Stinky trash cans and smelly neighbors.
The other day I was working in the garage. The garage door was open and a gentle breeze was blowing. I caught a whiff of something very unpleasant. “Ugh, what is that?” As quick as it was there, it was gone again. I scanned the sidewalk. Sometimes pedestrians in this neighborhood carry a strong presence and I had a few suspects in mind. No one was walking by however. I performed a quick sniff test on myself. It wasn’t me. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to my work at hand when suddenly I smelled it again. I followed my nose out of the garage into the driveway. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. I stood in the driveway. Hmmm. I began complaining to myself about the redneck town we live in. The neighbors are probably using a trash can for a bathroom or something. We have such gross neighbors, I thought. I shook my head and shivered as I walked past our trash can and back into the garage. As I walked past our trash can, the smell reached a new level of intensity. I backtracked suspiciously and opened the lid. I was instantly slapped in the face with stink. It was our trash can that smelled like death warmed over. We’re the gross neighbors! As I tried to figure out why our trash can smelled like concentrated hog farm, I suddenly recalled Janice’s spring project.
When we had moved into our current house, we were blessed with two large trash cans. We didn’t need two large trash cans so Janice decided to use one as a compost bin. We began throwing banana peels, apple cores, and all kinds of kitchen scraps in there. We soon had an impressive pile of slop but the slop never composted. It just started stinking. Some kind of chemical reaction was taking place but it definitely wasn’t the one that we wanted. Instead of compost, we were producing weapons grade mustard gas. We knew for a week or two that we had to shut the experiment down but we didn’t have the stomach to deal with one hundred pounds of toxic sludge that was brewing in the trash can. Finally Janice drug me outside by my ear. “We need to deal with this.” We spread the slop on the flowerbeds and in the little raised garden while gagging profusely. For a few hours the neighborhood smelled like it was carpet bombed by rotten eggs. After a day or two, however, the rotten egg smell subsided and you could once again smell the tar factory down the road.
Adi goes to preschool.
A few weeks ago Adi had her first day at preschool! Up until I sent her into the building with a teacher, I had thought that preschool was a great idea. Then I realized some strange lady was taking my poor innocent little daughter by the hand and leading her into a building without me. Suddenly I was like, “Wait a minute! I’m just letting some stranger take my daughter!” I fought a sudden urge to rescue her and drive off into the sunset while refusing to admit that she’s ever going to get any older. But I didn’t. I just waved bye-bye and stuffed my feelings deep down inside like any man should.
Several weeks have passed since Adi started preschool and I’m glad she’s going. I don’t know what exactly makes the difference but we’ve noticed a definite improvement in her behavior. She doesn’t beg to watch movies nearly as often and plays with toys with a lot more imagination. She’s also being much more polite to her younger brother. Somehow her mind is being stimulated in a way that just doesn’t happen at home. The preschool teachers have been teaching preschool for decades so they know how put lessons into a form that a three year old understands. You could say we’re pretty tickled about preschool.
Overhauling an engine.
Every apprentice typically gets at least one engine to overhaul and I’ve just started mine a few weeks ago. It’s a Continental O-520 F/TS that goes on a 1955 Cessna 182. What does all that mean? You may be asking that question or you may not care whatsoever. “Skip the boring stuff,” Janice says. Janice doesn’t get to work on engines and so she hides her jealousy behind yawns and loud snoring noises. I’ll write this down so her snoring doesn’t drown me out. The “O” refers to a horizontally opposed engine and the “520” designates a 520 cubic inch displacement. The F/TS designates a particular variation of the base 520 engine series. This particular engine was originally fuel injected but has been modified by removing the injection system and installing a carburetor. Why would you go from fuel injection to carburization? I’m so glad you asked! Originally the older Cessna 182s were outfitted with an O-470 engine, which is smaller and carbureted. By putting a 520 on this airplane, you can take off in a shorter distance and have a faster cruise speed with a higher useful load. You can carry more cargo into shorter airstrips, which is very useful when you’re dealing with jungles in Guatemala where this airplane serves. However, the fuel injection system and additional power requires extensive (and expensive) modifications to the airframe. By taking the fuel injection system off and using a carb, the engine is derated 20 horsepower and doesn’t require any airframe strengthening modifications. You still get more horsepower than stock but without a whole lot of work. It’s a great compromise that increases the usefulness of the aircraft. This is the engine that I’m overhauling.
Clear as mud? Ha! I haven’t even started yet. Of all the things I’ve done so far, I think engines have been the most challenging. And it’s not so much the mechanical part, it’s the paperwork part that made me come home every day last week with a stress headache. The first step to overhauling the engine is figuring out what parts I need. This means I had to go through all the Airworthiness Directives (issued by the FAA), Service Bulletins (issued by the manufacturer), the overhaul manual, and the parts manual to come up with a list of part numbers I need. Every bolt, screw, spacer, washer, lock washer, bushing, or rubber hose has a part number. And since it’s a certified engine, you must have documentation that the part you’re putting on is an exact match or an approved replacement for the part you took off.
Don’t take this as me complaining! I’m really enjoying my time here at MMS Aviation and I’m learning a lot. I consider it a tremendous blessing to be able to do what I love and help mission organizations around the world save money and take the Gospel further, faster – all at the same time.
A romantic getaway turns into a family vacation.
Months ago I reserved a nice little cabin in the hills of Ohio so Janice and I could have a romantic getaway for our fifth anniversary. Somehow the romantic getaway turned into a family vacation. It’s OK, nothing screams romance like changing poopy diapers and watching Peppa Pig episodes on repeat. Seriously though, our family had a great time. And honestly, every time we try to go without the kids for more than two hours all Janice does is worry that the kids might be hungry.
We had our own private trails looping around some gorgeous cliffs. We had a great time enjoying campfires, sleeping in, and thinking about what the next five years will hold.
Thank you for reading our little update!
Josh & family