Sunday June 12th – Saturday June 18th 2022
Sunday morning immediately following yesterdays afternoon shift, and I have to admit, I’m a little slow to get up and started, but I get some breakfast and head out the door by eight o’clock. This is my second week of dayshift work, the extra hours are welcome but there are lots of tasks that are dirty, difficult and just not appealing. But I just do what I’m asked as the decisions are made way above my pay grade. So this morning I was tasked with replacing a roof vent on a trailer, not a difficult task, but it’s not a job that anyone would step forward and say pick me. The park has purchased an older fifth wheel trailer and they are planning on renting it out, which is a fine idea if the trailer they had purchased was in better shape. From what I have been able to gather they paid top dollar for this trailer and it has needed a lot of work to bring it up to a standard that is acceptable for rental. But today my task is remove an old vent and replace it with a new unit, the worst part of the job is the clean-up time after removing the old vent and preparing the area for the new vent, which has to be sealed properly.
Some of the difficulty is always picking up where someone left off, so the person had ordered the new vent, ordered Dicor sealant but did not get any butyl to install the vent, we had some old product in the workshop, but it was very old and therefore not the best for sealing the new vents but I was told to carry on and use it anyway, so I did. My thinking was if it leaks later on, it won’t be my problem, and that has been a hard hurdle for me to get past, I don’t want to come across as being bitter, but for a long time I have either made decisions or at least had some input into the process, and here and now I have no input. And it is just hard for me to just let it go, when I see something that is wrong, I just report it now and then have to let it go, which is so much not my way.
The afternoon my first job was repairing the brakes on one of the golf carts, apparently Bruce was asked to look at it but he never got it done, so now it is my job, there is a fleet of ten or so carts, and they are all gas powered, and to say that they are all in need of some repair would be a safe statement. On this particular cart the brakes actually worked fine, the problem was the pedal would not return properly, and golf carts are designed that when the accelerator is pressed it releases the parking brake as well as starts the cart motor. But in this case the pedal was not returning, holding the brakes on, the problem was that the pivot point on the brake pedal, was seized onto the pivot bolt, so lots of penetrating oil and manual operation I was able to free up the pedal so that it would return when released. This was not a complete and proper repair, as I should have taken the pivot bolt out and cleaned and lubed it properly, but that was not the way I was told to repair it, so again I just did what I was told to do. And the rest of my day was spent moving picnic tables, we are in a ongoing process of replacing the boards on picnic tables, repainting them, so every few every week we remove and replace tables with refurbished, repainted tables.
Monday morning and back for another dayshift, and again this morning I am tasked with installing a second roof vent on the rental trailer, this time it is a power vent, one that can be set to automatically open and start the fan at a certain temperature, it is a new fan but obviously one that has been sitting around for a while. but the actual task is the same as yesterday, and takes about the same length of time, to clean up the area and properly seal the new vent into place.
After lunch we have another water leak reported, on same water line, but this leak is between the other two breaks, here is an issue with the Kubota tractor, the back hoe is not operating, Bruce broke some linkage and bent a hydraulic cylinder ram trying to remove a stump, just after the last leak, so we have to get a rental unit in before we can start the repair. So we know where we need to dig, now we are waiting for the equipment to arrive. So I use the bucket on the tractor to fill move the picnic table and steps away from the rental, as there is a contractor building a deck in the next day or two, and with the deck we will no longer need the set of temporary steps, so I moved them to the maintenance compound.
Around three o’clock the truck gets here with the rental back hoe, it is another Kubota with a back hoe but it is a much smaller unit that ours, so as we start the digging process the rocky soil around here is being a little tough on the unit but we find the leak, it at one of the original glued connection, and needs a new piece of pipe, a connector as well as a mechanical connector, so two glued connections and the mechanical, the problem is that there is a constant flow of water, so we are bailing water while trying to glue the new fittings, not the ideal situation, but we succeed and have the water back on by six o’clock, I’m getting tired of these water leaks, as I’m always the guy in the hole.
Tuesday, and I will spend most of today working on sites, today it was site 44, which was previously a narrow tent site near the base of the entry hill, now I’m not an engineer or anything but I have learned over the years is that water will always run downhill and it will find the path of least resistance, so this project had no real designing, other than someone just thought it would work. The plan last fall was to dig in what I would call a French drain, using washed stone, surrounding a perforated drainage pipe that would carry the run off water to a tank that was buried underground with a sump pump that would pump the water back up the hill to the other side of the entrance road. Then they covered that washed stone with soil, the idea of the French drain is to leave the stone exposed and open to allow the water to enter it, as soon as it was covered the water just went in a different direction, so now the previously narrow dry tent campsite is now a wide wet tent campsite, and with a rainy year so far, lets just call this project an epic fail, and to add to the fail, we are just keep adding more soil to site, acting like a dam, again I’m just doing as instructed, while I know the only way to correct the problem is to re-dig the French drain all across the back of the site and leave it open and exposed, but as our Arizona buddy Lincoln would say “not my monkey, not my circus”, and I will just leave it there.
Wednesday which is my Saturday, a day off “oh yeah”, but I’ve got a lot of things to do today, the radiator for the toad is in and Miss Laurie is going grocery shopping, so after a cup of coffee, and some breakfast we head off to Duncan to gather our needed items, and we attacked the tasks as if we were on a mission, which we were. I wanted to get the new radiator installed as well as the new front brake pads on the toad, we were back at the coach by eleven o’clock and I proceeded to start the radiator change, and it turned out to be a bigger problem than I had first realized, you may remember back in March I had that collision in Arizona well the radiator was damaged then, actually I have never seen a radiator bent out of shape like this one, so it was a bit of a job to get it out and then the new one will not bolt up properly because of the damage, but it is in place and will work just fine until we get to the body shop, next the front brakes, which is just a simple brake pad replacement, the brake rotors look fine, so I saved another couple of hundred dollars there.
I usually don’t do a lot of my own mechanical repairs any more, it is just hard doing some of these repairs with out the use of a hoist, but when quoted $375 labour for a couple of very simple tasks, I can get my hands dirty and I was able to reduce a $1600 estimate down to only $500 worth of parts, after all my last name is Buchanan not Rockefeller. The repairs are done, I’m all showered and kicking back in my chair by four o’clock, we will see how much pain the old joints are in tomorrow, but right now I’m feeling quite satisfied.
Thursday, my Sunday, and I’m actually feeling pretty good this morning, it rained overnight and we are expecting more rain today, this is why the toad repairs had to get done yesterday. Today I have a few small jobs around the coach and I need to sit and catch up on the blog. Miss Laurie is working in the gardens today but all I have outside is some trimming of the grass with the weed wacker, it has been a couple of weeks since I did it, and it is starting to show. Inside I have to fix my chair, there are a number of loose screws that need to be tightened, then there is the propane alarm that has been going off every couple of days, a check of the date shows it is over five years old, time to be replace, and then there are the drawers under the refrigerator, we don’t have a lot of storage drawers and we have overloaded these two drawers with canned goods and now have broken the supports for the rails, there aren’t a lot of items that I would call cheap or poor build choices in our coach but all the drawer slides are one, so I have ordered a couple of rails that will support fifty pounds of weight, more than strong enough to handle our canned goods, but delivery is over a week away so it may be a week or two before I get a chance to change them.
An update on our streaming service, I contacted “RiverTV” to get the service switched to British Columbia, it was a bit of a task, because our billing address is in Ontario, so they had to verify that we were actually in British Columbia, which took a few days but we are now watching local news and broadcasts from “RiverTV” and well as “CityTV+”, it is just nicer to hear and see local information, when watching our morning television. We are on a two month promotional rate of $9.99 per month then it goes to $16.99 per month, but we have no contract so when we leave Canada near the end of October we can just cancel it with no issues.
Friday morning and I’m awake early, no particular reason, other than it just seemed like the right time, today I’m on shift from 8 to 4 again and I can only imagine what they have planned for me today. After a bowl of cereal, I head off to the swimming pool, this is the priority every morning, it must be vacuumed and open for the adult swim at 9 o’clock, then to the clubhouse which also needs to be opened, just a simple task, just unlock four door, turn on some lights, and start the television, as the remote for the television is kept locked in a cabinet, a quick check of the washrooms, unlock the laundry room door and all is well. Then I’m off to get the firewood truck to restock the wood shed at the store, a quick look in the shed told me it would need a whole truck load … but there was a problem, the people that supply the firewood had dumped a load of firewood in the road blocking the route of our firewood truck, so I needed to take the tractor up the hill to clear the wood out of the way, to get the truck out.
Now we get into the fun stuff, and today we are going to install a (I really don’t know what to call it so for lack of better titles, I’m going to call it) a water manifold. It is going onto a new two inch water line up near the office. Now some background on this project, the water line was installed over the winter, it feeds the managers park model home, and the irrigation system around the entrance and office, but this part of the water line simply runs under the managers trailer and was brought through the skirting at a terrible angle, it also stuck out from the trailer 8” at the bottom and 4” near the top, and stood nearly three feet off of the ground, then they had added a 2” brass ball valve sticking out from the trailer then the plan was to add this manifold piece, to support this plastic water line there was to be a post dug into the ground beside the trailer, the manifold has five water hose spigots, and was so large I felt it might need a post to support it as well, because it was protruding over a foot out from the newly added post by the trailer.
My job, was to dig the post hole, and I did that 18” deep was my orders, but when the post was put in place, the handle for the ball valve would not turn because it hit the top of the post, so the decision was made to cut the post off at the level of the pipe, it was right about now the manager came out, and quite literally put me in a difficult spot, she asked my opinion, that’s never a good thing, because I always have an opinion. And it could have been my reference to this job looking like a pimple on a pigs ass, I’m not sure, but she did like my opinion on how I thought it should have been done.
Now bring in my immediate supervisor, and the discussion moves along to the fact that if the water line came out of the skirting at the correct angle the manifold system could be mounted to the trailer and held securely into place the valve mounted on the riser pipe, but it would mean someone crawling in under the trailer to cut and repair the waterline, so it came out straight. Now I’m sure you can guess who got that job. Correct little old me, it is times like this that I curse myself for opening my mouth, but it was the only correct way to fix the mess that was actually was. So between crawling under the trailer to realign the waterline and cleaning the departure sites for the day, that was pretty much the balance of my work day.
Saturday and I’m back on the afternoon, lock-up & security shift, and thank goodness after it rained off and on all day, and the sun finally came out late afternoon, the park is nearly at capacity, and there are some groups of baseball players in the park, which may or may not be an issue. So I went to do the firewood run with the truck and wouldn’t you know, the firewood people had dumped another truckload of firewood, blocking my path!
So after I hand bombed enough fire food to get the old Mazda pick-up out, I made my way around the park to sell only one whole bag of firewood, but at least I was able to restock the the wood shed at the store, before returning to reload the truck. Miss Laurie is working the evening shift at the store tonight so my dinner break was just a quick bowl of soup before heading off to close down the swimming pool.
There were not a lot of tasks for me to accomplish tonight but some were a bit of a pain in the butt, it seems that we are sometimes on a make work project, so here is todays example. The rental trailer needed a new propane detector, just as our coach does. There are a variety of styles and sizes, some are surface mount, some are recessed into a wall, so it would just seem natural to replace the defective unit with the same style, and because I need a new one as well I have been looking at the choices and options, as well as the pricing. The rental had a recessed sensor, and someone purchased a surface mount, and rather than get the correct one, it was decided to try to make the surface mount unit work. The prices vary from $55 to $95 and they come in three colours, so the rental had a brown recessed unit and we are installing a black surface mount, so we have a hole in the wall that the surface mount will fall right through. Now I’m just trying to paint a picture here and the phrase “a pimple on a pigs ass” come back to my mind. This sensor is located just inside the only entrance to the trailer, so lets call it a high traffic area, where people will be removing shoes and the like, so to have the surface mount style sticking out is not desirable, so lets take a piece of wood and cut and router it and then verathane it to try and resess the sensor, then get the new guy to try and install it into the previous recessed unit opening. So I wasted close to an hour enlarging the opening to accommodate the larger block of wood which I’m sure has at least a couple of hours worth of work, so three hours at minimum wage is over $50 in labour and it still looks like “a pimple on a pigs ass”.
Closing the pool this evening was challenging, with the sunshine finally out the pool was busy, and no one was in a rush to leave the 80 degree pool, but I managed to roust everyone out by 8:10, then off to check the office area for being locked, close the woodlot gate and do my first security round, because it rained most of the day people are trying to get some outdoor time, but there were no signs of possible party zones. I get the clubhouse closed up by nine o’clock. Around nine thirty I take Miss Laurie up to the office with the store sales from the day, because the office is so far away, it is necessary to have a golf cart ride, after returning Laurie back to the coach I make security round number two. it is now near ten o’clock and I had to take a photo of the western sky.
After a couple of small projects in the work shop I made my final security round of the park, only one group of people that were a little on the noisy side, but after being asked to quiet it down, they decided to break up and shut it down, and I was able to head to the coach feeling confident that there would be no noise complaints tonight.
Now – “monkeypox” – like seriously?