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Inept mechanic.

Old 01-27-20, 06:35 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
You're not inept. Inept is when a bicycle shop mechanic hammers the drive side chainstay in order to give the inner chainring more clearance.



Unfortunately that happened during a long ride I was on and I did not know how incompetent and inept that shop was.

Cheers
Noooooooo!
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Old 01-27-20, 06:43 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by billnuke1 View Post
Noooooooo!
Columbus SL frameset. I've wondered how much it'd cost to have a new right side chainstay put in. Be VERY leery of letting any unknown bicycle person work on your bike in any unfamiliar city or shop.

Cheers
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Old 01-27-20, 09:28 PM
  #28  
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I am quite new to wrenching on bikes and have made a lot of mistakes,some costly. One thing i found really helps is knowing when to step back and take a break .Often something that is driving me crazy is a simple problem the next day.. I love my time wrenching on the old bikes.
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Old 01-27-20, 10:16 PM
  #29  
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It takes a lot of repetition

I'm very wary when any mechanical task is described as "easy". That's usually from someone who has a lot of experience doing something. For instance, I was putting new 5700 10 speed parts on an old Cannondale frame a few years back and was flummoxed getting the FD to work properly--spend an hour fiddling with the tension and it was all to no avail. Eventually, I found a discussion that one had to set the low limit screw so that the derailleur cage was moved parallel to the outside CR (well that was advice for the 5800 FD--and not the 5700 I was working on, but regardless I moved the cage as far to the right as I could get it using the low limit screw and then set the tension and it worked perfectly). How could I have intuitively known this? So while it was initially frustrating it became gratifying later to complete the task. Now I'm good at immediately setting Shimano mech FDs, but wasn't before trying it the first time. ..


Just detailing my bike and changing a cable or doing maintenance on a BB can take me a few hours--I'm certainly a plodder and I usually have to buy specialized tools--so it can get expensive there also. But I like bikes and want to understand how they work a bit better. The time and money I spend on doing so is in someways besides the point. Just make sure whatever you've done has been done safely and don't overlook things. I once changed a saddle and tightened the clamp bolt by feel and the next day I was going down a hill around traffic at 40mph, the saddle went "nose down" on me. I was able to keep my wits, but If my hands weren't in the drops I probably would have crashed. I went home after that and visited the Thompson site and got the correct torque setting for the bolt and used a torque wrench to set it properly. Now I use torque wrenches for virtually everything.


I'd like to teach my son some bike maintenance or basic woodworking skills--such as using a circular, table, chop saw safely to make something like a patio table. A lot of young people aren't very "handsy" and while my son is very good at college book learnin'; he's not so good using tools. I've even heard that it's a problem for medical schools not having students who are good with their hands (and my son is interested in medical school). I envy people who are handy. There's more to life than using screens.
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Old 01-27-20, 11:08 PM
  #30  
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I have gotten to the point in my life where when I buy a tool I rather wait and save for a professional quality tool than get something that is low quality. Since I'm getting back into bicycles after a 25+ year gap, I find that there are tools that I need and tools that I just want and because of the cost I will probably not live long enough to save any money from just having a shop fix things. In other words I'm going full blown Park. Not everything though. My daughter gave me a Park repair stand for Christmas and that one thing really makes a difference when doing work on the bikes. I picked up a 5 drawer rolling tool chest from Harbor Freight for $199 in Park Blue. This is going to be my dedicated bike tool storage now I just need to fill it up.

My main point is the first time I tried to remove the cranks on my newish Cannondale with ISIS I used my 40 year old crank puller and peened over the pusher because things have changed. That's why I love youtube so much, tons of how to fix your bike vids out there.
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Old 01-28-20, 12:03 AM
  #31  
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The pace of your work really changes when you do it all day, every day, and your speed and quality are your bargaining chips for a livable wage. When I'm not on the clock, I usually work either much more slowly or with much less cosmetic detailing or both. Also, if I work at home, I don't have a fully set work space for bike wrenching, and even if my tools and supplies are well organized my workflow isn't nearly as good as it is at work (though I'm hoping to build a legit home shop to change this). If you're not getting paid, it's really about whether you're satisfied with how you experienced the work and how the bike performs. If you spent 6 enjoyable hours having a couple cups of tea, maybe a beer, and catching up on some great tunes and podcasts, and your bike looks and feels great at the end, that's great, assuming you don't have a ton of pressure on your time.
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Old 01-28-20, 12:27 AM
  #32  
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The credit goes to the man that tries and fails. Not to the one who never tries due to fear of failure.
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Old 01-28-20, 08:20 AM
  #33  
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Fill up the stands and put GCN on the speakers...
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Old 01-28-20, 08:27 AM
  #34  
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Know it all didn't need a shake down ride.

Repainted and rebuilt a 1980s Gitane road bike and was very pleased with the pace of the work and how well the gears, brakes etc worked on the stand. Next morning at dawn zoomed off into the traffic feeling very smug. Going down a steep hill that ended in a T intersection onto a major highway, pushed on the brake levers and the whole setup rotated around the quill stem and my face landed on the front tire.
Miraculously didn't get wiped out by a 60 mph car as I carrered across 4 lanes and just fell over on the grass opposite - unhurt.
The moral of the tale, it doesn't matter how long it takes just make certain you've done it right.
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Old 01-28-20, 11:32 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
... When I'm not on the clock, I usually work either much more slowly or with much less cosmetic detailing or both. Also, if I work at home, I don't have a fully set work space for bike wrenching, and even if my tools and supplies are well organized my workflow isn't nearly as good as it is at work (though I'm hoping to build a legit home shop to change this). If you're not getting paid, it's really about whether you're satisfied with how you experienced the work ....
^ this was well said. When I'm being paid for my work, I'm mentally more organized about the sequence of steps, layout of necessary tools and materials, and checkpoints to make sure I haven't forgotten anything along the way. If something takes unusually long due to an unforeseen problem, I account for that time as well.

I never keep track of time when I'm "off the clock" and fixing something for myself, my wife, or for a close friend.
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Old 02-01-20, 06:39 AM
  #36  
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I serviced the original headset on my Tourmalet. I had never done this before. My other rebuilds I had the LBS do this. I purchased a cup removal tool and did a homemade race/cup setter from RJthebikeguy.com video. My first try, all seemed to be good until I took it out for a test spin. I realized something was not right soon after starting the ride. It was not turning smoothly and easily. When I took it apart again, I found I had put the bottom seal under the ball bearings. I redid it and installed it again the next day. Once again, I took it out for a quick ride. I thought I had it right as it was working fine. After a few miles, while taking a sharp turn at high speed, I could feel some binding in the front end when coming back up and into a straight line. When I stopped and looked at the headset, it looked like the bottom cup or crown race were not installed level to each other. I could feel a bit of grinding at that point. Again, when I got home I put the bike on the workstand and pulled the bottom cup and the ball bearings were not seated properly. A couple of them had moved up into the head tube and I could see a mark in the wall ot the tube from the balls grinding against it.

That evening, I could not stop thinking about it and decided to try to get it right again. This time, I really could not see what the problem was until I started to put it back together. I had miscounted the ball bearings and had one too many in the bottom cup/race. This time, the third try, it seems I got it right. Everything looks as it should, it is operating smoothly and feels like a new headset. I have had a number of rides and 150 or so miles with no issues. Hopefully, another lesson learned that I will retain. Despite my errors, I feel pretty good about sticking with it, and getting it done in the end.
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Old 02-01-20, 03:25 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I serviced the original headset on my Tourmalet. I had never done this before. My other rebuilds I had the LBS do this. I purchased a cup removal tool and did a homemade race/cup setter from RJthebikeguy.com video. My first try, all seemed to be good until I took it out for a test spin. I realized something was not right soon after starting the ride. It was not turning smoothly and easily. When I took it apart again, I found I had put the bottom seal under the ball bearings. I redid it and installed it again the next day. Once again, I took it out for a quick ride. I thought I had it right as it was working fine. After a few miles, while taking a sharp turn at high speed, I could feel some binding in the front end when coming back up and into a straight line. When I stopped and looked at the headset, it looked like the bottom cup or crown race were not installed level to each other. I could feel a bit of grinding at that point. Again, when I got home I put the bike on the workstand and pulled the bottom cup and the ball bearings were not seated properly. A couple of them had moved up into the head tube and I could see a mark in the wall ot the tube from the balls grinding against it.

That evening, I could not stop thinking about it and decided to try to get it right again. This time, I really could not see what the problem was until I started to put it back together. I had miscounted the ball bearings and had one too many in the bottom cup/race. This time, the third try, it seems I got it right. Everything looks as it should, it is operating smoothly and feels like a new headset. I have had a number of rides and 150 or so miles with no issues. Hopefully, another lesson learned that I will retain. Despite my errors, I feel pretty good about sticking with it, and getting it done in the end.
Caged bearings make it hard to install the wrong number of ball bearings or to have them end up in the wrong place. But, if those two errors can be avoided, loose bearings are superior.
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Old 02-01-20, 05:49 PM
  #38  
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JanMM, I actually was going to go to my LBS to get caged bearings but decided to give it a try the old school way. After the first try and error, I thought to myself that I was not giving in and was going to do it again and get it right. After the second try and error, I was confident that my third try was going to be successful. I don't know if I would have tried a fourth time if I had messed up the third one. I do know that whenever I ride that bike I am conscious of the smooth operation of the headset. I sure never gave it much thought on a bike before.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:19 PM
  #39  
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SClaraPokeman,
It takes a lot of skill to hold a scalpel steady inside someones cranium or inside one's intestines. And that doesn't come from sitting at a typewriter or keyboard. Eye hand co-ordination is a developed skill that requires a lot of concentration. And it doesn't just come naturally to many. I grew up working in a vet clinic and getting to watch hundreds of surgeries. One of the worst was piecing a collie back together after a car almost cut it in two. The fellow I worked for was an old school guy and saved the hound, but it was a multiple trip to the operating table thing. I learned a lot from that experience and realized I didn't want to be an internist for sure. Wrenching on bikes is far easier, and they don't have feelings.
I hope your son gets some hands on "lernin" from ya, And he better well like to spend time in the libraries, pre-med was the hardest five years of my life, and I didn't make the cut. Smiles,MH
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Old 02-01-20, 07:23 PM
  #40  
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delbiker,
You keep this ineptness up and your gonna be a journeyman wrench soon. Smiles, MH
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Old 02-02-20, 11:25 AM
  #41  
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Iíll say Iím similar and Iíve had to learn to be more patient. I way I would spend 5 hours wrenching in one day. fortunately I have a few bikes so I can still ride while one sits on the rack. I max out at two hours of wrenching in a day. I also am not afraid to give up and take it to the LBS to finish off. Fortunately I have a Mechanic friend, not local to me so I canít take my bike to him, but I can text questions and send video when I run into issues.
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Old 02-02-20, 07:14 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
You're not inept. Inept is when a bicycle shop mechanic hammers the drive side chainstay in order to give the inner chainring more clearance.



Unfortunately that happened during a long ride I was on and I did not know how incompetent and inept that shop was.

Cheers
What a braindead vandal!

What sort of moron can't tell an old beater from a vintage weapon rocking Dura-Ace, with the mad AX pedals and crank, no less.

Not that doing that to an old beater is at all kosher either, but geez.

What a dip****.
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Old 02-03-20, 09:26 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
This would be about me. Almost always, when I engage in doing anything that involves mechanics, it becomes a struggle. It has always been like that and it is not getting any better with entering old age. Bicycle mechanics, as the saying goes, is not rocket science or brain surgery. For me, it sure as hell ain't easy. I spend an inordinate amount of time to accomplish what a skilled mechanic can do fairly quickly. Some things I do get better at with repetition, most things I just can't seem to get done correctly without screwing something up, often more than one thing. Usually, at some point, frustration sets in, and if I do not take a break, anger soon follows. Today was no exception. I switched out and wrapped a handlebar on a quill stem, replaced the front derailleur, replaced a gear and brake cable and housing, and adjusted the brakes and derailleurs. I also lubed and wiped down the bike when those things were done. It took me close to five hours to finish these things. I will not even go into the errors that I made and corrected. In the end, was it worth the cost, time, effort and mental anguish and frustration? When I got on the bike and put in some miles and everything was operating as it should, I told myself, " this is why I put myself through that". The riding of a smooth operating, quiet bike spinning down the road leaves all that stuff behind. That I make it more difficult and time consuming than it should be, does not change that the end result is something that I accomplished. For me, it is a whole different feeling than picking the bike up from the LBS when it is done there. So, yes, it was worth it.
Tools first. Iíve down most of my own work for over 30 years now. Having the right tools can eliminate a ton of frustrations. The only thing I donít do is true up a new set of wheels because I havenít felt it was sensible to buy a high quality truing stand with gauges to do it right. I always lace them up because I really enjoy being able to focus on detail like label alignment. I then take them to a shop, but look at their setup before I let them do it. A good friend of mine was a retired pro mechanic and he taught me everything he could. I still get beyond frustrated when things change. The most recent frustration is that new alignment thingy on Shimano front derailleurs. Just keep this crap simple!
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Old 02-04-20, 02:37 AM
  #44  
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Nothing wrong with you. I spend way to much time on my old bikes too.
but seriously, who cares if you don't have to live out of that ?
NOBODY.

I don't count my time. Just try to make my best.
Yesterday I spend two hours to clean a mafac racer caliper. Who cares ?
(I had the time to listen good music, relaxing time, completely forgot the **** day I had at work. Perfect !)

One thing I have understood with the time, is that without right tools it may become a pain.
I purchased some nice tools for basics operation, and it makes for sure the things easier and better made.
I don't have as much tools as I would like, but I suppose it will never be enough !

Another thing that I have learned, is that you have to make it easy for yourself.
Let's take anchor cable Mafac brakes. It seems very complicated to set up , because if the tension is okay you can not anchor the pulling cable, until you understand that you just have remove the wheel to depress the caliper a little more, and then anchor the cable is nothing but easy.
Some calls it "learning by doing " !

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Old 02-04-20, 12:26 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
This would be about me. Almost always, when I engage in doing anything that involves mechanics, it becomes a struggle. It has always been like that and it is not getting any better with entering old age. Bicycle mechanics, as the saying goes, is not rocket science or brain surgery. For me, it sure as hell ain't easy. I spend an inordinate amount of time to accomplish what a skilled mechanic can do fairly quickly. Some things I do get better at with repetition, most things I just can't seem to get done correctly without screwing something up, often more than one thing. Usually, at some point, frustration sets in, and if I do not take a break, anger soon follows. Today was no exception. I switched out and wrapped a handlebar on a quill stem, replaced the front derailleur, replaced a gear and brake cable and housing, and adjusted the brakes and derailleurs. I also lubed and wiped down the bike when those things were done. It took me close to five hours to finish these things. I will not even go into the errors that I made and corrected. In the end, was it worth the cost, time, effort and mental anguish and frustration? When I got on the bike and put in some miles and everything was operating as it should, I told myself, " this is why I put myself through that". The riding of a smooth operating, quiet bike spinning down the road leaves all that stuff behind. That I make it more difficult and time consuming than it should be, does not change that the end result is something that I accomplished. For me, it is a whole different feeling than picking the bike up from the LBS when it is done there. So, yes, it was worth it.
Usually when I pick up the bike from the LBS I see at least a handful of things I would not have done that way, and I have to go and rectify all those little matters before I want to ride it. It's one thing that keeps me endlessly spiralling around perfection in my basement area.
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Old 02-04-20, 12:32 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rollalongnow View Post
Tools first. Iíve down most of my own work for over 30 years now. Having the right tools can eliminate a ton of frustrations. The only thing I donít do is true up a new set of wheels because I havenít felt it was sensible to buy a high quality truing stand with gauges to do it right. I always lace them up because I really enjoy being able to focus on detail like label alignment. I then take them to a shop, but look at their setup before I let them do it. A good friend of mine was a retired pro mechanic and he taught me everything he could. I still get beyond frustrated when things change. The most recent frustration is that new alignment thingy on Shimano front derailleurs. Just keep this crap simple!

Wheel truing: I make the wheels satisfy me, not stand up to a quality standard the whole shop output needs to satisfy. I use a stand and would like to get a new one that supports the wheel from wiggling. I do a precise job without numbers. As I spin the wheel I move the lateral runout scraper in until there is a scrape, then adjust the spoke tension to move the rim just a bit out of the way. Same for the radial runout. I end up with a very round and straight wheel, but with no way to state a tolerance. I don't need a tolerance, I need a stable wheel that doesn't bounce when on the road.
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Old 02-04-20, 03:05 PM
  #47  
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You basically described me as well with your story. Going down to clean up the bike and ending up spending 2-3 hours easily doing basic things, and cleaning things up that are going to get nasty again pretty quickly. I think a few factors are at play here:

1) A certain amount of perfectionism, wanting to do things right and not a half-assed job.
2) A level of personal care for the bike, making sure you don't do any damage or poor work.
3) An engineering mindset, overthinking things and wondering why this is built like that, etc.
4) An ability to enter a meditative, focused state where things like lower back pain, your wife's dismay and your wasted youth do not seem to matter as much as getting a fix done.
5) A mistrust towards strangers/random mechanics fixing your bike for you.
6) A willingness to neglect fear of breaking things, and to put in time instead of money.

More importantly, the pleasure you derive from fixing your bike yourself, getting that smooth ride afterwards. Ooh yeah.
A huge bummer I had once was, after hours of work to clean a cassette, chain, align derailleur (after watching a bunch of YouTube videos how to do it), cleaning rims, truing wheels, fitting saddle and handlebar to proper height on a second-hand bike I bought... some filth goes ahead and steals it few days later. That's a kick in the nuts there.
Still, you learn something, and next time you'll be faster and better. Just don't go telling all your friends you're great with bikes now... lest you enjoy becoming their mechanic of choice.

Last edited by Fandomii; 02-04-20 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 02-04-20, 05:43 PM
  #48  
delbiker1 
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
Still, you learn something, and next time you'll be faster and better. Just don't go telling all your friends you're great with bikes now... lest you enjoy becoming their mechanic of choice.
Fandomil, I know I will not become the mechanic of choice for others. Working on my bikes, where the costs of my mistakes are my costs only, is acceptable and gratifying. Doing that with others is a totally different beast. I have learned how to say no.
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Old 02-04-20, 08:03 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Fandomil, I know I will not become the mechanic of choice for others. Working on my bikes, where the costs of my mistakes are my costs only, is acceptable and gratifying. Doing that with others is a totally different beast. I have learned how to say no.
Yes, I got volunteered by a friend to help build a bunch of Christmas bikes donated to a youth group. I showed up with my tools, a couple of tire pumps and some grease/lubes. You know, they only put a small dab of grease on any of the bearings. And I've never seen so many out of tru rims....So, my buddy was doing about 4 bikes to each one of mine. They finally talked me into just putting them together, but I still have nightmares.
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Old 02-04-20, 08:37 PM
  #50  
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Did you enjoy the work while you were doing it? (I find wrenching on a bike to be relaxing, even when things go wrong-ish). I learned on a late 80s Pinarello, which was probably the wrong booked to be learning on, but maybe because of its value, I was careful and other than the first frustrating experience of trying to fish a brake cable through a top tube never had an issue with it. With practice, it got to where I used to come back from a wet ride and strip the bike down to the frame and rebuild it before going to bed that night. I did strip the derailleur hanger on a certain Fuji Ace through carelessness and hurry. Lesson, slow is good as long as you're enjoying the journey. Now, coffee and tunes are always part of the process.

On a recent build, I spent way too much time trying to figure out why the cranks were loose in the frame (campy ultratorque). Turned out to be me repeatedly installing the bolt into the wrong crankarm so it wasn't tightening down on anything. Once I sorted it out, I had a good laugh at my stupidity.
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