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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Free 2018 World Cup Score Sheet Poster Download!

I've pretty much stopped blogging altogether.  However, it's that time of year life again for another World Cup!  I created a free World Cup 2018 Score Sheet Poster (mainly for myself) and for all others to enjoy!

2018 World Cup Free Score Sheet Poster Download
Here are links to the full-sized, high resolution PDF and PNG versions of the score sheet pictured here to the right.  They're pretty big files because I designed them to be printed at 24 inches by 36 inches.  Staples will print this as an "engineering print" (black & white) at that size for only $3.  Printing in color is best so that you can see all the flags correctly, but it's more expensive.  So, to each their own.

If you haven't used this sheet or one like it before to keep score of all the games then you are missing out.  By keeping track of all the outcomes for all the games, it adds a level of excitement to the entire tournament.

I've also added some links in the drop-down menu above (as pictured to the right) just in case.

As always, this is free of charge.  I hope you enjoy it!

New Roof

We are blessed to be able to put a new roof on our house.  We're especially excited about it, because our house needed it both practically speaking as well as aesthetically speaking.  We had a few shingles blow off entirely after a super-windy night and had several others that broke their seal and flipped up, creasing them to the point of breaking.  Upon further inspection, the vast majority of the shingles had had their seals broken and were thus subject to damage with future winds and likely had their nails securing them partially pulled up allowing for potential future leaks.

Our first obvious challenge was that we were provided enough money to buy the materials, but no more.  So, that left us with two options.  A: We would not put a new roof on the house and begin to experience problems in the future.  Or B: We could put on a new roof ourselves.  We went with B.

So, with that decided, our first order of business was to pick out and order our shingles.  That went fairly well.  We had to wait on them to be ordered, arrive at the store, and then be delivered, but it went pretty well.  Our next challenge was getting them on the roof.  We wanted rooftop delivery, but, apparently, our local Home Depot doesn't have a truck for rooftop delivery.  So, they have a third party company do it for them.  It's not cheap for this service.  And, I feel like Home Depot knows it.  So, rather than Home Depot telling you the delivery charge for rooftop delivery, they just change the price of the bundles of shingles you're buying.  You know, to muddy it up because they don't think that their customers can do math.  It worked out to just over $450 for them to rooftop deliver.

We were kind of floored with this price because I was hoping that delivery would be free or at the very least would be greatly reduced.  We were buying 123 bundles of shingles after all.  That adds up to a pretty hefty price tag.  Most box stores boast free delivery when you're spending thousands of dollars.  But, alas, there would be no foreseeable compromise.  So, we opted for the normal delivery which would still be on their pallets on the ground.  To their credit, they did put the pallets right on the ground exactly where we told them that we wanted them.  So, there's that.

My ingenuitive nerdiness came out with this challenge.  I designed a "shingle elevator" in Sketchup from materials that I knew I already had.  It went together fairly quickly and worked really well.  It's limitation was that it required three men.  One guy (my friend, Rodney) would have to pull bundles off the pallet and load them on the elevator one at a time.  Another guy (my friend and neighbor, Brian) would have to pull the elevator up using the rope and hold it while the last guy (me) would need to pick up the bundles and go spread them out across the ridge of the roof.  My use of the term 'elevator' denotes a sort of effortless tool.  I cannot stress enough how poor of a choice of terms this was.  None of the three parts to the job was, by any means, effortless.

I bought dinner for the guys, but, besides a lot of spent energy, that was our only cost to getting the shingles on the roof.  That was the evening of Thursday, April 6th.

We employed our son, Lyric, whose agreed upon paycheck would consist of a Playstation 3.  He had been wanting one for some time and we figured that this would be a great opportunity for him to A) learn how to roof a house, B) learn some more work ethic, C) earn the item he couldn't afford to buy, and, lastly, D) help complete the roof at a much faster pace than it would have taken me to do it alone.  He did a fantastic job and I officially changed his affiliation with it from "helping me roof the house" to "roofing the house with me."  :)

Finishing the job was an awesome feeling.  We got it done on Sunday, April 23rd, just two and a half weeks from the start date. Not too shabby for such a small crew.

Blind Faith

Last Monday night, we were watching the third episode of a television show on Netflix called "No Tomorrow".  The show is a little quirky.  I really enjoy most of the comedy of it, though I am annoyed at the usage of over-sexualized humour.  But, this isn't a review of the show.

There are no spoilers in this blog (in my opinion) in case you're worried about that.  I'll only summarize the basic plot that you would've known anyway if you had only read the tiny description of the show in the Netflix browser.  The premise is basically: girl meets boy, boy/girl like each other, girl falls for boy, boy tells girl that an asteroid is coming to destroy the earth in 8 months, girl thinks boy is crazy, girl goes on liking boy anyway.

Now, I come to the reason I am writing about this show.  In the third episode, the boy, accompanied by the girl, presents his research and subsequent findings to a scientist.  The camera backs out and the scene closes so that the viewers don't get to hear the spiel, but later it does come back in at the end of the speech and we hear enough of his close to understand that he got a proper platform for which to present his arguments uninterrupted.  Later in the show, the girl is confiding in her mother that he "sounded so smart and insightful and passionate" when he had the chance to present what he had found but that she's feeling conflicted because she still thinks he's crazy.  Then, for some reason I can't explain, she finds solace in her realization that his belief in the impending asteroid-earth collision isn't religion but pure math.  Armed with this new epiphany, she explains to him that she admires him for living by his convictions, admits that his way of life is positive, contagious, and adds real value to others.  She realizes that it doesn't matter if she believes what he believes.  She can continue to have a relationship with him and support him in his beliefs whether she believes them or not.

The real-life applicable takeaway I learned here is this: You can aptly present factual arguments, even in an inarguable mathematical format, and even those who love you the most may still choose to believe the opposite in blind faith.

I'm not saying that the boy is right about the asteroid.  It's a tv show.  I'm saying that the girl sat and listened to the boy, admitted that he made intelligent arguments, has personally witnessed the benefits of harboring this belief, and EVEN understood that it was simply a matter of mathematics.  She did all this but goes on to claim she believes the event won't happen.  Take notice that she didn't make this decision because she looked through a telescope, examined the research, plotted the course of the earth herself, determined the trajectory of the asteroid and found his math to be full of errors.  She simply and blindly chose to accept something else to be true.  Her decision to believe he is wrong is a purposefully uninformed decision.  She's knowingly choosing willful ignorance.

Now, perhaps the boy is wrong, in fact.  It still wouldn't justify the girl's decision to believe that he is wrong without first exploring the issue herself.  Ironically, she understands it only to be a matter of math, but doesn't bother to look at the math to look for the error.  She just assumes it's wrong.

I can mathematically disprove the supposed age of the earth being in the billions of years.  But, in showing people this math, I can't expect to convert someones belief system.  It's a very useful tool in reinforcing people's belief system who already believe the same things as me.  But, it's unlikely that it will serve as a very useful tool of conversion.  Most will just convince themselves that there is some unseen trick in the math or will just simply do like this fictional girl did and write it off through willful ignorance.

The reason why it won't help to convert people is because our belief systems are not necessarily grounded in facts.  We would like to think that they are, but our beliefs go deeper than that.  They're not intellectually born.  They reside in the heart.  No one is without bias.  Our bias' steer us.  If you want to see someone in inner turmoil, find someone who believes differently from how they think.  Regardless of what they may "know", they are a slave to their belief.  Belief and thinking can't indefinitely be out of line.  Eventually, one will win out.

That reminds me of something.  In recent years, I've heard the slang term "whip" used to describe a nice car in hip-hop songs.  The term is derived from a chain of slang starting with the first automobiles where the steering wheel was commonly referred to as the 'whip' since the steering wheel of the car served the same purpose as a whip did to a team of horses pulling a wagon.  Later, since the Mercedes-Benz emblem looks like a steering wheel, urban slang for a Mercedes-Benz became a 'whip'.  Even later, it would be used for any luxury vehicle.

Our beliefs steer us.  Like a whip, they control us.  We can break free of their bondage.  But, it takes something much more powerful than a thought, a desire, a well-delivered speech, a sermon, or a presentation of facts.  It takes an act of will.  It's a matter of the heart.  You can hear one of the aforementioned things like a sermon, for instance, and respond by willfully choosing to break free of your previous beliefs.  But, make no mistake.  It doesn't happen to you.  No one can force you into freedom.  You have to take those steps yourself.

It's a backwards concept to most of us.  But, in Christianity, it requires that we first come to God and accept Him, before you will find it intellectually sound to do so.  Until then, the spiritual blinders are still on.  And, no amount of intellectual pursuit will get you there alone.  If you, the reader, are one of those who don't believe in God, would like to, but don't feel like you can because intellectual roadblocks exist in your mind that are keeping you from accepting His existence, the relief I have to offer you is this: Once you surrender your will and choose God, there is a seemingly infinite amount of intellectual pursuits that stand to justify the choice you made.  Again, it sounds backwards.  But, what I'm suggesting to you is that, despite what you may think, your roadblocks are not intellectual ones after all.  It's completely a matter of your will to choose to step away from the beliefs you've held many of which are baseless.  So, make the choice.  You won't be disappointed.

'59 Slow Progress

I've barely seen my truck in the last ten days or so.  I've had some other things going on.  For example, last weekend, my only real goal was to clear out some space in the shop so that I could move some of our "project" furniture being stored in the garage out to the shop.  It has been getting cold here in the Ozarks and I was determined not to spend another winter morning scraping the night's precipitation of my car windows.  Up until this last weekend, we have had this oversized two-car garage with only one car and a whole lot of stuff being stored in it.  Though, I'm happy to announce that after just 367 days of owning this place, I finally have spaces for both our main vehicles indoors.  :)

With that not-so-little project out of the way, I'm happily back to doing '59 stuff. Yesterday, I worked out a deal with a guy who was selling this front bumper on Craigslist.  It's for an 87-91 GMC van but it fits beautifully across the front of the '59.  Those vans were called a "square body" which works out perfect on the very flat front end of my truck.  Before I bought it though, I wasn't sure how it would look on my truck.  There was no way I was going to drag my truck to Springfield to dry fit it to see and it was highly unlikely that the seller would let me borrow it until I made a decision.  It's in situations like these that GIMP comes to the rescue.

I went online and found a photo of one of these vans that was taken at roughly the same angle as another photo I found of a '59 without a front bumper.  With GIMP, I copied the front bumper from the van and superimposed it on the '59.  I had to do some resizing, rotating, and perspective shifting to get it all lined up and believable.  With the end result looking fairly convincing, it was easy for me to make a decision on whether or not I thought this bumper would be a good look for my truck.  I decided that it was and proceeded to wheel and deal for a good price.

I also found a nice chrome rear bumper yesterday, as well.  It was priced to sell for sure but I was the first one to contact the guy and still managed to knock the price down a bit.  The guy I bought it from couldn't remember which of his many vehicles he's owned in the last several years that it came from.  I don't really care, I guess.  It's in great shape.  Most of the '57-'60 model Fords didn't come with a rear bumper.  It must have been an option at the dealerships because I've seen several online that do have uniform rear bumpers, but the vast majority of ones that I see in person or online have no rear bumper.  Some people even go without a front bumper.  I don't like the look of the front without one, though.  It's a bit too cartoony and feels lacking.

I like the rear without a bumper just fine but I have a good reason for why I wanted one anyway.  When I drove the '59 it was at stock height.  I was able to reach over the side of the bed and touch the bottom with ease.  I could grab almost anything out of the bed without getting in it.  But, now, with it's lift on the '84, the top of the bed comes up to my armpit.  So, not only will the rear bumper provide some balance of chrome from the front to the back, but it will also make getting in and out of the bed a world easier by providing a step.  And, of course, it will serve its actual purpose of protecting the truck from potential fender benders, I hope won't happen.

So, in the above's poor example of a well-lit photograph, I've got the bumper being propped up to almost the height it will be when installed. I couldn't get it all the way in place because I have to notch out the bumper on each side as indicated by the blue line in this photo.  This cutout will make the bumper appear as if it were custom for this truck.  Once cut, I can slide it up another couple inches and there won't be any gap left between the bed and the bumper.  That will make it look a lot more natural.

The rear bumper already has brackets that appear like I can just bolt them right on to the back of the truck's frame.  I'll know for sure once I make the aforementioned notches in the bumper.  The front, on the other hand, is going to need brackets.  I removed my OEM '59 brackets and they won't fit.  However, I think that I can modify them.  More on that later, I'm sure.

'59 DIY Instrument Panel

Example of a '59 instrument panel
One big challenge I was sort of dreading even thinking about with the 59' body to '84 frame/drivetrain, was how I was going to get the electronics to work.  Obviously, the '84 wiring harness wasn't going to just plug into the '59 gauges.  And even if it did, then I'd still have the minimal information that the '59 had: gauges for speed, fuel level, engine temperature, and two dummy lights for the generator and oil pressure.  That limited knowledge would leave me guessing what's going on underneath the hood more than I would like.

Forum photo with four new analog gauges accompanying the OEM speedometer
I found a forum online where a guy shows how he kept his original speedometer by buying an adapter to the sender, and then replaced the other four gauges with new gauges from Summit Racing.  His OEM dummy lights were replaced by proper analog gauges and looked great.  I loved the finished look and quickly rushed over to Summit Racing to look for some gauges.  I found them.  And, they added up quick.  I am not prepared to spend $350 on replacement gauges.  My original plan of keeping everything one can see looking like a '59 has been tossed out in favor of getting everything working properly and functional on a nickel & dime budget.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money when I already two perfectly operational instrument panels.  Surely, there was a low budget alternative.

My solution was to make a new instrument panel plate to match my '59 dash from scratch and insert the gauge cluster from the '84 in it.  This way, I can simply plug in the '84 wiring harness to it and BOOM, working gauges!  I took a piece of thick aluminum plate that was left in our shop by the previous owner of the property.  I traced out the shape of the '59 instrument panel plate on it and cut it to size with metal shears.  I cleaned up the edges afterwards with an angle grinder, cut out the holes by drilling 3/8" holes in all the corners to the "windows" then connecting those holes with a metal blade in my jigsaw.  Then, I used a steel brush in my drill to give it a brushed aluminum look.  It's a little rough and I'll spend some more time on it cleaning up the cutouts.  By no means is this the finished product.  I also, haven't decided if I will leave it like this or if I will paint it.  It's pretty reflective right now which may hinder visibility of the gauges while driving.  But, due to the angle of it while installed, I don't expect direct reflection of sunlight to the driver's eyes.  So, I'll probably leave it unpainted and try it out.  I can always pull it off real quick and paint it later.

I also have 5 indicator lights that were part of the '84 dash.  These were in the rectangular holes above the gauges shown in the photo here.  My issue is that the little plastic pieces with the words on them were long gone when I bought the truck.  I'm fairly certain that the outside ones were for the left and right turn signal indicator lights.  I know for a fact (because of a photo I saw online) that one of them is the seat belt indicator lamp.  I will refrain from installing that one.  I don't know what the other two lights are for.  Perhaps, engine light and high beam indicator?  That sounds logical.  I'll figure it out somehow.  Either way, that means I have four more little holes to cut in my DIY instrument panel plate.  I'll put the turn signal indicators near the top corners and then put one of each of the remaining indicators (whatever they are) centered on each side.

I like that I chose to use the OEM '84 gauge cluster because I'll like having a tachometer and analog gauges in place of no tachometer and the '59 dummy lights.  I think that the gauges will look a lot better in the '59 than they did in the '84, too.  Ah, the 80's and its love affair with wood grain paneling as far as the eye could see.

'59 Ford Inspired DIY Forge

I bought a piece of 3/16" thick stock steel last week to make a couple of custom brackets to mount my '59 bed to my '84 frame.  These are the last of the brackets that I need for the body.  Woo hoo!  Mounting the body has proven to be a challenge and I'm glad that at least this part of the project is coming to a close.  It's been a fun learning experience, but I'm ready for the part that actually begins to make the truck functional again.

I already have the front two custom bed mounts and the rear two custom bed mounts in place and bolted.  The bed isn't going anywhere.  That's for sure.  However, I wanted to give the bed two more mounts in the center to ensure that there can be no allowance for warping it in the event I wind up carrying a heavy load which, inevitably no doubt, I will.

I measured and marked the pieces of metal where I wanted a 90-degree bend.  I began to shape it using a hammer and a large, thick piece of angle iron as an anvil.  I started to get the bend, but it wasn't going to be anywhere near a 90-degree angle.  It was going to curve instead with a fairly large radius regardless of how much I would try to convince it otherwise with the hammer.  I needed heat.

I watched a couple YouTube videos of people creating makeshift forges of their own with some pretty commonly found household items.  I looked around a bit and realized that I could make one.  If for no other reason at all, I'm glad I did this exercise just to know that it is now an option for me to create other items in the future.

The video is a small non-polished documentary of me trying it out.  I had never done this before and I openly admit in the video that I don't know what I'm doing.  However, it was a success.  I needed a compound bend with both brackets.  One is a mirror of the other one.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but I got the exact compound bend I was aiming for.  The only way I was going to get this 3/16" steel to bend this sharply was with heat or a very large metal brake.  Since I have no such metal brake (nor can afford one) but can make heat, I only truly had the one option.

With the '59 body mounted and ready to go, my next step is likely getting the steering column installed and secured to the dash.  Keep an eye out for the next update.


I don't normally write about marketed items that I find silly.  Though, if I did, I would have a seemingly infinite amount of topics to write about.  If you really consider most items you find in your local market for very long, you will likely conclude very quickly that the majority of what you see, you don't need.  But, there are also those items that clearly go beyond the 'unneeded' category and well into the realm of 'ridiculously unnecessary'.

I feel that the entire YETI line of products easily falls into this category.  I've been seeing this stuff everywhere.  First, there was a guy in my office who was showing off his new cup that he got from Sam's.  It's a YETI knock-off, but works just as well, he says.  Something about the acoustics of the office space I work in results in my ability to hear virtually every conversation that takes place on our floor.  So, I ended up being marketed by my co-worker's tales of keeping ice all day long in his cup despite multiple refills of water.  Over and over again, I overheard the boasts as he told everyone individually.

Then, on a visit to Race Brothers, a local farm & home store, to pick up some bolts and washers, I saw a large display of YETI products, most of which were wearable gear sporting the brand name, not the actual product.  I was confused.  Having a desire of keeping your drink cold, I get.  But buying a $50 hoodie that proudly displays the brand name of your $40 cup that keeps your drink cold is a bit asinine.

A couple days later, while waiting in traffic at a stoplight, I noticed that the Jeep in front of me had a YETI sticker in the back windshield.  This wasn't a graphic like you would see on a sales representative's vehicle, this was just some boob that was proud of his discretionary spending choice.

A family member of ours recently commented on the trend of water bottles.  It was a good observation.  She humorously pointed out that many people these days take a water bottle with them wherever they go.  "What are we?  A bunch of babies that can't be without our bottles?", she mused.  "We never carried bottles of water with us when we left home and none of us ever died of dehydration."

So, with the YETI, not only must we never be caught without our most beloved beverage, but we'll be able to keep it cold all day long for the low low price of a ridiculous amount of money.  Craigslist is even teeming with new and used YETI products.  When I saw this soft carry cooler for $350, I didn't doubt that this was probably a "deal" in comparison to the cost of a new one.  I found that they sell the new ones for $400.  These hold 32 12-ounce cans and keep them cool for $400.  I've never paid as much as $400 for a refrigerator let alone a cooler.

I also ran across this ad on Craigslist.  This person evidently left their $400 YETI cooler in the back of their truck while they slept at a local Days Inn.  Someone capitalized on the easy pickens along with their 6' aluminum ramps.  While I feel bad for them and hope that they do miraculously see their stolen goods returned, I sort of think that they should simply purchase some replacement steel ramps at Harbor Freight with a coupon for $50 and a nice cooler of similar size for $40, and save the remaining $410 they are offering for a reward. 

I don't mean to call anyone stupid for purchasing anything YETI.  I'm sure if someone looked at my life and all my purchases they could find plenty of things that I spent money on and didn't need, too.  I'm no better than the next consumer in the grand scheme of things, I'm sure.  I guess it's these moments in life that I realize the extent of the frivolous nature of American consumerism that I am floored by how meaningless some of our materialist fads can be.  And, perhaps, in my own way, I'm just trying to get others to practice some introspection of their own.

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