The bookmobile might be toast. Should have known yesterday; an employee from another department told me the police had called her(?) at home on a Sunday, to tell her lights were on in the bus at night. They've been turning on and off at random when it's wet or even humid for some time now. The PD also told her the brake lights were on - that's a new one! Last Friday I took it in to have the steps repaired - the control module that powers the (newish) front step was charred, and had caused the main step switch to short out. Fixed in a couple of hours. This morning when I lowered the steps to load today's books, the front step withdrew on its own again. GRRRR! It's our busiest day, and we knew we could manage without that step, so we got ready to leave anyway. As soon as I turned on the engine, the interior lights started sort-of flashing dimly, then came on. I looked down at my switch panel, and every single switch was lit up. And smoke was coming out of it. Well crap. That is a problem.
I turned everything off (thank God we were still in the driveway) and grabbed the fire extinguisher while Maxine ran a couple of blocks to her mechanic's shop. He's the closest thing we have to a local mechanic; he doesn't do large vehicles, but he's advised us and helped us out of several jams. And I send him as much business as I can - he's WONDERFUL! There was no fire, but he told us the entire fuse panel had shorted out. It won't even start, so we're having it towed back to the shop.
We've known for a while that eventually, the whole bus is probably going to have to be taken apart and completely rewired, as it was built by retarded monkeys. Our mechanic can't even get wiring schematics from the manufacturer. We were hoping for a few more years, since the bus is not quite six years old, but chances are pretty slim that a new fuse panel alone will do the trick. I'm wondering how many days it will take to get so much as an estimate. Since the library's budget has been cut by a third this year, I also wonder if we can afford it. Our director is very pro-bookmobile, and we have one of only a few rural bookmobiles remaining in our state. If the program can be kept alive, she will do it. If not, I might be out of a good job. There's enough other outreach work for one full time employee, and that would be Maxine.
HMPH! Not happy. I took a half day sick leave, since I'm still a little under the weather, so I'm going to bed. Phooey.
EEEWW! The cat just jumped in my lap with a fresh wet dingleberry hanging from his butt-fluff! Nice. Definitely going back to bed.