Jan 13

I gotta do something to keep me busy

Tag: humorous,musingsJonathon Haradon @ 7:35 am
Matt gets to take apart and fix the engine. Jonny gets to work with the outboard. Matt enjoys the satisfaction of fixing our heater. Jonny enjoys meandering around the marina in Cabron, our dinghy, and saving other sailboats that have run aground. Jonny and Matt are currently enjoying what they described as ‘near tropical weather’ and are planning on going sailing Saturday. I sit at home while it’s 20 degrees and miserable out. It’s approximately 148 days, 10 hours and 30 minutes until I leave Denver behind for good and join them in San Francisco. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to keep my not-so-astounding handiness skills (and here. and uh.. here) from getting too rusty. So I’ve been looking for various things with which to tinker. Along comes my dishwasher. My dishwasher was broken. Not broken in the sense that it didn’t work, like our solar panels which do not currently work, but the door would no longer stay open at any angle of heel. The door would also would come crashing down if only partly open and then left to its own devices. The door used to stay open at any angle of heel The door used to not come crashing down. Thus, the dishwasher was broken. I was loath to do anything about it, however, since a) it didn’t affect actual functionality, and b) the last time I fucked around with major kitchen appliances, I broke a coolant tube in my refrigerator, necessitating a new refrigerator purchase, a minor $700 setback. This I did not want to repeat. However, the small annoyances of a broken dishwasher door got the better of me, and I began to poke around and see what was wrong. I originally imagined hydraulic arms were somehow at work and had stopped functioning; similar to the hydraulic arms that held up the hood of my now long deceased 1987 Buick Delta ’88; the car I rolled in throughout high school and was pimpin’ with in college. But it was an ancient car of dubiously questionable quality, not a young sprout like my dishwasher and not at all like the seasoned rock-solid champion of a sailboat we have in our Valiant. Lying down on the kitchen floor to look at my dishwasher, I immediately noticed a problem, not the problem, but a problem. My floor, surprise to all, was filthy. Not so coincidentally, like the floor of the boat when I was there all last summer. After a cleaning, I was back down to look and see this on the left side of the bottom. bracket The white bracket is the key piece, as I noticed it hanging aimlessly on the right side, the starboard side, but here, on the left side, the port side, it is connected to a string, one could say line if it were on a sailboat, which runs over two pulleys, let’s be real: turning blocks, back to a large spring. This string and spring were not visible on the starboard side. Perhaps I conjectured, the string had channeled our old reef hook and broken, causing the spring and remaining string to go flying into the empty recesses in the corner of my cabinetry disappearing perhaps never to be seen again, a-la screwdriver that Matt dropped behind the water tanks. With this success of the discovery of the bracket-string-turning block-pulley disparity, I felt compelled to continue and attempt to fix the problem. Two screws held a black plate across the bottom. Quickly removed, it was obvious they did nothing, similar to many many sailing parts, but did hide a myriad of electrical and plumbing work, and there was an electrical wiring diagram attached to the back of this plate. Matt may have stopped here for a couple of hours distracted with electrical niceties, but I only saw the warning where it recommended unplugging the dishwasher before moving it. I didn’t even know how to do this, but saw things from under the dishwasher running into the cabinetry to the port, under the sink. Look at that! A plug and a drain. Amazing. Moving forward, further examination revealed two screws that did hold in the dishwasher. After quickly removing them, I began to tug on the dishwasher and soon it was out. I felt committed. It might as well have been a water tank sitting in the salon staring at you expectantly. the dishwasher.  Out from under the counter, in the middle of the kitchen. After pulling the dishwasher aside, I looked back into the wasted space underneath the corner of the counter… and there it was! The spring! Lying there like a furtive chipmunk, hoping no one would see it!. . . Back to figuring out how to use that spring, this is what the port side looked like: . The spring was under some tension, but not considerably and so I disassembled the port side to get a better look at that plastic arm above the turning blocks. On the side that worked, the string went through the arm and then was frayed above the arm. It was impossible to pull through, which was a good thing, since quite a bit of force was exerted by the spring when the door was down. Force like wind. Gale force wind. However, it seemed inconceivable that the mere frayed end was keeping it from getting pulled through. There was no knot above the arm, nothing that would indicate to me some stopping type device. Perhaps it was an alien rope clutch which mere humans cannot open. I was baffled. Consequently, there was no way I was reassembling the broken side and getting the string back through the hole in the arm. The hole looked to be 1/2 as big as the string. The best I could come up with is the plastic arm was actually molded around the string, but that really doesn’t make any sense. I still don’t understand. I also don’t understand our sailboat electrical system, or the diagram Matt drew for it, communication devices, refrigeration, water maker, solar panels, the tow generator, celestial navigation, and women. But I make do. Luckily the arm had another attachment point that I could tie a NEW string to. Whip out some line, and tie a knot around the arm. Yep, that’s a double constrictor knot, something I picked up while tying stuff together on the boat. Sweetness. double constrictor knot. . Now, to attach the other end of the line to the spring. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you! That, my friends, is a bowline! Yet another handy knot picked up during this whole sailing business. bowline knot. I reassembled the port side, measured the initial spring tension, and then marked that on the starboard side, the side I was aiming to fix. measuring spring tensionmarking spring tension. I put together the broken side with my knots and line. With everything assembled, it was time for the first test….. Failed! When the knots tightened down under the force of the spring, there was too much slack in the line, and therefore not enough force from the spring on the door. Or maybe I measured wrong, which has been known to happen. Luckily, I had tied a bowline, which we all know is easy to untie even after extreme loading. I shortened up the line, estimating this time a proper compensation for knot tightening. Second test… Success!!! The door remained open at all angles of heel! And all angles of deflection. door staying open. Reassembly was easy. But this story, like all good sailboat maintenance stories, wouldn’t be complete without at least one more snag. After putting it all back together, the drawer next to the dishwasher wouldn’t open. So I had to take those two screws out again, push the dishwasher back a tad, and then close it all up again. Here, on the port, is the drawer hitting the dishwasher, and on the starboard, clearing the dishwasher by a fraction of an inch. drawer stuck drawer clearing. Here’s the dishwasher all put back together and with all the tools I used at various stages of this three hour long project. Also note the shameless product placement. Are you reading this Huy Fong Foods, makers of Sriracha, the finest hot sauce known to man? all put back together. editors note: No bananas were hurt, bruised, consumed, used to tease monkeys, or held-up-to-an-ear-like-a-phone during the completion of this project.

One Response to “I gotta do something to keep me busy”

  1. Janelle says:

    Nice work Jonathon…good to see the Sriracha made it’s way into the equation!!!!

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