Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today I Am a Man ..Airstreamer

In three score and seven, I have passed (or perhaps slipped by) many of those markers on the way to MANHOOD, but none which so filled me with such manly pride as RIVETING. (Ok, you may have seen Someday59’s kids gripping Air powered Rivet guns and polishers, but they’re home schooled and thereby advanced in so many, many ways.)
Although life’s experiences may be riveting, my own exposure to actual riveting has been limited.
  • patching Marshall Bennet’s rusted out ‘47 jeep with Aluminum and Bondo. If you know Marshall, you know I never got to touch any ‘chinery.
  • I may have been present at the installation of a few “rivet patches” in Hueys in RVN, but I was distracted counting the number of rivets in the tail boom so I could be as smart as all the Warrant Officers.
  • When my aluminum canoe had an unfortunate encounter with a mid stream rock and required repairs, the guys at the National Guard Flight facility got so tired of my lame questions that the Maintenance Chief bucked in a few while I held the canoe.  Thanks Tommy, but aren’t ear plugs required?
So it was with excitement and trepidation that I opened the box from Vintage Trailer Supply..
Let’s see.  New power converter to solve my recharging woes.  (it’s only ELECTRICITY; what could go wrong?)
100 big head rivets, (wonder which end…?)
and CLECOES (CLECOS are little 3” gadgets2011_0727CASSIE_ASF0018 that you insert in the newly drilled holes to hold the two pieces together while you drill many many more holes.

Clecos are the Talisman, the sure sign  of an Airstreamer capable of  actual riveting and ready to confront sagging belly pan, dislocated banana wrap and perhaps even panel replacement.) I have 25 of them.  Actually that’s five times the number I will need but I intend to carry 2-3 in my pocket at all times and perhaps drop them casually on a bar, the ultimate challenge coin.
The actual riveting was a little anti-climatic.  I could perhaps have dramatized it a little by sticking my legs out in traffic as I crawled under trailer parked at curbside, but Pat and Emilyn were doing girl things, so the audience response was muted.
I know now why the machine shop GAVE me the perfect sized drill bit I was shopping for –he knew I would be back for more.
So, belly pan secure, banana wrap repositioned, computer desk de taped and tie downs secure.  I feel so proud. 
Oh yes, Old Army surplus looking Converter replaced with sleek new electronic version with three stage charger, battery serviced—what could go wrong; it’s just ELECTRICITY….?

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