Winter Break (and by "break" I mean, "projects")
We arrived in Effingham on November 12th. My mom can always tell that we are coming, because she starts getting boxes from Fed Ex the week prior. We had a few opportunities for Michael to play that week in Effingham followed by Thanksgiving with family. Then we would leave the kids with grandma while we went to the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. Michael had 10 days of Advent Missions scheduled in Cleveland and Buffalo. We decided that it would be a good idea to winterize the Airstream for the month and avoid driving in snow. We were afraid the winterizing would be a huge task. We were able to manage with with only one trip to the store! Success!
Part of us felt like 6 weeks in town would feel like an eternity, the other part of us looked at the calendar and predicted that between holidays and mini trips, there would be no time to get our projects done. That's right, folks! PROJECTS!
1 - Add a light to the rear bedroom. We love to send the kids to the rear bedroom after dinner, so we can enjoy some down-time. Now that it was getting dark at 5 PM, there activities were limited to watching a movie. We purchased 4 map lights for the bunks, but after looking and the depthed they needed for installation, we opted to go a quicker route and put our left-over LED light on the ceiling near their vent/fan.
2 - Re-key the deadbolt. Michael's dad, Bob, was right. We needed this to work. Not only for security, but also so our door did not fly open as we drove down the interstate. I was right that this was a HUGE job to tackle! We drilled out the wall, the door frame, and the window frame to get the the bolts we needed to unscrew it (which were completely coated in a mountain of caulk). The deadbolt was pretty corroded, and we broke it during removal, so I orded a new one. The first replacement I ordered was too short. I found the right one for $66 (ouch!). Thanks for my father-in-law for re-keying things for us and finding all the right pieces to fit together. We can now lock our Airstream!
3 - Fix the fridge gas line. This had beed capped to stop a leak. We always run the fridge on electric, but when we travel with Matt (who else is excited about Matt?!?!?) we want to be sure the fridge will run on gas, too. Michael had to get under the Airstream and thread a new line through several 90 degree angles.
4 - Repair the back bunk. The kids have managed to knock out all the rivets on the bed that stores the toys under it. We opted for the easy repair instead of re-engineering things.
5 - Brakes and Shocks. We had the trailer shop do this. We gave them the Airstream the entire time that Michael was in Cleveland. They even went on a test drive with us and gave us pointers on how to set the brake controller and such. We are so excited to have everything working great. We had the van brakes looked over too, and they got a pretty good work-over, too.
And a few add-on projects:
1 - Customize a rolling tambour for above the fridge. Our new fridge was about 1"-2" shorter than the old, so the old one didn't fit. Thanks to Michael's dad, Bob, for this!
2 - Customize a pull-out cabinet where the microwave used to be. We found we like this as pantry space, so we want it to be more accessible and pretty. Another thanks to Bob!
3 - Add a wi-fi antenna and repeater. I ordered the Jefa-Tech system, only to find out that it cannot be upright while in transit. Michael had the idea to rig our old TV crank to raise and lower it. We had to have the machine shop fabricate a piece for us, but it works great. We are hoping this gives us more connectivity in the future!
4 - Spiff up the paint with a fresh topcoat on a few well-used surfaces.
5 - Replace misc. hinges and cabinet clasps that had broken while on the road.
6 - Sew curtains. We've been weighing our options here. I am finally getting the nerve to sew some Roman shades for the front. They did not get finished, but we brought them on the road with us.
Oh man... Both of our hunches were right. Six weeks WAS a bit too long in one location, but there was NOT enough time to finish up our projects. So it goes. We raced a snowstorm out of town again. When Effingham was shivering in their -6 degree weather, we were at least enjoying 40 degrees in Georgia. By the time the winter storm caught up with us in Florida, it dropped just below freezing. I'll take that version of a "winter storm" any day! Just a few days later, we enjoyed an afternoon at the swimming pool. This is definitely why people who full-time RV go south the the winter.