Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2000 International Blue Bird School bus review

Nothing typed here should be construed as a complaint regarding the shop or mechanics.

I know, out of character for me to start with a disclaimer, but once when I was in the shop and I had a weird conversation with one of the mechanics.  I'm not going to recount that, suffice to say that it was weird. Really really weird.

I had this bus for 5.5 school years, and initially I hated it.  I'm almost too fat for the bus, there's just enough room behind the wheel for me to sit/fit.  There are a couple of drivers that are too fat for the bus, I really should befriend them and hang out with them, so I could be the thin one.

This bus came from Anoka or Chanhassen or some other goofy place, I got it with about 120,000 miles in the fall of 2008.  I had just enjoyed a year of a rear engine AmTran, which had a power door and a brand new window.  The sliding window fell in on me one fine day in October, and it didn't get replaced until February or March...when it fell in, it just missed my eye and gashed my cheek, I was not happy about that, let me assure you.

So this Bluebird is a "conventional" bus, meaning it has a long nose that sticks out and it has a huge tailswing.  This means that the area between the back wheels and rear bumper is long, and when turning sharply the driver must be careful because that tail will swing around and decimate things.

The bus had the standard manual operated door, which means my right arm got some use...for every school bus stop, they make us activate the yellow lights, put the transmission in N, set the brake all before opening the door, and all that is done with the right arm.  Of course the lights go off automatically, but the door, brake and transmission all must be reset before departing.  Yes, I kept the door well lubed...I don't see how people got by with a sticky squeaky door.

To the best of my memory, the bus never stranded me. It got swapped a couple times, mid route, because of the transmission not shifting out of first gear, the turbo problem, and an air leak....but each time it was driven back to the shop.

 Developed a problem, it'd wear off a front tire in just a few thousand miles.It was weird, too, when I first got the bus, it would not make the turn around a culdesac. Then for a couple years it would, but then at the end, it would not. Maybe they put different sized tires on it.
 coolant leaking onto alternator. BTW, the alternator quit one day, mid route. Batteries lasted the rest of the trip, thankfully.
 Turbo sucked in a seal and blew an amazing amount of smoke. An impressive amount of smoke. It was awesome.
 hood hinge bolt. disappeared for a while, made it a lot of fun to check the engine.
 "crossover mirror" mount. mirror would swivel around so that it was more useless than normal until they put a screw into it. LOL
 Exhaust pipe would smash half flat going into Lincoln school.  They put on a new pipe, and it smashed flat the first time I went to Lincoln.
 Some body damage that I sort of fixed. After 3+ years like this, the shop did some work to it, the same year the bus was retired.

 cup holder and anti rattle.
 Ran it quite a ways further, about another 20,000 miles, I think.
 Turn signal stalk broke off one day. Fun using a pencil....jamming it in to lever it up or down.
Some one mowed their lawn into a big puddle that I hit. That grass stuck to the bus for a long time...kinda funny.


As a teenager, I tried in vain to grow a mustache. Couldn't do it. Kinda gave up on facial hairs until I was nearly 30, when I went on vacation and didn't shave the entire time. When I got home, I had the start of a good shadow, so I just scraped off my cheeks and neck, left the goat part. I was working at an apartment complex, doing maintenance, and an absolutely beautiful girl told me that the goat thingy looked good.

So I kept it.

I grew it longer, trimmed it shorter, bushier, etc. Until I was off work one year between Christmas and New Year, when I shaved my chin naked.

Holy hell, what a mistake.

And I know what you're thinking. This blog is worthless w/o pics. 

It'd be worthless even with pictures.

So 10 or 12 years of a hairy kinda get used to seeing that in the mirror...every time I went into the bathroom, I scared myself....thinking "who is that weak chinned fat bastard?" 

I grew it back just as fast as I could, which was not fast enough....took at least a month for it to look not terrible.

With the massage biz, and the wife preferences, I kept it pretty short, if it got to be too much more than an inch, she got a little crabby about fast forward to 2014. 

15 years of wearing a goat thingy and no wife to complain if it's too long.
 Gay Bar Aug 2014
 That purple shirt pic was one of the first pics taken with the phone, so that is actually Sept 2013
 autumn 2013
 I don't remember when I found Jesus.
 made a beard comb last fall
 Mid Dec 2014 right before I had an interview. I trimmed the goat back to an inch to blend.
Beautiful day in Winona, Jan 2015
 March 2015

Will I keep the beard? I don't know. Probably not, I suspect it will be hot, esp in the motorcycle helmet.  I confess that I really like the comb...I have some oil blend, massage oil, to be honest, with some essential oils in it that I put on the comb. The comb is made from locust and maple, btw, cut on the bandsaw, sanded to taper the teeth. Feels great.

I do like the not shaving aspect of life...saves a little time each day. Does not really save much money, since I can use the dollar store razors; using a razor that cost a dime 5 or 6 life dangerously.  I may see how it goes cut short, since a long goat is painful during motorcycle season anyway.

Opinions welcome....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Clever title

March 10, 2015 ramblings

On March 9, 2004, the frost was thick and heavy, I slid a city bus down a hill and half around a curve, slamming the back of the bus into a tree, hurting some people and killing the bus. Great day. (yes, that was sarcasm)

Jan 31, 2014, my wife of 20 years or so moves out into a place across town. I assume almost full responsibility for the dissolution. You'd probably understand and agree with the reason, but maybe not the application.

In order to pay for oBamacare, I took on a few more jobs. At the end of 2014 I had 2, plus the continuous occasional massage money stream, the random wood sale, etc. Oh, my other job? Driving a party bus, which they really don't run in the winter. Not helpful to my bank account, but I understand.  My new jobs: weekend maintenance at a hotel and actor at Mayo Clinic. Fun times, friends. 

So for a year and a little more, I've lived alone with my cat. I had not lived alone since meeting Val, in 1993. Overall, I think it's more fun now than it was in 1988-1993, but we have the internet now, too. During this time I've had good times and better times. A few bad times.

Like when the sink drain plugged up, but that really wasn't hard to fix. The bathroom sink drain is next, rather slow. I got really lucky the other day: I had some new sink parts perched on the toilet tank, waiting for installation, (drain plug, the handle and lever for it). Somehow the plug (also called pop up) got dropped into the toilet. I was in a hurry and went to work, promptly forgot about it. When I got home, I had to go, still forgetting about that thing in there....until I heard a *tinkle* when I flushed. "OH CRAP!" I said. Butt everything went down, and has continued to go down since, so I guess I got lucky.

Or how about this last weekend, which was moderately better than the weekend before, but not really. See, the full time guy at the hotel went on vacation, so I agreed to go there during my mid day break to maintain things. This means that I have to drive both cars each day. One to work and the other to work. (I know.) On day 8, I'm heading down and so is the brake pedal. I have a leak. Got it home, filled the MC with brake juice, drove it to the other job on Friday. Leak is worse, of course. A LOT of fun driving it home, but arrived safe. I could see that the RF wheel is coated with brake fluid, so I know it's the hose. I really don't feel like typing up all that occurred, but suffice to say that it was a decently warm day, and I made about 6 trips to the parts store; thank AlGore that it's close. I am still not done, can't get them bled sufficiently because I can't get the bleeder valve to open. I may give up and take it across the street, for them to do it.

Not ready to talk about the weekend prior to the brake weekend. sorry.

Seems like the older I get, the longer winter is, even though the time goes faster. 

My 4th job is in the multidiscipline blah blah blah center at Mayo. Basically my assignment is to pretend I'm a middle aged fat guy with a bad knee. I've got one more day of it this round, and may be called upon to do it a few more times thru the year. Fun times....but I don't get the whole anti bus ride to mayo angst that people have. I've ridden the bus there every time, and twice parked it within a block of the place. Oh, yes. I know, it's not fair....I drove the city bus, so I understand how it works. I live on a bus line; I can go east to one route, or west to a different route. Short walk each time. And since I drive a bus, I can park it in the bus parking right outside the bdlg. Cheating, I know. But you could have moved into a neighborhood where there is a bus....

Some parts of my family want to put Grandma into a nursing home. The idiot cousins disagree. One of them has worked in a nursing home, so maybe she knows better. I don't know...I'm too much of a coward to go visit her....and she wouldn't know me anyway, so....

Oh, I know, this blog entry sucks. Too bad. ;) I just have not felt like writing, every time I do it reads like I'm complaining. And maybe I am. Whining. whatever.