...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: June 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

Father’s Day was really great for me, despite the fact that both my kids are in Europe and I spent the occasion mostly alone.  I got up early at six and was greeted with texts from them both (nine hours ahead mind you).  I had my cuppa joe next door and, before the heat turned up, washed my truck.  I went to the gym to work out and then treated myself to a day at the pool, enjoying ice tea and hummus delivered by a freshly-scrubbed high school grad.  I fell asleep (in the shade, thankfully) and then awoke hungry.  My appetite was slayed by a great steak dinner out, washed down with a mug of ice cold Coke.  I drifted to slumber in the shadow of Sparta.

Good night

My apologies for the insipid blow-by-blow, but I felt compelled to share this.  This fairly unremarkable day was distinguished not by its content, but by my contentedness.  Sure, my daughter’s in Paris spending Father’s Day with her step-dad and my son/grandson are in Italy, maybe for good.  But I am perfectly OK with this reality.  What could have once fueled a massive pity-party I now accept with grace.   Not sure why, exactly, but clearly the absence of alcohol in my system or anywhere near my consciousness is a factor – both in my attitude and how I receive these facts of life.  I am grateful for these and many other things.  I guess that is what it all comes down to.

Good morning

Damn the torpedos

I quit my job.  There, I’ve said it.  Two months ago I couldn’t have imagined it.  I really enjoyed my work.  Now, I’m semi-retired.  I could go into a lengthy explanation providing the details here but I won’t.  I will just say I had an epiphany and concluded the following:

1).  I am no longer cut out to be an employee.

2). I have too little time, relatively speaking, to let someone else dictate how I spend it, and

3). There comes a time (and age, I suppose) when certain principles can no longer be compromised (like, is anyone permitted to talk down to me?).

So this is, as are most things in life, a good news/bad news scenario.  First the bad.  My job came with room and board (I was a chef for a retreat center in a fairly remote location) so now I am homeless.  The good?  There is plenty of time to work on Sparta and additional incentive to make progress on her as she is now my primary dwelling.  There is a method to my madness.

Now that I’ve had my Johnny Paycheck (or lack thereof) moment and the fleeting satisfaction of self-willed recklessness wanes, I must confront this reality:

Home sweet home. Note canvas cot in background.

Yup, this is where I woke up this morning.  Sleeping in Sparta a little sooner than expected and subjecting myself to dust, the morning chill and the dreadful possibility of putting my foot through her belly skin whilst stumbling in the dark.  But it’s almost Summer and the cold nights will soon be gone, only to be replaced by the searing hot sun as my little solar oven bakes me to a crisp.  I am quickly learning just how effectively aluminum conducts temperature extremes and how poor an insulator it is.

So, mobilized by this new reality, I had a very productive weekend.  These pictures and their captions will bring you up to date:

Since I am reusing the original shower/tub and keeping the bathroom configuration, it was essential that I place the new drain directly on the foot print of the old. Note “X” drawn on belly skin

The floor construction is basically the same as on the original – wood slats affixed to the steel frame with machine screws (#12 ) and then 3/4″ inch plywood on top using the same screws wood-to-wood.

Wrestling with thick plywood alone is no fun




Before laying subfloor, I made sure all by plumbing work was sound and then packed the baffles with insulation.

Sparta is basically eight feet wide measured from the exterior walls, so I had to cut the stock 4 x 8′ sheets down to 93″.  That is a heavy piece of timber, especially when manhandling it inside of a warm trailer.  The real trick, though, is that the subfloor should be tucked under the exterior shell, in effect supporting the trailer skin around the entire perimeter.  This I could not do without cutting the subfloor section in half and pushing in both pieces from the middle.  I chose not to do that, fearing the strength of the floor would be sacrificed with resulting bounciness.  I chose, instead, to force only one side of the subfloor under the shell and drop the other side straight down along the trailers ribs.  I first provided a foundation for the shell on that side by pounding a 3/4″ piece of ripped plywood, saturated with Copper Green, underneath.  Perhaps a picture will clarify:

Note treated ply under the shell

I’m still using R-13. I know, not the best for the floor but I will be laying thermal sheeting before vinyl.

Shower drain had to come up 4″ to meet restored tub

So, I reinforced the bottom edge of one side with a plywood strip and then hammered the sheet in under the the other side to drop it into place.


Finally, no more risk of a Fred Flintstone mishap

Ahhh. Chillin’ like Bob Dylan