Tuesday, August 30, 2011

COME ON, Irene!!!

Well, it's officially the calm AFTER the storm of Irene. I realized, after walking our property and seeing the fallen trees, our driveway turned into a gushing river and, finally, a huge tree fallen on Louis, that I have nothing to complain about. Things happen. Mother Nature has a way of putting a road block in front of you every now and then, but at least we are here to talk about it today. So, while I was a bit depressed about the new wide-open space on the side of Louis, I'm excited to put him back together and get camping already! To inspire me even more (and maybe a slight ADD distraction) I went on vistaprint.com today and ordered coffee mugs of Louis' progress from when I brought him first home until last week, when I was sipping cocktails in him, proud of the work I've done to bring him back. While he dries out in the bright sunshine today, I will head to the hardware store, grab a few essentials and get back to work on putting him back together. Upon closer examination, while Joe said "it's a total loss" I took the less dramatic road and realized, after doing this once before, if I SLOW down and look at each piece of this puzzle, it really isn't that tough to fix. Well, I'd better leave Starbucks, head to the hardware store and get back to work. I will post pics of Louis once our power is back up and running!
(By the way, the coffee mug idea is actually really cool and only costs $5 at www.vistaprint.com. Upload any photo and you'll have your mug (s) in less than two weeks!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of Mice and Scared Man

I'm sure you might be asking what on earth the photo above has to do with mice and men, but I will get there. Since my last entry I've been crazy busy with work so I could prepare to take a week to travel to Michigan for my Grandpa Louis' memorial service. If you've been reading my blog you know I named my Scotty after my Grandfather, who showed me how to appreciate the great outdoors in his huge backyard in the Great Lakes State. Last time I was in Michigan we buried my Grandmother, so returning for an equally sad occasion wasn't terribly uplifting. As the smart ass of the family, however, it is my job (or at least I think it is) to keep the mood light, family happy and entertainment going. I had intended on taking my Scotty, Louis, to Michigan and camping on my grandparents property near Cadillac, Michigan in the middle of the state. With gas prices soaring and limited time, I decided to fly so I'd have more time with my family. Before I left I asked Joe to please check on Louis (trailer) every day, peek inside to make sure nothing leaked and just say "hello" when walking by (is that too much to ask, I thought?). Well, apparently it was. I was pleased to find NO LEAKS upon my return after several major down pours, however I walked in this morning with my cup of Joe and paper, opened a drawer to grab a spoon and yet out a yelp heard around the Hudson River Valley...someone had been enjoying Louis while I was a way! Actually, from the look of it, many someone's were enjoying him. Mouse droppings EVERYWHERE. Now, I was always under the assumption that mice followed food, so of course I never, ever leave food anywhere near the trailer. First on my list today is to find a way to get rid of these nasty critters (why didn't the snake I saw weeks ago eat them???). I've heard dryer sheets work (I did that, so apparently they don't), so I need to find another alternative that won't leave the little critters dead in my trailer. Stay tuned. In the meantime, while in Michigan tooting around on my Uncles boat in Lake Charlevoix, I spotted a sail cloth similar to this one and thought it was a really cool way to shade beach-goers, AND would make for the perfect protection for Louis back in New York. I popped on the internet and discovered that everyone under the sun, including Ikea, sell them (many for well under $100) so I jumped in my car and headed to Ikea. The sail cloth I found for $79 is 25' square, so covers him perfectly. If nasty rains do beat down on us, at least he'll have a little more protection! Now off to Home Depot for suggestions on how to get rid of these nasty critters...if you have any, please email me!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flex like the Pros

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Well, I mentioned back in June we had a few powerful rainstorms come through our area and right through Louis they went! Just when I thought I had him buttoned up, he leaked like crazy! Instead of throwing in the towel, I grabbed several, dried him up and tried again. This time I listened to the experts of the NSSO and the SSCE sites who had talked about using Proflex and Butyl tape to stop leaks. I had used everything BUT these products and, guess what, none of them worked! A previous owner attempted to seal the leaks with roof tar which, I'm sure you can imagine, is like putting a mixture of peanut butter and honey on your roof. It's a gooey mess and attracts everything from road debris to bugs yet does nothing for leaks. I tried every possible bottle of caulking available at Home Depot and Lowe's, resisting the 75 mile drive to the nearest Camper Supply store. Finally, after the June leaks, I decided to make the trek up to Campers Barn where I found the tape and ProFlex. So, I went back to the drawing board, replaced wet wood with dry, ripped out my fabric wall, primed and painted the area inside, reconfigured the bed and put several strips of the Butyl tape on the seams outside of the trailer and added Proflex anywhere I thought might leak. Last night, with a summer storm descending upon us, I decided to sleep in Louis for the night to make sure he was leak free...better to figure that out at home than on a long camping journey! To my surprise, I woke up rested and DRY! Next time, I need to listen to the pros FIRST. But sometimes lessons are found in little mistakes and bumps along the road!
WHAT I DID: one tube of ProFlex cost me $8 and the tape, I believe, was around $36 which made me gasp BUT, it worked! I climbed on my ladder and covered each seam with the butyl tape (comes in white and black) and along the tongue to tail seams on the roof I added ProFlex (with a caulking gun) to any open areas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Behind Window #3

In my family if I ask for someones opinion I usually get 10. If I don't ask for an opinion, I get at least 20! When it comes to working on this great little Scotty, however, I love all the opinions and advice I've been getting to make Louis as perfect as he can be..or at least as good as I can make him! I've obviously been in a little battle with myself about where to place an Air Conditioning unit and have received countless great ideas. However, as I've heard over and over, no two Scotty's are alike (or something like that), as is the case when opening up a cabinet where something should be, only to find nothing but mouse droppings and dog hair. While someone might have almost the same trailer as mine, maybe I have an extra door where they don't or a water tank positioned a tad different than theirs. Yet one more thing that makes these trailers so unique in my opinion! The latest advice on where to place my cooling system, I believe, is what's going to work best. Thank you, Rose, for opening my eyes to something that was right in front of me that I never would have seen had my nose not been pushed right into it. My 79 HiLander has a rear escape hatch (that sounds cooler than it is, it's actually an emergency window exit). Now, I'd certainly seen the red window pulls and markings for an emergency exit but assumed it would fly off, blast out into the universe, never to be seen again. Well, this isn't the Space Shuttle, it's a Scotty and, thankfully, that didn't happen. Rose suggested I open this when at camp and place an ac unit in the opening. Why didn't I think of that? So, now I just need to design a shelf with support brackets strong enough to hold the unit on the outside of the trailer and some kind of insulation so I don't look like a cast member from the Beverly Hillbillies when at camp. Once again, I asked and I received some great advice from my Scotty pals. Thanks so much...now I've got to go cool off!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two steps forward, one project behind

Well, ADD kicked into high gear this weekend, clearly. When designing a clients home I usually like to be left alone because my process is quite frenetic. I'll place a sofa in a corner and move it to another room five minutes later. Design, in my mind, is an organic process, constantly evolving until the perfect look and feel is achieved. This process doesn't necessarily work all of the time, as was the case today when I went to cut the opening for my new ac unit in Louis. Yesterday, excited to get a jump on this project and desperate to see progress before demolition, I adjusted the bed size inside (mainly so I could add a bit more room and not hinder airflow if the ac was hidden under the bed). When I opened Louis rear (that sounds awful...but looking at it I did have to laugh), I noticed my water tank blocking the space where (in my minds eye) I thought was the perfect spot to slip in an ac unit. It's always something, huh? For a nano second I thought about moving the tank but it just doesn't look like that's possible. So, back to the drawing board I go, most likely placing the ac back in the window in the rear. As I mentioned before, I'd like to make this a mobile unit, so in the winter or when I don't need the AC I can leave it at home and not have the eye sore of a big bump out my rear window. Anyway, I'm happy with the new sofa/bed situation inside, but I've got to think a little bit more on the placement of the ac. Humm.