Sunday, January 1, 2017

"Sometimes a Man just has know his limitations."

There are a lot of great quotes in this movie. Fans will remember them all, but I found this one to be especially appropriate at my stage of life.

Jerry Brown following Clint Eastwood? Was he responsible for another of my favorite quotes? "We are entering an era of reduced expectations".

The need to manage the old car hobby can  be the result of a lot of factors; money, time, space, money, health and money. Did I mention money? In our youth most of us enjoyed good health and vitality, and most of our limitations came from the lack of time and money. There wasn't anything that we couldn't accomplish as long as we were willing to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Now after rolling up our sleeves we may find that our back is starting to hurt, our hips ache, and our arms and shoulders are feeling awfully sore. Hmmmm, now there is an another factor added to the equation; our physical health. Can we still do the DIY physical  labor that we need to invest to accomplish our goals?

Like the other forms of " human capital" the amount is always limited. Sometimes we have more time available, but without money we can't afford the parts or processes we need to do the job. Other times we might have extra space available, and we might find ourselves amassing a collection of forlorn project cars that we will probably never get around to finishing. Or even starting. As we get older we might be able to squeeze some extra cash loose, and of course this is the greatest lubricant to progress in the hobby car field. It's even better than STP! That extra money will allow us to buy a car in better shape, order all the parts we need at one time, pay others to do the work that we have no interest or desire to do, rent garage space, and generally make up for any other area of expertise that we are lacking in.

There is a lot of physical movement involved in this hobby of ours. Bending, crouching, kneeling , reaching. pulling, pushing, crawling, carrying, just to name a few. All this movement takes it's toll on our backs, shoulders, hips knees and elbows.

Dude! Put on some pants,  that's a sure way to get hurt in the garage!

Even the great Leonardo realized that all this stretching and such was going to take it's toll on our "mortal coil" ( a Di Vinci reference followed by a Shakespearean reference, hows that for high brow?")

Conservation gets a lot of press these days, conserving our Nation's resources is a good and vital thing, conserving our own personal resources is even more important since it has such a great and direct impact on our lives.

I told some of the young guys that I work with, that you know you are getting old when every movement is punctuated by a grunt, groan, or sigh.

All of this is just a way to lead up to to the fact that I started experiencing quite a bit of pain to my right hip a few days ago. I had been doing a lot of loading and unloading of my pick up truck bed. Lots of trips to the public storage space. My truck is not that tall, but getting into the bed requires me to raise one knee up onto the open tailgate and then to scramble and hoist myself up whilst pivoting on my bent right knee. This causes quite a bit of rotation and force being applied to that old hip. Now I've been doing this kind of thing for years, lots of years. I used to have to swing my arms around in circular motions a lot, as part of my job, directing vehicles around. I started getting pain to my rotater cuffs, even worse I could detect a faint ratcheting "sound" while I moved the shoulder joint. To preserve and protect the cartilage I've got left, I started doing the "T Rex"  thing with my arms. This entails restricting my arm's movement to the area directly in front of my body. Just watch how the dinosaur does it in "Toy Story."

This hip pain is the newest addition to my cacophony of  aches and pains. It joins my lower back, knees, upper back, and that weird joint in my left ring finger in a symphony of suffering, or at least nagging discomfort.

Boy did I laugh when I first saw that "man step." I'm not laughing now.

I had given myself what I thought was at the time an arbitrary cut off point for quitting my messing around with cars. "Ten more years, that ought to be enough!"  Well now I'm wondering if I will even make it to the end of that ten years.

While I don't envision myself being involved in extremely heavy labor in my DIY future . I do have some pretty  heavy duty jobs lined up, right now.

First, I've got to replace those lower control arms on my '96 Mustang, That means jacking up the car, crawling around underneath, compressing and removing the springs, and breaking loose the tie rod ends and ball joints.

Second, I've got to replace the rubber bushings in the control arms of my XJ6. This looked like it was also going to involve jacking up the car, crawling around underneath, compressing and removing the springs, and breaking loose the tie rod ends and ball joints.

Third, I've  got to remove and replace the transmission in my XJS. This will involve jacking up the car, crawling around underneath, removing exhaust pipes, linkages, oil lines and more. All while supporting the motor with a support sling and maneuvering  the transmission jack underneath while trying to avoid a reinactment of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, except this time with ATF instead of crude petroleum.

I see an immediate future involving a lot of crawling around on the floor.

Am I up to it? Well I better be. I've dug myself into a bit of a hole with this old car fleet. The Mustang must be repaired before it can be sold. The XJ6 must be repaired before it can be comfortably driven. The XJS must be repaired so that I can drive it enough to form some kind of relationship with it.

I could not have all these cars unless I had been willing to put in the work needed to keep them up. There's no way I could afford to take them all to a mechanic to have all the repair and maintenance done. I will have to be careful not to hurt myself getting all these tasks done. There is no way to avoid being quite sore the day after.

Of course it would be easier if I had less cars in the first place.  I may have to cull the herd soon. Still it is important to conserve my strength and physical ability over the long haul.

photo source:
Like the Old Gent in the picture, you can stand still or keep on walking, but the hands on that clock will keep right on moving.

Happy New Year! Best Wishes for 2017!  Let's keep on moving and see it we can stay ahead of the movement of that Cosmic timepiece.

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