As mentioned before, I gradually but impulsively became a Vintage Motocross Racer. Well how hard can it be for a man with my background to get back into motocross? My early mid-life re-entry into the moto world in 2002 seemed effortless. I bought a bike, made a trailer, went to Sand-Del-Lee and schooled kids that thought they should be faster than the old guys. Not to sound over inflated, I too was schooled by young and old alike- it is the great thing about motocross, you're always faster than someone.
Since getting out of motocross in 2006, our family bought a new house just outside the city. It is a much nicer place with more land, more house and a great view of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Park. The only problem is that there is no garage. It is probably the only house in the area without one but I don't mind- I am not doing many garage things anyhow so a storage shed will do just fine. The basement of the house is huge and fully finished with 9-foot ceilings. There are two large storage rooms, actually one storage room and a utility room and each one is larger than the garage we had our old place. So who needs a garage?
So what are these difficulties you speak of you might ask? It should be easy, buy the bike, work on it in the basement over the winter and put it in the shed come spring. Here is the problem:
1) We now have new cars and no hitches so there is a project
2) The basement is absolutely full of stuff so there is another project
That's not bad, only two things on the list. The first item won't even matter until Springtime as I already have the bike thanks to my friend Rob. It's number two on the list that's overwhelming.
A few years ago I got tired of the clutter in the basement and I wanted to reclaim the utility room to use as a proper workshop. So I cleared out the huge storage room which is about 3 meters wide and 6 meters long. The previous owner built a horrid shelving unit out of 2x4s. I tore it all out and bought some nice compact shelving units. I maximized the use of the space of that room and organized it and it was a thing of beauty. My goal was to not have any cardboard boxes so I bought plastic bins for things that needed to be stored and the rest can go. All I needed to do was to get Mrs. Vintage Moto downstairs for a junk purge.
Getting that room done left my utility room barren and it was almost a proper workshop. I was getting close to my happy place when the unexpected happened. Our friend down the street decided to move and leave all her stuff to us. We got a piano, which is lovely, but we also inherited her picture framing hobby and her re-upholstery hobby. It was a massive amount of stuff that included over 150 picture frames, a whole bunch of plate glass, bolts of fabric, antique furniture, tools, cutters, a laminater and so much more. It filled the storage room and the utility room and a few other nooks and crannies to boot. So that was a major delay toward my dream of having a proper workshop.
So to get the bike in the basement, I need a workshop. To make the workshop I need to move the stuff out of the storage room in order to clear out the stuff in the utility room. To get the stuff out of the storage room I need to clean out other areas and winter is coming fast.
During this makeover, another project landed on my lap. The kitchen faucet sprung a leak and dripped under the floor pooling in the ceiling of the basement and eventually overflowing. I had to cut a big hole in the ceiling to dry things out and repair the leak. There is good in every bad thing though- I discovered and repaired a hole where mice were coming into the house and I was able to install a Vac-Pan in my kitchen.
A Vac-Pan is an awesome foot-operated dustpan connected to the home's central vac. I already had the hole in the ceiling, all I had to do was run about 10 meters of pipe and cut a hole in the kitchen island cabinet. Remember I mentioned that we were given a whole lot of plate glass? I did with it what I though was safe but I knew one day it would come back to hurt me. I stored the glass on the top of a shelf in a room where I never go. I found myself on a ladder installing pipe in that room where I never go and that is when it hurt me. A board I was holding onto let go and I fell backward into the glass sending me to the hospital for seven stitches.
I managed to clear out a corner at the back of the storage room and I proceeded to carefully stack the adopted antique furniture, cushions, bolts of fabric, horse hair - yes horse hair! When complete it was a work of art and I pity anyone that needs something back there.
To recap... I cleared out the storage room to make room for the stuff stored in the utility room. I ran a new circuit for the central vac, hurt myself, got stitches, threw away a garbage pail full of broken glass and moved and stacked all the junk that was in the utility room and I still am not ready for the bike! Do you remember I mentioned we had mice? The utility room with all that junk became home to the little pricks so there is the next project. Everything was removed, all remaining boxes were dumped out and re packed, the work bench and the shelf above were cleared and every surface was vacuumed leaving me with a very clean room. I even put down some carpet remnants for a little added comfort.
Next project is the toolbox- how hard can that be? I used to be a marine mechanic so I have a decent sized toolbox and moving it from the shed to the basement is actually a bit daunting. In order to put the toolbox where I wanted, I had to move a light switch - another project. Once the switch was moved I took all the drawers out of the toolbox and about ten trips later, I had moved a half-a-ton of metal to its new home which leads to the next project.
As I mentioned, I used to be a marine mechanic but that was twenty years ago. My once immaculate and well stocked toolbox was nothing but a disorganized mess. Trying to work on anything when your tools are in disarray is frustrating to say the least. So before I can work on the bike, the tools need to be organized. But hey, winter should already be here, I need to get the bike moved first which of course is another project.
As I mentioned, the basement has high ceilings which means it is a deep hole in the ground. There is no walk-out back yard access. The only way to get the bike down into that hole is to take it apart and carry it through the house and down the stairs. But that is actually a fun project and it didn't take long. Remember my neighbour Rob? He helped me carry the bike down once I removed the wheels and forks.
The next project is one of vanity I suppose. All of this work and play should be recorded. I don't actually care if anybody reads my rambling, but I am hoping I will at least find it interesting. I have never had my own website which is kind of hard to believe when you consider I have made my living building them for 18-years. Building this site is actually far more time-consuming than I anticipated but I am learning new skills and digging up a lot of great memories.
So we are deep into Winter now. There is snow, the river is frozen and it is cold outside. My website is working, I have written some stories and posted some pictures. My toolbox is organized, my workshop is clean and the bike is there waiting for me to start restoring and stop just talking about it. I think I need better lighting in there, oh my, another project.