ABOVE MY PAY GRADE

May 24 , 2021 /

ABOVE MY PAY GRADE

Putting something together when you have the right tools and skills but can’t see what you’re doing is a challenge. While I was finishing a job one mornng recently, I started thinking.   “ Whoa, you can stop right there,” I told myself.  “If you start thinking about something such as the implications of the job as opposed to the task at hand, you will lose focus, compound the difficulty and you’re likely to make more mistakes than you do ordinarily and the job will take even longer.  You can think about the experience later, make some more observations and draw some conclusions afterwards.”  That was what I told myself, my self to myself as it were.

The job was putting eight bolts, washers and nuts on two small fenders, to secure them to the trailer frame.   I could not see underneath the fenders where the washers and lock nuts were to go to secure the bolts going through the pre-drilled holes on the top of the two fenders.  They were at least flat on top with a large Phillips screw head but very little space underneath the fenders, close to the ground, both the trailer frame and the tires.  I hope that gives you an adequate picture.  I was going to call this working in the dark when you can only see part of the solution. The picture below gives you a better idea of the job, showing one of the fenders.

You can draw your own analogies as I’m sure you get the point.  We can’t always see everything we need to see to make things easier.  I could have looked for another solution such as raising the low trailer frame higher or tipping it up so I could see but it weighs 400 pounds and even with leverage on the tongue, I dismissed that solution.  I could have taken it to someone else and paid to have it done.  Or, I could have asked for help from a friend.  I like solving problems and doing some work independently but when does stubborn exacerbate a problem rather than perseverance paying off?  My life partner/wife is willing to pay for convenience.

I kept dropping the nuts and washers from my fingers trying to hold both in place with the fingers of one hand while getting the nut started on the bolt with the other hand.  I could then apply a socket wrench in the small space underneath while I tightened it on top with the large Phillips screwdriver.  Great exercise for the hands if you’re not using power tools.  I could only see the top of the fenders.  The picture below shows the tow dolly trailer which I spent five hours in hot sun putting together several days ago without the fenders and ratchet brackets.  I did that final part of the job later.

Here’s a summary of what I did, what I learned and what conclusions I came to at the end.

  1. I researched several tow dollies, finally chose the Acme because of its construction, price and videos of assembly and use. Shipping was included in the final cost as were several options. Figured to save money via DIY.
  2. Spent five hours on a hot day assembling the dolly frame, tongue and braces. Should have had two people, as suggested, but partner/wife was out of town.  And it had to be assembled and moved from where it was delivered by truck on the same day.
  3. If I were doing it again, would I do it the same way? Probably not!  I would have it delivered elsewhere and pay someone else for the job.  I don’t believe it was pride that got in the way nor my accepting a challenge to complete a task and solve a problem.  It may have been lack of previous experience although I have, over the course of many years assembled a variety of pieces of equipment and tackled some large projects.
  4. There is finally the satisfaction of completing a challenging job and a sense of accomplishment. How does one ascribe value and worth to that experience?
  5. Whatever is required, be sure you have the confidence, stamina, endurance, skills, tools and resilience to fulfill the requirements for a successful outcome.
    P.S. There are still two more pieces that I am farming out to my friend, Jessie Luna, at his auto repair shop. He has a machine that will bleed the brake lines and he will check the connections to the lights.  We need to be ready to go “on the road again.”   More stories and pictures later.

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