed,so you can feel good on some cranky days,compared to making it perfect and then the next week scrape or dent time arrives,!!! After all it is a work truck and not something that is going to the car show once a year, heck have fun with it in the back 17 acres ,or that could be a new hobby smash em ,. Repair em,. On second thought better keep them up to speed or bad habits like that can carry over to flying an airplane ,,,haha lol

Comments are closed.