Arlo Mudget | The View from Faraway Farm: A hands-on project with the grandkids | Opinion

A few years ago, I traded a boat for a go-kart with the young guy who lives next to some land I own. He’s a great guy with a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit. He had a lot of boat for his kart. He spent hours cleaning it up and getting it ready for sale. When it sold, it made a reasonable profit and I was happy for it. His desire to make money, along with his hard work, paid off. Hopefully our deal taught him some skills, but he’s so sharp he probably already had those abilities.

I had plans for the kart. My grandson Luc and his sister Juli (pronounced Hoolie) were to be the recipients of the cart. I put it away and forgot about it, even though I told them the cart was theirs. Months passed, then a year. The go-kart languishes. Now that the weather is gradually warming up, I checked on the cart. It’s still there, not bad for the wear and tear. It was time to drag it out to see what we could do with it.

I contacted my daughter to arrange a time when I could pick up the grandchildren and bring them to my house so we could pull the cart out of the garage together. Last Saturday morning, I drove to my daughter and son-in-law’s house and picked up the kids.

We dragged the cart out of the garage picking up the front and pulling it that way. One of the tie rods is broken, so the right front wheel collapses free. We put it down, and Luc and Juli sat down on the metal seat. I asked them how they liked it, and they let me know it was uncomfortable. I went back to the garage and got a spare aluminum bomber seat from a hot rod project, and we tried to fit it into the cart. The bottom of the seat was too long to fit properly, so I bought a cat litter box, put the seat on a hard surface, and had the kids trace the bottom of the box in the front center of the bottom of the seat. I pulled out my cut-off wheel and cut the traced aluminum section of the seat. We installed the seat in the trolley and it worked perfectly. Both children sat in it, earning their approval for comfort and safety. Next time they come to my house we will drill mounting holes in the seat and install it.

I got out two sheets of sandpaper and asked the kids what color they wanted to paint the dull black cart. After some negotiation, they opted for red. I happened to have a few cans of red spray paint, so we sanded and learned how to apply the paint. At that point, I picked up the cut-off grinder and started grinding away the rust around the joints of the cart frame. I forgot to put my gloves on, so of course that’s when my hand slipped and scraped a large chunk of skin on my left index finger. I excused myself and entered the house, where I doused the wound with peroxide, coated it with antibiotic cream and dressed it.

That’s when we decided to go out for lunch and call it a day. The kids were ok with that, and we enjoyed the Chinese food and had a good chat about their recent trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Juli also made sure I knew she had a premonition of an injury when I exited the grinder.

This incident did not deter them from wanting to return to work on the kart again. I have ordered a new tie rod for the cart and am preparing to work on the project with them next week. I guess they learned something about safety precautions when using power tools. I learned that I had to wear my gloves when grinding metal. So far, it’s been a positive start for the project.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on Oldies Radio Stations KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and on Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.

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