Tuesday, June 30, 2015

From Temporary Housing to Summer Home

Gypsy and I have been through some rough times in the past year. Gypsy, that's the name painted on my RV. My sister says it's bad luck to change the name of a boat or an RV. Anyway, I call her Gypsy and I think it suits her.

After my ex husband left me, I lived in my partially finished motor house for a bit. I cleaned out the old water tank, installed a water pump, and installed garden hoses (suitable for drinking water) to replace the broken water lines. I got a heat on demand gas water heater from Amazon on clearance and cleaned and reused the old gas stove.

I didn't have much money to spend on roofing so I made my own out of rolls of aluminum sheeting.

I made my countertops out of discarded bamboo flooring scraps. and bought myself a fridge.

After being threatened by several people trying to tow my motor home away I ended up parking it at a friend's house for a while and living with a few different friends instead. Well as luck would have it those living arrangements failed and my crappy job at a public school was over for the summer. So, I turned to my faithful friend Gypsy for help.

I fixed her up as best I could with my meager funds and the help of a few friends and made the long trek back to my hometown. She drove like a champ (only 85,000 miles to her name). Sure her tailpipe fell off and her window wipers came apart during a rain storm, but she made it, and so did I.

At the rest area taking a breather

So, here I am now with my two beautiful kids living in my mom's driveway in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in a motor home.

It's not the wreck it used to be anymore. We've made a lot of improvements since then. My kids and I painted the inside all white even the cupboards:

 I painted my bookshelf and put my book on it. It always feels more like home when I have a home for my books.
 And I finally fixed that pesky leak in my water heater from blowing a hole in it last Fall. It was my first time torch soldering.
 Then I added a pressure regulator so that won't happen again.
 I also built a shower water recirculator and carbon filtration system that allows me to shower for as long as I want on less than a gallon of water.

Then I installed a custom built touch screen PC that I built out of an old Kiosk computer, and of course it's running Ubuntu because Linux is freakin' amazing. It's not only my car audio system/media player, it's my TV, backup camera monitor, personal computer (that I'm using right now to write this blog post), and someday it will be my navigational computer, after I buy a GPS and program it.

Next, I'm going to finish my floor and paint the outside. It has a lot more features that I haven't shown yet, but I'll post about those when I'm further along in the project.

For now though it is livable and my kids and I are enjoying having a tiny air conditioned home for the summer, and it keeps getting better and better every day as we work on it together.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

So, I live in a motorhome with a pitched roof

For the past month I've been living in an old 1977 motorhome. I'll spend my first post explaining how this happened:

I had a traumatic childhood; I was brainwashed by religious nuts; I got a degree is physics; I taught high school kids for 3 years; I lost my job and in turn my career because I was discriminated against based on my gender; I went through a divorce from hell then married a douchbag that bought a piece of crap motorhome for $500 for us to live in then he left me. So there I was jobless and alone with a crappy RV that was rotting from the inside out.

Instead of complaining I decided to take that RV and build a home out of it. First I tore out all the rotten crap and through the drugs stashed in the cupboards by the previous owner away. 

Then I tore the rotten roof off.

Then I tore out all the rotten crap in the walls.

When all the rot was gone I started rebuilding it from the inside out with discarded lumber I stole from the dumpster at my ex husbands construction site. 

I ripped out two of the crappy leaky windows and using scraps of aluminum from the roof to rivet the holes up.  Then I rebuilt the previously rotten walls. 

I had never built a roof before so I carefully studied how others had made tiny house roofs. I decided they're methods would be too heavy for my little motorhome so I ended up doing my own thing anyway. I used 1 by 4's, 1 by 2's, clamps and wood glue and screws  to frame it. Everything is glued, clamped and screwed together for added strength.

I didn't have anyone to help me put the plywood on. So, I had to figure out a way to lift it up and hold it in place by myself while I screwed it on. I used two clamps and pieces of 1 by 4s.

Then I bolted a tarp on because I had nothing else.

Then I went to Lowe's and got a credit card and was surprised they gave me such a high limit because I had no job and no money. I used the card to buy plywood, paneling, some moulding and a refrigerator (I gave the old POS to a homeless guy that recycles metal). 

I recycled pieces of the cabinets and some from another abandoned RV to make my own.  I especially love the Italian style dish drainer cabinet I made. 

I bought two used windows and a washtub sink from a place that sells old carp torn out of houses that are remodeled for almost nothing. 

After roughly rebuilding the walls I doubled their thickness and added extra insulation then installed the paneling and windows.

I stuffed the roof with fiberglass insulation then put the paneling sheets on the ceiling (now that I could have used a hand with... Ugh). Then I installed the cupboards.

That's about when I moved in for the first time because I had nowhere else to live.