Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bus Blog 8: Fat Man in a Little Coat

I really can't comment at length on the resurgence of skinny pants.  The best I can do is scratch my head and ask, "Why?" It's one thing to wear clothess that fit, it's another to force the fabric to conform to your body.  I don't understand it.  Tight bike shoes, tight climbing shoes, they serve a purpose, but tight pants?  What if you need to suddenly perform a flying axe-kick?  One must be prepared.  Besides, squeezing big stuff into little packages is not the best way to spend your time.

When I asked the insulation company to cut sheets of Styrofoam that were 1 3/4" thick I thought they could handle it.  I thought, unreasonably I suppose, that having a 15 foot computer controlled hot wire cutter and experienced technicians was enough.  I guess you have to load the machine...
The insulation was 1 3/4" thick on one end, and 2' thick on the other.  Each sheet was off by a quarter inch. I had wanted the insulation to stick past the joists a little bit, along with providing a hair more R-value, the Styrofoam pushing up slightly against the sub-floor would add a bit of stability and more sound dampening to the finished floors.  Expecting to push the Styrofoam down an eight of an inch is reasonable, it has a little give and won't argue much.  However, trying to cram an extra 3/8's of an inch down over a wide surface, is a bit more difficult.
I tried cutting thin bits off with a knife, but ended-up beating the stuff down with a mallet, then stomping on it, then deciding to use a lot of screws to pull down the sub-floor.  I had spent most of my day beating the insulation to a tolerable level and was tired.  The act of insulating the floor had turned into a full body work-out.  Usually cutting and applying insulation is quick and easy, but I was sweaty and tired when I finally finished, and time was up.

The next weekend was great, the barrier plastic floated down softly to cover the insulation and joists.  I stapled and taped it in place, making an air-tight sandwich on-top of which the sub-floor would sit.  Good building, like dressing for winter, is all about layers.

The sub floor cut-up easy, each sheet only had to loose a few inches to fit snug between the walls of the bus.  The 40" between the raised wheel-wells in the rear was the only bit that required any additional attention, and it wasn't much at that.  The joints fit together snug and as I picked-up the chalk line to mark my joists, I had a visitor.
"Can you watch Jack?"  My wife, more telling than asking, stepped in the bus, put Jack down and left.

Jack, my 1st born, sees himself as an adult.  He's not even two and wants to be doing what you're doing no matter what.  If you're cooking, he wants to cook, if you're drilling he want to drill and insists on holding the back of your drill until the hole is made or the screw is in.  He loves hammers and will not hesitate to pick one up and pound anything of interest, he now has a designated rubber mallet, the only hammer he can use until he knows better...

 Up until this point, Jack had not been allowed in because of the work that was going on and was so happy to finally be in the bus that he ran across the sub-floor, slapping the walls and screaming in delight.  This went on for a while, tiny shoes pounding across the floor, and I busied myself with setting up the chalk-line.

One snap and I had Jack's attention, I scooted the hooked-end down a bit, tensed the string.  Curious, he walked over.  He picked up the blue string, "Let go," I said and he did.  He ran madly across the bus as I moved the line forward, coming back as I drew it tight.  He picked the line up again and dropped it, laughed, then took another lap around the bus.  In this fashion, we worked our way down the body of the bus marking-out the joists.  Moments like that give hope to fantasies of working with your kids and give insight (for me at least) of what your parents may have gone through raising you.  My dad always wanted me to work in the jewelery business with him, but I never understood why.  A lot of the time we want our children to be part of our lives, see things the way we see them, I`m starting to slowly appreciate that.

Kirstin stuck her head in the bus, "Dinner."  We headed in.

Another week came and went and with a bit of leveling, the floor was secured.  There were still miles to go, but I felt like we were finally getting somewhere.