I had the opportunity to buy a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 last week from a guy I used to work with. Since I’ve shot the gun before (and so has my mom, making her cooler than your mom!) I jumpped at the chance. This past Saturday I took it to the range with my friend Joe to try it out. Between the two of us we put about 80 rounds through it, and it was quite apparent that I will need to get a nice bench rest of some kind. The previous owner had a nice bench rest setup and was consistently shooting <1″ groups at 50 yards. I had a small pillow and a box… it was a struggle to shoot a 5″ group at 50 yards.
Joe and I also went to the pistol range and shot my Walther P99 and Ithica M1911A1. It was a fun morning, and I hadn’t spent time with him in a long while. Joe and I have been friends since kindergarden but we haven’t seen much of each other the last 8 years since we lived so far away. We had alot of fun!
While I’m on the topic of guns… my grandpa and I were going through some old boxes he had stored away and he found a box of ammunition for the Springfield 03A3 that had given me a while back. In the box was a full WWII ammunition belt containing 12 stripper clips of original WWII .30-06 cartridges in pristine condition! It also had 8 boxes of .30-06 cartridges, however these have corrosive primers, and half, if not more, of the cartridges were already corroding and would be very unsafe to fire. After seeing the bad primers, I was more than happy to find that the cartridges in the stripper clips were still good.
Christmas this year was rather nice. I got up early and went to the dawn (6:45 <gasp>) Catholic Mass with my mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. After Mass we came home and my sister had prepared the classic eggs benedict that we always have for Christmas morning breakfast. My grandma really wasn’t looking forward to cooking the big dinner that we have always had so we ended up just hanging out for a while after breakfast, before opening presents.
This year we all pitched in and got pretty much everything on everyone’s list. I enjoyed watching my parents open their presents; now that my sister and I are out of school and can actually afford to give back, it was almost like they were the little kids again, opening gift after gift not knowing what was next. Even the dog got in on the action, tearing up all the wadded up wrapping paper and getting nosey with everything that looked like a potential chew toy. After opening presents we all just lounged around, a few of us took naps (we didn’t sleep in after all!) and in the afternoon my parents took off to visit other family in Ft Lauderdale for a few days.
My family’s celebration is quite small and relaxed compared to some of my friends’ giant gatherings, but I like it that way. It’s my family’s traditional Christmas celebration; small, simple, joyful, and memorable. Merry Christmas everyone!
I went to the shop today for one thing- to clean up a present for a friend of mine. It’s a WWII dental field chair and foot-powered tool. I’ve had the setup since I was somewhere between the age of 2 and 5, which is too far back for me to remember exactly, but I never really had the drive to do anything with it.
My friend Joe just graduated from dental school and moved back to Fort Myers to join his parents’ practice. While he was in school I thought it would be a great present for him when he graduated, and now that he is, I’m cleaning it up to give him. My grandpa (who said he had a tooth filled with one of these in WWII) convinced me that it was more valuable to leave it the way it was, so I was happy not to spend the rest of my vacation sanding and painting. I wouldn’t have been able to get the silk screen logo back on either. I’ll leave it to Joe to decide how to clean it up.
Before I boxed it up, I couldn’t find packing tape. There are probably over a million different tools in the shop… and no packing tape! So in the mean time I decided to mount a compressor hose reel that I got my grandpa for Christmas last year. He has been thinking of all the ways he could mount it to be portable and what to do with it, but I decided to just mount it to the compressor.
As I wrapped up that project, my grandpa finished his lunch and nap and asked me to finish welding a lug on to a washer. The washer is part of the mowing deck of one of my grandpa’s lawn tractors and sandwitches the blade on to a shaft kind of like a friction clutch. It’s been a year since I’ve done any stick welding, but I was able to run a bead of weld that he filed and ground down to fit.
On a side note, this is the bathroom sink in the shop. When I talk about “the shop” I am talking about my grandpa’s machine shop. It is a 2000ish square foot building with every tool known to man. Over the years working there (since I was about 5 years old pulling weeds) I have come to describe it like this: No matter what job I’ve needed to do- from sweating copper pipe, to pouring concrete, to making a new babbitt bearing for an engine crankshaft- he had the tools. (This is partly why he has achieved super-hero status in my mind.) But even with all these tools, that sink has been sitting on the floor for as long as I can remember.
When I was a kid, there were no walls, just piles of junk/treasure that defined the boundaries of the bathroom. There was a toilet and some pipes sticking out of the wall where the sink would eventually go. About 15 years ago my grandpa framed out the room to the left of the bathroom, then about 5 years ago he finally got the walls put in to the bathroom. After I moved to FWB, he finally installed the sink. It still needs a door, but that will probably take another 5 years. There’s actually a drain in the floor to install a tiny shower, but for now there’s a shelving unit in that space full of… treasure.
Sometimes I think my projects take too long. Then I saw the sink and it reminded me that my grandpa has spent over a quarter of his life on this project, and it’s just a bathroom.
This keyboard belongs to Shoreline Church. The part that contains the fuses, power switch, and input plug for the power cord broke off. I used epoxy (JB Weld- the best stuff on earth) to reattach it, but a previously shorted circuit had fried it, so Brian ordered a new one. I was glad to finish it and get it back to Shoreline! I thought I’d post this picture I took of it’s guts before putting it back together.