Restoring My Vintage Spartan to Glory

...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: May 2017

Water Works

I am excited to report that the fresh water system designed and built by yours truly works.  I rented the 5 gallon Igloo water cooler and used it to fill to 25% of my system’s capacity.  I filled it at a nearby spigot and used a wheelbarrow to cart it back and forth, then using the tap to pour water into the system intake hose – crude but effective.

Three 21 gallon tanks awaiting first use

My first taste of “Boondocking” water delivery. A task made more difficult with the wheelbarrow’s flat tire.

Clearly not the fastest method

Job done. Now this is how water is meant to work. Note development of trailer resident overbite. How’d that happen?

 

Toy Story

Enough about recovery, let’s get back to reclamation.  The past couple of weeks have been hugely productive.  I am nearing the completion of the fresh water project and will soon finish up the subfloor.

This water challenge has been one of my favorite milestones encountered in Sparta thus far.  As a child growing up in the mid-sixties, one of my all-time favorite toys was the Kenner Girder Panel Hydro-Dynamic Building Set.  This toy combined making buildings and designing  water systems which flowed throughout the structures with a  variety of tanks, vessels and tubes.  The combinations were endless.  Another favorite toy was an Erector Set, a product of the early-1900’s likely handed down from my much older brother.  Sparta and, in particular, this water project have combined the best of these idle pursuits to provide me with a great sense of satisfaction.  These toys no doubt planted in me this passion that is now flowering.

With the fresh water system in place, the only remaining task is to run final testing,  because God forbid I should seal up the floor only to discover a drip, drip, drip through the belly skin.  The challenge I face is that the closest faucet is 100 yards away.  I could rent 4 or 5 hoses I suppose but have decided, instead, to rent a 5 gallon Igloo cooler and make three or four trips in a wheel-barrow to partially fill the system and check it for leaks.  The cooler is reserved at a nearby rental store for next Monday.

In addition to drinking water, I have made significant progress on grey water disposal – that which will flow from sinks and shower.  Most of the original copper piping will be retained.  It is perfectly good.  I got rid of the old flush toilet flange (I will be composting, remember) and have detoured around that space with plastic pipe and fittings.  I also will replace the original shower drain.  Have a look. By the way, for comments and questions just email me directly at tomgpace@gmail.com.  I had to turn off the comment tool here because of spammers.

Note toilet and shower outlets

Goodbye conventional poop chute

I am putting in a toilet flange for a future owner who might choose to go septic

Fittings for the long-haul

Making way for new shower drain

Touching up areas of frame rust before sealing up floor AND bombing for bugs. Black widows and carpenter ants.

Life as a Trailer

Good morning trailer aficionados!  It is time once again for one of my digressions that have less to do with trailers than with me.  Hold on.  This will just take a second.

I was talking to my therapist the other day (at $3 a minute) about feeling puny and inconsequential, at times.  This is hardly new for anyone deep into the second stanza of life,  so you’ll likely not find originality here.  People at this age often look back and wonder “Did I make a mark?”.  I know I do.  But this question is especially troubling for those who have spent the better part of their adult lives drinking.  You see,  while operating under the spell of any substance (and let’s face it.  That includes before, during and after use),  we are not ourselves.  Speaking just for me, many of my decisions and actions were informed, influenced and, even, driven by alcohol.  Tom was sometimes just along for the ride.  So much of my life was delegated to the power and influence of alcohol that there are times when I look back at my life and wonder if it was really mine.  You may recall in an earlier post my reference to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  After the essentials ( food, water, air) of life are taken care of and the luxuries of love and human connection are established, there remains the elusive concept of “self actualization”.  This, I suppose, represents the crowning achievement of a life fully lived and speaks to the concept of legacy.

I would posit that it is nearly impossible to fully realizes one’s life potential when so much is handed over to a substance and I believe that is at the heart of what is troubling me.  I did take care of the essentials in my life and managed my share of love and affection, but I have fallen short of fully self-actualizing.  I have not, thus far, squeezed every drop from my authentic self and and created something uniquely my own (well, other than my awesome kids in which I had a hand).  OK, before you vomit hear me out.

Some of you may recall a lovely movie from the beginning of this century called Life as a House, a film that slipped under most people’s radar.  Without giving too much away, it concerned a man (Kevin Kline in great form) who fell short as a father, husband and employee but who attempted and, I think,  achieved redemption by rebuilding his home.  He did so not from his blueprints but from his vision and it became uniquely his own.  While the movie was a bit melodramatic,  it successfully tore at my heart and has reverberated for me ever since.  I didn’t quite know why until now.

Sparta is my House and as corny as it may sound my $3  friend believes that, short of my sobriety,  it is the most important thing I can work on right now.  Who knew?

If you think such a movie might apply to you, watch the trailer (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Things are getting interesting

There comes a time in the life of a trailer restoration when the vision starts to coalesce.  Now is that time and it is energizing.  After over a year of demolition (a long and sometimes enervating process), I am now doing things that add utility and life to Sparta.  My fresh water system is going in and pieces of new floor are about to be installed.  Soon, I will be able to walk from stem to stern without tip-toeing across steel cross beams (with the ever-present fear of stepping through her belly skin).

Have a look:

The observant among you may notice the R – 13 insulation, normally used for walls. I chose this because I will be installing a thin layer of insulating foam over the entire floor once it is patched up.

Plus, really thick R – 30 insulation would not fit under my water tanks.

63 gallons of high quality H2O. Note clear air vent lines.

These connections must last a lifetime (or at least mine).

Let’s see…black line to other tanks, top clear to air vent, bottom clear to drain, top 3/4″ fill spout. Yea, I got this.