Friday, December 14, 2012

Adventures Fixing the Car

Why is it that fixing the car is always an adventure?  We went in to get new tires before the winter season began and discovered that we needed new wheel-bearings behind three out of four of the tire hubs.  If you have to do three you might as well do four.  It is expensive to have done at a shop so Mike did them himself in addition to the back shocks that needed replaced.  Tait loved being daddy's little helper.  He thought that mechanic gloves were awesome and useful for transporting sockets to the car.  The sockets were then placed in the trailer hitch, I don't know.  Next he proceeded to use the wrench part of the socket to hammer on the wheel hub since he'd seen daddy hammering on them.

Of course changing the wheel-bearings turned out to be no easy feat.  We ended up buying several new tools and at least three new sockets because the front and back and shocks all had a different size nut.  We also had to figure out how/where to get the bearing pressed in and out of the middle of the hub (it is a cylinder that 'slides' into the center of the hub for those who don't know.  Anyway, it would have cost a couple hundred dollars (possibly each) to have just that part done at the shop.  Our great friend Roger works on airplanes at the airport and had access to a press.  He and Mike spent a couple hours on the press.  Those bearings get pretty stuck after being in there for years and they aren't really meant to move freely anyway.  One of them was so stuck that it basically exploded out of the hub when it let go.  I could hear the POP from Mike's car outside (where I sat with a crying toddler because what we imagined would take half an hour became much more and he was hungry and I had no snack...note to self: NEVER assume you won't need a snack!).

All in all I have new shocks and new wheel-bearings (and the fourth one was about to fail so it was a good thing we replaced it).  It took hours and hours because the parts just couldn't cooperate and Mike ended up working on some of our rainiest Saturdays this fall.  It truly was an ADVENTURE ;)!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Icy Adventures

One cold fall afternoon Tait and I took a walk after school.  One of the best things about the location of our house is that it is less than a block from a trailhead.  We bundled up and headed out.  Tait's gloves didn't stay on more than five minutes.  I don't blame him since they are mitten style but don't even have thumbs.  We had a really cold clear snap this fall, so each morning for about a week we had a layer of frost that built up on the previous day's frost.  By now we have some really pretty hoar frost.  Tait discovered that if you stomp on the frosty grasses they make crunching sounds.  Needless to say we didn't make it very far on our walk because we stopped often to explore.  Here's the best part of our walk...for me anyway...

We have drainage ditches behind our houses.  When it's cold and icy it's also very dry.  So there had been water in the ditch from a rainy summer but it had started to subside.  Apparently as it froze it was still dropping.  It caused ice that looked like a topographic map.  Of course I had to stop and take pictures (and make sure my toddler stayed up out of the ditch - I didn't want him falling down the ditch AND I didn't want him to break the beautiful ice).

After stopping to capture this really cool phenomenon we walked on.  We found more leaves to stomp on.  Tait loves to stomp...or as he says to 'omp.  I love impromptu adventures!