Sunday, March 26, 2017

I did it with a lesbian!

Digging through the morass of conflicting ideas commonly known as my noggin, I remembered vaguely that I bought a female to female coaxial connector. A few minutes further, rummaging through what I call my supplies closet which is in fact a series of unlabeled cardboard boxes large enough to hide a body in each one, I found my female to female coaxial connector. The game was on!

Quickly crimping on the male connector for the coaxial, I slipped to female to female on and connected the other male cable. In eager anticipation, I powered up the monitor and touched the new camera power cable to a switch and... nothing. The monitor powered up but no image appeared. It was then that I noticed I'd been holding the power cable to the wrong switch. All those cuss words I just wasted too! Connecting to the correct switch rewarded me with a vibrant color image of the area behind the bus. Mission accomplished!

The next thing was to remount the video monitor. Where is was, was fine but it was at the wrong angle and being a cheap monitor meant the viewing angle was too narrow. I'd been thinking of making a totally new mount - until I found a familiar looking thing in my junk box. The monitor came with two mounts and I'd been using the wrong one until now. Mind, as I was still at the internal construction stage, that wasn't all that important back then. Within a few moments I'd installed the new mount and even centered it correctly (unlike the old mount).

As I'd said before, I decided yesterday what with wasps and hornets etc wishing to build their nests underneath my bus, it was time to rethink situating the battery compartment. That has taken me back to a very old idea of having the battery as a portable device. That allows me to carry it around the bus to use for USB power as well as to charge it elsewhere. Indeed I could even have two battery devices. 

Measuring the one Radio Shack battery, I found it fitted my Harbor Freight steel ammunition box nicely with almost enough room for a further 3 batteries the same size. That had me hunting eBay for more batteries before I ended up with a 10ah battery. Both the old and the new should fit nicely inside the ammunition box. The thought is to have two power connections. One comes from the back of the bus to the smaller battery and I can put some non weatherproofed hence cheaper solar panels up in the window which will also act as sun shades. I alsready have a small panel powering an extraction fan attached to a ceiling vent in the cockpit. There is already also a charge controller attached to the cockpit wall. That had been connected to the bus battery to keep it topped up via a solar panel but what with the constant currant leakage, it wasn't in use.

The switch that doesn't work has been badly connected. In fact it's a very poor design that allows the connectors from the supposedly isolated sides to connect. I'm going to try to insulate that, somehow. The mechanic suggested putting the power switch on the outside of the bus. I'm not so sure. The less there is that idle fingers can touch, the better, in my experience.

As far as underneath the bus is concerned, I need to put more cable clamps onto the cables and add at least one mudflap at the front. I might have to be cunning about the cable clamps. The bearings all need to be steamed and greased. My using a blower to clear the leaves out so that I could work underneath wasn't exactly my brightest idea as it transferred a lot of sand about the place. If I take the bus to be steamed and greased and get the kingpins checked, the mechanics will doubtless deal with the wasps. It's part of what mechanics do. They can also lower the brake pedal to a sane height!

My biggest task is going to be to redo the windscreen wiper. I still have to get myself a new wiper motor to replace the seized one. It's a shame I can't just go to a store and say "I'll have one for a Carpenter 3800" as they just don't make them any more. I made things harder for myself by not buying one of the Chinese all in one units for $40. I had doubts about how good it would have been.  To be fair though, I've not had many problems with stuff from china so my fears may be unfounded.

The list of things remaining to be done is very short now. I crossed off quite a few this weekend by deciding upon simpler routes. This is perhaps the time I need to start removing construction boxes from the bus, putting tools back into the tool box etc. I can honestly say I really hate tidying and cleaning. Sadly, I don't have a maid, a slave or a wife to do that for me.

Remaining to do...
Lower the brake pedal
Replace the right wiper motor and switch and install the new wiper pivot.
Attach the new reversing horn, when it arrives
Check the kingpins
Build my battery power system.
Install a document pouch for vehicle documents.

Then it's a case of putting tools and maintainance supplies away, storing all the other construction leftovers somewhere, cleaning and retitling.

And finally, here's a view from my newly installed camera - the one I installed yesterday.
People have been telling me I need this, that and the other installed such as air conditioning and humongous battery setups etc. I don't think so much of that, to be blunt.

  1. Air conditioning - open a darned window. I'm planning on remaking my solar powered window ventilation unit anyway.
  2. Instant hot water heater for the shower - what's wrong with boiling a kettle of water, mixing it with cold and using my battery powered shower pump or even just a bar of soap and a washcloth?
  3. TV - I don't watch the darned things anyway and haven't owned one for a decade!
  4. Fridge - nice but they use electricity and lots of it. After calculating the minimum cost of running a fridge when not connected to a mains supply in the thousands, I went with a cooler. Of course if I'm plugged in then I can run a simple dorm fridge happily.
  5. Built in cooker - not having one gives me the freedom to use a convection oven, microwave or portable cooktop or even a gas portable cooktop when not plugged in. All cooking uses so much electricity that the cost of running off grid would be in the thousands.
  6. LED ceiling lights - there's no built in power system. Currently the only powered system is the solar powered ventilation. Lighting is provided by LED lanterns that have a quaint charm about them.
  7. Water pump - I'm not keen on slinging extra stuff under the bus to be honest. Thus my water supply is onboard in 6 gallon jerry cans. This has several advantages - easy and cheap to replace and tamper proof are the main ones. 
  8. Flush toilet - nice if you can afford the space to carry water to waste. Too prone to blockage too. Dry toilets have way less maintainance issues and the waste can be buried or thrown in a dumpster!
  9. Heating - I've always been keener on putting on a sweater than in putting on heat.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Getting down and dirty.

Fitting the reversing camera was supposed to be a quick and simple job. It would have been nice if it had turned out that way though. As usual, every problem known to man came along and then a few created by a race of evil beings from another planet for good measure and that was before fate stepped in and Radio Shack did the dirty.

The day started with my fitting connectors to the bundle of wires under the bus. That was relatively easy. The problem came when it was time to attach the video connector to the other end of the video cable. The connector coming from the monitor is male. The connector from the camera is female. I have only male connectors that I can use. I can't see a homosexual connection working that well! If I used a lesbian connector between the two, that'd probably work though - if I had one!

Anyway, after fitting connectors the next thing was to mount the camera. In preparation to mount it underneath the bumper I'd removed the last vestiges of the hillbilly contraption with my trusty angle grinder. It was then that I saw just how thick the steel is and how awkward it would be to mount the camera. In the end it was decided to mount the camera over the bumper, screwed to the body. It was then that even more fun ensued!

I'd been through various ideas on mounting the camera, starting with the most complicated before eventually settling on the simplest - drilling two screw holes and screwing the camera into place. The first hole went well and a self tapping screw made a good thread. The second hole drilled easily enough but the self tapper went in and jammed, breaking the screwdriver. After failing to gain purchase on the head with pliers, I angle ground the head to be easier to grip. Oops I went too far with the grinder and ended up having to grind it flat. Then I tried to drill the screw out in order to start again. The screw proved resistant enough to blunt two drill bits.

In frustration, I used a self drilling screw and burned the tip out of that but got my hole. Using a drywall screw, I cut the thread in the hole. Then I spray painted the bare metal. When the paint was dry, the camera was successfully screwed into place. Then it was a case of connecting all the connectors and putting the cables in conduit before fastening them in place. That was by no means easy either!
Radio Shack is having a closing sale. I'm actually seriously impressed that Radio Shack has lasted as long as it has! I bought a 12v 5ah battery for my ventilation system a year or two back in one of their closing sales. I believe it was a $35 battery for which I stupidly paid $25. Today I found I can get the same battery with free shipping, from eBay for $12. On Wednesday I went to Radio Shack to look for connectors. The door sign advertised they were open but the lights were off, the shelves were full and nobody was home.
As I worked today, I noticed some wasps buzzing around the bus. Clearly I will soon be unable to work under there because they're going to build a nest! As it stands, I need still to replace the reversing horn unit. Other than that I looked at doing something with my battery. The underbus cable is good enough to handle far more than I'm throwing at it from the two solar panels in use.

Given that there are wasps about to curtail my activities, it makes sense to rethink the whole battery issue. I can fit three batteries of 5ah into my steel ammunition box. I can also site that box either under the bus at the back or in the cockpit. The extra wire terminates in the cockpit. Thus, it makes sense instead of the battery box being bounced around at the back of the bus, to have it situated st the front, in the cockpit. I can mix the 5ah lead acid battery with NiMh batteries in two separate storage setups. One for electronic device recharging and one for ventilation. Given that ventilation only works when the sun is shining, I can simply transport the unit to wherever I want to recharge my phone or tablet. It's even conceivable to have two ammunition boxes!

As for ventilation in the kitchen, there's always my window unit fan that I built or opening a window. That actually works quite well, believe it or not! I might make some magnetic screens to slip over the windows though.

What I need to concentrate on next (the new reversing horn arrives on Monday) is the windscreen wiper. That involves purchasing a new switch and a wiper motor. When all that is done, the short in the ABS system needs to be eliminated and my bus will be 100% ready. I could put plumbing in from an outside supply and I could put an external gas supply and a built in cooktop but honestly, what I have will work for now. I do need to sort out the short in the 120v system too. The temporary ventilation system in the cockpit could do with being made permanent as it seems to work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An odd day

Despite having had little to no sleep last night due to a thunderstorm that caused the dog to decide my head was an ideal place to practice the trampoline. That was followed by work which is still driving school busses. As I partner with another driver, I did the aiding today abd she did the driving. It works well - if she's had a bad night, I drive and vice versa. Otherwise I drive mornings and she drives afternoons.

Returning home after work, I squeezed in a nap then looked at the bus. A few days ago, my new video camera arrived. I'd bought it for my backup system, from China for about $5. Today I tested it on my existing system and it worked well. 
The reason for two cameras is so that I can have two camera angles. The first angle is down from the roof of the bus. That shows me how close I am to something I'm backing up to. The new angle will be  rear facing and the new camera will be mounted underneath the rear bumper.

Those with long memories will recall that the hillbilly prior owners welded an I beam underneath the back bumper. When I removed that, I left little bits still welded to various chassis members because the aim was just to remove the big pieces that shouldn't have been attached in the first place. One by one though I seem to be finding removing the remains is in order.
Fortunately, the hillbilly welds were quite terrible. Some just chip away with light taps from a hammer while others grind away easily with an angle grinder. The rest are very flexible. The weld here cut easily while the weld the other end is fairly flexible. I didn't manage to break the other weld free by just flexing the weld. I'll have to get underneath and as I was in my work clothes, that wasn't possible today. That's a job for the weekend.

The goal is to install the new camera underneath the rear bumper exactly where the remains of the I beam are currently situated. 

A few days ago I had to charge the bus battery because the 5A ABS circuit had drained it. The bus started easily today. I ran the engine for a few minutes then stopped it. No problems. Thinking about the ABS circuit, I think I know where the short in the system is located. The horn is crudely wired into a switch on the dashboard. Pressing the horn button on the steering wheel fires the horn relay. The short has to be across the switched part of the relay though where on the horn wire that is, I don't know. It could even be a faulty relay. There might even be multiple faults.

With the extra speed sensor knocked out of the bus circuitry, the rev counter picked up quickly. I'll have to complete removing that wiring. Then I'll have to see if the original speed sensor needs attention and if so, what manner of attention.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why should that be a surprise?

Today started underneath the bus, completing the task of attaching the cable in cable loom from the front to the back. At the back, there was sufficient length of cable and loom to be able to loop the last couple of feet out of the way and secure it with zip ties.

Along the route, I connected the reversing horn but could not get it to work. That doesn't surprise me considering everything the hillbillies did to this vehicle was an unmitigated disaster. I figure I can afford to go and buy a new horn at some point.

Moving onto the extra speedometer sensor only part of which is present, I removed the dangling wires and moved on. The whole thing needs to be removed but looks so solidly installed that I hesitate to fight with it.

Out of fun, I sounded the horn and set all the neighborhood dogs barking. Then I tried to start the bus. The starter solenoid moved but that was it. The brand new batteries were flat. That was most curious.

Checking the kill switch, it was set to off and was still sitting on the little insulated tray I'd built for it.  Clearly the kill switch is no good. It doesn't look like a cheap kill switch either. To be honest though, I do not like kill switches like this. I much prefer open switches where I can see the blades make contact.
Thus, at the moment, the batteries are on charge. I'll simply unbolt the negative wire that goes to the bus from the switch. That should isolate everything nicely.

In an attempt to cut down on current leakage I installed a physical switch rather than rely upon the on/off/volume switch on my CB. I don't believe that is the culprit but it's a potential culprit. I think the real culprit is the ABS system, given that I never had flat batteries when the 5A fuse to the ABS system was blown.

I've had another look at the mount for my reversing camera monitor. As it is, it's at the wrong angle. I want to put the pivoting mount on that was supplied together with the panel mount I'd bolted to the dashboard. In order to put that on though, I need power and the power cord is in use, charging the driving batteries.

Yesterday, aside from doing a little shopping, I traced the fault on my 120V electrical system. It seems that there's some kind of problem where the cable enters the back of the right hand socket. Wiggling it all killed the short circuit. That's not an acceptable solution, however. I'll probably rewire the right hand socket with new wire just to make dead sure it's done right. I used 30A wire on a 20A socket which was very hard to manipulate. This time I might use 20A and just hope it works well.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What it that?

A short while ago, out of interest I ordered a small generator. I should have known better! This piece of junk came from China. Without even trying it, I can see this is junk. The black part which contains the mechanism and mounts the generator to whatever it's going to be attached to is made of plastic. Chinese plastic is barely stronger than toilet paper so I can see this just isn't going to last more than a few minutes.

Having said all that, it's for experimentation anyway. I want to see whether I can make a small vertical access wind turbine out of this that's compact enough to be worthwhile. I have a feeling I already know the answer is going to be a resounding no.

I've tried solar panels and found them not to produce any meaningful amount of electricity and I rather expect I'll find the same with wind. Having said that, it has crossed my mind as to whether this might work better, coupled to a model aeroplane engine. Producing 12v and charging something like a 12v lawn mower battery could be quite useful. Food for thought!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Have you ever seen batteries this bad?

Those with memories longer than that of the average mayfly will doubtless recall that lighting in the bus is powered by D cells. It is entirely possible that lighting might be upgraded at some point in the future though this is not likely. Thus, in the meantime lighting has been provided by D cell powered LED lanterns.
Today, as the weather was inclement (snowing on March 12 in South Carolina), my attention turned to rewiring the two breaker boxes. Initially, the main breaker was in the cable compartment under the bus and there was a sub panel inside. With later developments, it made sense to bring the main breaker inside. That's where things went awry. For some unknown (as yet) reason, there was a connection between the ground and the white wire.

Needing light to work on the breaker boxes, when at Harbor Freight yesterday, in addition to more cable loom, I got a few packs of batteries. The D cells were intended for my LED lanterns which were terribly dim. They're a lot brighter now! Out of the lanterns came the above batteries. It's noticeable that both the Dollar General brand and the Sunbeam (probably Family Dollar) batteries both failed with very little use. Of more concern was the condition of the batteries. The Sunbeam batteries are very badly corroded. The Dollar General batteries are less corroded but are still not in great condition.

With the newer Harbor Freight batteries, the lanterns were bright enough to work. The old connecting cable was stripped down to just the black and white wires and the wires inserted into cable loom. Then having connected it all, the connection between white and ground still existed. Clearly I had been in error suspecting the cable. Tracing the connection back, it seems to go to one of my sockets. That's actually quite worrying as I'd been using the electrics for a while without realizing the skin on the bus had been live. Still, I've come to no harm so far.

Interestingly, unscrewing the fastening screws on the guilty socket relieved the problem. As I created a problem for myself by putting over code wiring, thus making the cables very hard to handle, resolving the issue became very challenging.

One of my biggest regrets with my motorhome is that I put in a 120v plugin system. Given that I'll only be using 120v when static, it makes little sense to have 120v when I'm not static. I'd have been better off maybe putting additional solar capacity and a gas cooktop. Just keep electricity to low voltage phone and tablet charging. Having said that, its there so fixing it was the order of the day.

The mystery continued, however. The right hand socket appeared to be correctly wired as did the connection to the breaker box. Still the meter kept telling me that socket had a problem with a connection between white and ground, deepening the mystery. Given that I have just three sockets installed, this is just plain annoying. Perhaps the solution will be found another day. Today it is just too cold to want to bother further. I have no idea why the problem showed up recently when I completed the wiring a year or so ago and never had a problem. Even more bizarrely, I tested the wiring with my meter and it all checked out as fine when I completed it and I did not rush.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What is that strange looking thing?

A few days ag, this $18 miracle of modern technology arrived from China. The instructions are completely worthless as they cover everything except how to operate the device. Fortunately that wasn't too hard. The rightmost button switches this gizmo which is actually a GPS speedometer from KPH to MPH and back. The other buttons I'm not too sure about. It comes with cone kind of back projection screen that's supposed to allow the driver to have a head up display but that and the alleged (according to the instructions) counts of driving time, miles covered; the hourly "fatigue" warning and the "over speed" warning are all just examples of the useless faff that manufacturers like to cram into their gadgets in order to make using them unnecessarily complicated. I just don't understand that mentality!

In use, the speedometer is pretty darned good. I tried it today and yesterday. Once I'd figured out that the line of blinking dashes just meant it was hunting for a signal, it was fine. There's no indication as to whether you're in MPH or KPH. You just have to press the button until the speed numbers are smaller for MPH or bigger for .KP.H. As for the other "features", I've no interest in any of them and haven't wasted any time even trying to figure that nonsense out.

This is, of course, just a temporary fix for the bus. The aftermarket speedometer that has been installed is terrible and doesn't work anyway. That's coming off after I've completed my underbus wiring. The two wires dangling down from the transmission are a bit of a mystery so I'll just cap them, roll them up and secure the rolls. They are attached to the aftermarket speed sensor at the moment. I suspect that lifting the access panel over the transmission inside the bus will reveal where the wires go and might also allow access to the allinson speed sensor on the transmission.

The main speedo and the rev counter do work but their functioning is erratic. I'm not quite sure why that is but I have a theory. I rather suspect the hillbillies wanted a reversing horn and that in order to make it work when the bus was in reverse, they added the extra speed sensor. In doing so, they mucked about with the wiring, causing speedometer and rev counter issues. My attemp to get the reversing horn working will be very simple. I'll just wire it directly to a dashboard switch so I can switch it on or off at will. Thus I won't have a reversing horn going off at dead of night with nobody around.

Last weekend I worked a bit on the underbus wiring and strained a lot of muscles. This weekend I want to finish the underbus wiring and remove the aftermarket speedometer junk. I am well aware I also have a windscreen wiper to fix and a short to eradicate from the 120V system. Not just that but I decided I'm going to put a battery box underneath the bus.

My ventilation system works off a solar recharged 12v 4.5AH battery. That battery currently sits atop a paint can at the back of the bus. The plan is to move that battery underneath the bus. Possibly power from that battery could be used to operate my door lock in the future.

I've already bought an ammunition box. That could be used to house a battery bank made from rechargeable LiOn or NiMh batteries. The former is of higher capacity than my minuscule lead aside battery and the latter is non flammable as well as dirt cheap. There's nothing to say I can't have several ammunition boxes and just switch them over, either. First things first though and I'm already thinking of installing a freshwater inlet!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I would procrastinate if only I had the time!

After procrastinating for most of the day, eventually I got down to work. That was pretty much after 4 hours of sitting in the bus, thinking about the four projects remaining to complete. Those are the underbody wiring, the mount for the battery, the windscreen wiper and so on.

Investigating, I found there was no easy path from the inside of the console downwards. There is wiring but it heads elsewhere. Underneath the console is the heater unit. Opening the access panel revealed no easy nor straightforward way of accessing the console nor of passing the wire downwards.

The next thought was to pass the cable in a different direction but all directions seemed blocked by impracticalities. Eventually, with careful measuring I found a small gap of about 3 inches between the heater unit above the floor and the battery compartment under the floor. I carefully used a self drilling screw to pierce where I thought the hole should go on the grounds that if it was in the wrong place, I could just leave the screw there. As it turned out, the screw was spot on in the right place. There was a complication, however.

The end of the battery box and the underside of the floor, where I drilled the hole, is caked heavily with mud. That is a clear indication that I desperately need to put mud flaps on the front wheels. I'll get to that as soon as I can!

I enlarged the hole with a drill bigger than the wire loom but still had difficulty passing the wire through. Silly me, I should have enlarged the hole a shade with one of my conical files that fits the drill. Anyway, I fought with it for half an hour and eventually got enough of the loom through the hole. Then I fastened the top end, leaving enough wire that I can easily connect to switches etc on the console.
Eventually I went under the bus to use my nylon Harbor Freight cable clamps. I went in with the idea of putting connectors in every C section rib but having got as far as the differential, it makes more sense to connect to every rib, just for extra security.

Working around the differential, exhaust and brake lines, the daylight quit on me. That meant pulling out my original LED lantern - the one with the broken handle. That actually helped a lot. My later LED lanterns seem to have killed the batteries already.

During work around the differential, which was every bit as awkward as could possibly be imagined, one of the self drilling screws snapped in two. I've never seen that happen before! It was a case of having to lie and roll in the sand under the bus getting covered thoroughly in all kinds of yuck. I can honestly say that if I never have to work underneath the bus or around a differential again, it'll be too soon!

While I was in all kids of tortuous positions, I took the opportunity to look at my brake lines. Most seemed shiny and new. The flexible hoses looked pretty good too. It's always worth checking out important things like brakes. In a way, I'd really prefer air brakes. It's possible to put them in but retrofitting would be costly. Too costly for a low budget motorhome!

I didn't actually finish what I was doing. I do need to extend the wire for the reversing horn. I also need more cable loom. From now on, work on the wiring won't be as challenging. Where I need extra cable clamps, the cable is already supported so I don't need to fight the cable. As I have said though, I definitely need to add mud flaps. I also need to seal around the hole I drilled using some kind of sealant.

On the whole, today was a success even though work was not completed. Completion will have to wait until next weekend though my overalls definitely need a wash before then! I even have sand in my hair.

Inside my cable loom is a twin 16 gauge cable, a single 16 gauge cable and a coaxial cable. The single cable is to power the reversing horn. One side of the twin cable goes with the coaxial cable to power a camera mounted under the bumper. The remaining piece of twin cable is used for some future application that I have not yet thoroughly decided - though I have some ideas.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Now that's a lot of pussy!

The day started with my being in somewhat of a haze. Work has been exhausting. Getting up at 4AM then driving a couple of busloads of children with special needs to school with a rookie aide is not for the faint of heart. In fact all my school runs, even the afternoon run can be challenging. Yesterday afternoon was even more challenging than the morning as the children were somewhat loud and boisterous. I lost count of the number of f words that were released by the bigger kids on innocent ears!

So, not feeling too much like work, I sat in the bus and looked at the breaker box to identify where the fault is. It's definitely after the main breaker. I'll have another look tomorrow. I have a feeling it could be the cable between the main breaker and the distribution panel. I can replace that with a flexible 30A cable or with individual cables put in conduit. I really don't need more than 30A maximum.

Speaking of conduit, last week I bought two 14 foot conduits. Today I spent a good couple of hours putting cables into them ready to secure them under the bus. Into the conduit went a video cable and a  power cable. There was a cable for the reversing horn and another to connect to a battery. There are two thoughts in progress here. The first is that the power cable could run my front door lock and or conduct power from a front solar panel.

Also a week ago, I bought online a small wind generator dynamo. I will play with that and try to make a small wind turbine, possibly utilizing PVC guttering as a wind catcher. I'm not greatly impressed by solar power. I'll have to see if wind is any improvement.

Looking at my problem wiper pivot, I realized that the pivot arm is an inch lower than on the Carpenter original. That means I don't have to hunt for a ball connector. I can simply attach the arm from the original via a block to the new pivot arm and just ignore the ball connector, reusing the Carpenter pin connector. I knew sitting on the problem for a while would come up with a solution.

Prior to my putting cables in conduits, I spent a good while hunting for cables. I started off at Lowes (hiss, spit)where they wanted $20 for the kind of cable I eventually bought at Walmart for $10. A dishonorable mention must go to Radio Shack. They wanted $30 for the cable for which I paid just $10 elsewhere. Even Habitat for Humanity Restore was expensive. I saw a roll of cable that would have done the job. At $3 it looked a bargain but then I put my glasses on to see it was $8 for cable of unknown length and capacity.

Radio Shack is apparently continuing to close its stores. I can't say I'm surprised. They were a lousy store being expensive, pushy and stocked pure trash. Their electronics and electrical section was useful. The kits might have interested some but their plunge into phones, tablets and batteries was ridiculous. Especially since one could go elsewhere to get things for a third of the price. I can't say that I'll shed a single tear for the disappearance of Radio Shack. Even the jobs that are vanishing are just worthless retail jobs, suitable only for students.

I'm having to close the bus door when I work in it, these days. One of the neighbors seems to be crazy cat woman and has a lot of cats. They have been breeding just about everywhere here. Thus, the whole area is now swarming with cats and since they have 6 litters a year of up to 10 kittens per litter, we are in the grip of a population explosion.