Sore Muscles and Creative Swearing

Attempting to smile through pain, sweat, and laughter.

Everything hurts, I have a messed up fingerprint on my right thumb, and I’m pretty sure I made my mother blush with my ever increasing creative swearing…but there has been major progress on the van. Here is my current running to-do list:

The reason why I still have sawdust in the van and My Jackery that I am probably a little more excited about than any human should be.
  • Install the rearview mirror – My bed is probably the only thing I’m going to be able to see, but that means I can see any sort of tomfoolery that my dogs are getting into. Chloe is too scared of pretty much everything to do anything…it’s the floppy-eared brigade you’ve got to watch out for. They are both stealthy in their shenanigans and yet somehow the complete opposite of graceful.
  • Put the tailgate on – play a country music song about trucks and tailgates while installing it. Just for that authentic ‘merica feeling.
  • Cut out and spray paint the reflective insulation to place into the windows, these will be used for both insulating the van as well as privacy. No one needs to see Victoria’s Secret. Hell, at this point i’ve eaten so many tacos that I can’t even see Victoria’s Secret either!
  • Cut the memory foam mattress to fit the bed. Tipsy will need to approve the final product. He’s very particular on the bed he steals.
  • Unbox the Jackery Explorer 1000, shout with glee. Set out solar panels and juice it up. Shout out “It’s Alive! It’s Alive!” in my best straight to DVD version of Dr. Frankenstein. Potentially scaring my mom and dad’s neighbors in the process.
  • Label and organize tubs and cubes. Go through phase 2 of downsizing my possessions. I’m not quite a hoarder…but now that I’m going through my stuff and weeding out the necessary from the unnecessary I’m feeling like I may need to have an intervention with myself.
  • Hang fairy lights in the bedroom area of the van. Will myself to become more mystical and boho…I’m fairly certain that I have more than the allotted amount of sass and sarcasm to be either one of those things. Also, see the taco comment above.
  • Vacuum out the van. The man glitter needs to go. I’m not against it smelling like the lumber aisle of Home Depot, but I draw the line at slivers in my foot.
  • Wipe down the dash and install the popsocket holder of awesomeness.
  • Secure my fake succulent plants. I love plants. Plants do not love me. I’ve proven time and time again to be the plant equivalent of the grim reaper.
  • Remove the hostile arm on the passenger seat. The freakishly warm feeling of the heated seats, that I didn’t turn on, needs to go. I’ve already maxed out my quota of momentary panic attacks while I quickly assess my bodily functions and see if anything betrayed me, for the year.
  • Stare at the stereo until it bends to my will and functions. If that doesn’t work then look up the user’s manual online and see what is going on with it. Option one is my favorite.
  • Put the throw rug over the aggressive metal pieces on the floor. I’m afraid of both what the neighbors will think if they hear shouty me, and also afraid of what will happen if I suddenly become on the same level as Daisy-Lou. She’s the only dog I’ve ever met that will stare at you with confusion in her eyes as her body gyrates on pretty much whatever is near.
Do not blow spray paint against the wind. You’ll have it all over you for days. DAYS! More Jackery love. Behold! A tailgate on a van. Just one more reason that I think my mom is brilliant and amazing!

The build is coming along beautifully and I couldn’t be happier. I’m hoping to be able to sleep in it over my next days off (Monday and Tuesday) and get an understanding of what works, what doesn’t and what just needs to be tweaked. It’s starting to feel more and more real with every screw, injury and can of spray paint I accidentally inhale. It’s a very surreal thing to work so hard to create a home for a life that you don’t currently have, but are working hard to make a reality. I feel a similar sense of joy and impatience that I had when I was a kid and Christmas was coming near. I know that freedom and adventure are just around the corner, with every day I get a little closer to loading up the pups, grabbing a box of Mike & Ike’s (my go-to driving snack), a coffee from Ruff Day Lattes and hitting the road. That’s all for now, i’ll let you all know how my first sleepover goes and how the pups react to our new home. Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

Home sweet home.

So I Did A Thing The Other Day…

I did a crazy thing the other day. I finally made steps towards living the life I want. Lately I’ve been feeling stuck, both physically and mentally. So, after months of research, touring car lots, and making a list of things I absolutely wanted, and things that would be nice but aren’t necessarily deal breakers…I bought a van. I bought a 1999 GMC Savana low top conversion van and will be drastically downsizing my life so that I can live the van life fulltime. Together with what can only be considered the most adorable trio of co-pilots in the history of doggydom, we’ll be hitting the road and documenting the highs, lows and hysterical mishaps along the way. Here’s a peek into the list of why I bought the van I did and why it fit into the criteria that I’ve been searching for. Also, I know I’m a little crazy to get a low-top van, but I’m vertically challenged at 5’4” so a high-top wasn’t exactly a dealbreaker for me. 

  • The backdoor opens with two swinging doors. I figure this would come in handy for cooking since I’ll be installing a sort of tailgate to act as a cooking surface for outdoor cooking. The two side doors could help protect from wind. Also, no one can see if I straight up botch a meal. If no one sees it, it never happened. 
  • The side of the van also has two doors, not a slide. I wanted to make sure I had as much workable space as possible, slide doors were super available, but I wanted the option to use that space and not lose it when the door slides open or shut. It also has the added bonus of me not breaking it within the first leg of the trip. By me I mean my dog Tipsy who has all of the characteristics and coordination of Scooby-Doo. 
  • I went specifically looking for a conversion van because it would already be insulated. A cold Brandilyn is a cranky Brandilyn. I would classify this one not as a decision made out of a sense of self-preservation decision but also as a public service. I feel like I should apologize anyway to all the people I would have yelled at on the road had I not slept the night before because my dumb ass decided to go with less insulation in the van and then tried to reenact the epic door in the water scene from Titanic. Real talk: they both could have fit on that door! Good job, Rose…just chill on the door while your man turns into a popsicle. Not cool. 
  • A high-top would have been nice, but the only one I had close by to look at had a fiberglass top, I wanted something sturdier and slightly more insulated. I’m short anyway, so having to duck will be a new and refreshing experience. 

I’ll toss up some links to some of the things I’ve either already purchased for the van or will be investing in down the road. My plan is to not do a full on build out of the van, but to leave here with the bare minimum. Yes, that sounds a little crazy, but I promise there is a method to my madness. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a new place it takes me a couple of times of redoing the living room before I’m happy with where everything is placed…I’m using that very same principle with the van. Eventually I may want to invest in a sturdier bed, actual cabinetry or running water, but not until I have lived in it for a while and can tell what I use and where it should be placed. I’ve been straight up binge watching some van and RV life videos on YouTube and the only thing I’ve learned so far: no two are the same. 

            I mentioned before that I felt stuck. I’ve decided to change that by fully etch-a-sketching my life. I’m shaking it up and starting again. Once I have sold, donated or stored my possessions I’ll be hitting the road and traveling. The only thing I know for sure is that Long Beach, California is my first destination. That’s an 819-mile drive south…12 hours and 10 minutes (According to Siri, who has never let me down. *insert sarcastic eye-roll here). Why Long Beach? That’s probably the closest location to family I have on the map. I don’t have any specific timeline for my travel, but I’d like to be back east when fall comes around. I’d love to see the leaves change in Vermont, and I’ve got a spooky date with Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween. Another factor in my travel plans will be weather and temperatures. I’ll be traveling with three pups who don’t particularly like the heat, though they’re pretty okay with stealing my blankets if it gets cold. I also have Fibromyalgia, so extreme temperatures either way are kind of the Drago to my Creed. That’s a Rocky reference to all you young ones out there. Though I don’t have a specific timeline, that doesn’t mean I don’t have plans…I have a full-on vanlife/travel bucket list! I’ll be posting that up in my next edition.

Thanks for reading!

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