When I was a boy – maybe six or seven – I decided to build an airplane. This was not a model airplane, but a full scale small airliner. It would have two engines, all kinds of instruments, and plush upholstered seats. It would be a thing of beauty and carry me to all those exotic places the world had to offer.
There was an appliance store a few blocks away, and they were more than happy to let me cart off as many packing boxes and crates as I wanted. I used my grandfather's hand saw and hammer and lots of nails, and spent the summer building it. (I was undoubtedly way behind schedule even then.)
When I was finished, I'm sure I saw it for what it was – a cobbled together melange of cardboard and packing crates, but in my mind's eye, it turned out to be just as beautiful as I imagined. I had many a great adventure flying that sleek, shiny plane to Polynesia, the jungles of Peru and Australia.
The refrigeration project that has been consuming all my time for the last six or eight weeks is nowhere near as grandiose and elaborate as my airplane, but it has certainly taken longer to complete. I've made any number of mistakes and missteps that have delayed the project. For example, despite thinking about it and measuring everything half a dozen times, the cold plate ended up being about 1/2” too high and interfered with the lower seal of the freezer hatch. To lower the cold plate would require disconnecting all the wiring, cutting the refrigerant tubing and removing the entire inner compartment. The alternative was to shorten the frame and hatch I had just spent several days fabricating.
Now, as it is getting close to completion, I'm seeing all the little things that aren't as perfect as I would like. I wanted the edge of the laminate to align perfectly with the edge of the hatch frame, but there is a small gap on one side – maybe only 1/16 of an inch, but still noticeable.
One end of the teak trim doesn't quite abut against the bulkhead perfectly. The mortise around the latch is slightly oversized and a bit ragged. Most people probably won't even notice these imperfections, but I will see them every time I look at it. But in my mind's eye...
Come to think of it, I probably could have built an airplane in the time it's taken to get this refrigeration project done.
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