Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Calliope, Part VI: We Do A Bunch More Stuff

Dore peeking out the "bedroom" window.
The interior starts to take shape.
In the meantime, under the Costco carport that serves as our construction bay, Dore is working his own magic. Welding sturdy wall brackets to the trailer base, he frames up the walls, which are made of 2 layers of plywood sandwiched around foil-wrapped insulating foam. The bed platform with storage space beneath) materializes, cabinetry begins to form, partitions and window frames and moldings and shelves take shape under the skilled guidance of his work-roughened hands and wailing power tools.
Plexi-painted rose window

I use glass paint and plexi to make a faux stained-glass rose window and Celtic knotwork-accented kitchen window. The window over the bed is unadorned, but can be opened with a nifty crank handle for ventilation.
View of wall insulation.
Dore scours the web for cheap RV accessories and obtains a 3-burner stovetop, a toilet seat, a round stainless steel sink and 9-gallon water reservoir and a 5-gallon propane tank. We use the original hand-pump-action sink from the Coleman and he converts the round steel sink into a toilet bowl (#1 only, we decided we didn’t want to deal with #2) that drains into a collection jug (which he scavenges from his office’s castoffs, and which, mysteriously, bears a printed label that says: “Mr. Chupacabra”). A doorbell button (chimes silenced) is connected to a pump, which runs a bit of water from the sink reservoir around the bowl to flush the peepee down through the trapway in the pipe to keep things tidy and odor-free.
The kitchen starts coming together.
I get to know the paint guy at our local OSH and pester him with weird questions and custom paint mixing jobs. I learn that the best finish for painting murals (which is sort of what I'm doing) is satin finish. Matte is too vulnerable to dirt and scuffs, gloss is too slick for multiple layers of paint to adhere to.
We start collecting various bits and bobs; decorative wood accents, cabinet knobs, hooks, switches, wire baskets, a full-length mirror, decorative lanterns, curtain rods, bungee cords, latches, fabric, wallpaper, linoleum.
Mitchell helping with priming.
I sew curtains; Dore upholsters the bench seat storage cover.
As soon as a wall is finished, it’s primed (sometimes utilizing free child labor when my stepson visits) and I start painting. I use a grid to enlarge and transfer my digital drawings to the walls, and discover a technique online that uses tulle fabric to help me keep the mirror-image elements symmetrical. Dore builds me a painting platform to stand on to reach the upper parts of the walls, because the ladders and stepstools are scary. I do a lot of climbing up and down, which my thighs object to for the first couple of days.
It’s hot work in the summer months. We are both usually covered in sweat, paint, sawdust and wood glue. In the close quarters of our construction bay, toes are stubbed, elbows are banged, hips are bruised. Occasionally blood is spilled in sacrifice to our Muse, blessing our heroic endeavors.
(Continued in Part VI.2…)

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