Today was a wonderful California spring day, despite the drought, and in fact thanks to day light saving time and the month of April, it was a long one (sunrise at 6:29, sunset at 7:48). Being Sunday, it began with Marian and my traditional religious service, performed by staying in bed reading the New York Times, drinking coffee, and eating coffee cake. Upon finishing that, I decided to do something with a relatively small incredibly rusted high pressure water pump I had rescued from a junk pile a bit ago, and that was sitting on a hand truck in a place where I was sure I would receive encouragement soon to do something with it. The photograph below shows it in its rusty splendor.
The first thing I decided to do, was to take it apart. But to my amazement (and pleasure), that required the entire day. I have been reading a book I enjoy a lot entitled The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt, subtitled How the World Became Modern. It is beautifully written (Pulitzer Prize) and is a wondrous combination of history, philosophy, and stimulating thinking (Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, and does not screw around—41 pages of notes and 26 pages of “selected” bibliography, all in fine print, of course). So I got to think about stimulating concepts while I took apart my pump, and since a baby shower was occurring in the house (for a friend of our daughter’s, not us ) and males were not invited, I could stay outside and play all day, except for sneaking in and making myself lunch.
The rusting on the pump was so advanced that I had to heat the “moving” parts of the pump to a red heat to get them to move, and the piston was stuck so thoroughly in the cylinder that I finally reverted to not only heat, but a small sledge hammer (not recommended practice, but I ran through all of the alternatives, and none worked). Heating rusty joints is a powerful method of breaking them loose, since the metal expands, and the rust layer seems to weaken. But if not carefully done, the process may result in them never coming loose, so I took my time on the project, and finally got the pump entirely apart just in time for dinner, which was outstanding because it consisted of left-over goodies from the shower, in particular crackers, dip, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, and other types of health food. I’ll send you a photo of the finished pump when I am done.
Now I am catching up on my e-mail, and writing this post, and will soon return to bed and read more of The Swerve. Looks like tomorrow will be a beautiful day also. Can’t hardly beat this.