Saturday, September 3, 2011

Iraq Enna Grynnndah

Iraq Enna Grynnndah?? What's that mean?

Well, I'll get to that. Today was the first day back to work on the airplane since my finger surgery on Tuesday. I finally got that annoying bump removed from my finger (and to alleviate the suspense, I will tell you right now that my pants stayed on for the entire operation) but it turned out to be a bigger ordeal than I had expected. It seemed to me that it would be a simple matter of cutting a slot in the skin around the hardened little pellet in there and removing it, but apparently these little pellets put down roots. At anyone that has ever felled a tree can tell you, it's the removal of the roots that's the hard part. There's plenty of digging involved in that, and that's all I'm going to say on the topic in deference to my own squeamishness, if not yours.

In any event, I had a pretty sore finger for a few days, along with a bulky bandage that made it difficult to do much of anything with my right hand. Between that and the 95+ degree days, I thought it prudent to just stay inside and recuperate for a few days.

With today having further promise of oppressive heat and humidity in the afternoon and the first game of the 2011 season for the mighty tattooed Ohio $tate Buckeyes coming on the TV at 1:00, Cadillac Pete and I decided on an early morning work session. The goal for today was to finalize the trimming required to get the canopy to fit. Having had a few days to think about it, I went to the hangar today convinced that the secret was to simply not be afraid to remove material. That said, plexiglass shares a trait with fiberglass: it is easy to remove material. Unlike fiberglass, however, it does not share the salutary trait of being easy to replace material. Once it's off, it's off to stay. An incremental approach would be prudent, even with the generous 1/4" tolerance allowed.

When we last left the canopy, we were having a hard time getting it to sit well on the frame. As we would push on one area to get it to seat against the frame, it would bulge out in other areas, very much like those Walmart shoppers you see strolling the aisles in clothes that even the most optimistic and sartorially challenged person should be able to discern as being three sizes too small. We had been concentrating our efforts on trimming the back edge, mostly because that was only only "adjustment" mentioned in the plans.

Today we decided that it was becoming apparent that some of the other edges would need to be trimmed too, particularly the left and right edges that sit on the canopy frame. I got busy grinding, while preternaturally patient Pete paced back and forth pragmatically pondering the perplexing problem of the persistently misplaced front edge. For some reason, I felt that the front edge was sacrosanct and that any adjustments would/should be made elsewhere. Again, I point to the plans mentioning only that the back edge may need to be trimmed.

As I was grinding away, my mind wandered back to an event in my past. One of my early professional jobs after I had finished my five year enlistment in the Air Force was touring around the country assisting in systems upgrades at Continental Insurance offices. Having had two overseas assignments during my military years, I was used to living in areas where I didn't speak the language. Still, I was surprised one day when I was working a job in New Hampshire and a group of locals suggest we go to lunch with them to get "Iraq Enna Grynnndah."

"A what??"

When they said it more slowly, I was able to pick out individual words, but it didn't help. They were proposing that we go get "a rack and a grinder." Further questioning revealed that they wanted to go get some beers and a submarine sandwich, aka hoagie, aka grinder.

After three or four grinding sessions, each followed with yet another trial fit, we were still having trouble getting the canopy to sit correctly on the frame. Pete's pacing had produced a pertinent proposal, though: trim the front edge.

And that's exactly what we did. The canopy now fits perfectly.

The secret, then, to precisely positioning a precocious and persistently problematic canopy is to procrastinate for a suitable period prior to putting aside preconceived notions regarding the permissibility of paring away various parts of the product.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the writeup and how you come back around an give us the "grinder" clue.

Hope your finger won't put down more roots!

Gail of Rick's Bro-in-law fame.

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