Monday, April 30, 2012

Van Dwelling - First Week

Today starts week two of living in the van. Have to say this first week was an experience but I was more prepared than I thought I would be.

I was expecting to get in there and have to change a ton of stuff but it seems I set myself up pretty well.

The first night I dry docked at my friend Silver's house. Nice neighborhood, dark, no cars traveling. It was chilly but I wasn't cold as I slept.

Night two I spent dry docked at a church across the street from my friends Jen and Ed's house. I actually spent the whole day there just chilling and packing away some extra stuff.

One Week On The Road

I'm still alive and doing well. I have a huge post mostly typed and will post it sometime this evening.

I'm currently on the PA/ NY boarder. Hoping to have some free tires mounted on my van by Wally World in about an hour. Fingers cross these tires fit!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Sorry not selling or giving anything away - just making a statement on my life as of today. I got going later than I thought I would (by a couple weeks unfortunately) but as of today I am now voluntarily homeless.

I've been parked in Crownsville since 6:30 tonight trying to acclimate the cats to the smaller space. They seem to be taking it well. There's been some hissing and grumbles but that's not unusual with any move.

Tomorrow I'm making my way towards Laurelton, PA for the Spring Thaw. I'll be over-nighting at a RV campground until Thursday or Friday then staying at Thaw and then I'm off to NJ to see Atlantic City and check out a couple of no-kill shelters that could use some volunteers.

Woot! Woot!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Thaw 30

Click to make the flyer bigger.

I believe I'm going to head up to PA for this just to poke around and check it out. From there I'll head to the state parks. PA really is quite pretty away from the cities.

Currently Reading

There's likely to be at least two posts from me today - just sayin'.

Since my last comments on what I was reading - I've read:

Cell - Stephen King
Duma Key - Stephen King

Currently reading: Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dick Clark Will Be Missed

Thanks so much for all the entertainment over the years.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Curtains For You!

Dropped by Wally World today and picked up a jumbo relectix windshield screen as well as one large thermal black out curtain plus some velcro.

I came home and let the van sit for an hour then checked the temperature - 104 inside while it's 85 outside. This is with the van sitting in full sun.

Installed all of the curtains and dropped the interior temp by 20 degrees - I'm impressed!

Going to Be THAT Kind of Summer

87? Really? In April? I hope this summer doesn't continue to hold winter's temp increases. It would figure though since I'm now in a van. A plus on my side, I rarely use A/C. Even in the trailer in summer I didn't use it so the cats and I will be fairly acclimated to being in heat.

Today I'm going to make window coverings. I can see where the velcro attachments were for the original windshield and side window cover so I'm going to go pick out some fabric that I like and some velcro and make new ones.

While I'm doing that I'm going to pivk up enough fabric and velcro to make a TV cover.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bed Shifting Complete - Pictures

Wow, that was easier than I thought and it turned out great I think. At least functional!

The new dinette bed with a 4" piece of memory foam cut to fit

Feelin' a Bit Like Goldilocks

When I first bought the van I decided right off that I wouldn't be sleeping in the attic bed. It's really just a hassle to pull out and put away every day but then my queen sized memory foam fit perfectly up there both folded in half and laid out full and I changed my mind

Today I've gone back to that original plan. I'll likely sleep on the dinette bed and let the cats have the attic as a lounge and play area when they can't be outside. They really do need a little open floor to play on and wrestle, otherwise, I'm going to go bonkers with them racing around the van (this will likely happen anyhow) Plus, it gives me storage for some extra stuff as well as a place to put their carriers and I can leave a couple of those put together for the ones who like to be in them.

I just finished hauling the memory foam out of the attic (I really did forget how big that space is when it's just the regular cushions in there) and putting it on the dinette bed. It's not fitting right or easily with just folding so it will need to be cut. I dread cutting anything -especially- a piece of memory foam that was about $200. However, if I cut it right I will have a perfect piece for the dinette bed and another piece I can lay out up top or roll up and store which will come in handy for the nights I decide to sleep in a tent or in the open. I have back and neck issues so it's a necessity - I can't walk in the morning if I sleep on something too firm.

Now I'm off to spread a tarp on the lawn and pull the foam out to measure, mark and cut it. Glad I kept the tarp!

It really is amazing to me how unconsciously I was preparing to live like this until I made a list of what I would need and realized I purchased much of it in the years leading up to now. Tells me I'm on the right path. :)

Pictures will come after I get everything settled again - I also have pics of the TV mount to upload yet.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More Pictures!

Just a little post to say I added slideshows to the sidebar for the van and the fur squad. I have more pics to upload and more sets to make but more slideshows will be coming.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Flooring - Part Four

Woot! I'm almost finished with the floor. All the pieces have been cut and fit now I just need to figure out if I'm going to glue them down or leave them.

The floor after ripping out the carpet. I decided to leave the boards that were the original under flooring since they are (much like the carpet was) run under the furniture. Plus they're still in good shape and why do more work than I need to? In the above picture you can actually see three types of flooring - the thin vinyl I laid down on the right, the bare floor in the middle and one of the tiles of new flooring to the left.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Here's a few pics of my recent and on-going projects:

 This would be my hobo closet built in and on top of my shower. There's a piece of plywood cut to fit over the tub part so I can store stuff IN the tub as well as up to the ceiling. On top of the plywood are three plastic home storage containers with drawers that hold clothing an crafting materials. I also have my first aid kit and extra blankets stored here. I used a simple SUV cargo net and some screws to hold it all in place and give me hanging storage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Phone Home

Got my missing phone back today - glad there are still some honest folks left in the world.

New Flooring - Part Three

Silver came over when she got off work tonight. I already had the measurements done (twice) and was laying out a piece of paper to create the guide for the tile layout. The tiles I picked have hidden interlocking bits which I really wanted. However, this makes it much more difficult to do smaller, awkward spaces. She and I managed to get the paper design done and laid out and marked most of the larger areas. Thankfully my roommate has a take saw and I used that to cut the tiles because I just couldn't manage it by hand. (I miss the strength I had before the disk issue in my neck happened)

I need to go tomorrow and find some floor trim (whatever the proper name for that shit is) I need two 24 inch pieces and am still debating if I want to do around the entire floor and along the sides of the furniture - for now I just need something functional. I'll be tacking down the flooring today and trying to cut puzzle pieces for the small areas we didn't cut today. I'll get pics before I tack anything down.

I have to say I miss working with Silver. We were a great team when we worked in the same hospital together and we're still terrific team problem solvers now. We kick out legendary brainstorming! To celebrate our (mostly) victory over the flooring we headed over to Longhorn's and got huge steaks and alcohol. She's probably the best friend anyone could ever ask for and I'm damned glad she made it into my world.

New Flooring - Part Two

Silver and I managed to pull out the front seats, fit the vinyl, trace what needed to be cut and get it back in the van in two days (a week ago). We also managed to get the step plates off and get the passenger side tacked down. The drivers side is as yet unfinished. It's not flat in spots but it's functional. I also need to cut off the extra behind the driver's seat since I'll need that later.

I decided to forgo trying to do the doghouse as a cat scratching post. I kept the carpet I pulled off so I would have something to use to cut new material and decided to just paint it as I did the carpet in the back and reattach it. It turned out pretty good.

It all definitely looks better than it did with no flooring.

Yesterday I went out and pulled out the rest of the carpet I wanted to removed and started the tedious task of plucking carpet and padding out from under the edges so I can squeeze the new flooring under the furniture some. I also went to Lowes and picked up a box of eight 18x18 snap fit rubber tiles. I figure 8 should be more than enough for what I want to cover - it's just a matter of fitting it all in like a puzzle to make it work.

I measured and drew out a rough diagram yesterday but am getting ready to do a second one so I can compare the measurements. If the sun ever gets out today I'll be able to lay out and snap together the tiles so I can cut out what I need to fit in the van. I'll be using spare bits from the front vinyl to do the step in on the side. I'll try to get some pics if I can remember to do it.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Post-Birthday Recap

Had an awesome time out with good friends and good drink last night at Galway Bay. Ran into the bass player from The Rovers who gave myself and all my friend free tickets to the Annapolis Irish Festival. A few friends also scored tickets to Busch Gardens! Thanks folks for making my 37th an awesome celebration.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Mount Up!

Just ordered the locking cantilever mount for the TV that I've been looking at. Originally priced at $109 when I first found it - I saw it again for $88 and now Camping World has it for $65.

I get free shipping since  I'm a Good Sam member. Awesome! Can't wait to get this thing installed!

I Can't Believe I'm Going To Be 37

Tomorrow is my birthday. 37 years I've been alive on this Earth. I don't feel 37. I'm not planning some big hoopla. A couple friends and I are getting together at Galway Bay in Annapolis for drinks and food. MMmmm calamari. Yep there's a plate of that with my name on it.

For my birthday I bought some books. Went to the store and picked up several reference books on edible plants and foraging. Also one on edible mushrooms an a small PDR for drugs.

I also picked up a new harness and leash for the cats and took Dandy on an outdoor adventure. He loved being outside and rolled around on the sidewalk and then the grass, had a run in with a butterfly and then a wasp chased up both inside.

Tadpole didn't fare as well as I hoped. When I sat him down outside he promptly ran top the end of the leash (13 ft) and then flopped around like a fish out of water. At least I know the harness will tolerate that and not break. I thought for sure I would be chasing him through the neighborhood. I have to get a bigger harness for Gobie - he's too round the wear the same one as the other boys. Poor little "husky" Gobie.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Adictive Reading Behavior Has Returned

I finished off the last two books in the Hunger Games trilogy the day after I posted about the first book. Today I picked up Preston & Child's Fever Dream - Part One of the Helen Trilogy.

Spray Painting The Carpet

Finally stopped fretting over painting the carpet. I figured the worse that happens is I rip out more carpet. When I removed the old carpet from the van my primary reason was that is just smelled bad. My secondary reason was pure function.

Cats + Litter + Carpet = Vacuum

No thank you. Being able to sweep is a much better option. That being said - to get in and out of the litter pan the cats have to walk on a small bit of carpet to minimize how much tracking happens. There are few things worse than having litter stuck to your feet ALL THE TIME. It gets everywhere - the bed being the worst.

Yesterday afternoon I bit the bullet and spray painted the carpet with black Simply Spray. I was concerned about using the black. I really don't want the inside of the van to be overly dark. I taped off the wood and started spraying. With carpet you need to have a glove on so you can work the dye down into the fibers but I noticed if I didn't soak it all the way through I was getting a really neat chocolaty color with red and gold undertones from where the carpet had faded. I'll take it. It turned out better than I hopped so I used the rest of the can to do the carpeting I left around the toilet, Once the sun comes out today I'll be doing the rest of that carpet and debating on whether to do some of the cushions or not. I may do the dinette seats and leave the backs maroon. I'm so happy the dye didn't come out jet black - that was one of my biggest concerns. It also makes me think I can turn the inside to purple fairly easily if I decide to go that route. Doing that on the road will require a three to four day stay somewhere because  the cats and mouse would have to come out of the van. The fumes from the spray are noxious. I was blowing black dye out of my nose for hours after using the stuff.

Also when the sun comes out I need to set out the vinyl to soften it so I can cut it down and hopefully finish installing it. The past few overcast days have me in a bit of a funk.

I'll see about getting pictures of the newly colored carpet at some point today.