Monday, September 23, 2019

A day of fixing "stuff"

I installed a motion activated light on mom and dad's back porch. We have care-givers coming and going all hours of the day and night. With the days getting shorter, more of those entries will be in the dark and it is hard to hit the keyhole in pitch dark.

I removed the overhead light and installed the motion activated light. Then I switched the light switch on inside and covered the switch with tape.

I got a call last night. The new light stopped working.

Dad took the dog for a midnight walk last night and very carefully removed the tape, switched the light off and then reapplied the tape.

I installed a battery powered, motion activated light. At this point, nobody is going to change how dad does things.

The clothes dryer
Mrs ERJ informed me that the clothes dryer squealed at her and then quit.

I assumed it was a belt problem.

I was wrong. The rear bearing on the engine was squealing. I was unable to figure out how to wrestle the motor out of the unit.

Attempts to give it a bath in the unit were unsuccessful.  Turning the motor by hand still resulted in squealing.

I reassembled the dryer and stuffed it back in the hole. "What the heck" I thought. I had nothing to lose. I pushed the button and the drum would not even spin.

Pushing in the "Go" button with one hand, depressing the door position switch with a screwdriver held between my teeth and "helping" the drum start spinning with my other hand...the dryer found its groove and spun...with no squealing.

I have no clue why it is working. None at all. The lube I dribbled on the motor bearings will collect dust and make a mess, but maybe we can get another six months out of the beast.

The S-10
Transmission fluid leak. That was disconcerting as the vehicle only has 55k miles on it.

The transmission fluid cooler lines that run to the radiator had rotted out. Things like that happen on vehicles that are 17 years old and get winter salt on them.

$400 bucks to fix it, mostly parts.

The Silverado
The fuel fill pipe (or neck) is also rotted out and gas drips when filling the vehicle.  Looks like a job I can do myself. The parts are $95. The parts are ordered.


  1. Perhaps you could bypass the switch? That way your dad can happily continue to toggle the light switch,it just won't have any effect?

    1. I thought about that but it seemed unfair to my dad. He is struggling with memory and he expects lights to go on when he flips the switch.

      From the installation, I know that the light will activate when going from unpowered-to-powered, so dad should be happy with that part. I think making the switch a "dummy" would be frustrating to him and cause him to become agitated.

  2. Taking care of a 'fleet' of vehicles can be a bear. At one point, I had 5 to keep maintained with kids, etc. Now down to 2 and 1 of those is my work vehicle so I can take it to the shop since the company is paying for it.

  3. It's a tricky one, best compromise that comes to mind is -

    a.If he is switching on the light in response to someone at the door,the light should already have triggered, so only the cause-effect sequence is wrong, and less noticeable than nothing happening. Plus he would hopefully be more focused on the person at the door, rather than the environment?
    b. If he is more usually toggling the switch to go outside himself, perhaps it's possible to angle the motion detector so it triggers as the door opens, which might hopefully minimise the variance from the mean?
    And possibly mention how irritating it is that these new-fangled energy-efficient light s take a while to come on, unlike the nice 'instant' older stuff, to explain the delay? :)

    No right answer unfortunately, cept 'looks for what works' like we always do



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