Monday, August 7, 2017

''Twas a bright and sunny day

And I skipped off happily to work for it was the beginning of the school bus driving season and I did not have to heft palates and boxes for the maintainence people any longer. Today was a simple course on handling difficult children.

So, having elected to go home rather than do extra work for maintainence, I drove to Walmart to get my photos for the retitling process. Let's just say that Walmart would not have to do any worse with their photo quality! Still, it's reasonably recognizable and will do for retitling. It doesn't have to be perfectly printed though those that saw the images commented how bad the pictures were, meaning the prints. Needless to say, on the way, I picked up a rather fetching 1/4 inch screw and listened to it going tappety tap as I drove to Walmart. Fortunately they had a tyre repairman so while he set to work, I went shopping.

Thinking exclusively about retitling, I bought some purple paint to put on the old fridge that came from the original conversion. It's a nasty little fridge and I certainly wouldn't like to put food in it having not known whether it has been used to store turds or used as a rat's nest. I suspect the latter for there was plenty sign of rat activity in the original conversion.

Walmart also had a USB and 12v socket which looked ideal to put in the bedroom area. The truth is I really would have preferred solely USB but I have a 12v voltmeter plugin that's currently at the front of the bus but which could be used quite happily in the cigarette lighter socket. Yes, I do know they're called accessory sockets these days but I'm on old codger who was brought up with it being solely the cigarette lighter socket or in fact the colloquial term in Britain was the fag lighter socket. That was an era when smoke free zones were an oddity and an adult that didn't smoke was viewed with suspicion.
So, I bought my cigarette lighter and USB socket. If you remember, I bought some on eBay that were panel mounted. That would be nice but I wasn't prepared since my plans changed to buy a box to panel mount them onto. I could have but for the price various sellers wanted, it was cheaper just to buy a USB/cigarette lighter socket ready to mount.

While I was out I also got some purple paint that doesn't really match the color of my kitchen but it's pretty close. Looking at the sky, it was bright and sunny so I sprayed the fridge on each side, the top and the back, purple. Now it looks much more the part.. Having said that, brand new that fridge is $60 in Walmart right now. I didn't buy one but it was a pretty close thing!

 The end result looked pretty decent. As soon as the paint was mostly dry though, down came the rain. Fortunately that fridge only has to look good. It doesn't have to be used. When it's dry, I'll probably give it a thorough wipe out inside with Clorox and then spray the exposed working areas with Raid to kill any remaining critters.

While in Walmart I saw another thing that would add to the credibility of my motorhome conversion, namely a $30 microwave. I've only ever seen them at that price once before. Needless to say, one made it home. It's a no name brand and is 700W so cooking anything will take forever. I have experience of a Rival microwave. That cost me $50 and after 2 years light use was pretty well rested to bits. I expect no less of this one but it cost me only 3/5 of the price!

The goal is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that I can cook, bathe, sleep and live in my motorhome. That should mean retitling is pretty straightforward. There are already plenty facilities. All I have to do is to say I left my generator at home or just borrow a Harbor Freight generator. They might comment on the lack of hot water or the lack of a water inlet but I have workarounds for both. Pretty much the same goes for the toilet. Dry toilets are fine. I'd love a cassette toilet that could be plumbed in as needed. I don't think cassette toilets have become popular in America unlike in Europe where cassette toilets rule.

I had another go with the pretty average cleaner. I set it to go on the floor in the cockpit and it didn't seem to do too much to paint that had dripped on the rubber floor. That was pretty much to be expected - the easy jobs, it does reasonably well. The more challenging jobs that it would be awesome if it did, it won't touch.

While in Walmart I had a look at the lanterns. I see GE now has a slightly bigger and more powerful LED lantern that has a metal loop as opposed to the crappy plastic loop that broke on me. Nice but I already have more than enough underpowered lanterns. There was one lantern with adequate power (well, close enough to adequate to call adequate) it was 1,000 lumens. I'd say "adequate" was the same as a 100W light bulb or 1,200 lumens. Below that and you're just groping around in the dark like a savage. I can see how many divorces must start when two couples go camping and kiss under the light of a (popular) 200 lumen lantern where the husband kisses his wife and finds out that it's the other woman's husband. No, seriously - the vast majority of those LED lanterns really are no better than putting a glow fly in a glass jar!

As many of you know, I have a Walmart Straight Talk MiFi pad. I love it because it means I can access the internet from my tablet while sitting in my bus. As I have a somewhat tedious meeting to attend tomorrow I thought I'd put money on my MiFi pad only to find I can't get into the account. Looking at the Walmart site, it seems these MiFi pads have become a real rip off now. I can pay $40 for 4GB of data or $15 for 1GB. If I had a Straight Talk phone then I could get 8GB for $45. The problem is I don't ever need that much data. I never used 5GB when I had a straight talk phone. I'm going to say that Walmart has become too expensive. At $45 for 8GB, $15 should get me at least 2GB. But I think they're secretly trying to coerce people into dropping MiFi in favor of their pricy cellphone plans and their pricey cellphones. When I had a smartphone, I used it often as a MiFi pad. I just don't need that much data. When I used my MiFi pad daily, I barely used 4GB in two months!

Indeed, as those familiar with my progress know, I dumped smartphones because they don't last very long and are ridiculously expensive. Soon, I reaped the financial rewards of using a flip phone to the tune of paying a third of what I had been. Last month proved me so right since out of my 300 allotted minutes I used just one. Since I dumped smartphones and went flip phone I reckon I've saved $300. By not buying a new smartphone (my old one was $300) I think I must be into $600 savings by now.

Wifi is nice to have but as several of my friends have noticed, public wifi is so widespread that it's possible to be online in many areas without even purchasing a connection. In the old days, I'd write my emails and make a connection every other day to upload them. I believe the reason people are so much in debt is because they're addicted to the little, expensive,  valueless things like having your own connection available 24x7. Freedom is so nice. Maybe I should name my bus, Freedom?

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