Pray for us

Industrial electrician nephew visiting for a day.  Being an attending nephew is pretty special status in itself but being an electrician who understands motor controllers, wiring, transformers and is willing to work on the lower funicular system is a gift from the Gods. Well, a gift by way of my brother and his wife at the time, but still a heavenly gift for me at this time.  The lower funicular is very much needed.

We did a town day yesterday and it has been awhile.  OVER a month for me.  Maybe over two months.  NOT long enough but what that means is that, when we finally do get to the shopping, we have a lot to buy.  This was no exception.  The old Pathfinder was filled to capacity.  We jammed some stuff in, wedged and compacted, tucked and squeezed.  It was packed.  To get that much stuff, we blew through $3500.  Maybe more.

But it is NOT the money.  Who cares about that?  Spend it a little every day or all in one fell swoop and it all amounts to the same in the end.  Money’s gone. You’re broke.  So what?  Nothing left to lose but more pasta than God!

AND, we had our nephew in to help with the pasta.

So, today, we will (he and I and maybe Sally if I can drag her away from the quilting section of the house) start to ‘merge’ the new 240 volt lower funicular system into the upper system complete with buttons, controllers, breakers, fuses, switches and even, perhaps, my remote control devices.  If we get the lower funicular working, I just made life so much easier.

I know that because yesterday’s town day was so bloody hard.  Well, hard.  NOT bloody hard.  No injuries this time.  Just kinda more schlepping than I care for.

The summer tides are OUT in the afternoon when the shopping day is over and one arrives home.  And you can’t leave stuff in the boat and wait six hours for the tide to rise because it is food and the ravens will attack and pillage it all if you leave anything untended for more than five minutes.  So, the chore is simple: unload 500 pounds of crap to the lowest step (yesterday was so low that we couldn’t even reach the lowest step from the boat.  Sal was on the rocky granite slope clinging to that lower step and to barnacle encrusted granite.

I attempt to hold the boat in place with an oar and use one arm to swing heavy coolers in eight foot arcs which Sal has to catch in mid flight over a deep body of water while keeping one hand for herself to stop from falling in.  We repeat until the boat is unloaded.

Then we switch places.  I get out, Sal takes the boat around to the far dock and I schlep the crap up the seaweed covered sea-stairs and up the ramp to the lower deck.  I then swing it up on to the upper funicular and the machinery takes over.  The lower funicular will remove the hard part of that above described effort.


This kind of project is not off-the-shelf.  It is not plug-and-play.  You don’t just buy it and turn it on.  This is an exercise in assembling, designing, cobbling and making-do with what you collected without really knowing what you needed.  It has elements of:  “I wonder if this will work?”  and, “We don’t use these normally but there is not much current so it should work.” There will be several, “I have no idea what this is.  It looks important.  But, we’ll ignore it and see what happens.”

The most common refrain (from Sally every few minutes) will be, “Why do we NOT have any instructions?!”  And, of course, the answer will be, “because no one cobbles funiculars by bits and pieces over several years enhanced by a failing memory.  We are like Gyro Gearloose, here.  Three Rube Goldbergs in the dark”.

And, after a few false starts and maybe a few shocks to grab our attention, the whole contraption will work!

Or not.

We’ll see.


5 thoughts on “Pray for us

  1. Ah the “joys” of McGyvering together a custom electrical control system for a custom funicular system run on battery power supplied through a transformer from DC to AC power……without written instructions…..where could anything possibly not be obvious or confusing?

    All while torrential rain and abnormally low temperatures lash the “wet coast”. Nothing more enjoyable than working with an electrical system while wet and cold.
    Where can I sign up?
    A warm, stiff drink after its all completed will be the order of the day.
    Good luck.


    • Sign up here! We got it going. It works! NOT quite the way we want because programming the motor controller just would NOT happen but the up and down buttons work so we went up and down a few times. The whole thing went bust when I discovered that I did not have a simple Woodruff key in the ‘Lovejoy’ on the winch and, after the rust got torqued out, it began to spin and nothing moved. BUT, as my electrician nephew said, “Ah ha! Now it is a mechanical problem. I am done for the day. Where’s the beer?” So, today’s job is to ‘make’ a Woodruff key’ for the winch. I could wait til I go to town but I really want to ‘work’ this puppy. Soon. Gawd! It’s like making a nail!


      • ahahahaha.
        Well the complex part of the “equation” is over.
        Now you get to bash things with a hammer……very therapudic.
        Just watch out for your thumb…….


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