Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Advanced lessons in cheating!

I had planned to come home tonight and write about the weekend; instead I'll put that off for a day or so...

One of the most useful things I've ever found to keep around the house is a roll of plastic sheeting. You can buy thinner stuff, and it will work fine for some things, but the heavier stuff is magic! You can find it at your favorite hardware store, your choice of indoor lumberyards, or the hardware section of Wal-Mart, where I've bought my last half dozen rolls.

For this winter I bought a 20'x25' roll of the heavier stuff; I said 6 mil thick, which it used to be, but it might be down to 4 these days, I don't have the wrapper anymore. The thin stuff will work for a month or so, but the heavy stuff will alst all winter as long as you don't get grease on it. I split it in half lengthwise, so it's two pieces that are 12.5'x20'.



I laid it over the roof of the truck trying to split it fairly evenly, then figured out how far to pull it over the hood to cover the wipers and cowl (the venting at the back edge of the hood where all your fresh air comes from). Poke a hole for the antenna of the truck; slip the excess between the bed and the back of the cab; then tuck it in at the front and rear edges of the door on one side making sure you keep it out of the lock. Pull it up a bit under the mirror, slip a rubber band over it; move to the other side and do the same. If the wind is blowing I'll slip an edge under the gas door just to keep the wind from getting under it.

For Dottie's car I had to trim 2 more feet off the 20' length and it will still reach the ground on both sides. On it we tuck it in at the front edge of the front door and the back edge of the rear door, and though I make sure to keep it out of the locks, I will slip a little back under the lower edge of the back door to keep the wind from getting under it. Rubber band the mirrors and it's good to go.

Today I pulled mine off and stuck it in the garage as it was only supposed to be flurries tonight. Had they sad freezing rain it would have been on the floorboard and I'd have covered it again when I got to work...

I've also used this stuff to cover a screen to make a storm window when a glass one got broken; I've fixed foundation leaks by digging down to the leak and laying a piece of it on the outside of the cement and backfilling the dirt. It's cheaper than buying drop cloths as you can reuse it.

Other cheats: everyone talks about putting sandtubes in a vehicle for traction, and I've done it for years. My last truck had a cover on it and plywood on the floor to soundproof it a bit so things didn't slide too badly. It also had a bench seat against the front of the bed, so they couldn't slide too far.

Last winter I had seven 60 pound tubes between the wheelwells of my Silverado, lying on the Line-X spray on bedliner, which is fairly good about keeping things stationary. Usually...

As I came off the end of the four lane into the industrial district where I work, going with a green light and somewhere around 50 mph, a "spotter" rig made an illegal left turn against the light across my lanes. I "anchored" the truck, and it stopped much faster than I'd have ever dreamed. The sand tubes, however, didn't! 420 pounds of frozen wet sand hit the front of the bed in unison like a 500 pound hammer and the truck jumped a couple of feet further than it would have otherwise.

I cleared the rig, but decided I didn't want to go through that again!

So this summer while I was working on the garage I picked up a couple of pieces of CCA and when it started getting cold this winter I took a handful of decking screws and the circular saw to them:



The CCA is taller than the tubes are, and I used the leftover pieces from the front box to make the "H" shaped piece that looks like a "T" behind the tubes; it's not fastened down, but makes it possible to go pick up sheets of things without having to unload the tubes first. Next summer I can lift the front one out until next winter.

5:30AM; I got off work at 3:30, home just before 4, by the time I had the trash out, my laundry in and got through the shower it was after 4:30. I ate a bowl of cereal, started the dishwasher and sat down here a few minutes before 5; now I should go off to bed, but I'm going to check in with one or two of you and put my clothes in the dryer, then I'll go...

May the week be kind!

alan

11 comments:

ZILLA said...

Ingenious!

You inherited this "handy" inventive trait from your dad, didn't you?

ConnieJane said...

Handy indeed!

When I lived in North Central Missouri I owned a flower shop. Deliveries to the country in our Chevy van were challenge to say the least. We used remnants of astro-turf to use for traction under the tires.

The weather you describe is the reason I now reside in the Sunshine State!

von Krankipantzen said...

WOW! I had no idea living with annual snow was such a big deal. You've really got it all figured out, though. If and when we get snow here it is very wet and slippery. Usually the whole city pretty much shuts down and we have a snow day. I'm good with that.

fineartist said...

Alan you are a wealth of practical information. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and you just impress the sh...heck out a me.

Our garage is full of stuff and one classic old car that belonged to my dad. It's a '74 Buick Riviera, but that's kind of beside the point, so as a result my truck is out in the open to face the elements and I am going to show this to the man when he gets home. My granny used to put a piece of plastic over her windshield but her locks still froze.

We had another ice day today, yipee, I'm worse than the kids, but I had to take Samps to the doctor and it took a while to clean off that truck, and plenty of warm up gas too.

Rest well friend, xx,
Lori

alan said...

It's not the snow that's a pain, it's the ice. There are times we get it in inches...

alan

ryssee said...

Absolutely brilliant!

JLee said...

I'm cold just thinking about the icy weather! We have been very lucky down here...for now.

Puffer said...

k you need to come to my house and help me with some stuff.
U rock
Ok come now ok?

Doris said...

Brilliantly useful blog you have Alan! LOL but then you are a Capricorn and I love the detail :-)

And I still don't know how you manage it all and get out to visit some of us too.

HAR said...

I am so happy you went over this again! I would love to wake up and not have to spend so much time getting the ice to melt.

Barbara said...

Along with plastic sheeting I'd add duct tape and WD40.