Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Officer to be "On-the-Beat" soon!

Yup, yesterday afternoon Bart got the call with a job offer from the Leesburg Police Department in Virginia. It is about 40 miles to the East of Winchester down State Route 7. The start date is 28 January, just 1 week prior to the 118th Northern Virginia Academy class starting the 1st week of February.

Bart is also making progress with the car. The suspension has been completely removed, as shown in the photos below. The only issues remaining include removing the old bushings from the lower A-arms and 2 broken bolts. 1 bolt is in the A-arm cross-bar, and the other is in the rear end which is 1 of 4 that holds the leaf spring in place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thane's school X-mas show

Nathaniel had his school X-mas show on Tuesday night. Prior to the show they had Santa in the lobby of the theater (Shenandoah University). His 3yo class went up on stage and sang 4 songs: Rudolph to the Rescue, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells (they each had rings with bells to ring), and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Julie took a couple of photos while Bart took video.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Restoration continues...

For full details and pics from now on you can follow along on the thread I started on "Corvette Forum" here: This past weekend I was able to spend a few hours starting the rebuild of the suspension. So far I've had 2 bolts snap that required me to drill them out; 1 bolt head stripped which will need to be cut out; 1 bolt was cut out using a hacksaw (still don't have a cutting disc - 5 mins instead of 5secs!). :ack: So, so far I have the leaf spring seperated from the wheels but still mounted to the rear end. These 4 bolts will take some work to remove. I've been heating them and soaking them with PB-Blaster. I'll need to get help from a friend heating the casting while I try to loosen the 4 bolts holding the leaf spring in place. I have the driver side completed down to the trailing arm which is next. The passenger side still has the inner bolt of the strut rod (needing cut-out as it is the one with the stripped bolt head on the camber bolt) and the trailing arm. Here is the start, putting it on the jacks. Nice and solid!


The sway bar bracket on the pass side had both bolt heads break off. This required me to drill them out. I also had to cut the spring bolt to remove it. I have both the correct bolts and longer bolts for the re-install. I'm having new plates made at the office since I was unable to salvage the threaded holes in the 3"x1" steal support plate for the sway bar bracket. I'll be cleaning and painting everything that is not new prior to re-install, ie. brackets, plates, and shock mounts.

Here everything is removed from the drv side leaving just the trailing arm.

In the last pic you can see that I've started heating and soaking (with PB Blaster) the 4 main bolts for the leaf spring. I just need to get a hotter torch to be able to break the bolts free. No luck so far... I've also started soaking the bolts for the trailing arms, but have not tried to break them free yet. Hessitant to put heat on them that close to the body. The shock mount for the drv side has not budged! I hit on it until my head was pounding! I'm going to try heating and soaking the trailing arm and strut rod more before whacking it more. I'm using a block of wood and a heavy hammer to keep from damaging the mount or threads.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa Claus is comin' to town...

Last night we went with our neighbors and their kids to the nearby park for the opening of their light show. Santa was there and each of the kids got to tell them what they wanted. Unfortunately the pics didn't turn out too well, probably because we went from the cold into a warm building.

Santa must've wanted to get some of the heavier things taken care of as my suspension parts arrived yesterday as well...yipie!

Nathaniel with Mr. and Mrs. Claus:

Collin and Kailee:


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

1st snowfall...dreamin' of a white Christmas...

Today we had our 1st snowfall. A lot earlier than last year! Hoefully we will have a white Christmas since the family will be here this year.

We took Thane out back after dinner to sled down the hill. Julie pushed him down without realizing he can't stop on his own...DOH! I yelled out and she started running...dove face-first and caught his sled before running into the rocks! HAHAHA!!! We then took turns pulling him up the hill while the other went down to catch him. He had a blast! Then he threw snowballs to Simba. He saved 1 and had mommy put it into the freezer.

Here are a couple of pics with the snow and lights. The last picture was without the flash to keep the falling snow from showing in the foreground.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving break

We've returned from our holiday travel. We left following work on Friday 16th and drove to Flushing to spend time with Bart's grandparents. Sunday afternoon we stopped-in to see his cousin Sonia and her kids on the way to meet our good friends in Waterford for dinner that night. Following dinner at Robin and Shari's, with John, Bernie, Nikki, we stayed the night at Bernie's. Julie then had a doctor appointment Monday afternoon after which we drove to her parent's, Bob and Judy, place in Hicksville. Thanksgiving afternoon following the family lunch we drove to Bart's sister's for dinner and the night with her and Brenden and Taylor. Bart played a few hours on the PS2 with them on Guitar Hero. It was funny. Bart and Tonya then got up and went shopping early Friday morning, 4AM, trying to save some money on some deals for gifts. We then returned that afternoon to Hicksville.

Saturday our good friends Chris and Tonya came down for a visit. Tonya brought her camera and was nice enough to take some shots of Thane. We plan to order some when she gets them all posted for us to view. Here are a few samples. Enjoy, they are awesome! Also, be sure to send business her way, she can be reached via her web-site here: tonyamariephotography You can also find them in our photo album.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Background check commencing...

I just spoke with Lt. Dube' at the LPD on the phone. He informed me that they just held a meeting this afternoon and approved my folder of application. He informed me that he would be personally doing the background check for my application. He will be calling me with a date during the week of 26Nov to have me come in for a "get-to-know me" interview to compliment the background investigation. For those of you who offered to be references please expect to be called or get a visit. I've been told that in some cases they do both.

In the interim I'm finishing-up my 1st week at my new contract position. I accepted a development engineering position with a company called Datalux. Get this, they make computers and mounting systems for police cars! What are the odds?! This has got to be my calling!

We will be leaving following work tomorrow, around 5PM, to drive back to my home town of Flushing, MI to my grandparents' place. Sunday night we will be hookin'-up with some of our best friends for dinner (Robin, Shari, Bernie, Nikki, John). Julie then has a doctor appointment on Monday afternoon in West Bloomfield, then it will be off to her family in Ohio until our return home on Sunday.

We hope you all have a great turkey day! Be sure to watch and root for the Lions and the Wolverines this weekend!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

1st frost...

The 1st frost of the season came yesterday morning, Thurs. I also took part in the ride-a-long with the Leesburg PD. I'm hoping to hear from them soon to take my physical as I have passed all of the required tests. The ride-a-long last night was the evening shift which is from 2PM-2AM. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a position on the night (7PM-7AM) or day shift (7AM-7PM). The work schedule is wk#1 Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat, Sun, wk#2 Wed, Thu, with 1 of the days being an 8hr day where you choose to leave early or come in late. The ride wasn't too exciting, pretty much all the normal situations...1 suicide attempt, 1 illegal caught driving, 1 DUI, and random other nonsense calls.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pictures from Thane's 3rd b-day - 17Oct2007

Here are some pics from Thane's 3rd b-day party. Julie was able to get the local fire department to stop by for the party. They had just enough time to chat and show-off the truck before having to respond to a car fire on route 37. Bart made the cake to go with the firetruck theme that Thane wanted this year.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Trick or treat

Here's a couple of pics from Holloween. Thane went with Scott from next door with their mommies while daddies sat on the porch handing out candy. Thane was a Spider and Scott was Thomas.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Projects changing

Last Friday I had test#3 with Leesburg City Police Department. It was the psychological test and review. I passed and I am now waiting for them to send me for a physical and finish my background check! I think they noted they wanted to have all positions filled with set-hire dates before Thanksgiving, so I should be hearing something very soon for the physical. I'm a bit out of shape, but I don't think it will be a problem. I plan to start riding more as I've only ridden a few times over the last month. However, my rides have included pulling Thane behind me in the Burley trailer so it makes it a good work-out. I'll be getting him today via the bike as well at the end of about a hour ride.

I've also completely finished the deck including the shed underneath it and the stain/water treatment. I'll be placing lattice around the deck bottom in the spring which will conceal the shed from view.

I hope to begin work on the Vette again soon as well. I plan to re-build the entire suspension this winter once it is too nasty to drive it anymore this season. Currently I'm touching-up the drywall in the theater room and preparing to paint it.

I'll post another update soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin carving

Nathaniel chose the design, Julie cleaned it out, and Bart did the carving. Thane found a picture on the web of a moon that he wanted. An hour of carving and wahlah! We then set him on the porch and took a picture. I think by the looks of the picture it is already haunted by a spirit, maybe from the Civil War battle that took place here at the site of Star Fort...? You decide!?

On the job front...Bart has completed and passed test #2, the polygraph, and is going for step #3, the shrink evaluation, this Friday on his way to hopefully join the Leesburg, VA PD. He also found a contract job here in town doing some small engineering project work and some CAD work. The supplier for in-car computers for police cars! It is called Datalux. It'll be better than unemployment.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thane's 1st NFL game!

Yesterday we took Nathaniel to his 1st NFL game! It was a great time, except for the score. The Redskins hosted the Lions and gave them a whoopin'! The final score was 34-3. Detroit seemed to start each series with 1 or 2 1st downs to then fall apart, much like the old days, eh!? :)

Below are some pics from throughout the day, and of course the drive home. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Deck nearing completion

Here are a couple of pics after today's work. Have just the railing to finish now! Then it'll be the finishing touches on the theater room.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Slow going...

Still progressing on the deck. I finished the stairs today, 2 flights, but the pics below don't include them. These are previous pics I never posted. I've also started mounting the posts for the railings. I'll never buy from the Home Depot in Winchester again! I continue to make return trips to exchange bad wood, get items they failed to include in my deck materials, or return extra items not needed! Each trip is more than an hour at the store as they can't seem to handle a simple exchange!

On the job front...I'm interviewing in the Richmond area Tues, but doubt this will work out. I did have an interview with the Frederick County Sheriff's Department last Thurs that seemed to go very well. They have 4 current openings with 2 more expected in Jan as more are retiring. Obviously the pay would be much less, but it will be a rewarding and challenging job. We'll also be able to stay put with Julie keeping her job. I also have upcoming test dates in a couple of weeks with Martinsburg City and Jefferson County departments in WV which would be about 30min drives.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Slowly but surely...

Slowly but surely I'm progressing with the deck. I have all the joists installed for the main deck, but I still need to install the front posts and cut-in the chamfers for the front corners. With help from a few nice neighbors I was able to get to where I am today. I'll get some snap shots of it in the morning.

First thing to do tomorrow is change the oil and fuel filter in the GP. We had to invest a little over $500 in the car to fix some needed items as it is now at about 103K miles. New drive shafts, wheel bearings, motor mounts, AmsOil trans fluid, trans filter, and fuel filter. Now all that is left are new tires and it will be ready for another 100K! What a great car!

I also have an interview with the Frederick County Sheriff's office on Thursday which is our county in VA. Then on 20 Oct I have a test date with the Jefferson County Sheriff's office in WV. I'll post updates on that also.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Home improvement progress

Attached here are pics of the theater progression. I'm now mudding the room and will hopefully have it ready for paint in a couple of days. I've already submitted for the deck permit and the wood is still drying while waiting in the garage. The sketches for the deck are below as well. Where the steps parallel to the house end they will come to patio pavers which will create a connection to the walk-out basement.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finishing touches...

Our next update for the theater should be the finished job, less the flooring, curtains, projector, and the finishing touches. I've put in the stained wood shelf that will hold the surround equipment and the projector and all of the drywall is hung waiting to be mudded. The ceiling will be painted this weekend. I've also mounted the speakers on the walls. I just need to make a shelf for the front center speaker as it will be suspended centered above the drop-down movie screen. All of the electrical is installed and functional. We have 2 sconces on the back wall controlled with an electronic dimmer. I have a standard light mounted in the shelf box so it will be easy to see when working on the wiring or other items. There will also be a fan mounted inside to circulate the air to keep it from getting hot. I'll post more pictures of the progress soon.

The car is on-hold until I get a new job. However, the parking brakes are still making a slight rubbing noise. I've pulled it apart again already, but found no signs of any issues. I may tear it down again this weekend or next week again, time permitting. Julie's Prix has new front and rear hub bearings and 2 new engine mounts as of last weekend, and prior to that I had a shop replace the right drive shaft as it was out of true. It has over 100K on it now. This is the first major repair I've had to do on the car as it has been great. It should now be good for another 100K!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Theater construction

I've talked to most of you via email or phone, but if I haven't here's a little update.

The last job didn't quite work out as they found they need to find someone with extensive experience with Pro-E CAD. They sent me to training, but I was still not able to do advanced modeling. Being that it was a small group with a fast paced evironment it was not a good fit. The group and the entire company was a great place to work, but I guess something else is in store for me. So, I'm now comfortably back home with the family in Winchester and back to job hunting. I've already had a few calls from recruiters with possible interviews being planned, but more on that search later.

Since I have free time, and we hade in-store credit at Lowe's from returned items I decided to start costruction of our theater room! YES, we are going to have an actual theater room. It won't be too large as it will be approx 17'x14'. Below are a couple of photos. The one photo is looking through the back wall where there will be a recessed cavity to hold the surround system and the projector. On the far wall we will have a drop-down screen. The room will be lit with rope lighting and will resemble an actual movie theater. This will be awesome! I'll post updates as I go.

We also received a coupon from Home Depot for new purchases. So we are planning to get the materials for me to build our deck. Julie is tired of walking the dogs down stairs all the time to let them out. So once it is done she will be able to let them out on the deck. Next spring I look to place a paver patio at the walk-out connecting it to the deck. The deck will be about 16'x16' just big enough for our patio furniture.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New pro cyclist in training!

This past weekend was a nice break but held a lot of work. I traveled home Wednesday night from work, as my boss was allowing me to work from home Thursday and Friday. I needed to be home due to Julie’s extra-busy work schedule. The drive home was expected to be easier than the normal Friday drives, but that was not the case. Shortly after getting onto I-81 I found the traffic coming to a stand-still. Apparently there was a “disabled” vehicle in the right lane according to a road sign. I exited to US-11 and took it for about 15 miles north to the next town before re-entering a nearly empty I-81 north. It added almost a hour to my normal 4hr trip putting me home around 10PM.

I then was able to make breakfast for Thane and take him to/from school. He enjoyed Thursday as I took him in the “vroom-vroom” car since he was upset that mommy had to go to work. I think he figured since I was home she did not have to work either. We then got a call from my parents late Friday that they were heading down then instead of Saturday morning. They ended-up arriving at aboot 3AM!

Saturday I spent most of the day replacing the wheel bearing assemblies on the front of the GrandPrix. The GM dealer quoted me $470 for the left front hub bearing stating that the part was about $300 of it. What a load of $h!7!! I purchased the hub bearing for $110 at AutoZone and spent about 30mins to replace it. The only delay was getting the right size socket for the main axle nut and the nearly frozen bolts holding the bearing in place. I sprayed the bolts with PB-blaster and they came out with a little muscle. We then went to visit Uncle-Ed in Martinsburg at the annual Bike Night weekend. We had a few “Flint” Coney dogs from his hotdog stand “Sig’s”. Upon returning home I decided to get the other hub bearing as well and replaced it. Now all that remains are the lower control arms, as the bushings are pulling out of the arm requiring new ones. I’ll need to see what is involved with replacing them as I might do those as well to save another couple hundred bones!

I’m also currently looking for a new rental apartment, as my co-worker has had enough of me…I guess I’m too clean and organized to be in a bachelor’s pad! hahaha

To finish…Here’s a quick video of a new up-coming professional cyclist! He was a little distracted with the neighbors on their motorcycles, but he can peddle pretty good!



That’s about it for now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Leader blows the race!

Got bit by the race bug!

Yup, I stayed in NC for the weekend to attend a race in Greensboro. I entered the SS class with the 2nd biggest gear, 2.13:1 (32/15). The guy with the biggest was Manny, a new acquaintance who is stationed at Fort Bragg as Army - Special Forces, he ran a 2.29:1 (32/14) and ended up 3rd.

Headline of the race was, Leader blows the race! The starter announced everything he could think to say on the start line…where to find the johns, where to find the medic, that you can eat or drink anywhere, blah, blah, blah, …finish is at yellow tent. Well I caught the last thing and upon gapping the guy on my wheel by about 50 yards approaching the start/finish area I saw the yellow tent and an opening in the fencing. I yelled and pointed, “Finish!?” To which I got no response so I took the exit….WRONG! DOH! There goes the guy around the bend to the correct finish! Oh well, 2nd for me, it was fun though, and the guy who won, Jason who was riding a 2.125:1 (34/16), was very cool about it being that I controlled the race and gapped him at the end only to miss the VERY POORLY marked finish!!! DOH!!! Karma I think, as I’ve never done that but have been guilty of heckling a few buddies about the same thing in the past! hahaha I over heard him telling others that it was a hollow victory and pointed to me while saying I was the best rider of the day. I ended up chatting with him for about an hour along with the others in the group while we waited for almost 2hrs for the results! Brought back a lot of memories of a particular Michigan race promoter in that situation! hahaha

Basically my strategy worked perfect, well obviously almost, in that I made sure to get myself in front to be the 1st in the woods to set the pace. I kept it easy as I had no idea what gear anyone was riding or how good they were or what my fitness comparison was. The 1st pic below was mid-way through lap1, with the 2nd being on the last big climb of lap2. At the transition area of lap 1 I allowed the rider to pass me and followed him around the open grass fields. Then just before entering the woods I easilly jumped back in front to do the pace setting. About 1/2 way through the 2nd lap I slowed a touch with hopes he'd jump in front so I could size him up. He did, but it didn't last as he took a wide detour around a log pile not wanting to go over it. It was just about 2 miles to go and he was back on my wheel. I'm thinking he was testing me at this point as he picked it up a lot and I hung like a monkey on his back. The course then shoots out onto a paved path for about 500yds then into a steep climb back into the woods before getting back on the path again. I gapped him good there then cruised on the path. As I looked back he was spinning like mad to catch me, and just as he did is when I attacked again to exit the path to the "wrong" finish spot...DOH!

So, now I have a $50 gift cert to the promoting bike shop in Greensboro…Anyone want it for $45? Let me know! The next possible race is Sept. 23 at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem. I will ride with these new comrades to check out the course, and maybe bump up my gearing a little to a 14 tooth cog. From what I hear it should be similar to PLRA and should be fun!