Mostly Moping But A Little Progress

Yeah….Hi, my name is Parker, and I’m a moper.  Do they have a 12-step for that?   All I can say is that depression sucks.  It hasn’t completely gotten the best of me though, and I have gotten things done.  Short post today because I’m still not in a great mood, but I wanted to record my progress.

First off,  the cabover portion is ready for insulation and the 3/4″ plywood subfloor.  Everything is bolted, nailed or screwed firmly together.  One thing I did differently with this area as opposed to the flatbed was to use several layers of fine metal screen mesh over the planks for both keeping the wool inside, and for allowing it to dry if it gets damp.  The mesh will also keep bugs and tiny critters out of the insulation (shudder).  On the flatbed I used metal panels with drip holes.  Another difference is that I used angled metal straps to attach the planks to the joists as another way to ensure they hold together snugly.  I’ve stood on the joists, jumped up and down on the planks, and tried to shift the various pieces, and it’s solid.

Three layers of metal mesh will serve to allow the insulation to breathe, yet keep out nasty critters.

Three layers of metal mesh will serve to allow the insulation to breathe, yet keep out nasty critters.

It doesn't show in this picture, but the metal angles are spaced evenly over the cabover to ensure each plank is attached.

It doesn’t show in this picture, but the metal angles are spaced evenly over the cabover to ensure each plank is attached.

On another subject, I finally checked out the fuel filler hose situation myself today.  Turns out it’s not that big a deal and I’m going to do the fix myself.  The supplies should all arrive by the end of the week at the latest.  This piece from Amazon turned out to be perfect for my needs, and is inexpensive, to boot.  Unfortunately, it’s not long enough so I had to purchase more hose from another company, and some quite expensive couplers.  Still, the total cost of parts will only be about $100, a quarter of the cost to have a shop do it.  Plus of course, there’s the satisfaction of doing it myself!

That’s it for now. hope you are all having a great summer so far 🙂

Digging Deep

***How embarrassing it is to wake up and find you’ve hit “publish” on a half-written, mostly-incoherent, rambling rough draft.  Well!  To those who saw it, please disremember!  I claim being awake for almost 48 hours plus a nice Merlot….***

I’m having trouble with this post.  I’m torn between focusing on the actual, physical build, and my “process” ~ an often confusing mix of inspiration, depression, impulse and frustrating errors.  Maybe it’s different for people who don’t have “issues” to contend with, but needing to get life done while contending with anxiety and depression is a real struggle for me.  I have tasks I NEED to accomplish.  I don’t know the timeline, never having been in this situation before, but obviously at some point I will have to leave and have safe and secure shelter.  Yet, equally strong at times is my inability to get those tasks done due to fear and/or depression.  It’s a quandary.  Yes, I take medications, and they help, but too often not enough to keep me out of bed.  2015 has been a very full year.  At least I’ve been awake for a much greater portion of it than 2013-2014.

To sum up advancements on Oliver’s Nest v.2.0 and other goals:

  • The Beast is up and running great again.  A total blast to drive. 🙂
  • Floor framing on flatbed completed except for bolting it together.  That must wait til the fuel filler ports are moved.
  • Mockup boxes for new fuel filler ports in place.  These will hold the ports until the wall framing is in. They are super rough looking but work as intended.
  • Cabover sleeping area started.  More on this later!
  • Packed up for long-term storage the few things I want to keep but will have no room for in ON.  It’s not a lot of stuff, mostly some books, pictures, artwork I love, and other misc stuff.
  • Pared down my belongings again to the point where in theory it should all fit into Oliver’s Nest when the interior storage is finished.
  • Lost 40 pounds!  Still have 25 to go.

So.  As I’ve already said many times, the wall framing can’t be done until the fuel filler ports are moved (I have the appointment for it still on the books, but after meeting with two super-nice and knowledgeable guys from a local Ford truck club, I want to try to do at least the back one myself.  I’m planning on starting that process today…intimidated but determined).  I have my stack of 2x3s and 2x4s for the walls beside the Beast, ready.  In fact, I have a nice work area set up with everything I (think I) need to get the walls completed.  I’ve decided to go with T1 11 for the sheathing.  It’s strong, reasonably attractive, easy to work with, and affordable.  If I can move the fuel ports myself, I’ll be buying the sheathing this month.  Crossing fingers!

During my organizing/paring push, I unearthed a great find ~ thick slabs of old utility poles I’d forgotten I had.  I dragged them to my new work area, cleaned them up, and cut them into planks.  I used these for the foundation of my cabover sleeping area.  I love using reclaimed materials, and these were free, which makes it even sweeter.  I had to take a selfie once they were in place, laying down in exhaustion but very happy to have gotten this done.  Yes, I am filthy!

There hasn’t been a gratuitous critter pic in quite a while, so I’m posting a shot of huge Leo, who keeps me company while I work.  He’s a rescue I adopted last year, a loving and happy boy.  I was stuck in the nursing home, recovering from my injuries for several months soon after taking him in, and it has taken months to gain his trust after that abandonment.  It feels good to finally have reached a solid friendship with him.  My mother’s cat likewise has adjusted to her absence and my presence.  He definitely is OK now, affectionate and happy and constantly pestering me for attention.  On those days when I can’t get out of bed, he keeps me company.

Now, the pictures. WordPress is not being friendly to me today, so the pictures are a bit disorganized.  Sorry ’bout that.

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Screwed down until replacement by actual walls.

The new location will make refueling much easier.

The new location will make refueling much easier.

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DIY cutting fence

Some of the rough-cut planks were about 15 feet long by 12" wide.  Heavy stuff.

Some of the rough-cut planks were about 15 feet long by 12″ wide, and an actual 2″ thick. Heavy stuff.

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Error! Error! Made my first cut in the wrong place. Don’t have enough of the wood to replace, so making do. It’s still strong, and won’t show once the framing is finished.

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Much neater cutting around the metal bracing than down on the bed. Looks good.

Fits nicely.  The gaps are not an issue.

Fits nicely, with some minor gaps. These don’t affect strength at all. This will be the sleeping area, and is 7 1/2′ by 5′. Enough room for a queen mattress, and will have 3′ of headroom, not bad for a Tiny Home.

Resting on the cabover sleeping base, happy :)

Resting on the cabover sleeping base, happy to finally have this process finished.

Next up, framing the subfloor in the cabover.

Next up, framing the subfloor in the cabover.

Big black Leo boy!

Big black Leo boy!

Prioritizing

In hospitals, it’s called triaging.  Deciding what is the most urgent need, and addressing it first.  That’s what I’m presented with now, taking a long look at my truck and figuring out what needs to be addressed next.

I have enough studs to fully frame the walls of the living space, including the cabover portion.  But.  Due to the weight of the sheathing, I am going to need to attach it to the studs prior to lifting them into place.  On my first build, I learned the hard way that I’m not strong enough to handle full-size plywood panels myself, and ended up cutting them into much smaller pieces in order to hang them.  I don’t want to do that again.  The only way around that is by screwing them into place onto the studs while they are still laying flat on the truck bed.  I can leverage the heavy walls sections up and into position myself, and brace them while I work on the next section.

I don’t have the sheathing yet, though.  It’s expensive.  Plus, there’s a more pressing need that has to be addressed first ~ the fuel tank inlets.  They must be rerouted from the bed to the new sides, and it’s an expensive process.  Unbelievably expensive, in fact, as in $400.  So, I have to wait.  I do have the appointment made for next month so I can reassure myself that progress will be made as soon as possible.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Why don’t I at least build the wall frames while I wait?  Because once again, the weight issues mean I need to build them on the flat of the bed of the truck, so I can lift them into place.  I can’t simply do it on the ground.  There’s also the issue of access to the fuel inlets where they currently reside, which would be inaccessible if I had a pile of wood framing laying in the way.

So, I will wait.  Bored, frustrated and scared by the time this is taking, but I will wait.

Hope your week goes swimmingly 🙂

Insulation Medley, Anyone?

I have multiple boxes of sheep wool insulation that completely slipped my mind.  I dragged one out of storage, cracked it open, and BOOM, more insulation than I even needed to finish filling the floor.  So that makes it four different types of insulation in there: Polyisocyanurate, a different kind of rigid foam board, Roxul, and wool.  Kinda makes me smile, but it’ll work just fine.  Dragged up and cut to size one of the 3/4″ plywood sheets, but then realized I’d forgotten to sand down some uneven spots.  Sigh.  Back on the scooter to the local big box store for sandpaper to fit my little powered sander.  Now it’s too dark to work, so I thought I’d throw on a quick update.  Raring to get out there first thing in the morning to finish up the sub-floor so I can finally start on the walls.  That’s when it looks like an actual build is happening.

Met my first “travelers” today, by happy chance.  We chatted for a while, and exchanged emails as they know of some great places to camp and stay for longer periods of time.  It was pretty cool to talk to people who are already doing what I’m just planning…makes it more real…or something.

Tomorrow is also (hopefully) Beast repair day, as I’m going to take the batteries to my mechanic to see if he won’t start due to a problem with them, or if it’s maybe the alternator or cables or whatever magical mechanical thing is keeping him stuck.  Those batteries are huge…it’s going to be super fun taking them on my scooter…but I’ll figure out a way.  After all, she’s carried 10 foot long pipes, big boxes of random stuff, and even a window home once.  I love that scooter.  Ted (the mechanic) is also going to help me figure out how to reroute the fuel lines to the tanks, as the fillers reside on the bed now, which obviously won’t work.  I think I love Ted, too. 🙂

Pics of the day:

This is what sheep's wool insulation looks like.  Pretty much like sheep wool :p

This is what sheep’s wool insulation looks like. Pretty much like sheep wool :p

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.  Apparently typical location on flatbeds.  I have two of these to reroute.

A little dusty to work with, but not toxic in any way, and super effective insulation.

A little dusty to work with, but not toxic in any way, and super effective insulation.

Tiny Cabin Isn’t Moving

I think the truck needs a new alternator, but I won’t be able to tow him to the shop until next Wednesday, the 8th, to find out for sure.  It’s problems like this that worry me the most about going on the road ~ the unforeseen mechanical issues.  I’m, typing this with a nervous feeling in my stomach, knowing we could get stranded anywhere…but at least I’ll have my trusty scooter.

I think the first thing I’ll do once the cabin is built is start saving as much money as possible for emergencies.  Yes, I want a new upholstered seat, but what if I need new belts?  Yes, I want to replace the rotting floor mats, but what if I need new brakes?  I’ve joined a local Ford truck enthusiasts club which meets monthly, and I think the smartest question I can ask is, what all could reasonable go wrong?  Then, start saving for it.  Let the beauty come later, my Beast must be reliable.

At least the truck decided to stop running while I was out wood shopping.  I’d decided to put the building materials on my credit card in order to keep momentum going on the little start I’d made.  So I have framing I can do while I wait for my next payday to roll around.  The weather is supposed to hold for at least a week, so my goal is to have the floor in place and one of the walls framed.  If I can get my hands on more 2x3s, I’ll frame all four (lower) walls.

Here’s some pictures of the most awkward part of the upcoming build:

Complicated

Complicated

More complications

More complications

This isn't going to be pretty.

This isn’t going to be pretty.

How to fit wood tightly and with structural strength between all these metal angles?  I have a lot of scrap wood laying around, so today is going to be spent (hopefully) figuring this problem out.  I need the floor joists to be strong and level, and I need the sill and bottom plates to be level and secure for the walls.  Oh boy…  Maybe I’ll take pictures of my attempts, if they aren’t too embarrassing.

Wish me luck and good engineering, folks!