Yesterday we loaded up to go see progress. Zac took pictures, so while he is uploading those, here are my thoughts:

1) I'm thrilled with how the woodwork is turning out. John, true to his word, salvaged as much of the old as possible and has done a wonderful job re-building what was beyond repair. The old cabinetry is sanded down and and installed and ready to be varnished. As you should be able to see from the photos, it looks smooth, tight and even. I'm pleased. It's deeply emotional (don't laugh at me!) for me to see the old cabinetry in, looking like "my trailer" again. Relief flooding me.

2) Adding the trash cabinet created some problems. Even with the heater removed, there was less space than expected. This is a situation where we should have communicated better. I would have forfeited a bank of drawers- or the trash cabinet itself. John pushed the woodwork down toward the door (expected)-- and back into the bedroom- not expected, not gonna work. It pushed the bathroom, which is a metal box, if you recall, back about 5 inches, which somehow made the back bedroom 6 inches shorter on that side. This made the bedroom feel much smaller and, worse, also limited options as a twin mattress would not fit longwise on the wall. I could not live with that. Things were grim as John had already wood screwed and glued everything in. Bear in mind that the pocket door sandwiched between the kitchen and bathroom/ bedroom was also tied in. We worked together for a compromise. He will push it back 5 inches by shortening the depth of the cabinet above the "stove". I'm fine with this, and I think having the room in the bedroom is worth it. John very accommodating on making this change- he really wants me to be happy, and I really appreciate that.

3) Speaking of the "stove", which is now the range, that also is more complicated than expected. It's bigger than the stove was, and building in a cabinet problematic. If we build a full size cabinet to fit the range, the depth & width, it would make the passage very narrow and crowded, feeling claustrophobic. John had built in a rounded half base/ cabinet but no storage, with the range kinda floating out... Not very good looking, even though his curve on it was beautiful and mirrored the curve of cabinet above. Well, due to the bedroom issue, we are cutting back that wall cabinet, making it 5 inches shallower anyway. This solves some of the problem as the front of the range now is not cramped under the cabinet- the front burner will be free and not cramped 18 inches under, which makes me feel better about boiling a larger pot of water. John is going to remove the wire towel rack that juts out an inch or so. We will cut into the corner of the countertop and inset it about 2 inches, so the left knob still works, but the whole range is nestled in as much as possible. Not ideal, but I think it will blend ok once the stainless counter is in. It may still "float" out a bit, depends how it fits, and what seems lesser issue- tight corridor, or small "float".

4) Decisions had to be made regarding finishing the wood. John used birch as much as possible, but there were some places where the veneer would not bend, even with the steamer. Apparently veneer is thinner now than it use to be? Also, some places where strength deemed worth using some stronger support wood. John wanted to know if I wanted a stain on the wood, followed by the marine spar varnish. Alternately, no stain, straight to the varnish. I went with just the varnish. All the wood will blend better, it will be a little lighter, but I hope it will age and caramelize better over time. I really like Birchwood Beauties website- he updates even less than I do!- but he says "three coats exterior grade marine spar varnish with sanding in between each coat. Finish is then waxed to high gloss." Sounds excellent to me.

5) The metal interior frames for the windows look great. John did a swirl finish on them. I like it!

6) Yeah, we are not gonna be done next week lol! Probably 2 more weeks, maybe 3.

I went down to see the Spartan a few days before Christmas! You can see some of the support skeleton is in. Don't worry about where you see some "sagging"- there will be cross- skeleton beams that will shore that up and add strength. 

I'm sorry I'm such a poor photographer. But you can see how nicely insulated it's going to be. The framework will be strong- and I think we are going with the 1/8th wood, so it will need that great foundation. I'm happy with that- 1/8 is what I believe it originally was. Also- keeping it light:) 

Another little detail to notice is in the gallery below- the powder coated screws, which will never rust. John calls 'em "forever" screws. 

The fans will be framed out... A lot of detail work ahead, but things are taking shape! 
I had my doubts, but these look VERY good. So good, I'm spending another $350 for the remaining 2 vents so they will all match. Nerd alert detail: John found the spray rubber that matches the original factory internal finish. Oddly satisfying:) 
Cold, cold, cold rainy day, but a trip down to see the progress on the Spartan warmed my mood! 
From the Killing Me Softly files: Death By Flooring Options. 

Yes. I am being "serious". 

I know that the Spartan will have to endure baking in the Texas sun. One of my priorities is not to have chemicals off gassing and making it smell bad, and BE bad for healthy breathing. 

The other logistical considerations: weight, wear, keeping clean and looking clean (2 different things!). 

And... of course: STYLE. 

This is my attempt to choose by ordering samples on-line from Marmoleum. Left sample= Too damn dark. Right sample= better, but not sure I like the "stone" effect... not very vintage, and kinda bland.  

Oh, and one other thing.

Bear in mind that I have 200 square feet to cover, + the recommended 10% overage=  220 sf.  So, this is just not going to be a minor line item on by budget. Ahem. 

I like linoleum. Old school, green, long wearing. Fashion colors, ya'll! Except- for once in my life, I don't want flashy. I want it to look good, but, be neutral enough that I can change things up without, say, a blood red floor. Which would be killer! But... might get on my nerves over time. 

And, at $5 plus/ sf we are talking about a $1,000 minimum. Which means I need to LOVE it. Sigh. Keep looking. 

This is my trip to the decorator floor showroom. They have a crayon box worth of choices, but I have to remember not to fly over to the brightest thing like a magpie. Left/Green- meh, Center/Yellow- too boring, Right/ Red- fussy) 

I also am guessing at how the it will complement my beechwood interior. All samples are photographed up against wood to check how they "work" with it. I am concerned about the trailer being dark- the chocolate brown floor in there now does a helluva job hiding dirt, but, it hardly brightens up the place. 
Here I am at the "Green" showroom, which has lovely things, wonderful vibes- and everything costs the moon and has to be special ordered. 

Left/ Yellow- NO. NO. NO!  Middle/Gray- Actually my favorite of the bunch, but worried it will be too dark. Right/ Blue- Pretty. Very pretty. But... not neutral.

There were also trips to dive-y little flooring closeout places, and big box stores, but they could not really communicate the whole VOC/ toxic status to me.  And, to be honest, at this point I was just exhausted and overwhelmed and sick of thinking about flooring. 

God, it's not even fun to write about the flooring headache. Why? Why are you still reading this?? 

What do you think? Are you an interior decorator person magically reading my blog and dying to advise me? ADVISE ME. Should I bite the bullet and go with the Gray? It's kinda masculine and crisp looking to me. The mottling is prettier in person. Or the Blue? Sky blue, more fun, relaxed, vacation-y. 

Ackkkkkkk!!!!! I. Don't. KNOW. Or really care anymore. Apathy for the win!!

...until a spread sheet blows someone's MIND. 

I still have vestiges of my former corporate self despite my attempt to pass as an authentic trying-to-find-myself bohemian chick. These deeply seated roots cause me to do oddball things like create detailed spreadsheets about my trailer. 

I know. I know. I KNOW. (Hangs head in shame.) Who takes something as organically fun as a vintage trailer and makes it into WORK? 

But, but, but...Santa, I can explain!

You see, acquiring the trailer was easy. "Hey, Daddy, can I have the trailer?" "Oh sure, Honey." Small talk with my Dad. Easy-peasy. 

Taking possession of the trailer? Well, ok, somewhat harder. See details of the 3,000 mile odyssey by reading posts from last May/ June 2010. 

Actually owning the trailer? Let's just say, I'm seeing an analogy with having a baby here. Trying to make a baby? Easy, hopefully fun, if you're doing it right. Delivering a baby? Well, harder, but you gets lots of professional and friendly advice. Hopefully exciting. Really having a kid? Complicated, amiright? Ye-ahhh, it's like that. 

You see, what I don't know about the care & feeding of my baby-trailer could fill a book. Or, in this case, a laboriously filled spreadsheet. First you get some tabs regarding restoration, filled with goodies like the terrifying "systems" tab which chronicles my attempt to understand and research electrical and propane systems. Or, perhaps you would like the "exterior" tab which explores topics like airplane sheet metal fabricators and polishing compounds? No? Try "interiors" and look at varnish links.  

Beyond just the restoration, there is the Future to Plan For. Remember that idyllic little piece of land I keep waxing on about? See the "land" tab. And the architecture I envision there? And the solar panels? And how 'bout the BUDGET, humm? And does anyone really want to spend more than one night of their life researching composting toilets? No? Then you damn well better get it into the spread sheet the first time, Bozo. 

See? See? It's so easy to slip into old habits. That crumpled to-do list is really just a gate-way drug to a serious spread sheet relapse. Sigh. And like most non-profits, the problem is lack of funds. So, create even MORE spreadsheets to justify and explain the cause. About this time it is wise to step away from the spreadsheet and work on perspective. 

It's a great trailer. I love it. I want the best for it, to see it grow up an become more independent. And to have as much fun with it as I can before one of us gets too old. So, I pedal back on my big dream spreadsheets and try to enjoy the moment. 


Thought you might want to see what the inside of the trailer bathroom looks like. It is all metal, even the door backing, and the shower drains down the floor. Neat, huh? 

I can't say I remember using the shower much growing up. Most campgrounds have less-claustraphopic showers. Plus, when you are a kid on a camping trip formal baths are largely optional if you can just get hosed down after swimming. 

Most of the fixtures are orginal, including the towel bar/ soap basket/ tp roll holder. I think the shower knobs are house fixtures circa 1980. 

It has recently had a good scouring with old fashioned product called Bar Keepers Friend. Naturally, Tiffany, who tends bar at an Irish bar, did the cleaning:) 

And where is the potty, you ask? Ta-da. In all it's yellow porcelain glory. Why yellow? No idea. Never had any yellow matching stuff. 

If I had to have a weirdly colored vintage toilet, why O why could it not be pink? Or mint green? Damn it. 

To complete your little tour, I'll mention that there is a shower curtain bar that runs around to protect the door. I took down the curtain that was hanging there, mostly on account of it being really ugly. I'm tempted to replace it with something that captures a little yellow... but then again, maybe I'll stick to the baths-are-optional-when- camping concept;) 


Here is a picture of Roger with the trailer circa 1972. 
Thanks Susan! 
There are some things that just, well, shut me down. Hit my OFF button, make my eyes glaze over (MEGO), Slip Out The Back, Jack.... I could go on, but I'm boring myself and slipping into that very state.  Got it? 

Detailed paperwork + Bureaucracy+ Unknown Expenses I Don't Want To Incur set all these bells ringing. I can be practically comatose just thinking about thinking about items on my to-do list that involve these horrors. 

So, it is with amazement and pride that I inform you that I went to the $%#@^&$$$ Texas DPS last week and got all the paperwork in order for the van. A Christmas Miracle!! Yup, in a process that straddled 2 states,  my insurance agent (well, it did NOT straddle him personally), a sheaf of papers, a notary (also no straddling), digging through two file cabinets, my 89-year-old father's signature, an iffy "inspection" at one of those 30-minute-or-less places, two trips downtown, and $3.40 in change for the meters, the Groovy Camping Van known as Big Blue is now titled, stickered, plated and legal in Texas. 

While I try to avoid stereotypes, I feel this calls for a YEEEE-HAWWW. 

Insomuch and furthermore and other bureaucratic type bullshit words, I now am also thisclose to being able to say the same about the trailer itself. Other than what is bound to be a helluva misadventure getting the Spartan weighed and "inspected"(????), I have all the necessary pieces according to the minion at the DPS. So, as soon as the Zanex and reflex to curl up fetal position from this run in with The Law wears off, I'll jump riiiiight on that. 

BTW, Happy Birthday to Big Blue, who turns 25 in 2011, thus becoming- don't choke!- a classic vehicle. Ooooooooooo. Hee hee hee. It's still fugly, but, hey, it hauls my baby, so I'm on board.