Awww-ning (03/30/16)

3 Blue-striped awnings adorn my ’72 Airstream.  The one on the back-end easily pulled out the day I claimed ownership.  Perfect condition!  Colors are vibrant and there are no tears or worn spots.  The awnings on each long side are a different story.  One was bound up with rope (reason unknown after inspecting) and the other was seized up.

I shimmy up the ladder to undo the bound up arms from deteriorating rope and dry rotted bungee cords.  One of the ropes was knotted and looped and then wrapped around the ventilation box on the top of the camper and then back again to the arm.  Free at last! Since the awning is quite long, I decided to use the removed rope as an extension to the tug strap to make it a little easier to pull down.  I merely looped in the rope.  I set up my phone to capture this moment of truth!  Check it out here!

So it wasn’t so bad after all.  Lot of dark spots to clean and one tiny spot of thinness.  I’ll take that any day of the week!

Now for the other side.  For the seized up awning, I sprayed it down many times with a lubricant.  I beat on it with a hammer.  I tugged and pulled and tugged and pulled.  Nothing.  So, it remained in this state for the last year.  Finally I decided to get to the bottom of this!  I took out the pins that held the awning to the arms.  That was a feat.  I ended up using a flat head screwdriver and a hammer.  I inserted the screwdriver in the loop of the pin and drove the screwdriver in with a hammer.  Then I pulled and pried it back and forth till the pin came out.  The area was way too narrow for me to get my big pliers into the spot and simply pull out the pin.  I had limited tools with me.  After each side was removed, the awning was unrolled for me to check out the condition of the fabric.  PERFECT!  Well, a little dirty, but no holes or tears and it’s as vibrant as the other awning on the back!  The seams are not weak at all!  I propped the awning up on the arms just to see how it would look if it had cooperated with me.  I’ll contact Zip Dee on this 183″ awning issue to see what I do to get this fixed back.  While it’s down, I’ll take time in the next few days to scrub it down.

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Foundation (3/26/16)

The shag green carpet throughout the Airstream was over 42 years old when it came into my possession.  It was one of the first things to go (April 2015)!  A small piece of it remains under the stove area for now.

In the rear of the Airstream (living area), a new piece of plywood was installed over a rotten piece by the previous owner.  When I started to demo my little gem this month, I decided that it was in my best interest to remove the rotten wood underneath.  I can’t be at peace if I just kept laying new wood on top of the wood that was deteriorating.  It would only cause issues later and I would have to address it then.

On Saturday, 3/26/16, I hired my youngest son to help me out for a few hours.  I had every tool imaginable with us; drill, circular saw, jig saw, reciprocating saw, to name a few. We had different size crow bars as well.  Removing the newer piece of wood was easy.  Few screws removed and it was out!  But, then where do you start on the original boards that were BOLTED into the beams of the frame?   Every forum post I had read about replacing the sub-floor, NEVER ever mentioned these BOLTS or the techniques to remove it!  How in the world are we going to remove this rotten wood?  I started to question my decision.  Maybe having a new piece of wood over it would be just fine.  Then the other little voice within me disagreed.  I called my dad and asked him what he would do.  He has an opinion for everything.  Well, everything but this.  Today, my dad decided he didn’t know everything after all.  Meh!

I decided to beat the darkened/rotten wood with a hammer, and it easy splintered in that spot.  I could see through the hole enough to know that there were no wires nearby.  I had to figure out where the cross beams were.  We pried, sawed, adjusted blades, and sawed some more.  Finally after an hour, the first piece was removed.  I was really thinking I would find mouse skeletons, maybe snake skins, and maybe a hidden treasure.  NOTHING.  None of that.  Just some crumbled up insulation.  I was worried that the beams would be so rusted that I might just have to throw in the towel.  NOPE!  They were just fine too!  The beams were a little rusty, but nothing that a steel brush and a little rustoleum won’t fix.  Solid as a rock.  There is a God in heaven!

After much trial and error, we figured out that the best way to tackle this beast was to drill holes around the perimeter of a section of each board- basically between the beams under that board.  We then used the jig saw to cut out a square.  In certain spots, we were unable to complete the square, so we cut an angle out at a corner.  We then pried the partially cut square up with the crow bar and pulled out the section.  Once we completed as many sections as we could for this big piece of plywood, we were able to take off the sections of wood that remained over the beams fairly easily.

Then, there was the dreaded C-channel.  This channel runs along the sides of the wall right up under where the wall panels end.  The subfloor sits inside the C-channel.  When the camper was originally built, there were bolts that went through the top of the C-channel, through the wood, and then through the bottom of the C-channel, holding the sub-floor in place.  Well, these bolts held in remnants of the old sub-floor and it too had to be removed so that new can go in later.  This was probably the worst part of this whole day.  I felt like an artist tapping away at a huge piece of marble.  There was just no easy way to get the bolted in wood to come out.  I even had the ridiculous thought that I could just burn it out.  I never tried that, thanks to my better judgement.

After removing the wood, we shoveled (easily to not puncture the under belly) and picked up all of the old insulation, using gloves of course.  I had 3 garbage bags full of insulation from this 2 piece plywood section.  We vacuumed up the rest of the remnants and all of the old chips of wood and dirt.

What would the underneath belly look like?  It was great!  There are two small rusty spots that can easily be repaired.  I’m thinking some type of sealer will fix this up but I’ll read what others have done for these type of repairs first.  We also had one little spot where we accidentally punctured it with the huge crow bar. My son kinda felt bad about it.  Me, no worries!  We can deal with that!

Few things I’ve learned from this day:  

  • Gloves were a great invention!
  • Small sliver of insulation will stay in your thumb for days!
  • Paying your strong 17 year old son is well worth the money!
  • I really am a DIY gal and not afraid of anything!  Where there is a will there is a way!
  • Today, I’m one day closer to my dream than I was yesterday!
  • Persistence and ingenuity is key!
  • Makers of the C-channel should have stayed in the brain storming room a little longer!  Repairs would eventually be needed!

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Road Trip

Whether you are headed on vacation, or you are trying to reach a goal, there’s a few things you should consider for your journey (literal or figurative).

Before you go on a road trip, you need to know where you are going. Google maps is a great tool b24c2e4810aaabd703fa931d239063a44ut ONLY if you have a starting point AND a destination. Without either of these locations, it’s going to be really hard to navigate the trip! And don’t you just love the option of being able to pick from various routes? I love to take a back-road. The views are so much more interesting than those from an interstate.

So where are you now?

Where does your trip begin?

Where are you going?

Often, the road-trip to your dream destination is the most dreaded part (behind the task of packing or unpacking). You probably have wished that you could just wiggle your nose and be there. That would be easy, right?! After all, you’re all cooped up in tight quarters with smelly boys/girls for 4 hours. He’s touching me! I suppose I’m a little different in that the ride in the car is just another opportunity to bond with those you are close to. They can’t run out the door or hide in their bedroom. It’s a time to laugh, make up silly games, and stop to get boiled peanuts. Have fun on your road trip!

Imagine that you’re traveling along, enjoying good music with the wind blowing in your hair. Not a care in the world. BAM! The trip comes to a halt. Traffic is at a standstill. Now what? You have options. You can wait it out and hope you don’t have the urge to visit the restroom in the next few hours. Or, you can take a detour and keep moving.

You will NEVER see me sit in a line of cars unless there is NO way to get off of the path (such as on the interstate and there isn’t an exit nearby). Trust me when I say, I will take the first exit or road that I see to keep moving!

Recently I was coming home from a beach trip. I had taken back-roads for the first part of the trip. At one point, I was supposed to get on the interstate to finish my trip home. I was about to get on the interstate when we noticed that the 3 lanes of traffic were completely stopped. I stopped at the entrance of the on-ramp and carefully got back on the back-road. There were other cars near me who continued on the on-ramp to ‘get in line’ with the stopped cars. Seriously? Not me! I decided to take another back road and keep moving. I was NOT participating in that version of follow the leader. No way, no how. I had places to go and people to see. I wasn’t scared to take an unfamiliar path. I would find a way to get to where I was going. Why waste all of that time stagnate?

Do you follow people who are at a standstill? The boring? Uninspiring? I’d rather take a path that is inspiring and interesting. A path that is moving in the direction where I want to be. The people you follow in life and on social media will tell you a lot about yourself. Time for a self-evaluation.

Be a leader and make a new path. Step up and set a precedents that others would want to follow. It may not be a “beaten path” till you get there. YOU need to be YOURSELF and YOU create YOUR journey- no one else! YOU are responsible for getting to your destination. You are unique, so do something unique. Don’t live your journey the way someone else wants you to. What is it that YOU want?

The most important thing to remember, is that you know WHERE and WHO you are from the start. Then you must decide WHERE and WHO YOU want to be. You’ll never get to where you want to be unless you start the road-trip, so get moving! Don’t be afraid to take a new path to get there. And by all means, have fun on the way! Life is too short to reach your destination in any other way!12814665_168660756852423_9015663242563794383_n

Relationships and Bra’s

Coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors, some relationships will lift you up, while others don’t prove to provide much support and will bring you down.

​Ever notice how people have their own preference? Padded, lace, sports style, strapless, cross over, underwire, and the list goes on.  We are all different. Life would be boring otherwise!

I’m so glad that I get to choose what’s best for me. No one can make me wear an itchy wool lined bra, if those existed!  I’ll decide what works best!

I’ll pick out my own bra!

Some are binding and make you feel uncomfortable; leaving a mark that takes a hot minute to go away.  Then there are those that bring in a whole new level of frustration.  They are twisted to the point of no return.  No matter what you do, you just can’t straighten things out.  Do you live with it or toss it?  You’ll decide at some point to trash them, it’s just better that way.  It’s just not of value to you (personally) anymore.

In the rare instance you find one that works perfectly for you, you hang on to it and vow to never let it go.  You handle it with care, making sure not to just throw it in with the rest of your soiled laundry.  It’s a beautiful thing!  Others will look at you with jealousy.

At the end of a long day, you need some alone time.  Sometimes it happens as soon as I leave the office!  Just sayin’.

The key to success is finding the right fit!  It often takes times to find the one that works.  But when you do find it, you’ll know it!

Close Encounters of the Heart Kind

In spite of the camouflage, I can see her sharing last minute hugs with the family she leaves. Behind the irregular shapes and shades of beige and green, she begins to fight her first battles; the struggle to hold back tears and to remain strong for those who aren’t. As they watch her stride toward her departure gate, they savor the last glimpses of their soldier while their minds are filled with hopes of her safe return. She doesn’t look back. She can’t now. All she would see would be blurry images of those she holds dear to her heart. Her eyes are now filled with tears, just like those who stood with her moments before. Within hours, the distance between them will turn into thousands of miles, however the distance isn’t captured by a measurement; but rather it’s the mere fact that they are now apart and for a great deal of time.

The airport employee holds out his hand for Sergeant Johnson’s boarding pass, scans it and then very respectfully he boldly thanks her for her service. His words are spoken with profound sincerity. It is obvious that he is not speaking from a memorized training script. Following just a few steps behind Johnson I’m taken by the emotions welling up within me in just the few minutes that have passed. I think about how her friends and family are feeling, how the airport employee has shown his respect and thankfulness, and how the other passengers are reacting. I wonder why Johnson is pulling on my heartstrings. It’s not the first soldier I’ve seen, nor is it the first time to see ‘good byes’ made in an airport. But today, it is just different.

There she sits, mysteriously patient, in the back row of first class. As I waitd5699bf9adb23e4877bad7ec95f4816b in the holding pattern just within the door of the plane, I think about how there is probably an automatic upgrade to first class for the military and how honorable the staff of the airlines should make her flight. This will be one of the last times this passenger touches U.S. soil for a while, if ever again. A passenger just ahead of me speaks to Johnson, but I’m not sure what was said. I wait longer and my heart beats even faster. I know that I cannot walk by without speaking; the urge is too strong to contain as I feel it welling up inside. What will I say? I try to come up with something creative; something that she hasn’t heard before and something that doesn’t sound foolish. Before I know it, I’m standing in front of the one who will soon face much more than I will ever see. Even though I try to prepare for conversation, nothing seems sufficient. “Where are you headed?” Without expression she replies, “Afghanistan”. “You are in my prayers and I want you to know that I appreciate your service”. My heart continues to beat faster.

As I step slowly in line down the aisle looking for seat 9D, I wonder what it is that she actually does. Will she be on the front lines, or back at the barracks assisting the injured? Will she be standing on her feet all day cooking for the troops? What is her specialty? What is she called to do? I try to focus more on locating my seat as the line comes to a halt. Row nine is only just past first class. With Johnson almost within reach, I stow my cute lime green backpack overhead and sit in seat “D”, just one row behind first class. With two more empty seats next to me, I wait for the other passengers to board. I’m sure I’ll have to stand up and move for the next to sit down at some point, so I’m sure to not settle in just yet. The window view is a favorite, but for this flight, the aisle suits me just fine. I have a clear view to the fascinating soldier.

For only moments at a time, can I take my eyes off of her? It is as though a magnetic force is pulling my spirit toward hers. Her every move is like a picture saved in my memory. She gently strokes her silky black hair bound in a perfect circle on the back of her head, as if to make sure not one single hair is out of place. The flight attendant interrupts her concentration by offering another beverage and this time there is a snack. I continue to watch as if a movie is playing on a screen. The attendant returns promptly to ensure every need is met for her VIP travelers. As if I’ve seen a falling star, I make a wish that Johnson take advantage of every snack and drink offered because going forward such little luxuries will be very limited. She makes a choice without hesitation, consumes the chintzy bag of chips and settles in for this leg of her journey.

With appetite suppressed, the time has come for Johnson to take advantage of the opportunity for some extra sleep. I can only imagine of what this warrior has endured knowing her deployment date been set and drawing near. The mental stress would only contribute to her pre-war fatigue. As she begins to drift off to sleep, her muscles flinch. Is she dreaming of playing on a Sunday afternoon in the park with family and friends? Maybe she is having a nightmare about being in a fire-fight with enemy fire screaming past her. Does she dream of flying away, escaping the battle she can see below? Maybe she is dreaming of a sweet return home. Johnson will surely wake with a pain in her neck from the awkward sleeping position. Sleeping in a tightly packed airplane does not compare to what she will soon be exposed to. With eyes shut, she dreams. I stare in wonder.

Slowly Johnson wakes, positions herself back upright in her seat and begins once again to ensure her hair is tightly bound, all silky strands in place. Waking up in an unfamiliar place, she looks around as if to make sure nothing has changed since she drifted off. Reality sets back in as her flight is headed to the war zone. Her flight wasn’t a nightmare after all, then again, maybe it is. She reminds herself that she chose to serve her country and that she will overcome the unknown fears ahead. She is proud to wear the government issued clothing and rugged boots, but now she will be tested far more than boot camp ever prepared her for. The thousands of miles between home and her destination are reducing by hundreds every minute now. Leaning over to look out the small filmy window, Johnson knows the beautiful fall mountainside view will turn into a sandy desert all too soon. In the midst of the storms she will ride out in the future, she hopes to recall in detail this vivid landscape for which she is fighting.

As the flight draws to an end, my heart begins to race with thoughts of how I will never see Johnson again. Not knowing her first name is wearing on me. What can I do in these last few moments? I want to be able to keep in touch with the soldier who unknowingly made an impact on me today. There may be times where she cannot share with her family and friends, but could confide in a total stranger or soon to be friend. “That’s me”, I want to urgently declare. I quickly grab for a pen and paper. I need to pass on a note to her as if it is her last chance to have a new- found friend. I know that she can live her life without ever knowing me, but maybe I could be the one who would be there for her during those tough times. Coming from a conference where a name badge was provided, I decide to use the back for my message. Okay, reality is that it is the handiest piece of paper and I only have a few minutes to get this done. Before turning the badge over to the back, I read over the conference logo and my name clearly typed out. Amazingly, the theme of the conference is fitting for Johnson as it is titled “Survivor- Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast”. Second thought, this theme seems to fit me for this hour of my life. The reminder to ensure seatbelts are buckled, seats are upright, and all electronic devices are turned off, blares over the speakers. Faster I write to finish my message, all with the intention of asking the stewardess, who will soon walk by checking seatbelts, to hand my note to Johnson as she exits the plane. I look around to ensure that I have all of my belongings, all while holding tightly to my only hope of staying in contact with the brave angel who boarded before me today. I wait patiently. I wait. I look around anxiously, but the flight attendant is nowhere in sight. Surely she’ll check on her passengers just one more time before touching down. I wait. My ears begin to pop as we descend lower in preparation to land. Hopes of keeping in touch with Johnson start to wither and optimism turns to pessimism with every foot drawn closer to the runway.

With my body being pulled forward by the momentum of the landing, I find that there are more parts of me being moved than anyone could ever begin to imagine. With disappointment, I gently fold my heartfelt written words as if I’m closing this chapter of my life. At the same time, I look up to see that Johnson is deep in thought as she gently touches her bottom lip with the pointer finger of her left hand. She is intensely pondering over something, but what? From moving several hundred miles an hour and traveling over several states, we now are at a complete stop. The cabin is now depressurized and we are about to be released out of these constrained quarters. As everyone prepares to stand and exit, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of clairvoyance. Sure enough, Johnson turns her head slightly to the left as if she is looking to her neighbor. At this point I know without a doubt that she senses me, just as she has the past hour but chose not to admit it. She boldly turns her head to look over her left shoulder and our eyes meet for the second time, all while feeling as if it was the first. A connection is clearly made. It was as if this was the final moment where the last breath was to be taken and I’m the one who watches so grimily. So much still lies ahead, but this chapter ended prematurely. Happily ever after will only be seen when Johnson’s boots are walking again on U.S. soil and her arms are tightly wrapped around a body which holds a heart that longs for her. For me, the chapter ends with words never to be.

The End.

What if……

Many years ago when my oldest boy was little, we took a family vacation to Perdido Key FL. It was a beautiful and hot September day and we were enjoying having the beach to ourselves. School age kids were back in school, so it was the perfect time for us to enjoy the beach without crowds. As far as you could see to the east and to the west, no one was on the beach. After many hours of playing in the sand and water, the Kyle wanted to go to the pool for a while. Normally, I would have packed up and headed to the pool as well, but I had a very strange feeling that I should just remain on the beach for some quiet time. I remember my family looking at me like I was crazy. I stayed.

Kyle and his dad had made it back to the boardwalk and was showering off the sand. They soon noticed that I was running in a full sprint down the beach. They had no idea what had just transpired!

As I sat in my beach chair, looking straight ahead into the beautiful water, the reason for me staying back a little longer appeared right before me. An elderly man, lotioned up with sunscreen, was hanging on to a partially blown up cheap plastic float. Waves were crashing over his head, one after another, allowing no time for him to catch his breath. With the last bit of strength he had, he held on to his float and one of his water shoes. I leaped to my feet and ran to the tall 6’ drowning man who couldn’t get a break from the breaking waves. I wrapped my arms around his greasy body and pulled him up on to the hard sand. I made sure he could breath. I asked him a few questions to try to find out where his family may be. He pointed east. The next condo wasn’t just ‘next door’ but was a ways down the beach. I took off running and this must be where the adrenaline kicked in. I don’t remember the actual run, have no concept of the amount of time it took, or the distance I ran, before reaching the first humans I saw. I asked a group of elderly men and women who were accompanied by a slightly younger lady if they were missing anyone. After looking around and taking a head count, they realized that they were missing a friend. The youngest lady in the group was responsible for the elderly group of tourist from an assisted living facility on vacation. I shared with them about what had just taken place in front of my beach chair. They walked back to my resting spot to see if the gentleman was their friend and indeed, it was. We helped the nearly drowned man rise to his feet. I gathered up his belongings from the beach as well as his sun hat that was still floating in the ocean. As they were walking back to their condo, I snapped a photo of them and still have it today. The picture reminds me that when God places that still small voice inside of you, that you are to do what He says. A million times sin091995.pngce that day, I have asked “what if”. What if I had not listened to God and had just packed up my stuff as normal and went back to the pool with the family? What if I had picked up a book and just read instead of looking into the ocean? What if we had not planned our vacation for that week? What if we had not rented my cousins condo and stayed somewhere else? What if….. I’m so thankful that I obeyed God that day! What opportunities have I missed those times I didn’t?

Build It And They Will Come!

The renovation continues on 3/12/16 with sanding of the end cap and priming of the walls.  The endcap is the upper portion of the back of the Airstream and is made of hard plastic coated with paint that is tremendously hard to remove- except where it is flaking off of course. Before I refresh it with spray paint (made for plastic), the old paint needs to be removed.  I first tried an orbital sander (various grit) and then with various paint thinners.  The paint thinners that work on the paint, also eat through plastic, so that creates another problem.   This is just going to take time.  Persistence!

My sister joined me for a few hours and helped get primer on the vinyl walls.  Having such clean walls made the world of difference!  I used Kilz Interior Oil Base Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker for the walls. It’s tinted with the same light grey color I have picked out for the paint.

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While working away at the dust and dirt and grime, someone showed up for more information about essential oils.  They wanted my business card. I went to the car to dig out information and decided to go ahead and show them a starter kit.  SALE in the books!  In the midst of working on my dream to make this the Oily Shack- a mobile unit to tell the world about my wonderful essential oils, God sends me confirmation!

After a long hard day, I was so thankful for a hot shower.  It only took 3 shampoo’s to get the paint flakes out of my hair.  If I only had used the bandanna differently!  I will know for next time…and there will be a next time.  Only half way through sanding that blasted endcap!

Demo Begins for Sterling (’72 Airstream)- 3/10/16

On March 10, 2016, I decided that it was time to start the renovation for my beloved vintage Airstream.  I had the dream, now it was time to work for it!  With a hammer, drill, gloves, initiative, and a little muscle, I took down the pantry walls/doors/shelves, the built-in end table and dining table, and the old bed frames/bins.  I managed to fill up my daddy’s trailer with all that I removed.  Can I just tell you how much better it already looks?!   I must say that I was really proud of what I had accomplished on my own in just 3 short hours!

How do you eat an elephant?  One piece at a time!  

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Envision the Dream (03.08.2016)

On March 8th, 2016, my sister texted me and asked if I wanted to go to lunch.  Somewhere during the course of the hour, I told her how I had a dream to get back to working on Sterling (my Airstream).  I wanted to take it on the road and educate people about the goodness of essential oils.  I wanted to get out of the cubicle day job.  It was like a burning down deep inside me.  I had to tell someone!

Before I know it, we are talking about all of the neat things we could implement in the new and upcoming Oily Shack.  What color scheme to use, how to display the oil bottles, what comfy chairs we could use, and so forth.

Before dropping me back off at my office, we sat in her car trying to wrap up the conversation.  I’m not sure what all I said, but I remember clearly what she kept repeating to me….”that’s just an excuse”.  Over and over and over, “that’s just an excuse”.  She was right.  I had to stop with the excuses and work for my dream.  I was done with the EX’s….the excuses.

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After getting back to the office, my sister messages me and tells me that she was diffusing an oil blend in her car while we were at lunch.  The oil blend is called “Envision”.  WOW, just wow!  030816

The rest of the day, I received all kind of Pinterest alerts.  My dream spilled over into my sisters creativity.

Read here about how I acquired my vintage trailer!