Popular Mechanics Lives – SoCS

It’s Saturday, and it’s time to take Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. I normally carry it to the bar and see if David, or Cheryl or I can work it into our conversation. This week, Linda gave us the following to work with:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘brush.’ Use it as a noun, a verb, or an idiom. Have fun!”

If we were having a beer, Cheryl would be busy.

“I’ll be with you guys in a minute.”

“Is something wrong, Cheryl?”

“Two things. One, Skippy had the closing shift last night. Two, this week’s special is a margarita.”

“Is that salt you’re brushing off the back bar.”

“The back bar, the well, the cash register, the cooler – how could one man get salt in so many places?”

“While you’re brushing the cooler, could you snag me a Corona?”

“Sure, Dan. I just like the bar to be clean. Where’s your buddy?”

“I saw his car in the lot, maybe he’s in the little buddy’s room.”

“He, by that I mean I, forgot my mask.”

“Bourbon or wine, David?”

“Bourbon, Cheryl, with seltzer and a glass of ice, please.”

“You’re treating yourself to the top shelf, David?”

“Who deserves it more, Dan?”

“No one, I suppose. Did you have a good week?”

“I did. I took advantage of the cooler days to finally clean up after the hurricane. What about you, still working on that shed?”

“Well, I took Tuesday off, but yeah, still working on the shed.”

“What did you do on Tuesday?”

“I visited the Connecticut Historical Society Museum.”

“I thought they were closed because of the virus.”

“They had been. They reopened on Tuesday.”

“Any new exhibits?”

“Three, David – one on world war two propaganda posters. One on manufacturing in America during that war and one on women’s suffrage and women’s right to vote.”

“We just celebrated one hundred years of being able to vote.”

“You did, Cheryl. I think that was on Wednesday. It was good timing for the exhibit.”

“Did you take pictures, Dan?”

“I did, David, but I’m still trying to sort them out. I’ll write a blog post about them later.”

“OK. So, what did you do with the shed?”

“I build the roof for the north end and hung it over the barn door track.”

“Wait, you built the roof and hung it over the track?”


“Why didn’t you just build it on the wall, Dan? I mean, isn’t that what would you usually do?”

“Building it in the shop let me make it stronger. The roof isn’t very wide, but it has no support from below, so I wanted the structure to be stronger.”

“But a roof, even a small one must be heavy. How did you hang it on the wall?”

“With a crane.”

“You have a crane?”

“Doesn’t everyone?”

No, Dan. Everybody – as in all normal people – do NOT have cranes!”

“Are you suggesting Dan’s not normal, David. That’s a pretty harsh accusation.”

“Not only is Dan not normal, Chery, he wouldn’t recognize normal if he brushed up against it in the parking lot.”

“Well, I came to see if you boys want another round.”

“I do, Cheryl, and bring another Corona for the lift-master.”

“Actually, my wife ran the controls.”

“It’s hard to believe she encourages you.”

“She did buy me a model crane a few years ago, but this was for safety. I guided the roof and I set the Helping Hands in place after it was up. She was able to make small adjustments as I did.”

“Where did you get a crane?”

“I built it.”

“Here’s a cold Corona and a perfect lime wedge for the crane-maker. And another splash of John Howell’s Bourbon, a snifter of seltzer and a glass of ice for the ‘normal’ guy.”

“Touché Cheryl. But, seriously, he built a crane. Who builds cranes in their spare time?”

“I’m guessing it’s the long-term effect of his reading Popular Mechanics as a child.”

“Ha! I suppose you built that crane from scrap laying around your garage, Dan.”

“In fact, I did. Almost everything other than the scaffold and the hoist was scrap wood and metal I had laying around.”

“Did you build it just for this job?”

“No, having it for this job was serendipity. I build it to lift and move things around my shop.”

“That thing seems a little ungainly to move around a small shop.”

“The boom is an add-on feature. Normally, it operates as a small gantry crane. I can wheel the scaffold over my trailer lift lumber out, and then pull the trailer out, set up sawhorses and lower the lumber onto them.”

“Wow! That actually sounds like a good idea, for an old man like you, Dan.”

“Look who’s talking.”

“Touché, Dan. I’m getting skewered on all sides. I think I’ll just say cheers, Dan.”

“Maybe you’ve had too much bourbon, David. Perhaps you shouldn’t drive. Dan, could you give him a lift?”

“Cheers Cheryl.”


    • When I built the stacked-deck-steps last year, I made sure the main ones had enough room for Maddie and her cot. She’s been wanting to go out around 4:00 pm, but “her deck” is still in the sun. Early this week, she noticed that the steps of the back porch are in the shade. She just plopped down, as if to say, “we can sit here, it’s in the shade.”

      I have come so close to getting hurt unloading my trailer, that I decided I needed to have a safe way to do it. Then I decided that I could use a safe way of hanging my extension ladders on the wall of the garage. I already was using small block & tackle sets, but it was cumbersome. I’d pull one, tie it off, pull the other, and so on. This will make that safe and easy. For a one-man shop, that’s the key. Later this year, I hope to show how the scaffold fits in my remodeled workshop.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Zoinks! Dan, this is beyond impressive. I need to come back and take another look at the pictures from my computer so I can see them better. But the one of the squirrel is perfect. Get some rest and enjoy that beer. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Building this thing was so much fun, Teagan. I’m glad it was ready for this project. I am giving myself the weekend off. I may get a bag of yard waste ready for pick up on Monday, but nothing too hard. It’s going back into the 90s today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You never fail to amaze me, Dan. That crane is genius and the roof addition loos terrific. I’m amazed it can be up there without support from the ground. Love the photos of the project. Nice job working the prompt in. Thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Impressive Dan. Let me guess the roof is built mostly if not exclusively with screws rather than nails ? I see you used plywood around the outside edge to minimize weight. There is something to be said for assembly on the ground and lifting into place. Is that piece of equipment mid scaffold being used for the counter balance ? Bonus points to Gryffindor for making use of materials on hand. And another round.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Screws and adhesive coated nails from an air-nailer. The big benefit was to be able to attack the sheathing with the structure supported on saw horses. The sheathing helps to hold things in place. The 3/4″ plywood fascia will be covered with vinyl.

      The scaffold was purchased to serve as a gantry crane, in that it will slide over my utility trailer (from the front) and let me remove sheet goods without hurting my back. I was surprised at how well it serves as a counter balance. I also have two old truck scale weights I can hang off the opposite end, but I’m not sure I’ll ever need to use them – I don’t plan on lifting more than 200lb loads, if that. When not in use, the scaffold will sit over two rolling drawer units. They both will have heavy bench-top tools stored on them. I hope to be able to pick them up, slide the scaffold out and set the tools on a WorkMate for use. Then put them back when done.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “You have a crane?” “Doesn’t everyone?” gave me a chuckle. Every post apocalypse movie has someone who fixes things with what’s on hand. These are very valuable skills. My husband has some of those too. But I hope you guys can just continue to tinker and build for fun and home improvements without the the apocalyptic stuff. I’m glad you took Tuesday off and curious about the propaganda posters in the museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I looked around at all the things I can do with this combination. Since I only had to buy the scaffold, the hoist and a few odds and ends, it really started to make sense. This was not the normal operation, but it was nice to be able to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You built your own crane from scrap wood–oh, Dan. We are on the painter’s schedule to have our house power washed, scraped, and painted…..in October. And what the heck, we asked him to paint our garage, too. Which meant we have to start cleaning it out. My husband had a stash of scrap wood–that had to go. I feel your cringe… :D
    Maddie amongst the leaves is such a pretty photo. And bunny butt–way too cute. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ironically, most of the wood and metal parts that became this crane, also had to go. I’m trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible from my garage and workshop. It was good to be able to put some of that stuff to good use.

      Maddie amongst the leaves was an annoying experience. I had to take six pictures before I was able to get one I could crop her out of. She’s such a jerk. But, I guess it’s her walk, so I should be paying attention to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That is so cool to have your own crane. B would be jealous.

    Your museum trip makes me want to venture out to SAMA. They just re-opened with strict mask requirements & social distancing. I have two weeks before Texas Women: A New History in Abstract Art goes the way of the dinosaur. I’m kicking myself for not going in February.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so happy that CHS reopened. I couldn’t wait to go. Masks and distancing were required, but I was the only person there do it wasn’t hard. We’re trying to support these places. It’s so important.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Where did you get a crane?” “I built it.” Because of course you did. You realize normal people don’t say things like that, right? I’d no sooner be able to build heavy work machinery than find a cure for cancer… 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am impressed, Dan. I laughed out loud when you said you have a crane. But of course you do? Doesn’t everyone? LOL Your craftsmanship is outstanding! And I LOVE the way you use your brain to think smarter so the work is not as heavy. I like it!! To be able to incorporate ways to get the work done without pulling our back out, now that is brilliant! Too bad you and hubby live so far apart. You two would never stop yakking and sharing ideas. LOVED the gallery. And yeah …. I have a feeling winter is coming early this year. I’m seeing signs of fall and most of the birds here ahead migrated. Even Robins. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you deserve Saturday off after all that. I too am seriously impressed and I love the photo of your co-worker. I rather that it was a shot of the supervisor sans coffee cup but otherwise looking about the same. Although there seem to usually be about four of them lounging around the hole, chatting and sipping while one or two peons actually work. :-)


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Of course you have your own crane! … and of course you built it yourself!! Just when I couldn’t be more impressed with your nerdy awesomeness, you pull something else out of your workshop!!

    … and full points to the Editor for (wo)manning the controls 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha – thanks Joanne. The Editor has a long history of running the hoist. When we did a major renovation in 2007, I built a “ladder hoist” (the things they use to run bundles of shingles onto the roof) for getting lumber and roofing material up to the 2nd floor. She monitored every load, made sure it was centered and safe. After I was up on the receiving end, she would run the load up. The only time she wasn’t running the hoist, a male friend was and that was the only time we had a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You got to a museum! That must have made your day after many months. My two visits this month have had very few people at the museums, which was delightful. Very impressive on the crane, Mr. Popular Mechanics. I always love how you and David talk in the bar with Cheryl. Please, no fall leaf photos till September. I’m always in fall denial at the end of August.

    Liked by 1 person

Add your thoughts or join the discussion. One relevant link is OK, more require moderation. Markdown is supported.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.