Monday, June 25, 2012

Hell of a mess

In my last post I wrote that I was tackling a paint job on the frenchy-bus.  At that time I still thought I could colour match the old paint.  I pretty quickly determined that my paint mixer had come close but not close enough and I don’t think that would have worked particularly well anyway.  There were just too many places on the bus where either there were cracks in the underlying fibreglass or where the paint had worn off or started to peel.  If I can get a half-assed paint job on top of a good repair job it will look at a minimum as good as it did and with a bit of luck a lot better.

Of course in order for any of that to happen I will need more than two decent weather days in succession.  I am so bloody sick and tired of rain I can hardly stand it.  We’ve had our two days now and the forecast is for two days of crap.  That generally turns into a week of crap at a bare minimum. 

I’ve been adopted by an old geek in town who used to own a body shop.  He checks on me at least once a day.  Today he confirmed what I knew all along but was pretending not to – I needed to remove all the clearance lights.  If I hadn’t done that the new paint would have started to peel around every light within a year at the longest and likely sooner.  So today I pulled all the lights off and sanded underneath them.  And I got the forehead sanded so that the only major unsanded surface remaining is the patch underneath the windshield where the wipers mount.  I also got some rough lines sketched on the sides to lay out the future colour stripes. 

I had planned to have a new supply of epoxy waiting for me when I got back from South Carolina but someone screwed up and it hadn’t arrived on Saturday when Marilyn picked me up.  That’s holding up the final fibreglass applications.  Other than those few final bits of fibreglass I’m pretty well ready to start throwing paint at the bus.  Of course all that depends on the weather giving me half a break.  The paint dries really quickly but the bus needs to be be dry when it goes on so that rules out putting it on immediately following a rainstorm. 

I was late returning from South Carolina because of the severe weather on the east coast.  I got to the airport in Charlotte early Friday morning and then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Some of us finally figured out that something was going on in New York because all the flights to La Guardia and JFK were being delayed and everything else was still going out more or less on time.  Finally they started cancelling the New York flights and eventually mine was cancelled too.  It turned out that there were severe thunderstorms in the New York area and nothing was coming or going. 

So next I stood in line at “Customer Service” and eventually got re-booked on a direct flight from Charlotte to Toronto.  That would have got me into Toronto in time to catch the flight that I originally was going to catch after my flight from Charlotte to New York and New York to Toronto.  And then I waited some more.  And waited some more.  Eventually they announced that our plane had been held up for mechanical issues wherever it was before it was supposed to be in Charlotte.  And then after a while the flight simply disappeared off the computer arrivals/departures screen. 

A woman that I had met from Regina who was also waiting heard from the gate attendant that our flight was cancelled and we were supposed to return to “Customer Service” to get re-booked.  I’d already been through that adventure and this time the lineup stretched halfway down the hallway so I wasn’t about to give up another 4 hours standing in another line.  Instead I phoned US Air and by some miracle got connected to a human being within about 5 minutes.  She was very sorry but couldn’t do anything better than booking me on a direct flight to Toronto on Saturday morning.  So after a whole wasted day in the Charlotte airport I retired to the Econo Lodge and started all over again Saturday morning.  Of course I did all this without my suitcase because it had been checked through to Regina first thing in the morning. 

On Saturday when I arrived at Toronto Customs I had zero expectation that my bag would arrive with me.  I would have frankly been surprised to learn that it was on the same continent let alone in the same airport but there it was waiting for me by the Customs carousel.  And after that the day was pretty uneventful.  I was fortunate enough to draw a 5 hour layover in Toronto so I ate a leisurely overpriced lunch and waited some more. 

Yesterday and today were consumed with sanding and more sanding.  Tonight I wrapped some holes with masking tape in what will likely turn out to be a futile attempt to keep water on the outside of the bus.  As part of the painting prep I disconnected the awning arms and flipped them up on the roof.  That pulled the awning up out of the way but I was worried that a big wind might unwrap them back violently against the side of the bus so tonight I also tied them down to the driver’s side of the bus. 

Meanwhile Marilyn has been sanding on the inside of the bus.  Most of our interior woodwork is getting to the point where it needs recoating.  I’ve already done the living room and bathroom but the kitchen and bedroom are looking pretty tired.  Marilyn put a couple of coats of varnish on the bedroom last winter but the wood must have been too wet because we have some serious mold discolouration so she has been stripping and sanding in preparation for a complete new coat of varnish.

We got interrupted both yesterday and today by company.  Yesterday it was Kent and Gaylene on their way back to Melfort from Goodspirit Lake.  Today it was Ross and Ryan on their way to Arborfield.  In both cases we had a good visit with friends that we haven’t seen for a long time.   We’re not usually in one place long enough to have company – this was a very pleasant change.

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