Since quitting my job, we spent half of this summer on the road traveling to new places like Colorado, and Nova Scotia. We got to take in breathtaking views, enjoy new cuisine, and got introduced to fun local activities with Airbnb hosts. We’ve been able to visit more family and friends – some of whom I hadn’t seen in a decade.
But to be honest, not every day has been filled with exciting travel. Being at home and having more time also means more projects keep coming up. Prior to quitting, I had been cultivating quite a few FI lifestyle hobbies, and now they are devouring every minute of my time. I thought I would be spending the summer in our hammock relaxing and reading books, but it’s been quite the opposite. A lot more of my time has been spent gardening, chopping wood, and doing home renovations. Most days, I’m exhausted. Everything came to a head the other day when I was disposing of some construction debris. When I got to the dump, I came to the realization that not everyday is going to be filled seeing new places, trying new food, and fishing. No, some days are even better.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve renovated every room of our home, except a small storage space below an addition on the house. The drywall was never completely finished, and the taping was starting to come apart. The door to the room was a solid door with no windows. It was a dingy hole of a space. I enjoy doing home renovations, so with extra time on my hand, I got to finishing the last bits of drywall. I re-taped, patched the holes, and found a new door with a window on Craigslist for $50.
I made some extra space in the doorway by taking out a step that was unnecessary, and cut the new door to size. I packed up the old door with the rest of the debris for a dump run. The door was metal so I pulled up to the metal recycling dumpster. I was about to unload the door when I saw something that made my heart skip a beat.
Staring up at me was a Bosch SDS‑max Demolition Hammer looking like an alien plasma canon that had seen some action. When it comes to power tools, this is the shit. While I love to build and create, sometimes you have to destroy first. And nothing is more satisfying than blasting concrete to smithereens with one of these. This one looked like it had been through hell, but it was not going through a compactor until I made damn sure there was no hope for it.
Although I had an ongoing project to complete, I was now officially distracted. I tried really hard to keep focused on the project at hand, but the Bosch Hammer was calling my name. Overly excited, I couldn’t hold myself back from the new toy. Maybe just a quick check…
I plugged it in and flipped the switch. Smoke started pouring out of the motor – it’s seized up. I started to take apart the motor and noticed the plastic fan on the rotor was melted onto the housing. I pried them apart and after looking for what made them touch, I noticed I was able to push a bearing on the end of the rotor out further. It must have worn down and moved in allowing the cooling fan to touch the housing. I pushed it out as far as I could, and put everything back together. I flipped the switch again and it started up. But with the motor vibrating, the bearing got pushed back and the motor seized again.
How to repair a seized Bosch SDS-Max 11316EVS
I opened it up again, pushed the bearing back into place, and this time, I manufactured my own copper lock ring out of 14 ga electrical wire to keep it in place. After installing my contraption, I started and stopped the motor a few times – it kept running. Now I just needed a bit. I found one on online for 9 bucks and a few days later I was ready to bust some rock. Connecticut is called the granite state for a reason – our yard is littered with boulders. I found one that was sticking up out of my yard enough to nick my mower blade, and decided to give it a haircut.
I took the Bosch Hammer, and flipped the switch, “Brrrrrrruup, Brrrrrruup, Brrrrrrup!” Chips of granite went flying and a big grin stretched across my face. Holy Crap, I had my own jack hammer! Of course, this one wasn’t new. In fact, I think I’ll call him Oscar the Grouch because he used to live in a garbage can, isn’t pretty, and can have a nasty temperament – at least toward granite.
There have been days I’ve questioned doing what I’m doing instead of going to work and making real money. And I come to the same conclusion each time – it’s because I love this shit. It’s because finding something cool in the trash made my day. It’s not worth much, but I’ll remember the moment I saw it in the dumpster. I’ll remember the grin on my face when I brought it back to life and saw it busting up granite. Compared to my last bonus, Oscar was probably worth 1/100th of the money. But to be honest, I’m not sure because I don’t even remember how much that bonus was.
Living with less not only helps you appreciate what’s around you, but also how much we have. I mean, our trash is literally filled with treasures. It’s so easy for us to make money that possessions needing a little TLC just get thrown in the garbage. When working 40+ hours a week, you have to weigh your time carefully. We can’t be bothered with taking time to fix things, when in the same amount of time we can earn enough to buy new. This leads to incredible amount of waste. But it also means there is a veritable playground of treasures at the dump. Time is money, but if you have time you don’t need much money, and I am the trash king.