12.26.15 Curtains, bookshelf and layout changes.

Christian and I had been a little divided on what to do regarding our planned toilet room. If you remember in the original layout plans (I'll post the photo below), we had intended to do the toilet room in the center beside the living room seat/couch. However, once we lived in the bus for a while, we began to doubt whether splitting up the space that much would work for us, so we went over our other options.

In the end, we decided to move our filing cabinets and switch their spot with the toilet room after realizing the space they were taking up was the perfect size and location for our future toilet.

We took turns sitting in the space to make sure it was a comfortable size.

We took turns sitting in the space to make sure it was a comfortable size.

One of the other top projects we needed to get done for both function and necessity was curtains. Christian had pulled the insulation off of the windows that we were using as our temporary coverings, so the need became urgent and I was sent to Hobby Lobby to procure supplies.

Christian added two layers of foam insulation to the walls before putting OSB over it for some extra insulation. Now that we had a working heater, we realized how much some simple walls and insulation would help our cause.

Christian added two layers of foam insulation to the walls before putting OSB over it for some extra insulation. Now that we had a working heater, we realized how much some simple walls and insulation would help our cause.

Here's a photo of the filing cabinets moved and the toilet room walls beginning to take shape.

Here's a photo of the filing cabinets moved and the toilet room walls beginning to take shape.

I spent a lot of time (and money, to be honest) at Hobby Lobby after hemming and hawing about what fabrics I wanted to us. We wanted thick insulating curtains, so in addition to choosing a nice patterned duck and the heaviest duty blackout fabric in the store, I also got some thick Thermolam to sew between the layers as insulation.

We had sold through our back stock of trees and weren't getting any more shipments, so we took advantage of the shade of the tent to set up our work space. Christian was working on the walls and then a book shelf while I began to tackle the large sewing project before me.

I did a lot of reading before I ever sewed my first seam.

I did a lot of reading before I ever sewed my first seam.

As a sewing technique, I went with a suggestion from my mom, which was to sew everything inside out like a pillow case and then turn it right side out to do the finished seam on the top. I ended up only doing the two sides like this and then sewing a folded over seam on the top and bottom.

As a sewing technique, I went with a suggestion from my mom, which was to sew everything inside out like a pillow case and then turn it right side out to do the finished seam on the top. I ended up only doing the two sides like this and then sewing a folded over seam on the top and bottom.

It took me all day to conquer just one curtain, but I was proudly making progress while Christian continued work on his bookshelf.

I'm extremely proud of Christian's ingenuity with his bookshelf. He had this idea to build a small shelf beneath the foot of the bed to utilize the space there. Because of wanting to be able to access the garage space when moving the motorbikes in and out, he didn't want it to be permanent. Instead, he built it on wheels and even added a spot for Loulou's litterbox that will be hidden once he puts a face on the shelf.

He also built walls for the toilet room and installed them (sorry, no photos of that…I was too busy wrestling with my sewing machine and way too much fabric).

In addition to moving the filing cabinets out, we also shuffled around the hanging space to accommodate some planned changes to the garage space (more on that later). With the filing cabinets out, it still divides the space, but not nearly as much as a walled room would have, so we're pretty happy with our decision. Honestly, we almost nixed the idea of the toilet room at all, but part of our upgrade to the bus was specifically to include a toilet, so we figured we should make it happen.

After finishing one curtain, I was both exhausted and energized. Most of the curtains would cover two windows, so it was a large amount of very thick heavy duty fabric to be working with for someone as inexperienced as I am. I kept running into issues with the machine along the way, so each curtain seemed to take longer and longer. The curtains for the living space are completely done now (I'll have to get a good photo of them later) and I'm still working on the ones for the front windows and the cab space (the odd shapes and sizes are giving me a run for my money).

They make a world of difference for light and insulation, so we're happy I went with such heavy duty materials.

11.01.15 - Wall Panels and Flooring - Day 5.

Today, we set out to remove the wall paneling to check out the insulation with plans to remove and replace it. After fighting our way through about half of the screws, we were no where close to removing them (Fun Fact: Much like ambulances, school buses were never built to be taken apart later by amateur RV builders.) 

Admitting defeat wasn't something we wanted to do without proving to ourselves that there wasn't black mold growing in the walls, so we got two panels undone enough to pull back and check. To our surprise, the original insulation appeared relatively clean and still had it's "bounce"…so to speak.

Satisfied that we weren't leaving anything more than old insulation behind the walls, we buttoned them back up and continued working on the remaining flooring left at the front of the bus.

Removing the captain's seat wasn't a project we wanted to tackle knowing we were still needing to drive Stubbs around to a mechanic and body shop tomorrow. Christian instead put some cuts into the wood surrounding it and we worked to pull it up with pry bars.

I strained some sort of tendon or muscle in my upper right wrist on the day we removed all the seats, so any sort of side to side or squeezing actions causes excruciating pain to shoot down into my hand and up my arm. Sadly, this rendered me mostly useless when it came to the heavy work. Sometimes I'd get frustrated by my own inability to help and jump back into the action only to have to sit out even longer because I was in so much pain.

Sometimes you've got to take a break from wrenching to "supervise" from the sidelines with the rest of the peanut gallery!

Sometimes you've got to take a break from wrenching to "supervise" from the sidelines with the rest of the peanut gallery!

We got most of the wood removed from the front at last, as well as some of the weird (and now disgusting) foam-backed vinyl that had been used on the footwell and sides of the stairs. 

We did our best to clean everything to get Stubbs ready to go to the body shop. We drove her over to the mechanic to drop the key off with them so they'd work on her first thing in the morning. Hopefully Danny and the guys at Integrity Auto will have a solution or a referral for the floor.

As you can see in the photo below, the rust is the worst over the rear wheel wells and just behind them. Makes sense, given the fact that years of water and road crud were kicked up into it. We hope we can get someplace to fashion some new steel supports and reinforcements to allow us to move forward with the conversion. We'll know more tomorrow!

Fingers crossed the rust issues can be taken care of, because we're falling in love with the space and potential!

Fingers crossed the rust issues can be taken care of, because we're falling in love with the space and potential!