Monday, December 30, 2013

Solving Problems

Today was my day to fix broken appliances.

The drier was not drying and the oven was not heating.

Mr Multimeter told me that there was infinite resistance in the heating element of the drier.  This is what I saw after removing the heating element.

This is what a continuity problem looks like.

I called a Lansing brick-and-mortar shop and they have the part in stock for $84.  It is a 50 mile drive, round trip, to their shop.

I went on-line and found it for significantly less.

Next, I tore apart the stove/oven and removed the ignitor.  Once again, I found infinite resistance across the sintered carbon element.

Prices on-line varied from a high of $72  to a low of $19.  Interestingly, the lowest price item showed up as the first item when searching by just the Part Number (316489402) on Amazon.  The  highest cost item showed up on top of both Google and Amazon when searching by number and noun-name (316489402 ignitor).  It pays to kiss many toads.

Non-functional part on the right.

Parts are ordered for both projects.


Kubota continued to be full of beans Saturday night.  His language toward Mrs ERJ was frightful.  He was not treating property with respect.

I decided it was a time to instigate a change of scenery.  I took him out to the deer camp which is not heated this time of year.  It was like landing a big fish in a big lake on light tackle.  All it takes is patience.  Many long runs and flopping around but the end result is a foregone conclusion if I do my part.

The interesting part happened the next morning.  We got stuck in the yard.  We had to go up-grade to get to the road.  The ground was mud overlaid with icy slush.  The tires on the Cavalier are "sporty" and do not have an open tread.

The first three attempts to solve the problem failed.  The fourth attempt involved scraping the path down to ice with a rake and a spade and sprinkling 10 gallons of sandy gravel over the ice.  We successfully drove out of the yard.


Then, one mile from deer camp the Cavalier started pulling to the left.  It started pulling HARD.

We had a flat, left-front tire.  Yup, we had a jack.  Yup, we had a spare.  Nope, we did not have a lug wrench.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.

ERJ (that would be me) took a walk to find somebody who was awake and might be willing to help a stranger in distress.  I  met Mr Steve Hicks.

Mr Hicks had a lug wrench.  He also had a compressor to top off our mini-spare.  He had a work shop where he was making jewelry boxes for his granddaughters from lumber he milled from trees (maple, black walnut and mulberry) he had harvested from his own property.  He showed us his work shop while the compressor was powering up and we while we were warming up. 

Bottom Line

Kids need interactions with adults to learn tenacity.  They live in a world of I-phones and bullet-proof apps.

Frustration is an alien emotion to many of them.  They freak out when they encounter it.

Good trouble-shooters are comfortable with frustration.  Frustration is their co-pilot.  It is the price of getting into the stadium.  I think Kubota may have learned something.  Getting mad does not solve problems.  Trying Plan A, Plan B, Plan C....Plan Q, Plan R....Plan BD, Plan BE...until you hit Plan SUCCESS.  That is what solves problems.

And sometimes you are gifted by encounters with angels named Mr. Hicks.

Just remember, tenacity is 900% better than one-acity.

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