Archive for August, 2011

A Day in the Life

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

This time out, I thought I’d allow you to accompany me through the course of a typical work day. There are many little things that happen, that “never make it into the blog” for one reason or another. Usually the reason is it isn’t a part of the day’s lesson, or may just be too mundane to include. So, without further ado, I present Monday:
6:45 AM: Alarm is supposed to go off.
6:52 AM: I wake up with a start, and a glance at the clock shows why it didn’t wake me up. The batteries in it are dead. I climb out of bed, take one step, and fall over a doggie toy, hitting my head on the night stand, and gashing my forehead.
6:55 AM: Stumble into the bathroom, blindly fumbling for a Bandaid for my head. “Blindly” because blood is running into my eyes.
6:57 AM: Find a Bandaid large enough to cover most of the gash, and I set about trying to staunch the flow before I bleed to death. I really don’t want to be found like Elvis, draped over the toilet in a pool of blood.
7:02 AM: I follow the trail of drying blood back into the bedroom, wiping up the evidence of my early morning lack of coordination. My wife wakes up as I enter the room, and asks, “What happened to your head?” “I hit it on the table,” I reply.
7:20 AM: I finish getting dressed, and ready for work.
7:24 AM: I try to start my truck, and find out the battery is dead.
7:36 AM: I jump start my truck using my wife’s car.
7:55 AM: I walk into a local fast-food place for breakfast, since my normal breakfast time was taken up by the dog toy incident and dead battery. The girl behind the counter recognizes me, and says, “Good morning, Lug. What happened to your head?” “I fell over a dog toy, and hit it in a table.”
8:10 AM: Wife arrives at fast food place to re-jump start my truck after I forgot to leave it running.
8:37 AM: I arrive at work, only 7 minutes late. Rusty greets me at the door with “Good morning, Lug. You’re late. What did you do to your head?” “I fell over a dog toy in the bedroom, and hit my head on a table. I’m going to call the battery dealer so they can send out a new battery for my truck. Do you need anything from them?” Rusty doesn’t.
8:45 AM: I walk into the office to call for a battery, and Buck is on the phone. “Hi, Lug. What happened to your head?” “Morning, Buck. I tripped over something, and hit my head on a table when I fell.” Buck responds with, “Did you damage the table?”
8:55 AM: I finally am able to call and order a battery.
9:00 AM: Sally walks into the office as I’m heading out to the shop. “Hi, Lug. What happened to your head?” “I hit it when I tripped and fell.” “Oh. Well, you didn’t break any furniture when you fell, did you?”
9:03 AM: I finally escape to the shop, where my first job of the day waits for me. I read the work order, and it says “Check for short.” The Airstream is unplugged, so I reach down and plug it in.
9:10 AM: I come to after getting kicked by a mule when I plugged in the Airstream. I stagger to my feet, and head into the bathroom to get the first aid kit. I look in the mirror while I’m in there, and notice I’ve gashed the other side of my head.
9:20 AM: After cleaning myself up and applying another Bandaid, I head back out to the shop, where I approach the evil Airstream warily. I find a wire rubbed raw, and bleeding 120 volts to the skin of the trailer. Apparently, it wasn’t bad enough to trip a breaker.
9:45 AM: As I finish the wiring repair, John comes walking up to me. “Hi, Lug. What did you do to your head?” Sigh. I spend 5 minutes explaining what happened.
10:30 AM: I start the next trailer, “replace dump valves.” Oh, joy. Naturally, the tanks are full.
11:00 AM: The tanks are empty, and I’ve flushed all the stuff out of them I can get. I pull the trailer back into the shop, and start disassembling the plumbing.
12:00 PM: It’s lunchtime. I walk out to my truck to go get something to eat. Of course, the truck won’t start, since the battery is dead..
12:50 PM: The battery delivery guy shows up with my battery. I install the battery, and head for the nearest place that sells food. The guy behind the counter asks, “What happened to your head?”
12:57 PM: I get a hot dog and a bag of potato chips. On the way back to the shop, I take a bite of the hot dog, which promptly squirts out of the bun, and lands on the floor of my truck. I’m basically a clean person, but there is no way I’m going to eat a hot dog after it’s rolled around on the floor.
1:03 PM: I finish the bag of chips, and go back to working on the dump valves.
1:10 PM I smack my head on a protruding piece of aluminum, gashing my head in yet another place. Not only am I starting to get a little honked off, I’m feeling woozy from blood loss.
1:20 PM: I apply a third Bandaid to my head, and crawl back under the trailer for more punishment.
2:50 PM: I finish the dump valves, and pull the trailer back outside. As I walk away from the trailer, my sleeve gets caught on a piece of aluminum sticking out, and is torn nearly off.
3:15 PM: A customer comes into the shop to ask some questions about a repair. Of course, the first thing they ask isn’t about their LP regulator. “What happened to your head?” Good grief.
4:00 PM: I’m sweeping up after the day’s misadventures, when Pop strolls into the shop. He walks over, looks at me, and says, “Hi, Lug. What happened to your head?” ARGH! “I cut myself shaving!”, along with one of my patented “looks”, causes Pop to perform the better part of valor. I can almost see smoke coming off his shoes from his rapid departure.
5:20 PM: I arrive home. My wife greets me at the door, “Hi, Lug. How was your–What else happened to your head?”
7:00 PM: I finish dinner, and decide I’m going to post a blog entry.

And so it goes.

Of Anvils and Airstreams

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Hello again. I guess my message about not trying to take it with you isn’t getting out to all that need to take note. So, one more time:
Don’t overload your Airstream! A customer came in to the shop a couple of weeks ago with an Airstream Classic that was supposed to have a GVW of 8300 pounds. He said he was having trouble with his load range E tires not holding up. I went out and looked, and sure enough, all the tires were in various stages of advanced failure. I had some other work to perform ion the trailer, so I called and ordered new tires, and went to work on the rest.
I should say I tried to go to work on the rest. The first clue there was something amiss was when the customer dropped the trailer, and had to let a lot of air out of his truck’s aftermarket air shocks. This was on a 1 ton truck, so his springs alone should have been more than enough to carry the Airstream’s weight.
I then opened the door, and jumped back as an avalanche of stuff came spilling out. Wow! Fifteen minutes later, I had removed enough stuff to gain access to the interior of the trailer. The customer had gone on an errand, and I had to locate some things I was supposed to repair. This turned into a “Where’s Waldo?” game inside. Every drawer, every cabinet, every horizontal space was filled to overflowing.
Finally, I had enough unloaded to perform the work requested. When the customer returned with even more supplies, I decided to try to explain about the consequences of overloading his Airstream. I couldn’t get him to understand how severely overloaded his trailer was, and how dangerous this condition can be. I finally talked him into going over to the local truck stop and get his rig weighed. Without all the stuff I hadn’t put back in the trailer, it weighed 10,400 pounds. It’s no wonder his tires were failing, they were committing suicide in order to get out from under the load.
So, I think I educated one customer how much damage he was doing to his trailer, as he started going through all his excess, and weeding out what was not going to be used on that trip.
Of course, this week, in came another Airstream Classic that was also overloaded, though not as badly. It also had tire problems, but I hope this customer also saw the light.
If you see somebody using a plunger to pack their Airstream, try tactfully letting them know what they’re doing. If they won’t listen, send them to me.

About the Author

Lug Wrench is a long-time mechanic, multiple Airstream owner, and dyed-in-the-wool pragmatist. All tales guaranteed 100% true, although names and certain details may be altered to protect the guilty.