Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Sunday '07

This morning was pretty much another "normal" Sunday for us, and yet somewhat atypical too. I have been in "fix-it" mode for days now, getting caught up on some of the never-ending repairs inherent living in the tropics while La Gringa has been trying to recoop from throwing her back out. Yesterday was find-the-leak and fix it in the (brand new) dishwasher. That was a heating element feed-thru. This morning I finally fixed a busted glove-box door on the Samurai. Just as I was finishing up with that, Preacher stopped by and asked for help with a boat trailer. He needed someone with a tow hitch, so I went over to Preacher's place. This is his backyard:



I thought you guys up in North America would appreciate this lousy weather, the day before New Years Eve. Oh, it was terrible, windy, with a tanning factor off the scale...you wouldn't like it.

I wanted to start with a nice photo before the Suzuki repair because those photos are pretty bland. But since this blog is about what it's like living here, it's appropriate. This kind of thing goes on all the time. Things need fixing. Constantly.

Here's this specific problem...the glove box door on my little 94 Samurai has been broken since we bought it. In the US, you would just go to a Suzuki dealer and buy a new one. Not here. No way. My choices are to find a junked one to cannibalize, or try to fix the one I have. It was a minor aggravation, so I have been living with it. That meant that hitting bumps offroad at high rates of speed the glove box door would fly off and everything in there would land in the passenger's lap, or worse. The hinge on it is broken. It's one of those flex-plastic designs that is supposed to last forever. Well, this one has seen its last flex.

Well, what started this was that I got this neat electric scissors from my father-in-law for Christmas. One of the first things I noticed was how friggen hard it was to open the package it came in. It's this hard, formed clear plastic. Looked kind of like this:



I was flexing this plastic back and forth repeatedly trying to rip it. I could NOT rip this stuff. I must have flexed it a hundred times before giving up and getting a knife. "Dang" I thought to myself, "Why couldn't Suzuki's glovebox hinges have been this tough........".and then it hit me...hey, why not?

So I removed the glove box door. Not very hard...it basically fell out if you looked at it harshly, anyhow. And what used to be a one-piece plastic door looked like this:



Then as my very first official project with my brand new electric scissors, I cut strips from the package the aforementioned electric scissors came in:



And they cut REAL good. I can see some future work already lining up for these babies. I wish I had them back when I chopped up the original canvas top for the Samurai and made a bikini-top out of it. That was a project.

So, I drilled out the door and pop-riveted these untearable strips of plastic packaging from the scissors to the glovebox door:



Pop rivets are another useful thing to have around, too.

Put the door back in with the three screws that originally held it, and finally, I got a glovebox door that doesn't come flying when we are offroad hitting bumps:



Works like a charm, now. I put this in here because, of course, I am patting myself on the back over what an unusually clever and resourceful SOB I am. No, actually, I thought this approach might be useful info to someone else with a similar problem. If this plastic will survive me flexing it for a hundred cycles without any sign of tearing, I figure it should outlast the Suzuki itself. Unless, of course, I keep finding ways of keeping it together. But thats all part of the fun of having one of these, you can band-aid them forever.

Plus the new hinge complements my Croc strap door handles...



Such is life in the Land of MakeDoo.. Or as Mick Jagger put it, you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

Oh, after this was when I drove over to Preachers place to help with the boat trailer. Here's another photo of his backyard...he has a nice piece of land on a small, clear freshwater lake. Usually, there are flamingos and ducks on the water here. He promised to give me a call next time they showed up so I could come over for some photos for the bird lovers out there.



That's all solid limestone, and this lake is between two ridges. It would be well protected during a hurricane.

We hooked up the Land Rover to the trailer.



And yes, Preacher trots all over these rocks barefooted, all the time. Makes my feet hurt just to watch. And while I did not see any flamingos this trip, I did find another friend. While standing there talking to Preacher, this gecko lizard lept onto my shirt sleeve. I have not seen one do this the whole time we have been here. Usually, it's even difficult to catch one. Preacher said it was good luck.



Well, I hope he is right. This gecko stayed on my shoulder not only while I walked around Preacher's place, it stayed with me when I climbed into the Land Rover to drive away. It seemed perfectly content. Maybe it thought I would attract some flies or something. Strange.

While it's not really necessary to have a four wheel drive here most of the time, when you start messing around with the local boatramps and places like Preacher's driveway, they sure come in handy. There are some really rustic ramps around.

So I hauled the trailer over to The Bight where Preacher has been working on Fox's catamaran, trying to get it seaworthy again. It's been a long effort. The boat was never really the same after it got capsized in Leeward last year, and sitting on a trailer over the summer did it no good at all. But Preacher is getting it back together a piece at a time. Getting the trailer here was a big part of it.

Now we need to figure out how to get this boat onto this trailer...



And backing a boat trailer with a right-hand drive vehicle is another new experience in itself.

So, that was my Sunday morning, two days before 2008. Then, we went to lunch at one of the newer restaurants on Provo, and it turned out to be much nicer than we expected. We took a few photos, and unless something exciting happens in the meantime, that will probably be my next post here.

4 comments:

BenderNZ said...

Hey there Gringo and El Gringo. A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and all that stuff. I've been away for a couple of weeks, and just had to spend a couple of hours catching up on the new sportfish thread. That's going very nicely too.

Re getting the trailer back under the boat - just do it like you are retrieving from the water. Unhitch the trailer from the car, use the winch to wind the trailer back under the boat. At some point the boat will balance back onto the trailer and you can winch it to the end of the trailer. You'll have to remove the hull supports as you go. Its a simpler business than you'd expect.

Looking forward to following your progress during 08.

All the best, BenderNZ (Shane Kelly)

johnnydeep said...

it may be everyday mundane for you...but keep it up, its better reading than my blog!!!

Gringo said...

Thanks, Johnny and Shane. What?!? no accolades for my brilliant repairs to the Samurai??? just kidding. THAT is the mundane stuff. Something similar goes on every day.

I told Preacher I thought we could winch the boat onto the trailer. He is concerned because there are no rollers on the aft end of the trailer, just the bunks. He is also concerned about the cable, which is a bit rusty. I am going to call him today and see if he is willing to give it a try. We don't want him to lose momentum here.

And Johnny, here's hoping 2008 is better than 2007 has been for you.

zelda said...

A good way to be sure the front of the trailer doesn't pop up into the air is to leave it attached to the truck, but to put the truck in neutral when you crank.

The truck will back up under winch power and you don;t have to reattach it to the trailer.