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If you follow me anywhere else online, you know why this photo is so exciting. Max has been saving for this LEGO Ewok Village for 2.5 years! He has been working hard around the house, doing jobs for my parents too, saving every penny he’s found. We had a garage sale last weekend, and he finally crossed over the $270 mark, which is what we had set as the saving amount with tax.
Very exciting, and I’m SO proud of him! Also, it’s a pretty freaking cool set!
It has loads of interactive features; this is Luke “using the force” on C3PO in his chair. (Photo taken and posted at Max’s request)
This post is part of a series documenting our homebuilt teardrop trailer. Please scroll to the bottom of this post for links to previous articles.
Back to it! Apologies for the delays (of like 10 months, oops!) since the last post… we’re getting back to having them all posted in September and maybe into October.
The hatch being built was a big exciting step for me, because I could finally, REALLY, visualize what the finished product would feel like. I spent a ridiculous amount of time opening and closing just the skeleton frame of it, until Jamie shooed me away to keep working. It was very cool to see how close it was to being done at this point!
The hatch frame is made from poplar and plywood; the curved sides are cut plywood, using a router with a guide bearing and the same template as the sidewall. The crossbeams are solid poplar.
We used a single “hurricane hinge” to attach it at the top; it’s watertight and runs the full width of the hatch. (Sourced from Li’l Bear Tag-Alongs in Eureka, CA) We had found an old piano hinge at a garage sale, but decided the hurricane hinge was a better choice because it’s both watertight and could be cut to the *exact* width we wanted. Also, in case anything were to happen, the hatch remains removeable (not easily, but doable) in case we ever need to make repairs or changes to the hatch.
Once the hatch frame was done and the glue was dry, we skinned the inside with 1/8″ plywood and painted it to match the inside ceiling. The hole seen below is part of the latching system that was installed later. (It was later covered with a small panel of wood, so we can access it again if needed for future repairs.)
Test fitting the inside skinned hatch; notice the rods sticking out of the sides; those are part of the locking mechanism before they were trimmed to size.
The locking latch; the rods latch in place, in holes in the sidewall frame, it’s called a “t-handle” latch and we found ours at a car parts resale shop… but you can also source it online.
We then skinned and varnished the outside like the sides, using the marine plywood again. We used the same system of straps, glue and pin nails that we used to get the curve of the front as well.
I don’t have any photos of us actually sliding the hatch onto the trailer though, because it’s a 2-person job, so I couldn’t be taking photos! LOL
And the last thing? How to keep our lovely hatch from crashing down upon our heads while camping. We used 150 lb. hydraulic struts; more weight than we really need (the hatch weighs less than 100 lbs, and we have two struts holding it up) but with wind and better-safe-than-sorry, we went for the heavier weight capability.
They leave the hatch easy to open and close, but we wanted to add another, secondary, safety mechanism. The solution? A piece of copper pipe that fits right over the base of the strut, so even if it’s pulled on, the length of pipe stops the hatch from coming down all the way. It’s simple to move it, you just need to shift it up to the other cylinder to get it out of the way so you can close the hatch. Safety first, people!
I love the internet, I really do.
I make my full-time living ON the internet, it’s been an important part of my life for more than 20 years.
But there are things about it that I don’t like so much.
When I was in second grade, my BFF, Mandy, moved to Sonoma, about an hour away. Thankfully, we were both blessed with amazing parents, and they helped us keep our friendship alive for years, without email, without Facebook, with two things: phone calls and letters.
We wrote letters back and forth, counting down the days until we would attend summer camp together and take turns spending long weekends at one another’s houses.
I loved running out to the mailbox, so see if there was anything for me.
It’s different now, and not just because I’m an adult. I get bills, sure. And junk mail, and stuff addressed to people who lived here before us, even though we’ve been here for almost 4 years. (That Serena really needs to deal with her collection accounts, BTW).
But you know what I miss? Happy mail.
Cards, and not just for birthdays or Christmas. Notes, just to say hello.
Enter the #HappyMail100.
I have 100 postcards, stamped and ready to mail. All they need is an address. YOUR address.
The postcards feature gorgeous pieces of art from all different eras of history; get a piece of #HappyMaill100, and you just might discover a new artist that you love, or just see a familiar piece that you’ve always admired. It’s like an art lottery!
I’m not asking for anything in return, I just want to do something to bring a few smiles. I’ll send a postcard to your kid if you want; the form asks it’s for a child or an adult; I’ll use neater handwriting and smaller words for kiddos, invite them to learn about “their” artist. Feeling social? Share your postcard on social media, and be sure to tag it with #HappyMail100, so I can see it!
I’m ready to send; are you ready to receive? Just fill out the form below and I’ll get your postcard in the mail ASAP! This is not sponsored in any way, so your mailing info will never be used for anything other than mailing you this postcard; it’s not a marketing ploy or anything, it’s just for fun.
I’ve got 100 postcards to send. Which one will be yours?
When I was at #Dad2Summit last February, my friend Amy mentioned this thing she had done the previous summer, a crazy scavenger hunt called G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S, or the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. Interest piqued, and my declaration of 2015 as my “Year of DO” I ran off to the GISHWHES website to sign up to be reminded when registration opened later in the spring.
And so I signed up, as a member of Amy’s “Team Lagniappe,” and spent a week creating, laughing my ass off, brainstorming the craziest ideas, and generally having a great time with friends local and virtual, old and new.
I know you remember scavenger hunts when you were a kid, right? I seem to recall them being a moderately popular birthday party theme. Go around to neighbor’s houses, asking them to give you stuff. A penny from 1973, a safety pin, maybe a can of chicken soup. You know.
GISHWHES isn’t like that; the challenges are more… specific. And focused on creation, of both art and joy. The list, which is over 200 items long, isn’t meant to be completed, it’s meant to inspire and motivate and maybe, for one lucky team, win them a trip to Costa Rica.
I wanted to share just a little of the craziness that our team made during the first week of August, which is, and always will be, GISHWHES.
#34: How do you do it? Everyone on your team has such beautiful mustaches? Do you have some sort of hair growth cream you slather on or pills you all take? Let’s see a grid photo of everyone on your team that features your mustaches prominently. #55: Dressed in something celebratory, hug someone you love, motionless, in a very crowded location. You must hug them for 20 minutes without moving and time lapse it. Add your favorite score to the video. (Shout out to my friends 5 Cent Coffee for letting me use one of their songs for the video!)
#199: Translate your favorite slogan into legalese. (Credit: Andy of How to Be a Dad)
#133: This is a real Welsh word: “Llanfaurpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.” Find a Welsh person and have them say in Welsh “I am Welsh and I hate that I have to do this,” and then they must say the lengthy word 3 times, without stuttering and without reading it.
#154: Let’s see the Leaning Tower of Gishwhes. (Credit: Amy)
#47: Stop hiding your true talent. The world deserves to see it. Without using special effects or trick editing, make a person disappear.
#42: You’ve just received an invitation to the annual Color Me Pretty Construction Paper Gala. Design and wear an elegant gown consisting of only construction paper. You must be posed with a antique or hotrod car/motorcycle (that will take you to the Gala, of course) or in front of the Gala itself which takes place in the most stunning public building of your city. (We call this one: Car Trouble on the Way to the Ball)
#155: Let’s see a portrait of Taylor Swift or Nicki Minaj made from glue, rice and dried legumes. (Amy went ahead and did BOTH of them!)
#35: Design a device that would allow a five ounce swallow to carry a one pound coconut. (Andy from HTBAD again, of course) #40: They say, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” but they are sexist. Dogs can be women’s best friends too. To prove it, make one entirely out of feminine hygiene products. The dog must be at least 40 centimeters tall. (We realize he’s tiny. But Guinevere did an amazing job, making the cutest tampon dog ever! And now I super hope someone searches “tampon dog” and lands on my blog. Hi, welcome!)
#50: Your friend loves cake, so being a good friend, you offer to take them out for cake at a nice restaurant. Alas, you discover when you arrive at the restaurant, that your friend has recently undergone medical treatments that prevents them from moving their arms, so you will have to feed them. Unfortunately, light is harmful to your eyes so you must be blindfolded. While blindfolded, stand behind your seated friend in a fancy restaurant and put your arms under their armpits and feed them cake with your hands. Trust us. This is going to work out beautifully. (Nice work from Kendall and Jenny)
#17: The 2015 gishwhes mascot Dinomite asks you to pick a number between 1 and 1000, asks you 10 questions with yes/no answers, and then guesses the number. What were the 10 questions? (Credit: Mr. Doug French)
So those are just a few of my most favorite of our GISHWHES contributions for 2015… are you going to play next year?
If you’re a Gisher who is stopping by to check out what the competition did, please drop a link to your fave of your own, down in the comments!
Exciting mail day for this Thursday! A few weeks ago, I won a little giveaway from my friends at Hallmark, so we got these Comicon exclusive Itt Bittys! I had to explain to Max that these ones aren’t so much for playing with, because they’re special, but really, it’s because I’m hoping he’ll let me take Han in Carbonite to sit on my desk at work.
Disclaimer: Yes, my reunion was last month. If you think I’m talking about you… I might be.
1. The nerdy shy guy who got hot.
2. The dramatically different looking person. (Applies to weight and/or hair)
3. The mom who hasn’t had a night out since the LAST reunion.
4. The popular cheerleader who is terrible at even pretending to remember you.
5. That one guy who looks SO different you aren’t convinced he actually went to school with you.
6. The one who meets you at the bar after the official reunion because they didn’t want to buy a ticket.
7. The one who totally fulfilled their senior prediction.
8. That one teacher who comes to ALL the reunions.
9. The person who seriously looks EXACTLY the same.
10. The hugely pregnant woman.
11. The one person who just won’t leave the dance floor.
12. The photo booth hog.
13. The one who peaked in high school (Male)
14. The one who peaked in high school (Female)
15. The one who has more school spirit now than they ever did in school.
16. The mean girl who has mellowed with age.
17. The two who had an awkward hook-up at the last reunion but are now married to other people.
18. The multi-level marketer who wants you to join their downline.
19. The one who remembers you, and seems legitimately interested in talking to you, even though you never talked in high school.
20. The one who is you. Because no matter how your high school experience might have been, it’s worth going to your reunion.
I wasn’t a popular kid, I didn’t have tons of friends in high school. I looked at it as something I had to survive in order to get on to the rest of my life. But I went to both my 10th and 20th reunions, and haven’t regretted it once.
While you might think that Facebook keeps you up to date on all the happenings, it really doesn’t. It gives you glimpses, so you have ideas of what folks are up to, but getting together and raising a glass together? There’s nothing like it.
I got two emails on the same day recently, and both of them sent into a weird sort of “Holy cow I’m getting old!” and time is crazy and life is short spiral.The first email? A reminder for my 20th high school reunion. I would swear on a stack of Pearl Jam CDs and flannel shirts that 1995 was just, like, yesterday.The next email? An invitation to attend a sneak peek screening of the new John Stamos sitcom titled Grandfathered.
Unsure of what to expect (and a little bit in shock at the prospect of my beloved Uncle Jesse being a grandpa), I checked out the trailer online, and was instantly hooked.
The quick overview is simple enough; ultimate bachelor and restauranteur Jimmy (Stamos) learns that he not only has a 25 year old son from a long-ago relationship, but that his son, Gerald (played by Josh Peck from Drake and Josh), has a little girl of his own. Jimmy finds himself with an instant family, and all that entails.
Much like Full House did during my childhood in the 1980s, Grandfathered is taking a new look at what makes a family; more than just the nuclear parents/kids combo, the people who we surround ourselves with are the ones who matter. There are some really heartfelt moments in the show; besides the obvious gags that are kind of required (Jimmy’s first diaper changing attempt), there are lots of those sweet “Awwww” moments that make for great viewing for the whole family.
I’m really interested to see this more modern interpretation of both parenting and grandparenting; watching Jimmy navigate this new world for him, as he builds a relationship with Gerald, the son he never knew. (And Gerald’s mom? Are there still feelings there? Hmm… we’ll have to keep watching to find out!) The screening I attended at Blogher was hosted by none other than Josh Peck himself, who is adorable and charming. While I’m a new fan, he won me over in no time at all as he shared some stories about working with the famous Stamos (say that so it rhymes, please) and was very sweet to all of us.
Heh. The short version. Thing number one, I'm tall. I've been told I should have a warning on my blog, so here it is! I am taller in real life than I appear on the internet.
Want to know more than this "short" version? Click here to read more about me and my family, and for links to some of my favorite posts.