Sunday, January 17, 2010

Being stupid

I was at a meeting at my workplace on Friday. A group of the "best and brightest" were charged with coming up with a likely scenario for what my industry would look like in the post-Broadband-initiative world. About 20 minutes into the conversation -- in the break-into-small-groups stage -- I found myself thinking, "I should've gone to grad school instead of gone into radio." That was a moment after I found myself thinking, "Man, these people are way smarter than me. What am I doing here?"

As you advance in your working years, you reach the point where you realize that the working world has passed you by, and you're just trying to hang on. I've reached that point. I had no business being in the room.

So a trip to the hangar on Saturday -- the temperature reached the summery 30s -- offered the opportunity for some "therapy" against the psychological ravages of a week at work. Unfortunately, for people like me, an RV airplane-building project can also make you feel stupid from time to time. Saturday was one of those days.

I had hoped to run an antenna cable from the transponder antenna to the transponder, but I struggled with the BNC connector. I couldn't figure out how to crimp the small pin on with the crimper I've got. One ruined BNC connector later, and feeling stupid -- I moved on to putting the new alternator on.

"Disconnect the battery," the instructions said. I knew I was supposed to remove the ground cable first; I really did. But I put the socket wrench on the positive stud first anyway. I don't know why. When the wrench hit the firewall, sparks flew. A minute later, I noticed the hole (above) in the firewall. I might as well have been welding. Stupid.

I drilled the hole out to a ragged #30, and added a new item to the "to do" list on the whiteboard: "Fix hole in firewall." I'll have to make a doubler plate and cover it. Just something else to do.

I moved to the alternator and, funny, I couldn't figure out how to mount it properly. Stupid. Three strikes, I'm out.

I stopped by an RV-building neighbor on the field and looked at his set-up, then returned to the hangar and loosely bolted the alternator on (not sure which way the belt goes). I had to get something out of the day.

But it was one of "those" days, a day when every step not only feels like two steps back; every step is two steps back.

Around 4 this morning, I found myself tossing and turning and thinking about the hole, and the doubler plate, and the BNC connectors, and all the other things I have to do on the engine and panel before the plane flies. And the fuel line has to be punched through the firewall. And the heater box cable. And the mixture and throttle controls. And... and... and... on and on. I tossed-and-turned more because it was starting to feel like it might be too much for me.

At 6 on a Sunday morning, unable to sleep, I got up to let the dog out and grab the paper and read about the people of Haiti.

I might be stupid, but if a ruined BNC connector and hole in a firewall is the biggest problem I've got, I'm pretty well off.

Update: I slapped a doubler on the inside of the firewall. Some poorly driven rivets there but I'll Pro-seal around the edges. I'm not going to drill these out and risk further woes. It's just that kind of weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I think it is fair to say that we all have those days...and getting older seems to mean that they only happen more often. But, as you know, every so often experience trumps the "best and brightest"...and eventually, that RV will fly.