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Like I’m anywhere near getting to wax anything, hah! My right arm is still trembly though from all the damn scrubbing. And I really just got the first and worst layer off, after knocking the big stuff off last night. These are all phone pics, but they turned out ok for the most part.

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This is the formerly black hood. Under good light at the carwash.

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Mmmmm… hand rubbed chrome. And no, I did not lick it clean.

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And then LR and I went to terrorize the local Sonic. Not much reaction. Maybe they were already numb since I got there first, then LR doubled their pleasure.  At least one fellow patron took note of the classic nature of 40+ feet of Cadillac, if the hearse part was sort of ignored.

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I just had to have a picture of LR’s fins. I still say it’s the sexiest ass in the club.

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And this was my favorite shot of the two. 12 years difference in manufacture, different colors, different coach builders… but they are definitely two of a kind.

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After long and arduous toil, mostly on LR’s part, my Lily has made it home. I’ll admit that I’m in love with that car in a way that is probably illegal. But I promised details and pictures.

LR replaced the heads, edited the tubing to remove the AC compressor and smog pump (as much as possible) and as we got it out of his driveway the fuel lines began to spray a trail blind men could follow. Now just getting it out of the driveway was an exercise in and of itself.  First LR had to cut the padlock off his back gate since the key is on the ring he lost at Nathan’s shop, then the combined might of LR, Mike, Nathan and uhmmm – his helper dude that I don’t know the name of – got to push the non-running ’61 Superior out onto the street (fairly busy residential) and then I was to drive Lily out under her own power. Great plan. Lily disagreed. Unbeknownst to us, the fuel leak had already been doing it’s dastardly work and she was out of gas. So LR and Nathan ran to the gas station. In the meantime, some well meaning neighbor (let’s pretend most of them don’t wish LR and his cars/house would burst into flames) called the police and reported a disturbance. So we end up with two cop cars sitting in the intersection and bewildered police trying to make sense of it all. They first questioned Mike and helper dude, then when they mentioned Bri (Mike’s fiance & LR’s cousin) and I were with the other car in the driveway, one cop came back to check their story. Now no one is going to immediately assume I’m a victim in any way shape or form by looking at me. Aside from being hideously overweight, I’m built like a nose tackle. Bri is the opposite, maybe 110 soaking wet, and delicate in appearance. So of course the cop had to ask in an undertone if she was OK. We reassured the nice man with the gun that all was well and we actually hung out with these scruffy looking inviduals on purpose. And they didn’t even meet LR or Nathan! Anyway, they decided to go along with our bizarre tale of musical hearses and went on their way. Which is of course when the guys got back. We fueled Lily up, got her going and I drove out exactly as planned. Parked, got out, and saw the fume-ridden trail of gas swooping around the corner. Dammit. Nothing to be done in the middle of the night, so we got the ’61 Superior back into the driveway and closed the gate before anyone in Neighborhood Integrity could write LR a ticket. Over the subsequent days, LR replaced piece after piece of fuel line until he had caught all of the leaks. So far. She sat for 3 years, no telling what else has weathered. We’re still loking for a replacement choke, and on the way here she was knocking over 55 and there are some throttling issues. Hopefully, all minor adjustments. While that all gets done, I’m going to take a scrub brush to everything that can handle it, take everything out and see what really needs to ride around, and redo her curtains. By then, I hope to be able to drive her to Oklahoma, straighten out the tag and visit Mama. She assures me that the possibilty of anyone running over with a casserole if I park in front of her house is slim. Not that they don’t know my stepdad Dwain had a stroke at Xmas, but mom says she just isn’t friendly enough for them to try it. That’s saying something in Sallisaw.

So those are the basics, but here are the goodies. Keep in mind that the dirt and mold are pretty bad. She’s beautiful to me, but these still make me twitch for a bucket and brush. Then another trip to the car wash.

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For  the record, it was not intentional to pick a gray station wagon when I was getting a low mpg car. Really. He’s my Igor and doesn’t answer to mini-me. Very often.

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Gratutitous ass shot. The sticker in the left rear corner of the window reads ‘Join the dark side’ and the right is the hearse club logo.

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All my worldy possessions (okok, I have a storage room too). All on wheels. Bring it on apocalypse!

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Why yes, now that you mention it, my hearse and my house are within inches of being the same length. Igor is less than half of either one.

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And finally, paradise by the dashboard light.

I’ll post updates as I remove the grime and she looks a little more presentable.

I promised pics of the plants actually growing in the deadfall at the base of Lily’s windshield, so here it is…

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Even with a low quality phone picture that is unmistakenly life on death. The shot was taken from the driver’s seat while LR, er, my lovely assistant Trixie handled the lighting. It does look vaguely like the mother ship is landing though, don’t you think?

Wow. That’s depressing. So I’m giving in and talking about yarn. Today a couple of friends and I hauled my entire stash out of the RV and cleaned it up, culled the herd, and shoved it into new and improved packaging.

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Yeah. I… I may have a small problem. But! It’s my job and my hobby, so I think that works out. Plus, some people have children and other collections of things that serve no real function. Even if I’m not actively knitting or spinning anything, the raw materials possess *potential* purpose.

Aw hell, I just like string. I’m not gonna make excuses about it anymore.

In fact, I like string so much, I make my own. This is my newest wheel. It’s a Roadbug model from the wonderful people at http://www.themerlintree.com/merlin001.htm

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I’ve done my own finishing in walnut, not complete yet but I keep spinning rather than working on the wheel. Mom dyed the fiber in the pic btw. It eventually became the Venus doll (http://www.darktwist.com) that I gave to the Yarn Harlot (http://www.yarnharlot.ca) when she came into town and had a reading from her latest book.

And I am totally exhausted. I’d have more hearse updates, but apparently the repair fairy is out on a date right now and is unable to answer the phone. As for the RV… we’re not going to talk about the yarn and fabric  that had to be thrown away because the mold was so bad. Nope, not gonna mention the leaky roof until after the hearse is put back together.

I may have to hurt someone.

I’ve been shamelessly neglecting my home in favor of getting my coach back on the road, but never fear… the cats have been keeping up their end of things. I suppose I should be polite and introduce my furry little masters roommates –

Spook was a 3 month old kitten at the Plano pound when I adopted him 5 years ago. He’s my boy and I get pretty stupid about him. LR refers to him as my boyfriend due to his attention whore tendencies. Now he surveys his kingdom from the dash.

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B.B. was my solution to Spook getting upset about staying in my apartment by himself for long hours. She was intended to be his pet. She never got that memo. She was only 4 weeks old when my mom brought her to me from a litter of free kittens, even though they insisted she was 6 weeks. We had to bottle feed her and Spook taught her the rest. I am the only creature she actually likes, but she’s very loyal. I also suspect that her daddy was her grandpa and her mom may have been her aunt. She’s special… and living proof you get what you pay for.

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They both have enough Manx blood to have only stubs of tails, which every vet I’ve taken them to has had to make a joke about. It doesn’t help that B.B.’s is a little longer and obviously crooked. I swear I’ve never shut either one of them in the door.

They pass judgement on all flat surfaces and upholstery…

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This couch configuration has since been swapped around to create a loveseat on the left with the sewing machine cabinet on the far right, and will be re-upholstered in the pale green fabric B.B. is napping on in the above picture. But before I moved anything I had the cats make sure it was cushioned thickly enough for their tender standards.

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And the crappy little plastic machine is not a permanent resident. I have an old Kenmore going inside the cabinet and a Singer 221 that needs a little tweaking to be up and running. (I know, story of my life, right?)

But on to the more interesting of my projects! Lily’s current condition is not one I’m proud of, but I’m documenting it anyway.

MOLD on the north facing side.

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And the surgery in progress…

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And even though they would definitely need a trip to the machine shop, I have spare heads now.

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And last but not least, the intake tiki –

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I snapped a picture with my phone of the crop of seedlings across the bottom of the winsdhield but don’t have the right cable with me at the moment. I’ll add that as soon as I can.

For now I have to go peer at my scribbles and write out the patterns for two new amigurumi patterns, the tiki god above and a little bat.

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I promised pictures next post and while digging around to see what I had on my netbook, I found these. I thought they were interesting enough that y’all might like to look as well. After all, this is an attempt to document progress in the landship category of my world. I don’t even mention knitting, or pattern development. Yet. I’ve been restraining myself.  

So anyway, the first landship I actually lived in on purpose (this obviously doesn’t include those two weeks in the hearse that one time) was a 1976 Superior school bus. A B700 if I remember correctly. I bought it when it looked like this:

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Special, no? Not really. It was a full 30ft or so, a regular bus. But thanks to everyone who immediately thought “Finally she had her own short bus to take her to crazytown!” y’all can bite me. It had potential and was the very first home I owned. It looked much better with a little paint and a lot of elbow grease.

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And a lot more work inside. I gave in to my color-deprived/apartment-dwelling need to paint, too. 

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I found the wonderfully comfy couch at goodwill in Sherman. And used it to pick the colors for my walls and ceiling. So, yeah, I picked those colors and the couch on purpose. 

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Behind the bookshelf screen was a fullsize shower and commode. All in all, it was a great first place. There were major drawbacks, but I learned some important lessons about people’s intolerance and the importance of insulation. Which led me to my current abode. One of the big differences  I have noticed between Tinker and Beelzebus is the feeling of solidity. I had underestimated how light and fragile aluminum would feel after living for a year and a half in a steel tank. But it’s much easier to heat and cool and the better floorplan is wonderful. It gets old scooching down the center aisle. 

So that’s the old place, pics of the new place next time.

I’m relatively sure everyone who reads this knows me, so this isn’t exaclty a shock, but I have more than one landship. No, the guy never called me back about the ’68, but I’m definitely keeping that model and year in mind in case I go looking for a replacement RV.

No, the 2nd landship is really my 1st. My hearse, Lily. She’s a 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Endloader by Superior to be precise. If you’re not familiar with hearses, or hearses from before approxiamtely 1989 or so, they are very different beasts from the fiberglass camper cap plopped onto a stretched stock car that you see on the road today.  Before they got all fuel-efficient and front wheel drive, hearses were custom built tanks with funeral home specific decoration and specs. Based on Cadillac’s professional car base (which included ambulances, hearses and limos, essentially a front clip and a chassis), they went to one of only a handful of custom coach builders for final assembly. Most often, the rear compartment was a set of steel ribs clad in whatever finish the funeral home wanted along with several different window/door configurations. Regional traditions and preferences shaped most coaches, with limousine-style windows all around being popular on both coasts and the more sedate solid sided landau style prevelant in the center of the US. Some coaches did double duty as both ambulance and hearse, generally referred to as a combination. All hearses have the disctinctive back door for acess to the rear, and side rear doors in much the same locations as you would expect the doors of a 4-door sedan, but the setup inside can be one of two ways. The most common is the endloader. A fixed table (or extending in more rare cases) equipped with hard rubber rollers allowed for easy insertion and removal of a burial container. The other option was referred to as a 3-way. The table was not fixed but could be swung to either side. 3-ways typically have suicide doors in the rear and no partition between the rear compartment and the cab area. Coaches are also usually stretched between 18-24″ longer than the stock car they are based on.

Lily is pretty standard for our part of the country. She has the fixed endloading table and regular rear side doors. Some of the things that set her apart are largely based on the year she was built. A Cadillac Fleetwood in 1973 was a very large car to begin with. Raise the roof 3-6″, stretch the body and you have an enormous vehicle. Mobsters would drool at my trunk space, put it that way. Seriously, my coach is about the same length as my RV. With a big square profile and cushy seating in the front, interior clad in black-on-black brocade and rather than the normal swoop, an angled landua bar with cog-like finial caps… she’s definitely a product of the bigger-is-better extravagance of the early 70s. It also makes her a joy to drive, like riding on a cushion of air or cuddled on your favorite couch. Of course her 472 engine is nothing to sneeze at either. When I had her in decent shape I could actually get scratch off the line. In a 7000 lb car. Of course I had to pull in to the next gas station to fill her 26 gallon tank back up pretty much immediately, but ahh what a rush.

This has really all been a preface to her story, which will be ongoing at the same time as Tinker’s. Since I suck at regular posting, I decided to just add her notes here as well for anyone that might find it interesting. She’s been parked for 3, no almost 4 years now, waiting for me to be able to fund some relatively major engine work, but the ball is rolling and my goal is to have her under way for the PineBox Derby at the end of the month.  More info about the casket races can be found at dallastrocars.org

I promise pictures next post!

At the possibility of irritating everyone that has helped me with my RV so far, I’m actually checking out another RV. I love the one I’ve got, but it did start with some serious issues and while alot of those have been addressed, some are still a big question mark. Then LR sent me a link to a craigslist ad that made me think maybe I should start with new base material. We have a call in to the seller, and depending on what  actually needs to be done I may be starting all over again. Yes, I’m crazy. Thanks for asking. 

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But it’s all curvy! Curved glass in the rear corners, same size as mine, only one year older.  Ill keep y’all posted. I may have one up for sale soon!

Have you ever played with one of those puzzles that has numbers or a picture and only one empty space to use in order to get things where you want them to go? I used to love them. I’m not sure I love living in one. Because so much of what is in the works is the behind the scenes storage and structure, all of the things that would normally go in that area are in the middle of the way. Or stacked on top of whatever is next, or just completed. So picture taking has been rather sparse, but progress moves forward. I promise. The parlor has all its main bits now, as does the lounge. I’ve just got to get things put away enough to be able to finish the upholstery and get the paint and stain wrapped up. I’m so looking forward to being able to futz around with how things look or are arranged, instead of all the major scary stuff. The ceiling may not be skinned, but I’ll have some interior pictures soon. 

Then its just the interior electric, shore power connection and checking the fridge. All propane related issues will wait til it gets closer to needing the furnace. 

But for now I have to help Larry get the seat cover made for his precious before the car show this weekend. This whole life thing keeps derailing me. Not to mention the damn weather. Feh.

Wow. A flurry of activity combined with the misplacement (no, it was *not* lost) of my camera has led to almost a month with no update. My sincere apologies. Many things have been done, or are in the process of being done, but it hasn’t been all that photogenic. And I couldn’t find the camera. Living in a RV fulltime while simultaneously renovating it is not particularly easy. And it makes locating certain items more of a challenge than is entertaining. The size of the object is inversely proportionate to how hard you have to look of course.

First, the roof. It was leaking when I bought it and had been leaking for some time. Most of the interior had been made of particle board and was little better than heavy sawdust by the time I got it. Since I’ve developed an irrational fear of being off the ground, Larry has been a wonderful help with this. He scraped off some of the multiple layers of crap previous owners had applied and recaulked most of the joins and vents a while ago, but the leaks just became more focused. This time we’re replacing all the marker lights, caulking the hell out of them, then applying an elastomeric roof coating over the whole thing. So far, we’ve just gotten the back done, but that’s where the bed is, and since I’m damn tired of doing laundry I’m crossing my fingers that this works.

New marker lights. So exciting!

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And my lovely assisstant, Trixie:

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Gratuitous hearse shot (for those of you unfamiliar with it, that is Shayde – Larry’s pride and joy): 

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View out the front door. Isn’t my canopy over the front yard great? It’s so nice and gloomy!

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And did I mention that the parking space (Larry refers to it as my slip) came with its own outdoor furniture? I’m thinking a little sanding and a paint/stain job would do wonders. Needs a bolt or two tightened, but it’s in overall decent shape. 

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And I refused to be beaten by the stencil fairies. So I gave it another shot, but tried something a littl emore my speed. This is in the entryway. The colors are a mix of pewter, green, and couple of copper shades.  I have not sealed any of my stain or paint on the cabinets yet, but will take pictures of the whole thing once I do.  This run produced a much more pleasing ghost effect, so that it all depends on where you are when you look at it. 

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I’ve moved the information plate out from under the armrest to the end of the cabinet. It’s only pinned up with upholstery tacks, but I think it looks nice there. Sort of official. And of course so everyone can read the information about my axles. Cause y’all really wanted to know. 

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Due to my new location and the alarming size of my ass, a new dinghy has been procured. I always wanted one of these. I had forgotten how much fun they are to ride though. 

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I’ve done some painting and staining, and the upholstery is in the works, so the next post will probably be heavy on interior shots. Until next time!

Just a quick addition. I finally got my spot in the RV park I wanted. All shaded and everything. Soon to come, running water and electricity! My AC is a rock we haven’t even thought about turning over yet, so the shade was of utmost importance. THe park is trying to shift from primarily mobile homes to mostly RVs, my spot is in the area where the two are mixed, so I have a mobile home on either side of me. Even though the park is inches off of 75, I expect this new locale will be much quieter than the Walmart parking lots I’ve been staying at.
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And check out how much room I have for parking!

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Too bad that many people don’t actually fit in the RV. But hey, I have a picnic table and the park has a pool, showers and laundry. Eventually I hope to have my hearse nosed up to the RV, since there is plenty of space and she’s my next project. So with Whataburger mere blocks away and 7-11, Walmart and Lowes across the highway home is looking better and better.