Friday, March 26, 2010

Hell hath no fury...

... like the month of March scorned. Or at least taken for granted. This year's March failed to live up to its "In like a lion" reputation and, well, we got complacent. The last thing I expected to see this morning was a coating of snow and the ever-infuriating frozen rain. But there it was! And on delivery day! That's worse than a forehead pimple on the day of the prom!

ABF Trucking called early to notify me that I could expect the truck around 9:45. They've been pleasant to deal with on both of my deliveries and they go out of their way to keep you in the loop, which is why I wasn't surprised when I got another call just a few minutes after the predicted delivery time to tell me that the driver was running a little behind schedule. I really appreciate good service like that! They had also warned me that the truck they were using this time was a little bigger than the last one. They weren't kidding!

There was no way I wanted that behemoth backing its way up my driveway, but fortunately I had taken their warning to heart and asked Good Neighbor Bob to bring his van down to the house. The driveway was too icy for us to try to carry a 227 lb. box up to the garage, so we'd need to transfer the box to the van and drive it up. Getting the box from the trailer to the van was easy since we were able to make copious use of our good friend Mr. Gravity.

Mr. Gravity: he's always there when you need him, and just as often when you don't.

The ever-watchful but seldom courageous Brave Sir Hogarth monitored the situation from the security of his ambush position:

The box was shaped differently than I had expected. For some reason, possibly because of the shape of a fuselage, I thought that the box would be taller and shorter than this:

The "lid" of the box was attached with coarse-thread screws rather than the staples that had been used on the tail kit box, so it was much easier to remove. An electric drill with a bit is always going to be faster and neater than a crowbar. The first step in unpacking one of these things is to remove the brown packing paper. Van's knows that the vast majority of these kits are going to be shipped well over a thousand miles by potentially uncaring trucking companies, so they use the pulped and processed product of a small forest to protect the pieces.

It would be a false economy to do otherwise, but it does present the recipient with a bit of a problem: what to do with all of that paper? Me, I just wadded it up and stuck it in trashbags to go out with the normal trash. Had I thought of it sooner, I might have soaked it down with a hose and tossed it into the back yard to return to the soil from which it sprang. Well, if I had thought of it sooner and if it hadn't been 35 effing (and I don't mean 'F' as in Mr. Gravity's close personal friend, Dr. Fahrenheit) degrees outside.

So, here it is without the top layer of paper:

From there it's simply a matter of unwrapping each of the parts bundles and hauling it all down to the shop. The white, flat piece leaning against the workbench is the plexiglass (or Lexan, or equivalent) for the back window:

The closest flat aluminum piece is the instrument panel part of the firewall:

The big aluminum piece is the center section that I waited so long for:

It was worth the wait. It's a complex, critical piece, and I sure wouldn't have wanted to squeeze or drive those big, fat rivets:

Inventory is next. I'm not sure when I will get to it as I'm not going to be around much next week.

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