Sunday, October 7, 2018

Interesting times

And, no, I'm not talking about politics. I'm referring to the museum. I went wandering in yesterday planning to do some work. It felt a mite chilly in the building (the thermostat has been set in the low 50s since last Spring) so I cranked it up.

I knew it was going to take awhile for any warmth to spread. The building is on a concrete slab foundation, the heating system is hot water, and there's a large volume of air (30 x 70 x ~12 equals what? Over 26,000 cubic feet?) so I anticipated shivering for at least an hour. Well, time passed and the register stayed cold. Totally cold. Inert. No indication that anything warmer than the ambient temperature in the building was flowing through the system. Not good.

Turns out the furnace apparently decided that 25 years of working with no problems was long enough. There is power going to whatever it is that ignites the burner for the boiler but nothing is happening. Fortunately, we haven't had intense cold yet, no freezing temps that drop well down into the 20s and stay there for many hours, so the water pipes are safe for the moment. I do need to run down there later today and start the bathroom faucet dripping -- I was startled enough yesterday by the lack of response from the device that I blanked on keeping water running until the repair guy can get there. And I'll bring in an electric space heater so I won't have to worry about chilblains while communing with PastPerfect.

The good news, such as it is, is that the museum finally had a fiscal year with no major expenditures so we actually are running in the black. Sort of. At the moment. Keep your collective fingers crossed that all the furnace costs us is the labor charge and a relatively cheap part and not a whole new boiler.  If it does, that's when I'll make a strong push for changing the system entirely and ripping out the baseboard registers. Although I understand why "they" did it, every time we deal with positioning stuff up against a wall I am reminded again what a truly stupid design decision they were.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Weird priorities

The Guppy resting for a night in Missouri last year.
Being a glutton for punishment, a few months ago I joined a Facebook group for owners of Class C motorhomes. Class Cs, for the uninitiated, are the ones built on a van chassis, e.g., a Ford E350, and have that bunk over the cab area. The Guppy is a Class C.

The S.O., incidentally, is convinced I joined the Class C group simply so I have an excuse to feel smugly smarter than the average bear on a regular basis. It is rather astounding just how many fools are out there who are willing to drop $100,000 or more on a brand new motorhome but can't figure out how to operate their automated steps or tell the difference between alternating and direct current. You know, if you're going to go into major debt to buy something, shouldn't you at least have some clue as to how its various systems work? Did you know there are people around who are afraid to change a flat tire? Anyone who's intimidated by the prospect of changing a flat or having to learn how to use a tire pressure gauge really shouldn't be driving a vehicle at all, let alone something as big and awkward as the typical motorhome. (There are so many discussions devoted to the topic of automatic tire monitoring systems that a person could start to believe it's a miracle we geezers managed to survive for decades without an electronic signal warning us when tire pressure was low.)

But, as usual, I'm wandering away from what I meant to talk about. Weird priorities. It is absolutely astounding just how many RV owners worry about the wax jobs on their traveling houses. Discussions of the best detergents, car waxes, buffing cloths, you name it, are perennial favorites for the group. If someone asks a serious question the response is likely to be crickets, but if you want to know about locating a car wash that can accommodate a motorhome? Holy wah. Suddenly hordes of people are crawling out of the proverbial woodwork with testimonials for their favorite apps. Which in itself is a holy wah moment: there are apparently a gazillion specialized apps out there that you can use to eat up memory on your phone just to help you find a car wash that has a truck wash bay. One lady was kind of freaking out because the plastic housing for her side mirrors had begun yellowing with age. Why? The mirrors are still there, and that's the part that counts.

And then there are the concerns about the peeling or fading decals. Just how much ego does a person have invested in their RV that they fret about it starting to look like maybe it's not brand new, that possibly it's put a few miles in on the road, or that (heaven forfend) the owners bought it (horrified whisper) used?  There was a post recently by someone who said she and her significant other purchased a 1995 motorhome through a local garage sale site last month. Okay, that's an RV that's 23 years old. It's not going to have the flashy paint jobs and decals popular on current models. It's going to look its age, although it the "before" photo it actually looked pretty good. Clean, no visible damage, just a dated style.

So what was basically the first thing they did with their garage sale bargain? Took it to a shop that specializes in wraps. You got it. They had a full wrap put on a 23-year old RV. It looks nice, I'll give them that, but, holy wah, if it can cost $3,000 to do a full wrap on a car, just how many wheelbarrow loads of dineros did it take to wrap a Class C RV that's bigger than the Guppy? When you hear about people with more money with brains, it's pretty obvious there's a pair of those folks driving a thoroughly used motorhome in Georgia that fit that category. We spent less on the Guppy when we bought her than those people did on a cosmetic project that doesn't do a damn thing to improve the RV except make its age less apparent to the untutored eye.

Then again, so did the wrap purchasers unless they were total suckers. According to the NADA guide, the  current average sales price for their particular model is between $5,000 and $6,000. We joke about the tires on the Guppy being worth more the RV itself, but those folks in Georgia have us beat. That wrap is probably worth more than the vehicle under it. Like I said, some people have very strange priorities.