Thursday, January 17, 2008

Funny BUS-iness

Here we are after a good snowfall!

Owing to our vehicular availability situation, we have shifted priorities from our long-awaited kitchen cabinets/sink project to our RV conversion project. Our original bus was running fairly okay, until a sub-zero freeze in December broke a seal or something. Rather than starting on another repair attempt on our old, faithful bus (which doesn't have any heaters, since we didn't need them in Texas!), we decided to instead focus on the new bus.

The new bus (photos are on the main InKLEINations site) has been coming along nicely, but we were thinking we had until spring before we really needed it. But that changed, so we are speeding up our efforts on getting it converted and titled as an RV so we can start rolling. Nearly all the conversion work has been done entirely by the older children. Daddy advises, Zak supervises, and thus far, just about everything is done by the children. This has been such a blessing, because we simply could not get it done any other way.

The two buses are parked side by side in the driveway, which lends a classy air to our neighborhood.

Today, we were set to begin prepping the subfloor. It is just a few inches from the bus floor, and we filled the space with blown-in insulation and ran a bit of wiring and some of the heater hoses through it. (It is amazing how hot or cold the floor of your bus can get!)

We needed to have the bus heated in order to put on the vinyl floor tiles, so we needed to run the bus engine. This required having some diesel in the tank. Since the new bus isn't road legal yet, and the old bus's tank was nearly full, we figured we'd siphon the tank of the old bus and transfer the fuel to the tank of the new bus. After a few tastes of diesel, the boys decided to try the trick we learned when a certain family member accidentally filled the tank with GAS instead of diesel. The service guy showed us a plug at the bottom of the tank, and you can use that to empty your tank, if need be.

This only required two trips to the auto supply store. First, we took a whole wheat casting of the plug, so we could find the proper socket thingee to open the plug. (No, it was not organic whole wheat, but it was freshly milled.) After that, we needed a really long funnel. Solomon calculated a 17 inch long funnel. I got the longest one I could find, thinking surely it would be long enough, but no, it really needed to be 17 inches long. Fortunately, we had the tubing from our unsavory siphoning attempts and could use that for an extension.

The boys didn't use what was on the very bottom of the tank, in case there was any sediment. However, they couldn't figure out a way to not get diesel all over their hands. (The aforementioned service guy actually attached a spigot to the plug opening, and we didn't have that technology.) But they got the tank filled up with enough fuel to idle and heat the bus for the time specified by the flooring primer instructions.

After this, we were able to run the bus heaters. So, while a polar cold front approached Wisconsin today, the inside of the bus heated up to a nice tropical level. Sarah and Susanna and Noah worked on cleaning up all the sawdust and insulation so the girls could apply two coats of primer. Here you can see the bare metal walls. We temporarily removed the wall insulation, but after the floor is in, the insulation will be replaced, and the walls paneled. You can also see the electrical wiring that Ben has done for us. div>

After a slow start, we finally felt like things were beginning to happen. The primer needed to cure 12 hours, so we figured we'd make it a fun, late night, and the girls could start laying tile around midnight (owing to the fact that we had to keep the engine idling as long as the project was going on).

Zak decided to tighten some of the OSB with screws, to insure a smooth floor, when it happened.

(Sorry for the orientation!) This is actually a reenactment. I was in the house, and when I heard of the mishap, I figured I should photo-document it. Zak had punctured a heater hose, going all the way through the hose, into the floor.

That is antifreeze, my friends, a fountain of it, at one time. Solomon immediately shut off the hose connection to the bus heaters (via an actual water shut off knob by the driver's seat). Zak figured out that the leak was reduced if he put a screwdriver in the hole. The heaters work by cycling antifreeze through the bus heater units in the passenger compartment. Shutting off the pressure lessened the flow, but we all had that sad feeling of knowing that our blown-in insulation was sopping up the antifreeze.

We did use nailing plates to protect the hoses, but just by the floor "joists".

We drilled another hole in the bus floor, to allow most of the fluid to drain out of the space, and they commenced cutting and pulling the wet OSB. We'll have to patch it up later.

Daddy, who left work early due to the weather, was able to pick up the needed parts for mending the hose, and more antifreeze, on the way home from work. BTW, that polar front gave us a 15 degree drop in temperatures within one hour this afternoon, causing flash freezing on the roads.

While waiting for the fix, we set up our big kerosene heater to get that tropical feeling back. We had to shut it off for the girls to start priming the rest of the floor, but before long, we had the hose repaired, and the bus heaters running again, praise the Lord!

This is the kind of thing that happens all the time in our various projects. You know, it rarely happens in a institutional school setting. Everything in most traditional schools are set up to be programmed and timed and all that, but that is not real life. We are learning that when these things happen, we need to not to get stressed out and upset. God is developing patience and humility in us. A big part of what we need to learn is patience and humility.

Well, everyone is in bed now, the primer is curing, and we expect to put the flooring in tomorrow morning, Lord willing.

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