Sanding and Degreasing

I’ve been working on sanding and cleaning up the pieces in preparation for painting. There are lots of pieces to work on. I thought I need to sand away all the paint so that’s what I did for the radiator except the metal grate, and then I started on the neck piece that holds the gas tank. After reaching out for advice to the person who had the tractor before, Rory, he said sanding down to bare metal might not be necessary. Glad I only got so far on that tactic before needing to change my path.

I got some degreaser that works like a charm. It cleaned up the radiator bottom so I could sand the rest of the grime away, and I also finished most of the gas tank holder. The flap to access the tank won’t open as the metal has warped and won’t allow it to open. Need to find another way to open that.

In the meantime, I prepped to degrease a larger portion of tractor like the engine block, putting down a plastic tarp. Glad it’s getting warm so I can open the garage when I will be using this chemical in a larger quantity.

Tractor Work – Overview

I recently got a 1949 Allis Chalmers Model B tractor to restore. I will document the process here and try to include pictures, as I know there are people who knew the original owner and others who are friends of mine interested as I go along.

The tractor is in good shape. I am not sure about the engine, as I don’t believe it has run in at least 20 years, maybe more. The metal and main parts are in good shape and all current parts have stayed in tact except the obvious hoses and such that would decay over time. My goal right now is to prep and paint the metal to put back together as much as I need to test the running of the engine.

After all is finished, I hope to keep the tractor to show it a the local engine show and in parades since the town I’m in has a big culture surrounding farming.

The question I get a lot is, have I done this before? Nope! I haven’t done anything like this before but I am very interested in it. I got hooked when I attended the engine show in my town last year, 2022, and bought a set of books on automobiles of the 1920s. I figured if I start on simple engines, it would be easier to get going. Plus, the history aspect is one of my special interests.

I am doing this as a way to engage my hands as I work in the software industry and my work is based on a computer. I haven’t really been into physical hobbies as my executive functioning skills have struggled, and I was always the helper of others doing the tasks. My next post will be about the work on the radiator, as that is the first part I started with.

Autism is just a Difference

Many people speculate about the reason behind autism, but let’s just pretend for a second that it’s not a disease. What if it were just another way of being? What if all people had autism and the different people were the ones who didn’t? That could very well be the case, then the world would be a very different place with the struggles flipped upside down for those not born with autism. At that point, we would be looking to cure non-autistic people.


Let’s start with some basic traits of people with autism, like myself. Sensitive to light, fabrics, touch, sound, etc. Now we are sensitive to those things like a wool sweater or tight-fitting clothing, which is weird compared to most of society. But there are textures that most people are sensitive to, like sandpaper. The difference is how drastic it seems a sweater and sandpaper are, but they are both textures.


Sensitive to light, that is something most people have issues with if you come out of a dark movie theatre in the afternoon or you were developing photos and you exit the dark room. It’s harsh and blinding until your eyes adjust. People with autism just have a different limit of that sensitivity.


We all experience sensitivity to the things I mentioned above, no matter to what degree it takes for us to realize it. What I’m getting at is that people with autism are no different, they just experience the stress more keenly and sooner than most of society because society is geared towards those with a higher tolerance.

Work from Home or Get an Office?

So you having a small business, consulting or developing an actual product/service. You’ve been doing this awhile or maybe you just started.

How do you know you’re ready to get a real office that isn’t a corner of your living room?


  1. Income Level
  2. Longterm Sustainability
  3. Target Audience


Income Level

Are you making enough to afford an office? This may seem like a trick question, but sometimes you can feel pressure to get an office to demonstrate a good front to customers and competitors. If you just keep meeting people at Starbucks, how does that look?

If you can’t afford an office, then you need one. Customers care that you care for them, not necessarily what foot you put forth. If you have a big oak desk and leather armchairs with a fancy Italian coffee maker and jazz music playing in the waiting area, customers won’t care. They will appreciate it but if that compromises the service or even puts you out of business in 6 months, not good.

Customers want the real you, at least the good ones do.


Longterm Sustainability

Is your income lasting for many moons? If you can afford it for 3-6 months because of a sweet contract you got, but after that is still uncertain, don’t bother. Make sure you can weather the ebbs and flows of business. You may have secured a cozy project this time but the next one might not pan out. You are better off saving up for leaner times than splurging and then falling apart.

You should weather for at least 2 years to know for certain. I know it seems like a long time and these days, an eternity, but business is seasonal. You could be hopping in spring and summer but during fall and the holidays, you struggle. You don’t know all of this after just one year, so another year will give you a better data set to work with.

It will also give you time to build up a steady client base and be more comfortable making changes.


Target Audience

Who is your target audience? Are you working with consulting clients who meet you face to face? Are you developing a product or service online?

If you are a web developer who works online, you don’t need to go to an office just to not talk to people. You can do that at home. If you meet clients, then an office would make sense as long as it follows the sustainability rule and income rules listed above.

Once you grow and start hiring people, again sustainably, then you can consider getting an office so you aren’t just huddling in your basement.

The cliche is Apple and Microsoft starting in basements and then going big, which is viable. If you want an office, go right ahead. If you don’t, that works too.

Chapter 1: New Hope Beneath

While this book starts off describing the life of an ordinary woman, it definitely does not continue that way. Just keep that in mind as you measure your expectations…


Olivia is not a normal person. She has managed to navigate life successfully despite her mild autism, finding a passion and a job that pays well, a husband who understands her, and friends who appreciate her most of the time. She enjoys her life, but that’s not the point of this story. This story is not about giving her true purpose and fulfillment or helping her to navigate some emotional baggage or a clandestine love life. This story is about her taking her surroundings and creating a world bigger than most people around her could ever imagine.

Olivia has wild dreams, about fantastical powers and animals and worlds that exist with very little relevancy to the current one she lives in. What if she could make that reality? There must be a way to realize these dreams, then she gets an idea. The world she wants cannot be found among her existing life. Looking out her window, she gets an idea and walks to the basement.

Entering the basement, she is immediately reminded of her fears. Growing up, she would visit her grandmother in a house that was as old as Moses, with a basement that beckoned menacingly. Walking down the hall to the bathroom, you could sense it on your left and ran as fast as possible, but the sense was still there and you shivered anyway. Having to sleep in the basement, despite being in a closed bedroom, was like a prison sentence. The bed was uncomfortable, sheets were stiff, and God forbid you had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This basement was different. It was new, which was a major plus. There was lower likelihood of spiders here, but it was cold and there was the sump that was part of building code. Why did there have to be a hole, albeit covered, in the basement floor? It was creepy. Olivia walked down the stairs and turned left into the main area. Walking forward, she went to the window closest, opened it and started clearing away the rocks that covered the door. After climbing down the metal ladder, no one would see her and no one would know she just entered an unknown world.



Autism on a Daily Basis

Running in the morning is orderly and relaxing, even the occasional spider in the room is nice when compared to the thought of the occasional human in the room. At home, I can easily make myself understood and all my feelings get communicated because we have spent time building that up. But there’s never enough time to hang out before having to mingle with coworkers.

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Is it ok to let employees out of their cubicles?

So the industry experts of corporate culture are putting out a lot of buzzwords like collaboration and integration and team work. Companies go to many conferences a year to learn about these same concepts and when they come back, nothing actually changes.

For some reason, people are afraid to let employees have freedom. Freedom to work together and foster ideas to solve problems sounds amazing but it hides behind the way that  things have always been done.

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