Things learned the hard way

EricB Sep 7, 2004

  1. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    My goof-ups are legendary among my family, and will stay that way for the most part, though there's nothing like shooting a 16p nail vertically into the web of my thumb. It went all the way in, stopping only when it hit the thumb joint, which is nearly at the wrist. To my defense, the nail traveled 18 inches through a stud before veering out--probably slowing it down enough so it did not shatter the joint. Oh, I was building the shed that would hold all the workshop stuff so the workshop could become the train room.
  2. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Pete!!!! Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!!

    Man, now that is really combat model railroading! [​IMG]
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    :eek: Pete! That's a VERY painful accident! Yeeooow!!!! :eek: Think I'll stick to hand nailing!!!


    Boxcab E50
  4. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

    Yep, tried to get the lid off a bottle of Floquil that was stuck on. Grabbed it with pliers, thinking they would grasp the lid tighter than I could. Didn't stop to think they would instead crush the bottle (which they did)! Green paint all over my new shirt, the floor, the kitchen cabinets and countertop. You can still see a green hue on the counter to this day. Darned lucky I didn't cut myself, and I had a hand full of broken glass!

    Now I clean the bottle rim and the inside of the lid before I even paint anything!
  5. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

  6. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    Actually, it didn't hurt at all! That's because it hit some nerves at the base of my thumb, which numbed the inside edges of my thumb and forefinger for a day or so. It's also because of the shock value.

    Also, it didn't bleed. When I pulled the nail out (quite a tug), there was just one blob of dark red blood. I had to squeeze it to get more out. Then I promptly got a tetanus shot.

    Still, it was a stupid, careless accident. I was nailing a baseplate to the studs for the wall. I knew enough to grip the stud at some distance from the plate, but never figured the nail would go that far through a stud. It was lucky I was wearing safety glasses, as the stud literally exploded.

    Want to hear about the time I severed the palm-side tendon of my left index finger on a piece of sharp steel? Why do they make household gas furnace doors with a dual razor saw edge? That one required some surgery.

    OK, I'm in the mood, so this is a funny one. The kitchen sink clogged while very full. The garbage disposal was jammed. OK, all I needed to do was unhook the disposal, catch all the water in pans, and replace the disposal. So I lined up all the kitchen pots and pans that we had. I broke the seal, and water started pouring into the first big pot. Then the second big pot, with only a few drops in the transition. Then the third, somewhat smaller pot. Then the fourth, fifth, and six pans, each smaller, but still with no mess in the transfers.

    Then we ran out of pots and pans, and the water was still pouring out. Thinking quickly, I took the biggest pot, full of stinky water, and poured it back into the sink.

    Think about it.

    I'm really thinking about a book of my misadventures entitled "The World's Dumbest Handyman."

    There are even better stories about our overfilled waterbed and clogged washing machine, but I'll leave them for later. They are both classic tales of Darwinian stupidity.
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    :eek: Sounds to me like you've exceeded the legal limit for misadventures. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] :D

    Boxcab E50
  8. rush2ny

    rush2ny TrainBoard Member

    You are indeed lucky that you didn't cut yourself! I have done that one before. I thought that my finger was dripping the paint from the broken bottle that I had forced open but it was my blood.

    Toddlers are another thing that I am used to. I came home one day to find my entire collection of N scale lined up in perfect order on top of the layout (a sure sign that someone had been there). Upon inspection, many pieces were broken. My children's cousin came in the room and said " I did for you!". That sentence and the innocent eyes was all that I needed to stay calm about it. This kid has since become a train buff himself and I have no qualms about letting see my stuff. Of course, all the expensive stuff stays out of reach now.

  9. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    Ah, you've only heard one-ninth of it! Do you believe that sock traps in washing machines actually exist? Well, they do--having four daughters with small socks, I can attest to that. This happened in the early 80s:

    Having paid the Sears repairman $80 to retrieve a sock from the sock trap, I wasn't about to pay it a second time. I quizzed Jeanne about what he had done and decided I could do it myself.

    This was in a typical New England laundry room/powder room, which holds a sink, toilet and washer/dryer in about three square feet, without stacking.

    I wrestle the full, clogged washing machine away from the wall, and tilt it back. Jeanne straddles the toilet to hold it there, while I crawl under. Yep, here's a sock in the sock trap.

    "So, did he at least empty the tub before proceeding?" I asked.

    "I really wasn't in here with him," Jeanne replied.

    Well, I loosened the sock trap, and promptly got about 16 gallons of cold water on my face, and all around my body on the floor. 16 gallons is a huge amount of water. Jeanne was laughing so hard that she was about to drop the tilted washing machine on top of me.

    Train-related? Well, that 16 gallons seeped through to the railroad in the basement.

    Just remember: sock traps are not a myth!
  10. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    I was going to post some amusing personal anecdotes, but I really couldn't hold a candle to the pots in the sink (I think first memorialized on film by Laurel and Hardy) and the sock trap thing. I will inquire as to whether or not we have a sock trap. I have heard of mouse traps, trap shooting, trap doors, trapping, but not sock traps.
  11. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    They (the sock traps) are there. Just tilt your washing machine up, and have your wife hold it there (while straddling the toilet), and you will see it, up to your right, near the back. Believe me, I've been there.

    You know, in 1985 we decided to move our waterbed. It was the day that our beloved NFL Patriots made it to the Superbowl. So we emptied 4500 pounds of water out the window of our second floor bedroom. Then we moved the bed. Then I rigged up hoses from the first floor water heater to refill the bed. Then we watched the start of the game. It was about in the middle of the first period when we realized that the water bed was now a huge balloon behind us . . .(to be continued)
  12. Jim Prince

    Jim Prince TrainBoard Member

    Found out that Realistic Water never really hardens.

    I moved a bunch of stuff on my pond to get it out of the way. A couple days later when I when to remove it, it was all stuck and was slowly becoming part of the lake.

    Had to remove the debris, clean the lake up, and pour another thin layer to hide my mess.

    Fortunately, it all worked out.
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Argh! :eek: No! [​IMG] (Begging for mercy!) I surrender! Get me outta here!

    Should we start a campaign- "Dear Atlas: Can you make us a line of N scale trains out of nerf material?"

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Boxcab E50
  14. sandro schaer

    sandro schaer TrainBoard Member

    you guys wanna hear another oops ?? :eek:

    on christmas 2001 i received an accucraft ruby. this is a g scale live steam engine. at that time i didn't have a garden layout. so what ? i setup a simple track loop on the carpet in the living room of my girlfriends appartement. :D

    filled water, gas and steam oil. fireed that thing up and waited until there was enough steam pressure to run the loco. well, i never ran a live steam engine before so i had no clue what will happen. :rolleyes:

    raising steam was no problem. after a while i wanted the loco to start running forward. so i put the direction handle in the forward position and opened up the steam valve a bit. now this tiny little engine started to spit steam and oil thru the stack. [​IMG] almost reached the ceiling. it takes a while until the cylinders are hot and the steam/oil no longer condensates.

    i sat there in the center of the loop with my clothes soaked with steam and oil. no big thing. but the carpet........... she almost killed me. there were oil spots alover the living room. no chance to clean it. two hours later our xmas party started....after i explained what has happened to the carpet the guests asked me to setup the track again and to demonstrate the little live steam loco. so i did.

    later we replaced the carpet and had the furniture cleaned professionally. so far this is my most expensive loco... [​IMG]

    conclusion :

    never run a live steam engine on a carpet except if you plan to replace the carpet anyway.
  15. Len

    Len TrainBoard Member

    My finest hour had nothing to do with hobbies, but happened when I was helping someone with a paint job. I had stopped what I was doing to use the bathroom, which was being painted with white oil based paint. There was a full freshly opened gallon of paint on the shelf of a six foot step ladder. Can you guess [​IMG] ? With the grace of a ballet dancer I kicked the ladder over, resulting in an explosion of white paint. Fortunately the room was being painted white anyway. No real harm done except for the waste of expensive paint. Thirty some years later, I still get reminded.

  16. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Mr. Nolan-

    I am truly shocked that someone who produces work as elegant as yours is can be such an oaf.
  17. greasemonkey

    greasemonkey TrainBoard Member

    Here's a non train related one my wife likes to tell. We were at a Japanese restaurant, She'd ordered California rolls with her dinner. One of the ingredients in a California roll is avacado, which she LOVES to eat..

    My family has a history of stealing things off each other's plates at dinner (3 brothers). [​IMG]

    Oner more ingredient here- the restaurant was dimly lit.

    So I notice a chunk of avacado on her plate and decide to be a smart aleck. I grab it before she can stop me, pop it in my mouth and bite down. [​IMG]

    Did you know that in low light, wasabi (the hot green mustard) and avacado look a lot alike? Did you also know that it's so soft it instantly coats your mouth so spitting it out is not an option? :eek:

    Well my eye's about popped out of my head, my face turned red, and I wound up using half a pot of green tea to get it rinsed out of my mouth.

    She almost choked on her food she was laughing so hard and the waitress came over to see what was going on- so my wife told her. (with me protesting- but I thought it was avacado!)

    The waitress then makes the rounds to the rest of the restaurant staf-f and smiles and snickers break out every time she's done talking to another staff member.

    Oh well- I'm now more careful about what I steal [​IMG]

    [ 10. September 2004, 15:25: Message edited by: greasemonkey ]
  18. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Wow, that's RICH!
    Pete, I almost fell outta my chair on that one!

    I can't even hold a candle to that...
    The one expensive lesson for me was that Kato shells and lacquer thinner do not mix. I tried, very successfully to strip a Kato SD90MAC for my first BN TigerMAC project, and it turned out that even brushing, not even soaking, the lacquer thinner dissolved a 35-dollar shell. Ouch!
  19. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    Like the time I spent hours painting lead people with at least 6 and many 8 or 10 colors plus a nice dry wash and left them under a halogen lamp to dry and walked away...instant "Puddle People"

    Did I learn, nooooo,

    Months later I weathered my several freight cars. Repeat lamp except I was going to be very careful .... then the phone rang.

    Is it true most model RR people have ADD?
    < The Grey Gryphin Gryns >
  20. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I notice, now that it's about 28-7 against my team, that the water bed is the biggest soccer ball filled with water in existence. We panic. I rip the hose from the filler tube, thereby creating two gushers, one from the hose, and one from the very overextended filler tube. I run to the bathroom with the hose. Now, what would a smart person do:

    (1) dump the hose in the tub
    (2) struggle for two minutes to open a rusty storm window and dump the hose out the window.

    OK, I chose #2, all the while yelling about the water on the floor seeping down to the ceiling of floor one. Yes, I am a Darwin candidate.

    Now my wife, left with the overinflated waterbag, makes a similar Darwinian decision: instead of capping the outlet, she decides the best choice is to sit on the bed to expel the excess water. She later explained that she was waiting for me to get there with the hose to drain it out the window. I did explain that the hose in question was still firmly attached to the water spigot downstairs, and thus was not available for draining.

    "Ooops!" she said meekly.

    And now, for page 3 . . .

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