Friday, April 3, 2009

The Joy of Spring and the Agony of Defeat

I love the coming of Spring, the warm weather, the sunshine, the smells of nature and other pleasures.  But what I enjoy the most is getting my bike ready for riding.

Every autumn I place my baby into a hybernated state.   I place fuel additive into the fuel tank, remove the battery, place the cover over it and roll her into her little corner of my friend Tony's garage.

When I made my final preparations last fall, I failed to notice that I had dropped something.  A something of great importance, though at the time, seemed of no consequence to me.

My pal Tony, had found a square nut, on his garge floor a few days later, and had the great forsight and prescence of mind to pick it up, and save it.  And for reasons I will divulge shortly, I am glad he did.

So the other day, I decided since it had gotten warmer and finally stopped raining, that I would go over his place, and restore my bike back to a rideable condition.  And I made sure to do two very important things, the first was to grab the battery and the second was to grab the little square nut, pictured above.

When I got to his place,  I grabbed the battery out of my car and walked over to his garage.  I opened the door and saw my baby sitting right where I had left her months before.  And I set forth to  make her road worthy once more.

I removed the cover,  and rolled the bike out of the garage into the sunlight, so I could see what I was doing with greater ease.   The part of the proceedure was to put the battery back in, and in order to do this, I had to remove the seat.

So I grabbed a set of Allen wrenches and went ahead and took the seat off, so I could get to the battery compartment.  Once off, I was able to access the battery box, and set the battery into place.

That done, I went to go attach the ground wire to it's terminal, and to my surprise I ran into a wee problem.  The bolt that holds the wire to the terminal, just kept spinning and spinning. 
Hmmmm.... I thought to myself this is not good.

Then I made the little "two watt light bulb connection".   I dug into my pocket and pulled out the little square nut.  And then I lifted the battery out, to see if the nut would fit somehow in the battery terminal.   Wouldn't you know it, it did!  Hooray!

So I put the battery into the bike, and decided I would tightened the other wire first, only to discover that the terminal was missing it's nut as well.   Oh noooooooo........ damn!!!

Quickly I removed the battery, yet again, and gave a quick look in the battery box.... ah... success!  The missing nut was at the bottom.  So I retrieved the pesky fixture and slid it into the terminal and proceeded to slide the battery back into the bike, again.

Of course Murphy was lurking near by, and as I did this , the nut slid out of the terminal as I tried to slide the battery in.  I was treated to the sound of it bouncing deep into the inner workings of the bike, not to be seen or heard from again.  Aaaarggggh!!!

I searched, and searched, and searched..... couldn't find it.  So I decided that this was a poorly engineered design.  And  just an irritating tragedy!    My plans to get my sophisticated, state of the art motorcycle ready and road worthy were brought to a crashing halt!

So I drove to the nearby dealership with hopes of finding a replacement.   But if you have ever had to deal with a parts department, you know already I was facing a wall of frustration, for two reasons.

The first being is that they are always horribly understaffed.  And secondly, they are not manned by the most well educated individuals.   I am sure each parts dept.  has at least one well learned expert, but that person is almost never around!

As was the case when I arrived.  Instead I got a semi-eager associate who meant well but was not savvy enough to help.  And in all fairness the part in question was not a standard issue motorcycle component, so much as it was part of the battery which is technically a peripheral part of the whole.

He did his best to help, which meant that he took the one nut I did have, and found the highly trained parts man in the back, only to re-emerge moments later to sadly inform me that he couldn't help me.   But this I sort of knew walking in, .... though I gave it a shot.

Not deterred I decided I would wander over to the service department, with the hopes that maybe one of the techs could help.   Having worked over the years  in the automotive industry, I knew that often techs, when repairing things, will  save extraneous things like new hardware and use the old ones instead.

Thankfully, this was the case, and I was soon presented with a little plastic baggy, filled with not one set, but two sets of shiny brand new nuts and bolts for my battery.  Best part is that it didn't cost me a thing.   Well a part for some time and effort,  that will never be regained once spent!

So I headed back to my friend's house, and managed to install the battery, finally, before the sun started sliding downward into dusk.   It was too late to go for a ride, but I decided I would at least turn her over.   And with one push of the starter button, the proud mechanical beast roared to life!

I was dissappointed that I couldn't take her for a spin, but relieved that she was back in service once again.  And I comforted myself that there would be other sunny days in which to ride.  So I turned my bike off and wheeled her back into the garage.

I stared at the lonely nut in my hand and laughed to myself about how ironic that such a small insignificant lump of metal could render such a marvel of engineering that is my motorcycle, completely useless.  It boggles the mind!    But I guess in a Zen kind of way, it is reassuring to know that even the most insignificant of things probably serves a more useful purpose in life, than you know!    And to always hang on to those extra parts lying around.  Junk drawers can serve a useful purpose, once and a while!   Hmmm... there is a life lesson in there somewhere! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

" I think he has friends out there! " says Capt. Ahab.

Different Strokes For Different Folks - A Creative Consortium.

This is a bi-weekly project my friend Sheila got me interested in. Basically you are given a photo to work from, and you are left to your own devices to decide what you will do with it!

I immediately fixated on the "fatherly figure" and how detached he seemed from his family. It gave me the impression of a sea captain like "Ahab". Then I started developing the concept of the lonely at the top commander with his disgruntled crew .

The father seems lost in thought as he scans the horizon, his family almost seems to be standing dejectedly by, awaiting his orders. So of course with my crazy imagination, I decided to do a Moby Dick theme. With Ahab, having captured his prize, much to the shock and horror of his family. As if you can almost hear his wife's silent thoughts " This is not going to fit in the luggage rack on the Volvo! "

The rest as they say is history. I will probably start joining this fun project and posting my designs on a regular basis.