July 29, 2005


I had to leave early yesterday to go get the three younger members of the clan enrolled for the new school year. Ashley's was Wednesday and Mom got to take her to that one, which was just fine by me. Although the fees were startlingly huge.

For yesterday, Cat's registration at the elementary school was at 3, then Boy and Middle Girl were to follow up at 5 at the middle school. And I took off at noon, which meant--what else, but, FUNTIME WITH THE MORON PROJECT!


Yes, this was done deliberately. See, I have lunch with My Friend Jeff today to swap magazines (the ones he forgot to bring two weeks ago), and he hasn't seen the new shiny hubcaps. But he HAS seen the ugly chalky-looking lower bodyside moldings--they look terrible, as witnessed by these photos I took yesterday to impress everyone.

This is the area behind the rear wheel--yuck--

and this is the rocker panel molding--also blech--

This is a pretty common problem for a lot of cars. The oils evaporate, and it gets all gray looking after a while, and there's not much you can do to make it look any better. It eventually gets to the point where even brake fluid won't cut the chalky film. So, your alternatives are to paint it with flexible black bumper paint, which is (as I found out with Moby) a rather arduous task, although it does wind up looking pretty okay. Sorta. Or you can get some stuff that's pretty expensive--at least 18 bucks (including shipping) for a couple of 4 ounce bottles of cleaner and black inky stuff you apply to the offensive areas. Heard good things about the product, but being a cheapo and a moron, I figured there surely had to be SOMETHING out there that would also do the job.

I especially got to thinking this when I was at the grocery store the other day, and passed by the shoe polish, and had a sudden brainstorm (actually, more of a light passing shower). There were all these bottles of Kiwi Black Leather Dye sitting there. "Hmm," I said to myself, because as you know, I say that a lot.

"I wonder," I continued, "if this junk would be just as good as the stuff they sell in the IPD catalog? I mean, it's black, and made to be water-resistant, and certainly does a good job on shoe leather. Hmm." At the time, I left it there, because let's face it, it's a silly idea.

That is, until I checked a few places on the lovely Internets, and found that OTHER moron-project holders had done the exact same thing, and found that it worked just as well, IF NOT BETTER, than the product made to do it. Add to this the fact that it's about one-quarter of the cost. THRIFTY MORON MAN into action!

I figured it wouldn't hurt to try a bit and see what happened. Couldn't look any worser. SO, on the way home yesterday, I dropped by Winn-Dixie, picked up a couple of bottles (not knowing how much it would take), and a set of three cheap-o foam paintbrushes, and some aluminum pot pie tins to pour the juice into (not wanting to risk the ire of anyone who might have an emotional attachment to the various plastic butter bowls that pack the kitchen cabinets), and a Diet Coke for fortitude.

Off to home, changed out of my work duds into something suitable for slopping black gunk everywhere, and then hopped back downstairs. I figured it would be a good idea to wipe the plastic down with some degreaser, just in case, so I got my old can of that and a cloth and my brushes and my dye and my pie pans and WHEW, boy, it sure is hot at noon in Alabama!

I sat down on the concrete and started wiping sweat and degreaser off and on with equal rapidity. Moment of truth--popped off the lid, then the tiny foam pad applicator, poured some of the elixer into the pan, dabbed the brush into it, and went to work. WOW! Let me tell you, fellow moron friends, this stuff ROCKS!

Just be sure to smooth it out neatly, and color a panel at a time, and understand that for the worst areas, you might have to go over it twice or more to get full color, and if you sit on the concrete in the middle of the day in Alabama without shade you sweat a lot and it stings your eyes and makes your neck burn up. But, the sun does have the benefit of rapidly drying the liquid, so you can work pretty quickly. And the results are quite worthwhile--

This is the passenger side--nice and inky black now!

The only problem is that now the bumper covers, which heretofore had looked nice and black now look dingy in comparison. BUT, I had no time for those, because it was now rapidly approaching after 2:00, and I had to clean up, run go run get Cat, and get to the school before 3:00.


Tune in for the NEXT exciting episode!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 29, 2005 09:15 AM

Looks like it turned out very nice. Amazing how those details really bring out the beauty in a vehicle!

Is that pesky Dallas grass I see in your Bermuda lawn (that appears to need a trim, btw)? Better put up that shoe polish and get to spraying. j/k.

Posted by: BillW at July 29, 2005 09:46 AM

Bill, I got every kind of grass or weed in the world growing up in my yard, including a new crop of beggar lice that just appeared. If I killed it all, I wouldn't have anything green left. If you keep it clipped down, it doesn't look so bad.

And lest we forget, some things are MUCH more important than pushing a lawnmower in the hot sun for two hours.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 29, 2005 09:50 AM

I figure if it's green and it is not painful to walk on, it's grass.

Posted by: Sarah G. at July 29, 2005 10:43 AM

Does it count if it crunches and is almost as hard as concrete?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 29, 2005 10:46 AM

Beggar lice? Ew! What the heck is/are beggar lice?

Posted by: Nate at July 29, 2005 11:28 AM

They're a type of weed that looks like this. The kind I have aren't actually the small kind--they're the big fat cockleburs, but when I wrote that, I couldn't remember what they're called.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 29, 2005 01:02 PM