You can find the start of our thrilling series, about the trials and tribulations of bus flooring, here.
When we left off, I’d finished removing the rubber layer of flooring and had expected to find plywood in some state of abysmal disrepair underneath, but there was no plywood to be found.
Instead there were miles (Ok, Ok. Feet. There’s only feet, but it *feels* like miles.) (I sat here and stared at the damn screen for at least 3 minutes trying to make a joke about how this floor HAS gone for miles, but nothing was smooth enough. So there are the components of a decent Dad-level joke just waiting for the right assembly. It’s DIY! Laugh at your own leisure.) (This sentence has now gone on for miles!) (Send help; I obviously can’t stop myself…it’s like I’m on a roll.) (*laughs for far too long*) of adhesive. Sticky, thick, dirt-magnet adhesive as far as the eye could see and it was seriously messing up our plans, which were supposed to go as follows:
- Remove the seats. (Done!)
- Remove the rubber. (Done!)
- Remove the plywood. (Uh…skip?)
- Check for rust. (Done! Just a couple of small patches that will need some extra wire brushing, sanding, and an extra heavy spray of primer. Maybe a little rust converter on one or two spots for shits and giggles.)
- Pressure wash. (Wait…can’t. That actually makes the stickiness WORSE.) (ASK ME HOW I KNOW.) (Don’t worry, I’ll just tell you in case you’re shy about asking. I had the pressure washer out to do underneath the bus and I tried just a small section (thankfully) inside the bus to see if I could blast the adhesive off with water power like some kind of aquatic wizard, but all it did was remove the top layer of dirt, make the adhesive super squeaky clean, and renew its desire to adhere the feet of the children to the bus floor.) (Aquatic wizard fail.)
- Paint with primer. (Can’t.)
- Patch holes from seat screws. (Can’t.)
- Caulk. All. The. Things. (Can’t.)
- Paint with Rustoleum. (This project is doomed.)
- Decide on insulation method before framing. (Damn yooooooou adhesive!!!!)
It was so bad that when I posted a photo of it in one of my skoolie groups for advice on how to remove it, so many people mistook it for rust that I had to edit my post to clarify that it was *not* rust, just a demon substance that didn’t want to be scraped up.
No one had any good suggestions for me that didn’t involve heavy-duty industrial strength solvents or ignoring it and hoping for the best. Well, neither of those options sounded good, so we talked it over and decided a wire head attachment to the angle grinder would be worth a shot.
Since the floor was now my baby (you get close after spending hours lovingly peeling off 24 year old rubber), I donned my safety glasses, face mask, and ear protection after getting the “How to Work an Angle Grinder 101” class from Eli. That lesson consisted of mostly hand gestures and sound effects, so I confirmed my understanding of the practical application with Jake. His one piece of advice? Don’t let go.
Well, ok then.
Now if I may take this part of the story off track for just a moment (shocker, I know), I’d like to sneak in Reason to Do This #11…I want the boys to witness their mother doing all the things. The hard things. The sweaty, dirt covered, gross things. The things that involve power tools and heavy machinery. The things that scream “Penis not actually required, despite ongoing societal commentary that dictates otherwise!” without saying a word. I want the boys to see their mother accomplishing things that are out of the standard gender-ized norm…just to plant that seed of doubt in them that those tired notions are just that…old ideas ready to be put to rest.
“Girls can’t do what? Well why can’t they? Why shouldn’t they? When I was a kid, my mom *insert triumphant bus stories here.*”
I want them to see that just because I don’t have the biggest muscles, it doesn’t mean I can’t get the job done. I want them to see that some problems can be fixed with brain instead of brawn. I want to earn their respect as not only the maker of lunches and the patcher of boo boos, but as a builder of buses and engineer of solutions.
Mama has got the muscles, too. And she’s gonna work.
And work I did. The results were absolutely not instant, but damn, they were impressive.
And that’s where we’ll leave The Floor, Part 2. I still have a bit more time to spend losing all feeling in my hands, courtesy of the angle grinder, but then I’ll finally get to move forward with our plans for the floor…adhesive free.