Saturday, February 22, 2014

Filling In The Blanks

Remember that nasty hole that was inside the firewall when I got the Satellite? And remember two weeks ago when I covered it up with fiberglass? And remember how I haven't done anything with it since? Well, I finally took care of that today.

 Top: The hole inside before adding a fiberglass patch. Bottom: Patched up hole with fiberglass after sitting for two weeks.

I wasn't sure if I was going to work on the car today. This was a really crazy weekend for me. I had spent the morning crafting, assembling a gift a friend requested me to make for her husband. In between that, I was trying to clean the house and at some point this weekend, I also have to do some programming homework, take a quiz, prepare for my programming midterm on Tuesday and prepare to get my stuff ready for my trip to Savannah with my sister on Tuesday night. Just a tad bit crazy. Naturally, I decided to just take on one section on the car today.

My morning started out with a trip to the Advance Auto Parts down the street from us to get some engine paint. I figured I'd tackle painting the firewall today. As I browsed through the paints in search of a low gloss black, I was surrounded by nothing but glossy. Dammit. I wanted the Chrylser Black, and of course, they didn't have any. I thought, "Damn MOPAR people..." (Yeah, I know, I'm totally one of them, looking for the same shade of black!) I asked the guy at the counter if he could check the inventory to see if he had any in back and he said, "No, but the Manchester store has 6 in stock." He reminded me of where that location was at. Before I left to go across town, I made a point of picking up a body repair kit with the hammers and blocks for fixing dents. I know I'll have a few that I'll need to deal with in the future. I also told the guy, "My luck, I'd go to the other store and they'll have the paint, but not the body repair kit." He laughed.

A small jaunt to the other side of town later, I found what I needed and got three cans of Chrysler Black engine paint, a container of acetone, and proceeded to the checkout. The kid at the register said, "These are buy one get one half off. Do you wanna get another?"

"You only had three cans out," I grumbled, but then got an idea and exclaimed, "OH SHIT! WAIT!" I ran off and came back a split second later, dumping a can of Hemi Orange Engine Paint on the counter.

The kid chuckled. I'm not sure it was because of my profanity-laced epiphany or my DAMN I'M GOOD shirt, or a combination of both, but something about that moment was amusing. I figured I'd need the orange in the future. I don't even know if I'm even going to use the orange or if I'm going to go the Chrysler Turquoise (and honestly, the more I think about it, I have a sneaky suspicion I'm going to do the turquoise), but I figured it was BOGO engine paint and I couldn't not take advantage of that kind of deal.

Of course, assuming I was totally prepared to do my work for the day was asking for too much. I got home, unpacked my new purchases, brought out the tools, turned on Pandora to the Black Flag station and proceeded to enjoy a productive morning of good weather and tunes. After uncovering the car, removing the hood, and the fenders, I hopped inside to assess the fiberglass hot-mess I left behind two weeks ago. It was significantly uglier than I remembered. I couldn't hit it completely with the sander as it was blocked partially, so it became a job for the angle grinder! This was my first time ever using an angle grinder and I was really happy that I was able to set it up and use it without failing. However, I needed a much lighter sander to do what I needed to do, so I went to put on the 80 grit sanding disc, and much to my dismay, it was the wrong size. I needed a 4 1/2" diameter and accidentally grabbed a 5". I looked at my other discs and saw those were the right size, so it meant time for a trip to Home Depot to do a return.

I packed up the gear and hopped in the Focus to Home Depot. It was pretty quick and uneventful. Run in, hit up the return desk, go to the power tools and look for the correct size. Of course, they didn't have the size I needed, so I wound up getting a 50 grit and a different type of disc that was in 80 grit that I wasn't completely sold on, but got anyway just in case. After Home Depot, I picked up some lunch and proceeded back to the house.

When I got out this time, I was now 100% certain I was ready to unpack everything and get down to business, interruption free. WRONG.

OK, so I did get some stuff done. I used the angle grinder. It was awesome. Got what I could sand from the fiberglass patch sanded down in the firewall with that, then used the random orbit sander on any areas that were within sanding range. The rest had to be done manually. When I say manually, I don't mean on the sanding block and scrubbing, I mean holding paper in my hand and scrubbing. It was a royal pain. And even though it is located at the very bottom and won't even be noticeable once the engine is in, I know it's there and I wanted it to look good. So I hit it again with a finer grain paper to get it smoothed out as best as I could.

Before I could paint the firewall, I had to prime a few more areas in addition to priming the fiberglass patched area. This meant more sanding and remember how I said my day was no longer interruption free? Well, it turns out the previous owners made a point of sandblasting the body to remove rust before they primed the entire car, but they didn't do anything about removing the buildup of grease under the hood. Jesse said from the looks of things, it must have had a major valve cover gasket leak at one point.

But how was this amazing discovery of crud found, you ask? That's where it gets amusing! There's a hose that was on there and I'm not sure what it's connected to or where it goes, but apparently, it leaks. It's like a ghost leak or something because there's nowhere for it to leak from! Anyway, while sanding one spot, I noticed an area of primer that was starting to bubble up and peel off. It was really weird the way it was peeling like there was an oily substance under it and sure enough, there was! So the hose leak discovery was made. Jesse took the hose off and that solved that problem. But with the pile of gunk now destroying a perfectly good primed area, that meant needing to remove the primer from that area and re-priming it.

During the process of removing the primer, I struck oil, or shall I say, grime. I took a flat headed screwdriver and scraped the area, following it as long as the soft goo would get pushed up. It continued further and further along until I just lifted the screw driver and started poking a bunch of random areas nearby to discover all of it was nothing but greasy areas covered in primer! I know, totally sloppy! I had felt the same level of disgust upon discovering shoddy work of the past that I feel whenever ant season comes around and I follow the ants to their holes and find the massive colonies hiding under a rock or something. It just made me cringe and feel disgusted and determined to get rid of the problem now before it gets bigger and to pretend it never existed once it's taken care of.

By this point, my friend Crystal, had come over and was helping with the scraping process. It was a tedious mess and having company made it a lot easier both in terms of work load, but also in the sense of having someone to chat with while working. Eventually, Jesse suggested we get some brake cleaner to get rid of the grime. So came our final interruption for the day: one more trip to Advance Auto Parts.

Upon staring at the cleaning fluid section, I had become over stimulated. My brain turned to mush. "You know when you see something all the time, and you know what the packaging looks like, and you know what it's called, but then when you're presented with a bunch of similar items, you draw a blank?" I asked Crystal. "That's where my brain is at now." I glazed over the various cans before finding the one closest in my memory to what Jesse always buys. Then, I saw a can of PB Blaster. I vaguely remembered a pre-episode of Roadkill on the Hot Rod Magazine channel where David Freiburger held up a can and said something about it being the "best..on Earth, bar none" (8:08). (Much to my dismay, when looking for the clip to link it out just now, I realized he said for penetrating rust.)

I thought I'd buy Jesse's product recommendation and Freiburger's shameless endorsement and put them up to a test against each other. The guy at the counter, who remembered me from earlier in the day, also said the PB Blaster was great stuff, but had an awful smell. I assured him I was fine as I have no sense of smell. We also chatted about pugs as he used to have a fawn pug and seeing the picture of Lulu on my bank card reminded him of his old pug. After that, it was back home and time to do the test!

At home, I was certain Freiburger's product would work better, not just because Freiburger recommended it, but because the clerk also attested to it. Sadly, I was rooting for the wrong man. We pitted the two products up against each other on similar grime, side by side. The brake cleaner worked instantly, the PB Blast, not so much. In fact, it was pretty nasty till I wiped it off, and even then, it wasn't great.

My heart sank. Freiburger failed me. I wanted so badly to be right because I learned it from Freiburger, my hero/man crush, but alas, he was wrong! Jesse said his famous line of, "See? I told you, you should have listened to your husband." Har har. And had my memory been better, I would have known that Freiburger didn't fail me, but that I was misusing his product (as mentioned earlier for rust. Rust! Dammit!) Still, I joked with Jesse, "But, Freiburger said it, so it has to be true. Plus, it was on the internet, so it's double-true."

Enough of that, though.

We wound up creating a giant disaster area of grime and staining our beautiful new driveway. I figure it would just get messed up eventually, so I don't really care. I did care, however, that chunks of the grime got stuck in my Vans and I managed to bring it into the house when my friend came by to pick up the gift she had me make her. I noticed this while I was giving her a tour of the house, but managed to get my shoes off before walking on the carpet. After she got her gift, we went back outside where I returned to Crystal and Jesse to finish up for the day with painting.

Each of us took turns painting the firewall. I did the sides, Jesse did the part by the body, and Crystal did the part by the grill. Thanks to an overabundance of fumes, exhaustion, frustration, and just being done with the day, there were a slew of really bad jokes made about the rattle cans from Shake-Weight references to sexual innuendos of sorts.

At the end of the day, despite interruptions, we accomplished the task I hoped to finish for today. As for that hot-mess of fiberglass that sat dormant for two weeks? See for yourself.

Sadly, I don't have pictures of the car after we put the fenders on to pack it up for the day (as it is supposed to rain tomorrow), but I was so elated to see the fenders with the inside painted black. I told Jesse, "It's looking like a real car!" Then, I thought,  "This must be how Mike Finnegan felt when he got the chassis set up on his '55 Chevy!" Indeed. Nothing can beat the feeling of seeing your pile of junk turn into something.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On Turning 32 and Wanting To Not Be Car Illiterate

I always say your 30’s are when people start to take you seriously because you are no long an idiot in your 20’s trying to test your boundaries and do stupid things. Don’t get me wrong, you can still do that in your 30’s, but there is something about not being a 20-something that people just assume you have more life experience and maturity that will somehow constitute you to be a valuable resource. Granted, your 40’s are clearly where you are seen as expert.  You are also consulted for your professional opinion because you know what you do and you do it well. 50 plus is the level of mastery. People respect you. Bask in your awesome. You earned it. You know everything there is to know about what you do and have shared your wisdom with others, all the while continuing your pursuit for knowledge. 

What does any of that have to do with anything? Well, I turned 32 on February 15th. I am often consulted for help on how to do things, but even though a part of me is proud of the fact people look at me as a good source of information, I can’t help but feel like I am a fake when it comes to applicable life skills. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of great skills that range from cooking, driving a stick, tying knots, sewing, and such, but there is one thing I cannot do that I feel like everyone should know how to do: I can’t work on cars.

I am car illiterate. The most experience I have doing any work remotely on a car is vaguely knowing how to change a tire. I only had to do it once when I was in college and it was on my dad’s car I was borrowing to go to school and back. The front driver side tire blew out, I pulled over on the side of I-5 South between Valencia and the San Fernando Valley before the 405 interchange. I recall several cars driving by honking at me and a few hoots as I was in a skirt when I changed it. That was the only time doing serious car work. My other car disasters I was fortunate enough to have assistance with.

Fall 2001, 19 years old: The day after my first flat tire when my dad went to see the damage done to the tire. Yeah, I know, somehow I survived. There's the blue '94 Tempo it happened in behind me.

Spring or Winter 2010, 28 years old: My '76 Delta 88 Royale stuck in the mud up in the hills outside Sparks, NV. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I even tried to dig under the wheels with my bare hands to slip a towel under for traction. That didn't work.

I kind of know how to check fluids, but in reality, when I pull out my dipstick and look at the oil on there, I feel like I know how my husband must feel when he looks at text editing on websites  I build  and just sees rows of characters, but doesn’t really know what they represent. (I know, you’re thinking, “how does she understand tech garble but can’t comprehend what constitutes as good and bad on a dipstick?” Trust me, I’m just as baffled on this one!)

I've painted cars out of boredom before. But I don’t really consider that work because there was no involvement of bolting, screwing, or dealing with anything mechanical that would impact the drivability of the vehicle. Plus, I did break a lot of parts in the process, but in my defense, I wasn’t planning on putting them back on, so I didn’t really care.

Summer 2009, 27 years old: Stripping the vinyl top from the Oldsmobile (top.) Spray painting Jesse's '67 Galaxy (bottom.)

Somewhere in the maniac side of my brain, I believe now is the right time to learn basic auto mechanics. Partly because a knee injury has kept me from running as much as I’d like to, partly because I believe I’m on the verge of an early mid-life crisis, partly because I can actually afford to take on a project car at this phase in my life. 

My sister is the mechanically inclined one. She learned how to do a lot of stuff by spending time around my dad when he worked on cars when we were kids and hanging around a lot of car guys as a teen and an adult. She knows how to do things, I don’t. I feel like somehow, it is probably important I learn this stuff.

2001 or so, my sister, Lori, and her '73 Nova.

I have decided to commit to learning basic auto mechanics. Much like when I said I would run a marathon and registered to run the Los Angeles Marathon to commit to training, I am going to commit to learning to work on a car. I have already purchased the car and started the body repair. Now all that’s left is to finish the repairs and get to working on the rest. 

In the end, I hope to have a better understanding of cars. How my car works, or how to fix it if something goes wrong. Better yet, to pay attention to gauges and sounds. To not leave lights on and drain batteries multiple times in a month. To not let cars overheat and spit out the white cloud of death. To stop taking cars that aren't designed to go off road into the mountains and getting them stuck. I have learned how to do use and take care of computers and guns. Now is time to learn with cars. Just as I feared I’d never learn to drive a stick, I triumphed. I will not fear knowing about my car. There is no better time to learn than now. I will someday be able to embrace the joys of no longer being ignorant. 

 This is what 32 looks like. Eventually, no longer an idiot with cars and still full of bad karaoke and good times. Above with my '69 Satellite, below singing karaoke at Hangar's Bar & Grill on my birthday.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes

I woke up on Sunday morning with the luxury of sleeping in till 6:30 the day after my birthday. I missed out on the group run at Sweetwater, but that just meant I would have more time to work on the Satellite. Jesse woke up closer to 8:30 and we spent about a half hour trying to decide if we wanted Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Waffle House. The latter was the winner. We had a nice breakfast sitting around discussing random stuff like our future trip to the San Fernando Valley in Southern California in June for my cousin's wedding and followed up our breakfast with a trip to Walmart.

After we got back home, I busted out the tools and got to work sanding the fiberglass patches. I was really excited about getting to use my random orbit sander. This project has forced me to invest in a random assortment of power tools as we don't have any and a sander was one of them. After some research, I found the random orbit sanders to have the best reviews as they were least likely to leave distinguishable surface patterns. I sanded the fiberglass down, as well as the entire roof. I thought, "Why not? If I'm going to prime one spot, I might as well just do the whole thing." I even let Jesse sand for a bit. He got excited when he saw the power tools coming out.

Once the sanding was done, I took a rag with some acetone, wiped the residual fiberglass dust, and let it dry. Then, I hit the patches with some primer to see how well they sanded out. The back hole came out really clean. The front hole had a few areas that needed a little bit of Bondo filling, and the middle hole, the largest of the three, was sunken in and desperately needed a Bondo filling.

I mixed up the Bondo and applied it to the holes and let it cure for a while. When it was done, I hit the areas with the hand sander. Upon further inspection, I realized one of the areas would need to be hit with Bondo a second time as it was pretty ugly and still had some grooves that needed to be filled in.

At the end of the day, I didn't quite accomplish what I had originally hoped to do. I didn't get to prime the entire roof. I did, however, get all the holes on the roof filled in and that's really what I hoped to do. So, prior to Saturday, three holes graced the roof of the Satellite, but by the end of Sunday, the holes were completely covered up. In the end, that's really all I hoped to accomplish this weekend. On that note, I'd say it was a successful weekend.

TOP: One of the three holes on the roof on Saturday. Bottom: Holes filled and primed over for the time being.

And just for fun, here's a photo of Jinky slumping on the fender.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Birthday Car Fun

Today is my birthday and I thought it would be a lovely day to work on the Satellite. I was hoping to get in a 10 mile run this morning, but I woke up late and instead opted to go to Body Pump. After that, I had to do some necessary work like grocery shopping, configuring my parents' three computers and setting up their wireless printer, followed by a quick lunch date with Jesse and ending with finally tackling some fiberglass and Bondo work on the Satellite.

I decided to sneak in some car work and beers before karaoke tonight. I hoped to accomplish fiberglassing the holes in the roof and leaving it at that.

I sanded around the holes and applied the epoxy, fiberglass, more epoxy, and a total of three layers of patches. I also bought some red party cups and cheap paint brushes from the dollar store. After all, if today is my birthday and I'm having a party working on my car, I might as well use party cups!

I had the pleasure of opening up my massive can of Bondo. It's like the Big Gulp equivalent of Bondo. While working on the Bondo, our new mail man, Richard came up and said, "So you must be the owner of the Roadrunner!" We talked a little about the car and I told him how it was a Satellite and I wanted to keep it a beefy Satellite, but how Jesse wanted to do a Roadrunner clone. Long story short, him and Jesse got talking about his cars and some boats he used to do while I did Bondo work. That being said, new mail man is awesome.

I managed to get all the Bondo on above the drip rail on the passenger side today and have yet to sand it. Even without sanding, it looks really amazing! I really don't want to toot my own horn or anything when I speak of my Bondo abilities, but for it to look as smooth as it does without having any sanding done yet is kind of a big deal (in my mind. I'm sure some people out there are like, "Whatever.")

Finally, I end today's post with a picture of Jinky being nosy in the Satellite because apparently people like pictures of cute dogs and cool cars, better yet, cute dogs in cool cars. So, there you have it! Best birthday ever! Karaoke in four more hours.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Engine Size Is Zero... As In None.

In Muscogee County, your registration is due on your birthday. So, every year, on my actual birthday, or in the case of this year, Valentine's Day (because my birthday is February 15th and falls on a Saturday), I go down to the tag office and pay for my car's registration for the year. When I got the Satellite, I thought I'd wait the two weeks till I go down there to keep my birthday tradition alive and to avoid making multiple trips of going down there.

After waiting in line for an hour or so, I got up to the counter where I knew I would have problems with paying my taxes and registering the Satellite as an inoperative vehicle. When I looked up the VIN on the ad-valorum tax estimator a week earlier, nothing came up and the only other option was to use NADA to determine a value. Well, on NADA, in order to get the value, you have to know what kind of engine is in there and considering it's just a body and rolling chassis, it's pretty much impossible to say. Granted, I could say based on the VIN it was at one time a 318, but then that would assume my car actually had the 318 in it still in an inoperative condition, and to be honest, I'll be damned if I have to pay taxes on an engine that I don't have that would bring up the value of my car.

And of course, the tag office visit winds up playing out like this:

Lady: That's an old car. (Perplexed.) It's not even in the system.

Me: I know, you need to go off the NADA value, but I'm not sure how to do that because it has no engine and NADA needs to know the engine size.

Lady: OK. (Types some stuff in.) What size engine is it?

Me: There is no engine. It's just the body. We're gonna rebuild it from scratch.

Lady: Well, I can't register it if you don't have an engine.

Me: I know! I just want to pay the taxes on the vehicle and register it as an inoperative vehicle.

Lady: Ooooh. OK. What kind of engine did you say it had?

Me: (facepalm) There is no engine.

Lady: Well, I need to know what size engine it has.

Me: (deep breath) There is no engine. The car does not run at all. It's just the body and wheels. (Irritated.) There's no engine, no radiator, no carbuerator, no fuel system. It doesn't have an interior, brakes, nothing. You can literally take off the hood and step inside.

Lady: That doesn't sound safe to drive. You probably want to do that as an inopearative vehicle.

Me: Yes, that is exactly what I want to do!

Lady: OK. What kind of engine did you say it had?

Me: It has none. There is no engine. Nothing. The engine size is zero... as in none.

Lady: (Flustered.) I'm not sure how to do this. Hang on a sec. (Walks off.)

20 minutes later, the lady returns with a small guy who goes through, looks at the title, punches a few buttons on the keyboard and walks off.

Lady: OK, that'll be $48 and I need you to sign this application for a title.

Me: $48 for both cars?

Lady: Yes.

I sign what needs to be signed, take my papers, and leave, informed my title will arrive in the mail in 7 to 10 days. I knew it was going to be a mild disaster registering this beast, but good lord! This was just absurd!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adventures in Fiberglassing

Sunday, much like Saturday, was warm. Only difference was I wasn't on any time constraints. Jesse decided to go out shooting in the morning and Charlie and I stayed home and worked on rust reparations again. It was another day of sanding and priming. Not too much different from yesterday. I managed to finish up all four of the inside walls under the hood before noon.

I took Charlie to McDonald's for lunch and then a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up some fiberglass. There was a substantial hole that needed to be patched up and somewhere around my shopping spree, I forgot to buy the fiberglass supplies. We made it a very quick trip and when we got back home, Jesse returned.

After filling me in on his awesome day shooting, we went outside and I started working on the fiberglass. I've never worked with fiberglass before, but I figure since I saw a really great demonstration a few weeks ago on Ship Shape TV when they did a fiberglass repair of a hole in a seat on a boat, I would be able to do the fiberglass no problem.

It seemed easy enough, but messy. Even though I enjoyed it, there was a lot of frustration with the patch wanting to move and the epoxy sticking to everything. I decided instead of doing the sanding today after it cured, I'd just let it dry and finish things up next weekend and call it a day.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with what I accomplished this weekend. Next weekend will consist of finishing up inside the engine well and then starting to work my way out.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

And So The Madness Begins!

Within the past week, I have been picking up supplies and tools to start the body work on the Satellite. Things ranging from various power tools, to chocolate. (Although, the chocolate was more to deal with a PMS emergency.)

In addition to tools, I have been getting supplies; mostly sand paper of various grains, Bondo, and things of that sort. I will have to pick up some fiberglass at some point as I have somehow forgotten to do so in my shopping spree. I also need to stay away from the power tools as I keep wanting to do an impulse buy of a Saws All. Not only is it a fun word to say, but it's just cool. Although I have no need to have one at this point in time, but damn, it would be cool to have!

After hiding under the car cover for a week with mostly rainy days and days that threatened to rain but produced nothing, the Satellite came out on Saturday along with the sun. The day was perfectly warm and beautiful.

Just as I did with the Oldsmobile Krylon Paint Job back in 2009, I've been breaking up the car and working it in sections at a time of sanding and then priming. Because I had to get the Focus an oil change this morning, I didn't get home till around 11:00. Jesse was at Barrows with Charlie and got some ammo. I got the car uncovered and put the doors and trunk out of the way. As soon as that was done, Jesse and Charlie got back and we moved the hood and fenders as well.

 I started sanding rust spots that appeared after we brought him home. The plan right now is to get rid of those spots and hit it with an epoxy primer to keep it from rusting more.

Jesse wanted to prime for a bit, and I said that was fine. I utilized that time to eat a chili cheese dog. It was awesome.

Saturday's work ended around 3:00 as I had to get ready to take Charlie to go see the Lego Movie with some of his friends. We did finish one section and will take on some more tomorrow.

One of the highlights of the day was when I had another tech tip to share, which is actually my girl tech tip: bobby pins can be used to sand hard to reach areas. They work better than screwdrivers because you can poke the paper on one of the sides and bring it down to the U-shaped base, fold it over, and wrap it around. It is the ultimate awesome tool.

Also, yesterday my first car "parts" came in. I saw some wheel covers on eBay for $24 for a set of 4. I don't even know if I'm even going to use them or not yet, but thought, for $24, I can't pass that up. I'd rather have them and not use them, than need them and not be able to find them. They came in a big box and were wrapped up in Tonka truck wrapping paper. I was laughing so hard when Charlie saw them and thought it was for him, only to see they were in fact just wheel covers and not toys. Poor Charlie.

So tomorrow we'll continue with more sanding and priming and spend the next few weekends doing this till it's time to move on to the next step. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Don't Judge Me

Back in December, I had a string of bad and ironic luck. I fell victim to bank card fraud thanks to shopping at Target and because my savings account was my overdraft protection account, when the person wiped out my checking account of every penny, they got my savings as well, leaving me penniless. Because of this, I could not get gas in my car and was now driving around with the gas light on. After taking care of canceling my card and getting a temporary one from the bank, my husband transferred funds over so I could get gas. I had gone home first to drop off my son and parents and on my way backing out of the driveway to get gas, my car got hit.

After a frustrating couple of weeks, I was convinced 2014 was going to be horrible, but much to my surprise, the Karma Police saw to it that wouldn’t happen. The account got situated, my car got fixed, and I had been nominated for a distinguished award at work, a PEER award. The city gives these awards out four times a year and there’s some pretty cool perks that come with it. Quite possibly the best, though, was getting an official proclamation from Mayor Teresa Tomlinson during council. Oh, and there is also a monetary bonus that comes with this, and honestly, this couldn’t have happened at a better time!

As the weekend is approaching, I have bought about $100 worth of supplies for body work repairs and I’m now on the hunt for painting equipment. While I have found what sound like decent set ups, I have yet to find an adequate and affordable air compressor, or at least anything that has a good review that comes close to my needs. I emailed Elana Scherr for more details on How To Paint Your Car In A Weekend, particularly regarding the type of air compressor that was used. I know there was mentioning of the gun and those seem pretty easy to come by.  Most of the compressors I have found are a little more than what I’m willing to pay, especially if the reviews all say they’re great for filling up tires. Is that all people do with these things? Fill up tires? I need something on painting or pneumatic tools!

I started to toy with the idea of renting equipment. Really, I don’t see myself using a paint gun again after the car is painted, so I might as well just rent it, right? Google was not very good at helping me find equipment rentals. I called a large chain auto parts retailer (who shall not be named) as they had tool rentals and I asked. The guy on the phone wasn’t sure and had to check.

“No, ma’am, we don’t rent them, sorry,” he said.

“Thanks,” I replied.

Just before I had a chance to hang up, he said, “They said you’d be better off taking the car in somewhere to have it painted.”

I caught him off guard when I responded, “Well, that would just take all the fun out of it!”

He just laughed, “Um, alright…???”

I was patronized in a spit second and the concept that I could possibly paint a car suddenly became nothing more than a source of amusement. To be honest, instead of reacting like a raging feminist and arguing with the stranger on the other end of the line, I felt ambitious. I became overwhelmed by a sense of I’ll show you! Honestly, yes, I can take the car in to be painted. I’m sure I could get a very nice paint job for around $500, give or take. But I can’t get the feeling of pride of displaying my work and knowing whenever I see my car that I can say, “I did that!” Even if it is mediocre or sub-par, I can still say, “I did that!”

Anyone can drive a car. A lot of people even do work on their car. But not many people are ballsy enough to take on painting because deep down, we all judge by how things look on the outside still. It is almost sacrilegious to have a beefy restored car with a mediocre paint job, unless, of course it’s the one that the car came with and it has yet to get a new paint job, then that’s different.  Admit it or not, we all judge physical appearances and make excuses for when it’s acceptable for something to be ugly and when it’s not. We do it with people and we do it with cars. Cars, like people, can be beautiful and awesome inside even if they aren’t perfect outside. Philosophical moment aside, my car doesn’t have to be beautiful for me to love it. My car will essentially be a part of me: a reflection of my character; born of stubborn determination, far from perfect but awesome none the less. I will love my car regardless of how he looks or how he runs simply because he is mine.