30 March 2008

...Goals are good...

Well...

I didn't get as much done as I'd posted that I had wanted to get done. I really didn't think I'd been too ambitious in my goal-setting. But I guess I was wrong! It's very tedious work. It's not just a smash & rip job. You really have to be gentle when you pull the stuff out because a.) I can't damage the metal channels because I can't find replacements 2.) I don't want to damage the "framing" and c.) I can NOT damage the outter skin!!

There's only about an inch between the outer skin & the paneling. The framework is just 1x2's and the insulation is fiberglass, so we're not talking super tough stuff here.

I just have to keep repeating my mantra: this is the dirtiest part, this is the most difficult part, this is the slowest part, this is the part with the least satisfying results, this too shall end.

It's so difficult to stay motivated when I go in the camper & see all the poop, all the rot, all the particulate from the demo, & smell the mustyness. One little piece at a time. One little part, one baby step.

This week I need to buy a pair of work gloves, my hands are killing me. I also need to get particulate masks or it won't matter if I finish the trailer or not, black lung or mesothelioma will get me.

A cool thing is that I found my VIN. This is something I've been looking for since I purchased it. It's sorta hidden, almost up under the propane tanks.

My future SIL came over & said that it looked much better in person than in the pictures she saw last weekend. She thought it looked great & can't wait to camp with us.

I wasn't feeling very energetic today, and I wasn't feeling very ambitious, so I only did about 2 hours worth of work. I got a little bit of demo done, but I did a lot of cleanup. I removed the rear window to be able to see the rot better, and to determine how many 1x2's I need to get. Ialso have to figger out how the darned fridge comes out. There's gotta be somehidden screws somewhere. This sucker is really stuck.

Overall, I think I did a great job this weekend. Of course I would have loved to have completed my goals I set, I did the best job I could do. This is supposed to be a fun project, not an obligation looming outside for me.

Earth Hour

Did you participate? My older daughter was offended that we had to turn off the TV. It was a nice time without power. It was sort of like camping. Except we were inside and we were on the couch. So, I guess it wasn’t really that much like camping.

To go along with the earth hour theme, I
have some pics I took on Thursday on our
way to my Uncle Jr.’s house from karate.
I was driving & I happened to notice a
felled tree. The base looked conical, like a
cartoon. I thought for a second, then asked
the kids if they’d seen
the fallen tree. They
hadn’t, and I knew I had the camera, so I turnedaround & we explored.


It was really sad to see all the trash. It made me think that nature will go on, despite our (humans’) best efforts to trash the place.









The trunk where the little beaver had gnawed the thing was so incredibly cool looking!

28 March 2008

Another weekend cometh!

I again have high hopes for this weekend. Last weekend was a bust because of Easter & some brief illnesses, plus wasted time running to stores. Not this weekend. This weekend I'm going to focus. This weekend, I'm going to be productive.

This weekend I really feel like I need to get a good amount accomplished because next week is so jam packed. I'm working long days on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday as well as working Saturday, all day. This should mean some nice change. Plus, my older daughter has karate testing on Wednesday. Wednesdays have been my "free" nights to work on the trailer. I really look forward to Wednesdays now.

I have made, albeit loose, a commitment. Several people have asked me to join them camping... I usually just say something to the affect that "it would be nice", but haven't committed for various reasons.

This time, however, I told her I was in. It's going to be at a state park about 40 minutes away. I'm expecting it to be "rougher" camping than a traditional campground. I'm so excited! The date is set for the second week of August. Ya know, I'm not sure I even know if it's for the whole week or just a weekend. I'll have to ask. I should have no problem finishing my camper in that amount of time! Of course, I hope to be done by June!

Tomorrow my first order of business will be to remove all paneling. ALL. OF. IT. Even the mouse pee stuff. I'm going to take notes on layout & measurements. Another thing I must do tomorrow is remove that section of floor that is rotted. I'd like to assess the amount of rot in the front & back to determine how many 1x2's I'll need. I've got an offer of free 1x2's and my father is giving me a ¾" piece of plywood that my brothers' neighbor gave to him. What a buncha luck!

I also want to accomplish removing the fridge. I fear what is under & behind the fridge. Sunday, I'd like to remove the paneling from all the drawer & cabinet fronts. I'd also love to look for paneling. Again. Maybe I'll see something I missed before, or maybe they'll have something new.

I've got high hopes, but I think they're realistic. I hope the weather is decent!

23 March 2008

Squatters!!

I jumped practically a mile! My daughters & I were cleaning up the Shasta & I opened up the front dinette storage & got a waft of ... yucky. It's sorta like a "pee" smell, but also just bad.

I reached my gloved hand it to pull out the "stuff" that I thought used to be a nest. I didn’t even
consider that something might be alive in there. I expected it to be a former squirrel's nest, so you can imagine
my surprise when a mouse scurried out of the mess. I screamed!!! …like the time that tiny bird got into my car and flew into my shoulder!

Those have got to be the plumpest, most healthy looking mice I'd ever seen. If they weren't disease ridden, chewing, shitting pests I would have to admit they were cute.

My older daughter tried to insist that I needed to attempt to catch & release. I wanted blood.

We eventually did get the entire nest out, but that whole section is totally and completely unsalvageable.

I abandon that end of the trailer & decided I was going to start at the arse end and work my way forward. There are some things I'm really excited about, like this gas lamp. Of course, I'd love to actually use it, but I'm not sure of the safety factor. It's something I really want to look into. Unless "my electrician" a.k.a. brother, is very confident he can safely re-install this, I really don't want to risk all the hard work and money I've poured into this trailer to go up like a tinderbox.

During my first visit to her, when she was still sitting unloved in someone else’s yard, I noticed that the trunk was left open & there were a lot of cushions in there. My first order of business, I thought, was to empty that trunk & assess the damage that the enormous sponges must have left after years of leaching water (& “miscellaneous other”) into the wood.

It took some strong-arming, but I did eventually get the cushions out. I’m not sure why the back couch cushions
were put in the trunk to create that horrible moisture problem, but they were & the damage was pretty bad. I’m sure it hadn’t been dry back there for years. There was complete decomposition of the plywood for about 4”. I haven’t actually seen all of the framework, but it’s guaranteed that that is gone for several inches in the trunk, also.

After several days, the trunk wood still isn’t completely dry, but I’ve got to cut that portion out anyway. I’m going to go conservative & cut out the last 17”. I plan on laying ¼ plywood over the entire floor after I repair any rot damaged areas. I don’t want to waste time & brain cells removing the old linoleum, but I need a perfect surface to apply the new linoleum I bought last night! It’s a 12”x12” tile, but there are 4 squares on each tile, so it’s ¼ of the work!

I decided on a black & white check, because that’s what they had and really that’s what I wanted. I’d also been considering red & white check, or a black, white, & red basket weave I’ve seen. I have a great picture in mind for what I’d like for the upholstery & curtain fabric. Think picnic tablecloth, rather than check. Maybe large gingham pattern is a better description.

The good news is I’ve made some progress! I understood the scope of the work. I understood it would take a long time. I even prepared myself that it might take longer than this camping season. I didn’t understand that I would spend more time searching for items, such as tools & supplies, than I would actually doing physical labor! That’s been tough on me.

I've really had a hard time locating the items that I need. I wasn't able to find the metal channels for the roof panels, ANY of the metal edging for around the countertops. Unfortunately, all my counter edging is gone. I don't even have a reference to show someone. I could find none of aluminum cove that goes is the seams of the countertops and I couldn't find any metal edging to go over any raw edges.

Last night at the home improvement store, I was confronted time and again with, "we don't carry that," and "they don't make
that anymore."

Well, I've seen brand new stuff in restored RV's, so unless they've reclaimed it in absolutely perfect condition & restored it to brand new, they still make it. I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag last night. I couldn't even find ¾" hex screws.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I must replace all my paneling. This probably doesn’t sound like a major deal in a 12’ camper, however, I not only have to replace the wall paneling, but all the drawer & cabinet fronts. I have to pry off the fronts and glue on the new stuff. Lots of cutting, lots of measuring (I hate measuring).

Sometimes, it’s difficult to start something because in such a compact camper, everything is connected to the next. It’s difficult to really know where to start, but you just have to pick a rotted corner & have at it.

I couldn't find any suitable paneling at Lowe‘s or Home Depot. All they had was fiberboard paneling, which I don't think would be my first choice in a camper that *gulp* may leak. I was tipped off that there is "old" style paneling which is called 4-6-10 paneling. I have no idea what that means, but at least it's something to go on.

I bought some new drawer pulls, hinges, & hooks! They’re simple, but cute. I wanted something with a very wide “v”

in it, but couldn’t find anything like that. The hinges are oval & cute but simple also. I cannot wait to get to the point of putting the knobs on & making the curtains and doing the upholstery. First things first, I guess.

I’d really love to put together a projected timeline. I’d like to, but I fear that would put pressure on myself and I might be tempted to feel disappointed if I didn’t meet my own projected goals. *Get over it!*

I have gotten a recommendation for a local RV supply & repair place. I can't wait to go check it out.

I try to do at least one thing everyday, even if it’s a small thing. Getting ONE thing done is still one step closer to being complete.

22 March 2008

UGH!

Well, I had an update all typed up, but accidentally dragged my finger over the mouse thing and it deleted two hours worth of work.

I guess we're following the can't-do-anything-right theme I started last night at Lowe's.

I'll have to update later on tonight. I have to go now & track down my older daughter who stayed the night at a friends & won't answer her cell phone.

18 March 2008

Yay!

Sheeeee's hooooooome!

I couldn't be happier. She's got a great little spot in my back driveway. She towed well. We got home with no troubles... even though I didn't register her to move her. It was less than a 15 minute ride, so I decided to take the risk.

My father towed her home with his "big boy truck". I don't yet have a hitch on my vehicle. I have to say that for a lot of the trip, he was driving wildly & I was scared. I'm not sure if you've ever driven on the back roads of CT, but after the winter freeze & thaw there is some heaving & potholes. My father was driving his truck (with my girl dragging behind) like he stole it!

I haven't even been able to wash her yet! My schedule is just so crazy & exhausting. Thankfully I only have to work 5:30 - 4:30, and even better, no karate. I do want to get to the library with the girls before it closes at 8:00. It gets dark around here at 7:00, so maybe we'll go to the library for an hour. I may just take the whole evening for myself & work on my trailer.

The question begs, "What are we going to name her?" I can't wait till she tells me her name.

I've started a very comprehensive list. I'm a "list" girl. I don't always follow them, but I need them to feel like I'm at least a bit organized & it really feels great to cross things off. I have a blue list of things that I want to do and a red list of things I must do before I will camp. The must do things are: reseal seams, replace screws, replace any rotted framing, replace paneling, replace cushions & reupholster. Everything else is just cosmetic.

My younger daughter has some allergies, and I won't have her camping in the uncomfortable conditions of poor air quality because of mold or rot. I don't want to wake up completely stuffy-headed either! I'd rather tent-camp than camp in a filthy trailer!

There's so much rust, too!

I was at work today, listening to the radio & thinking about my new trailer. A song came on the radio that exactly fits the way I feel about my Shasta. It's a song that goes a little something like this: "If you can't be with the one you love, honey love the one you're with." That perfectly describes my situation with my trailer. I want a canned-ham Shasta, I love them. But I found this one for cheap, and now that she's with me, I really do love her. <3

16 March 2008

Slightly Disappointing :-/

I thought for sure that my Shasta Girl would be coming home with me. I wish I'd known there was a chance we'd leave her there again.

I'm still not 100% sure what year she is. She feels more mine today than yesterday. I'm already composing a mental list in my head what I want & need to do & in what order it needs to be done.

Here's a loose list, in no particular order:
    • Pull all the screws, staples, and hinges and replace with galvanized to avoid those awful rusty drip marks.
    • Re-seal seams with butyl tape (if that's still the consensus on the best way to seam seal)
    • Make new wings. There is a pattern on my Yahoo! Group, thankfully.
    • Replace all cushions and reupholster them.
    • Purchase or make an awning
    • Make new curtains
    • Replace paneling
    • Replace or restore lighting globes
    • Remove and reseal all windows and vents
    • Paint appliances
    • Re-wire
    • Fix dinette table and replicate missing leg.
    • Scrub outside and assess repairs to skin (although I think the skin is in excellent condition, and I don't anticipate any skin repairs)
    • Ponder if I want to cut a window in the door
    • Replace hasps (holy trunk door, batman!!!)
    • Replicate a new screen door (screen door is missing)
    • Decide on color scheme and/or theme
    • Replace clearance light covers in front
    • New insulation
    • Make magazine rack
    • Replace all rotted wood (frame)
    • Make electric brakes fully operational
    • Consider if there is room to create a potty closet for a chemical terlet.
    • Restore "Shasta Trailers" emblem
    • Have 2 "Shasta Trailers" vinyl stickers made, one for front, one for back
    • Repaint skin
    • Unseize all levers! OMG all the windows are open, I don't know if the woman I bought it from opened them up to get rid of the musty smell or if they've been open for years, but YIKES! They're all open! I really like the louvres, though.
    • Reinforce the rock guard (somehow)
    • Replace flooring
    • I really, really want cute Shasta Hubcaps

I'm certain this is the short and over simplified list.

I've created a nice little spot for her next to my bedroom window. I think she'll fit nicely there. I want to put some course gravel there, to allow for good water drainage. I don't want any rot happening to the underbelly.

Gotta get some rest. Work comes early in the morning.

HOLY MOLY!

I'm a Shasta owner. No kidding.

I was sitting on my bed, finishing up the parting gift for my co-worker. I had resigned that I'd lost the trailer to the other guy. My cell started to ring & my older daughter answered it. She exclaimed that it was the lady with the trailer. I spoke with the seller briefly & discovered that due to circumstances, the other man who was supposed to purchase it needed to tend to family business, it was mine if I wanted it.

We made plans to meet a bit later in the day.

As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I saw that it wasn't a pre-'65. I felt really sad. But, we went to look at it anyway. After looking at it for a bit, it really started to grow on us, especially my older daughter. I'm not kidding when I say that we looked at it for over an hour. It seems like it's around a '67-'69 or so. I really don't know, but I'm sure the lovely people at my email group will inform me. I've seen a couple of 1968's and it does look very slightly different than those. Really, the only difference is the number of louvres on the windows.

I left there without paying for it. I got about 5 minutes down the road & turned around & paid $105 for it. I'm going back for it in the morning. Why $105 you ask? Well, I don't know all the exact details, but the seller said that a man made her an offer of $5 for the one wing that was left. It took him over 20 minutes to pry it off. When he was done, the "man" told the seller that all he had was a $20 bill. She didn't have change, so he just left! He never came back to pay her! What a dirtbag!

So, when I gave her the cash, I gave her an extra $5 and told her that it was for the stolen wing. She got a bit misty-eyed, hugged me, & thanked me. She really was a sweetie.

It's got a stove/oven & a fridge. No pottie, though. It's a very complete trailer. It's got the slide out cutting board, and it doesn't appear to be missing anything. It's got all but one of the light globe fixtures & also the cutting board that goes over the sink. There was no way for me to check & see if either of the applicances work. I don't know the towing weight, but I should be able to find that out pretty easily either by weighing it at a weigh station or even get a good idea from sources online.


Of course, before I even think about camping in it, all the cushions will be replaced & I will reupholster them.

There is no doubt that this is going to be a tremendous amount of work, but I'm looking forward to it. I think it'll be a great project for the girls and me.

The real shocker is that my father encouraged me to purchase this camper & didn't even flinch when I asked if I could keep in the back driveway. I must, however, sacrifice my doorfront parking spot. For everything gained, something must be sacrificed LOL!

I'm so exhausted, so I'm going to call it a day for now, but will be updating & eagerly posting about my Shasta adventures!!

Shasta dreams...

13 March 2008

Another little nibble!

... Trying not to get too excited...

But, I've found another Shasta. It's a tiny one. I haven't seen a picture of it yet, but its literally only 20 minutes from home. And it's only $100! I'm forced to wonder how bad it is.

It's a little girl, only 13'x7', including the tongue. To me, that means that the interior space itself is only 10' long. It's only 7' wide, which leaves me feeling like it's a late 50's model *!!squeal!!* I really want a 50's model. They're so cute!

I didn't ask if the trailer had her wings or not. The woman with whom I was emailing didn't seem too knowledgable about the trailer. She said that the trailer was there when they bought their house. I guess the Shasta 'conveyed' LOL. The seller is cleaning up her yard to sell her house. The seller also claims that it doesn't leak, which would be an amazingly miraculous bonus! This is no guarantee of no water damage though. I really wish I had a pic of it. Although, that may make the waiting even more difficult.

It's my understanding that the seller has another buyer on the line. I did a shameful thing & told her that if the style of the trailer was a "canned ham", that I'd offer her $200 for first dibs. She hasn't replied, but I feel dirty having made that sneaky offer.

I chatted up the ol' dad-ee-oh about parking the girl here, and he didn't seem opposed to the idea. Maybe if I hide it close to the house in the back driveway, people won't be able to see it unless they're in the backyard.

I was surprised, but grateful.

The waiting really stinks.

My co-workers last day is tomorrow. The gift I want to give her, the scrapbook is still not done. I have a plan, however. I have all day Saturday to complete it because I have been invited to her birthday/bon voyage party, which is Saturday, and I plan on giving her the book then. I felt special to be invited to this semi-secret party! LOL

My older daughter is making brownies to give her on her last day. She's making them as we speak. It will be difficult not to eat them. Here's the recipe:

Melt in small saucepan:
5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
²/3 c. butter

In a large bowl, mix or beat for 15 minutes:
1¾ c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla

When the chocolate is fully melted, slowly pour the melted chocolate into the sugar & egg mixture, being careful not to cook your eggs. When fully combined, gently fold in 1 cup of flour, until just blended. You may also want to add walnuts or chocolate chips!

Bake 30-45 minutes at 350° F. Brownies are done when fork comes out clean.

The brownies just aren't complete without this frosting on top:

Melt in a small saucepan:

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 T. butter

After the chocolate & butter are melted, add 2 cups of 10x confectioners sugar & 3 T of HOT water and beat until smooth. You can add more sugar or water to adjust the stiffness of the frosting to your liking. Add the water drops at a time, as just a little bit goes a long way, and the same with the 10x.

Spread the frosting immediately, because it sets up kinda fast.

There are a couple of great things about this recipe. One: it's so easy, my older daughter has mastered it, she's 12. These taste like a million bucks. You'll never be able to eat brownies from a powdered box mix again... ok you will, but you'll be a brownie elitist. Two: the frosting is great because you can get a super-smooth professional looking finish if you wet the knife & keep smoothing it. But, you do have to work quickly.


If you bring them to a family gathering once, you'll always be asked to bring these!


"yum!"


09 March 2008

No Shasta yet...

Well, I haven't found a new Shasta. I haven't been looking all that aggressively lately. That "little" transmission repair bill set me back a little more than I wanted, so I've held off looking for one. I'd hate to find a pretty little Shasta that I just shouldn't buy at this moment. It would be too tempting & probably break my heart.

Summer is coming up really quick. That really makes me want to buy one... all rush, rush-like. I must be a good girl. I must.

It has been disappointing, but necessary. I have gotten a lot of knitting done this week, some scrapping, too. A co-worker is leaving & Friday is her last day at work. I want to give her a handmade scrapbook. I love to make these little books. It's easier for me to make books without pictures in them. I feel freer to decorate the page however I want, instead of trying to match & co-ordinate everything to the last detail. I hope she likes it. I'll post pics when it's complete.

I've started talking to my Mom more & that's nice.