Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Floor!

It's been rainy, rainy, rainy the last week Up North, but there are worse things than being damp on 3rd Crow Wing, staring out the picture window.  We got our first pileated woodpecker a couple of days ago and that was exciting.

The parentals spent a few days with me and yesterday, Dad and I finished up the new floor in the Scamp. It's just vinyl (the same that's on the dinette floor) and we used brass-colored trim to anchor it to the floor.  I didn't tear up the carpet.  For some reason, I have an aversion to doing things that can't be reversed later.

We established two rules when we started:  Rule 1, no blood.  Rule 2, we need to still be speaking to each other at the end.  Dad didn't break Rule 1 till the end...  And the sad things was that cutting the trim to size was really a one-person job and I don't trust me with the Dremel.  So while Dad was cutting trim, I was working on cleaning out the window drains, which were clogged with the dirt and dust and bug parts that it accumulated after being outside for the winter.  (I thought it was supposed to be inside--if I'd have known it would be outside, I would have covered it in a tarp...)  I think I mostly got it to work, but I guess we'll see.  Next step in the whole process is to shop vac things again, take a bucket of soapy water to the surfaces and interiors, then make the bed and put up the curtains.  Then take a bucket of soapy water to the exterior and get it all pretty.

So here's the pics of the floor project:

Daisy, supervising.  (She got spayed last week, hence the cone.)

Daddy and Dremel

Air ratchet!

Bird's Eye view of the new floor.

Under the dead space under the dinette.

Inside the door.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring Cleaning, With Help

This weekend, I finally got up enough nerve to get into the Scamp, brave whatever eight-legged creatures might still be lurking in there, and start to clean it up for the summer.  Daisy, my parents' six-month-old golden doodle was quite helpful.  So was Dad's shop vac.  The parentals were over at the Cabin for a few days after they moved out of their house, but they went back to DL on Saturday, because Daisy has a spa appointment today, puppy class tonight, and then she gets spayed tomorrow.  All eight legs will be back to the lake on Wednesday.

First step, naturally, was to get all the stuff out of there so I could vacuum. My bike traveled north in the Scamp, my zero gravity chair was still in there, and so all of it came out.  And no spiders showed themselves.  My mother commented, "It sure takes a whole lot less time to clean the Scamp than it does the Excel!"  (The Excel is their 33' fifth wheel.)  Lots of dead Asian beetles and flies in there, the first step towards cleaning it.  Getting the big stuff off the top so I can take some bleach or whatever to the surfaces.  The bedding and such is all clean and ready to go, but I'm not making the bed or anything till everything is clean.  Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that I need to clean out the channels in the windows so they'll drain, otherwise I'll be back to the familiarity of leaky windows--and I solved that problem two years ago.

But once I got the vacuuming done, I wasn't ready to quit.  I decided to take the vinyl flooring that I'd used a few years ago to cover the floor of the dinette and cover the main floor of the Scamp with it--much easier to clean.  It took me a while to get it cut to size (and various muscles are still complaining...) and on one of these trips to town, I'll get what I need to secure it, permanently, to the floor.  Looks really nice, though.  I also took the plastic over-the-door shoe holder that I'd been saving for a while, cut it to fit, and then staple-gunned it to the back of various closet doors.  I know I should have painted the backs of the doors before I did it, but I have a dream of replacing those particle board doors with plywood before too long.  Maybe I'll let Dad break in his new shop once he gets to Minneapolis.


The irritating news of the weekend--and maybe of the whole Scamping season--is that the material I bought last summer and saved to make curtains for the Scamp this summer is buried somewhere in the packed storage unit that is my parents' house.  And they don't close on their new house till the end of June, probably don't move in till the middle of July.  I'm so disappointed and irritated (it's my own fault, but I thought it was all at the Cabin, with the rest of the bedding)--but the good news is that the old curtains are accessible, in with the rest of the bedding.  Sigh.  Guess it's going to have to wait till next summer.

Bummer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Northward, Ho!

I've been Up North for a week now, though it's been a weird kind of week.  I left Nebraska in the wee hours last Friday and arrived at my parents' house in the afternoon.  Their house closing is today (or was, this morning) and when I walked into the house, LOTS needed to be done still.  I may have had a small panic attack.  So instead of spending any time in my Scamp, cleaning it out, getting rid of unwanted squatters, I left the Scamp in the driveway and spent the next few days packing the parental abode.

Saturday, the Scamp got new shoes.  Three new tires to celebrate its 10th birthday.  I don't know why putting new tires on a vehicle is so unbelievably unsatisfying (I had to get new tires on the Jeep over Christmas), but it is.  Usually preventative maintenance makes me feel self-righteous, like I should be rewarded for doing something I should be doing anyway, but that's not now I felt with the tires.  Oh, well.  Thank you, tax return.

On Monday afternoon, Galway, Maeve, Scamp and I drove the hour east towards the Cabin, where I plan to spend the bulk of my summer, working on my comps.  I backed the Scamp into the driveway with no problem, slightly disappointed that there was nobody around for me to crow about how good I was at backing up the thing.  It's Friday now and it's not all unpacked yet.  No rush, really.

To say that the Cabin is sacred space doesn't quite cover it.  My grandparents built this little place the summer my mother was pregnant with me and it's been the only real constant place in our lives, since we moved a lot when I was a kid.  We did spent 17 years in Nevis, but there was a lot of moving before and since.  This is the physical place that holds my greatest memories.  And there's nothing better than to wake to loons.  They're very helpful to sing away burnout.

I don't have any specific plans yet when I'll take the Scamp out, but I do have that gift certificate for the MN State Parks.  I think there will be some Practical Scamping going on, as my parents move to Minneapolis and we move Gram to her new nursing home down there, but those plans aren't set yet either.  For now, it just feels really, really good to sit on the couch at the Cabin, with tea and pajama pants, watch the trees and the lake, and read.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby's Back Home!

Let the 2012 Scamping Season begin!

Well, sort of.  Picked up the Scamp this morning from where it was stored about twenty miles west of Lincoln--and this is the kind of thing that just makes me love my life.  The very nice couple who let me put the Scamp on their property was the high school friend of my dad's former secretary.  We had a massively awesome thunderstorm last night--though it sounds like Milford got it worse than we did (maybe twice as much rain?), so driving out there was pretty muddy and I needed to put the Jeep in four-wheel-drive to feel like I had any traction on the dirt (mud) road.

When I got to their farm, the Scamp looked like it had been under a tree during a good storm, covered in leaves and dirt.  Poor baby.  And the tires were three inches deep in mud.  Wasn't terribly worried, because I have faith in the four-wheel-drive.  Maybe too much faith, but it hasn't let me down yet.  The only major problem was that when I hooked up the electrical, nothing happened--no turn signals, no brake lights, no lights on the trailer.  Nothing we tried got them to work, so I drove back to Lincoln without lights on the trailer.  I was not a fan of this prospect, but what were the alternatives?

My friend Aubrey went with me, because we haven't had a chance to catch up here at the end of the semester, so it was nice to have somebody to talk to on the way and back.  (And it was nice to see that the time it takes me to get comfortable pulling the Scamp has decreased every spring when I've picked it up.)  But we drove right to Leach Campers at 27th and Cornhusker--and I walked in, talked to the Service people, told them my problem.  They said they were really busy, really backed up, but they came right out and looked at the electrical anyway.  Turned out that it was a connector or something on the Jeep that had corroded and it looked pretty easy peasy for the guy to replace it.  And even better, they didn't charge me for it.  So:  if you're in Lincoln and need a camper place, stop by Leach.  They were awesome.

My plan is to head Up North tomorrow, leaving before the sun gets up.  So I've been packing up the Jeep, putting my bike in the Scamp.  Thank goodness the rain has passed.  So far, the cats don't think anything is amiss, which is good, because when they start getting freaked out about me leaving, life gets annoying (even if they're going with, which they are).

And then I'm loading stuff into the car and the camper and here comes crawling a spider down the front window.  Black, hairy, about the size of my thumbnail, gray and black legs, freaky as hell.  Squish.  It didn't occur to me until later that squishing it hampered its identification, but such is life.  So, my plan for the cats and me to sleep in the Scamp in my parents' driveway tomorrow night is likewise squished. Nobody is going to sleep in there until I've thoroughly fumigated and cleaned it.  Not happening.    The cats are just going to have to deal with my parents' puppy.  As it stands right now, I have my cadre of entomologist friends on Facebook trying to help me identify it--which has now turned from serious to ridiculous--but it doesn't really matter.  It's not getting slept in till it gets cleaned.  But I do have the best friends in the world.

But I'm still really excited to have the Scamp hitched to my Jeep.  There are few things in the world that make me as happy.