We finally did it! We finally sold our home for what we needed and were able to become debt free and pursue our renovation of Chitty Bang. We hustled. We got rid of even more crap, and began the next step of our lives. We packed what was rest of our stuff, loaded up the u-haul, and with the help from some amazing friends (Thanks Amber, Brent, Barbara, Mike, and, Anne & Drew:)) were out of our home and on our way to West Texas to finish the bus!
Thanks to another fantastic friend, Jim, we have a place to stay while we work on Chitty Bang at his house. Now, we are focusing on that:) So far, living without a majority of our stuff has not been that bad 🙂 We have clothes, our necessities, the girls have a few toys (About a large shoebox full and their electronics), and our tools. And what we order for the bus of course. It feels like it did after the fire, but more at home and with the knowledge of this all being my choice…instead of a choice made for me. Since we have left over 3 months ago and began working on Chitty Bang, I have not regretted our decision once. We have been surrounded by some pretty awesome people that each know a lot about something specific that we want to learn more about. We also have a place to stay where we all feel so welcome. Although it will be just another small moment in our lives, we have already learned more about ourselves and each other 🙂
I have decided this never ending seal job of leaks will end this day! We went into the bus on a hard rain day and used chalk to mark all the spots that were leaking. We attempted to spray the bus with the hose to find any leaks, to no avail. So we have been waiting for hard rain storms to hit us the last few weeks (thank God we are not in a drought anymore!) so we can get a realistic view of what kind of leaks we are looking at. Almost all of the leaks came from the seal between the glass and the metal and was collecting in the corners of the windows, dripping down to the floor…eventually will cause rust issues and mildew in the walls if we don’t take care of it. And as our Sgt Crab says, Don’t do the easy wrong over the hard right. And I don’t want issues later *grumble* so here we go!
After this, we waited a few days and used the hose to spray all over the bus. No leaks! But, then it rained really really hard one day and I ran out into the bus to make sure (who can recreate mother nature, really?) and *GASP* a few leaks! But they were only around the Emergency Windows (those are total crap anyway and will be covered inside and out with aluminum anyway). SO I just sealed every single crack on them, and problem solved! I did not even have any roof leaks this time! The only leak we have left is coming from the back door, and that is just as easy as replacing the rubber seal around the door. I have been told by my Skoolie thread on Facebook that I can get that stuff anywhere. So that will be next. Then we think we may just go ahead and cover the outside of the emergency windows with the aluminum b/c we have the rivot gun for it, we just need to get the rivots and sheet of metal.
Either way, we are still making slow progress….we did not drop off the edge of the world, I promise! Summer is here in Texas, and so is the heat…and a smaller bus budget so we can do some family stuff…The dream will continue! Thanks to everyone for continuing to follow and support us in this huge adventure of ours! Look for an update on our GoFund Me page I am creating if any of you would like to help us get moving on it too!
Thanks all and have an awesome day and I hope everyone is having a great summer!
STAGE 11: Remove Windows/Side Panels & Insulation, Re-Seal and Replace Windows
Part 2-Day 2
The next day I was certain we would not get to complete our project because of the rain. The Universe was looking out for us though because by 3 PM it was clearing up. So, we all got to work on other side of ChittyBang!
We removed the windows successfully! The guys started in on the side panels, while I worked on cleaning and scraping the windows.
The Panels were removed much more smoothly on Day 2 🙂 We got everything smoothed out on the frames, the insulation totally removed, the windows cleaned and scraped…now for the last stretch!
We also put some caulk on the screws/rivots that were on the walls under the windows to make sure no water was coming in from here. Some insulation was wet, so we needed to be sure there was little chance of any more leaks. We are not professional bus renovators, so we do what makes sense to us as we do it. I want ChittyBang as leak proofed as possible 🙂
We are finally done with demo!!!
Now onto foaming, and re-sealing the roof and side seams!!
Check out how we decided to start this whole project:
This past week, besides finishing the floor prep, we also tackled some of the more tedious, but necessary tasks that we would eventually have to complete. Also, we have had some amazing weather the last few days here in Texas, but it isn’t going to last long:( So we work with the weather since we can’t park the bus under anything.
Removing the reflective tape and lettering….everywhere.
Why? The reflective tape was cracked, so when we repaint it, that will be the first thing to go and chip off. I have to say, 360 degrees was monotonous to the say the least:) But I can find some joy in those types of mindless tasks. Anyway, We started with a sander with wire wheel attachment. It was taking a while to remove the stickers and was really eating through the paint easily as well. Just using the paint scraper on the letters was working ok, but the old, cracked reflective tape was a b****. So, I jumped online to skoolie.net and found a few great solutions.
Paint Scraper with Heat Gun- to start, if this doesn’t work..
Rub Diesel/Paint Thinner on It and let it set for a few minutes..then Wipe It off…Finally..
Sand It All Down
I remembered Crab just received the Heat Gun (Wagner $20 from Amazon) he ordered for a separate Didgeridoo Project we want to tackle:), and grabbed it out of the garage.
We finished one side and the rear of the bus in one afternoon. Although we were able to remove the stickers, the sticky residue was still being a problem. We figured we will try sanding it off when we were done removing the stickers.
Day 2 Sticker/Tape Removal
Moving on over to the passenger side of the bus 🙂
We are DONE! SIKE!
DAY 3 Sanding/Sealing
Of Course I thought we were completely done with sticker removal, until I glanced out the kitchen window and realized, nope. We forgot the tape around all four emergency exit windows and their letters! So, the next day, I went back up the ladder and finished the job…for real this time!
A couple of hours later…..
All in all, I don’t really know if we wasted time by just not sanding first. Maybe we could have if we had a better tool for that job. But I think this process worked for us and the tools we had.
Next up , More Demo and the story of making Chitty Bang Legal!
When we originally came up with the idea to live minimally, we loved the idea of building our own tiny house. It is definitely an up and coming idea, and people will choose to live tiny for so many reasons; environmental, downsize their debt, live with less “crap”, and many others. Everyone has his or her reasons, but ultimately it encompasses that overall freedom every human being on the planet yearns for. The freedom we long for is to be debt free. We are not like some people who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, or filed bankruptcy, or live beyond our means in a “normal” American society. We have always lived within our means, and kept our credit score in excellent condition. We never made decisions that would effect our family negatively, and thought we were doing the right thing. We paid off our vehicles, made every note on the homes we had purchased since we were 21 years old, paid every bill, and this year we are 30 years old. “Living the American Dream” with our mortgage and never ending cycle of interest rates. When we started talking about how much money we would save every month by getting rid of our mortgages, it boggled my mind. But where do you live if you want to raise a family and save money? What about, if you want to travel around the US? What if you don’t really know where you want to “put your roots” like your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa always talked about?
Crab and I have been married since we were 18 years old in 2003, and had gotten used to the Army life of moving every 3 years or so, and always knew we did not want to go back to our hometown. How do you make the decision to just settle down somewhere if you haven’t seen all the possibilities? We each have lived in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, and Texas. We have traveled to many other places, but would we want to MOVE there? We felt there were so many options now compared to when our parents were our age. The world is so accessible and it is only getting more so as time passes. Ultimately our question was, How do we make sure we are happy with where we decide to put roots?
A tiny home seemed completely logical for us…and totally exciting. However, it was going to cost us between $30-$40,000 after doing some research and we don’t have that stashed away anywhere. Also, since we wanted our tiny home on wheels, the codes for traveling with a tiny house and heights and all kind of scared me. Many people have done it, check out “Tiny: The Story of Living Small” on Netflix, because it is totally awesome and is what inspired us to start living small. Buying an RV just wasn’t going to happen either because we heard of how expensive they are, how crappy the insulation is, if something breaks a dealer has to fix it (and we are total DIYers!), and that they do break eventually. So, we came up with some options and tabled the discussion for later until we got rid of more crap we were selling. We knew we couldn’t really do anything until our home sold, as then we would have the money to do something with. The plan was to move to my parent’s lakehouse temporarily, maybe even “Squat” at friends houses while visiting different areas, and go from there.
Then, something amazing happened. Ok, it wasn’t really amazing. It was a simple late night conversation we had about how to travel around the US with our dog and kids, and everyone comfortable, but also be a project we can DIY and it be affordable. The solution was so simple, but unbelievable. I thought, how weird is this? What will people say? Then I thought, Wait a second. I really don’t give a ****. HA! Not caring what others think has to be one of the greatest mental freedoms I have ever felt. We have always been “weird” and rubbed against society norms. We played the “Keep Up With the Jones’” game and it is exhausting and financially straining. Who really needs all those clothes, shoes, toys, and other crap we buy to entertain us. Why can’t LIFE be entertaining enough? Why can’t Time with your family be entertaining enough? When did buying crap and getting into debt become fun? Hence, our homestead was born. Self reliant living. Our newest idea was definitely the next non-normal thing, and the most realistic one for us. It was our next step to the freedom we have been talking about for a couple of years, and to get us to a place where we can finally build up a bigger and better homestead much sooner than we thought was ever possible!!!
A SKOOLIE. AKA CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
That is right. A school bus converted into an RV. What??!!! Yes this is totally real and yes, they are totally cool. Some people are completely not into it. They say, “How can you be with your family that long in that small of a space?” “What about your space?” “How will you guys build that? It sounds hard.” Then the other negative nancy’s we told, and well, we don’t talk to people like that anymore. And anyway, The answer to those questions really lie in each person. If you asked me those questions 3 years ago, I would have told you that I could not imagine us all cramped up in a small space together because we had not tried it. After I lost my job, the four of us were together all the time. Saving money, stay-cations, lots and lots of family time. Whether we wanted it or not, lol. Now, we love being around each other. We started homeschool October 2014, so we are used to our kids being home. They help out tremendously with house work, are respectful, do what they are told, they do not wait for us to entertain them because they know they will have to clean something if the words “I’m bored” exits their mouth, and we have all learned to respect each other’s privacy/private times, which is a must in a tiny house/skoolie. Also, after all of the failed attempts and successful ones of building Aquaponics systems, grow beds, chicken coops, poultry tractors, dog houses, repairing lawn mowers, and a plethora of other things, we have the confidence to jump in and just do it. YouTube is amazing, because you can find how to do anything on there as well as the internet itself. I really don’t know why there are so many schools anymore. You can literally learn anything you want to on the internet. And did I mention the cost to do one is literally half of what it would cost us to do a Tiny House? I believe the major factor in the cost is that the “frame” is already there, and it is steel! Did I also mention that we could live in it while driving? And it is big enough for all of us and our 130lb English Mastiff? 🙂 And please remember folks, we do not want to just sit around in our awesome skoolie all day. This tiny house is meant to take us all over the United States! National Parks and Monuments are begging to be seen, life learning will be happening, and adventures are within our grasp! We plan on using our tiny home as a way to make the world our front porch (gosh I love that old country song!) Momma is happy 🙂
So a dream was born. Buy a school bus (lots of research on types and engines and lengths), renovate it to an RV, sell our home in the process, travel, maybe even learn to sail, figure out where we want to set roots, and live in the bus until we finish building our new home/homestead. We have sold off everything we needed to, and will sell the rest of the furniture when the house sells….but if I can’t get the price I want, into storage it will go with the rest of our crap. Hey, I can’t get rid of everything. We need all of our equipment and stuff for the new homestead, and a place to store out of season clothes and such. But it is definitely not a house payment. 🙂
Now, Let the dream of Operation Chitty Chitty Bang Bang commence…….