Those who know me in person will rapidly discover that I exhibit a strong resemblance to the stereotypical “absent-minded professor” — my daily activities are almost entirely intellectual, and I often neglect such basic things like eating, de-cluttering my apartment, etc.
Therefore, one of my resolutions for the new year is to actually get out and do things with my hands.
I’ve started by doing work on cars. As my car is in good repair, there’s little I can do, so I’ve been working on cars belonging to friends (obviously with their permission, and oftentimes with their help). It’s interesting, it’s fun, there’s a lot to learn, and it’s hands-on work.
This working on cars started out with the simple: changing of oil, oil filters, and air filters. Simple stuff, really, and doable with a minimum of tools. While down there, one can also inspect the underside of the vehicle and note any things that look damaged, worn, or out of the ordinary. While changing the oil on my friend Mark’s 2002 Subaru Forester, he and I discovered that the rubber boot for the left, front CV joint was torn and had thrown CV grease over the underside of the vehicle. It clearly needed to be repaired or replaced.
After he called around, he opted for repair rather than replacement. He got a new boot, fresh grease, and assorted other small tools and we both worked on the car for several hours yesterday. Although we had some problems getting the control arm off, we finally managed to do so, and then got the CV axle off completely. We took the inner joint apart, cleaned it, inspected every part, re-greased it, put a new boot on it, and put it back together and re-mounted it in the car. So far, so good.
Very greasy, yes, but very interesting. It’s quite stimulating to actually do work with one’s hands, rebuild something that was previously broken, and have it work.
I think I may do this more often…