Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our Darling Sugaree

We finally got our Sugaree back (again) and now the sanding and painting can begin.  We have a good friend who was kind enough to let us use his warehouse.  He just recently purchased this property in The Cedars and is letting us use it for the major tasks at hand.  No offense to our friend, but when we drove up, the kids and I were very skeptical.  Dylan exclaimed, "I'm not going in there!"  We all (with the exception of David) were a little nervous about the whole idea...especially because the only way to get inside the building was to use bolt cutters.  Another adventure with many, many more to come.  

The guys finally figured out how to get inside and raise the garage door and prop it open.  It definitely was a little scary, to say the least.  There was a pair of tennis shoes hanging above the garage door, which I'm pretty sure that means it's a drug house of sorts.  

The sanding began and the more time we spent there the more comfortable we all felt.  I have to thank William and Neely for all of their guys went above and beyond.  We can't wait to do a road trip with you both, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor firsthand.

After awhile, Dylan and William were feeling adventurous and decided to explore this massive warehouse.  OH MY WORD!!  You wouldn't believe all that they found!  It's all too scandalous to post here.  Thankfully, no people...but still!

We got her home and all we want to do is hang out in her because she gets more "gypsified" by the minute.  Such a labor of love she is.  Everyone in our Jamily is doing their part to make her fabulousness. 

Sunday was painting day.  David declared that we would be up and out of here at 7am.  Yeah right.  After watching the Grateful Dead's Santa Clara show and staying up until the wee hours, I knew that was not to be.  I think we finally got back to the warehouse in the 2pm-ish hour.  

Kathy, thank you so much for our afghan, it's beautiful and words can't convey how much we all appreciate all the time and love that was put into your new work of art.  Thank you my sweet friend!

Lee and Bryan, thank you for the gift bag full of yummy, smelling stuff.  We're definitely 
going to need that, especially with boys on the bus in such confined quarters.  

John and Libba, thank you so much for the delicious chocolate chip cookies.  However, they won't be making it on the trip because they were devoured by all in no time.

Todd and Lezlie, thank you so much for the butterfly lights.  They will be the perfect addition to our Sugaree.  The Mystical Fire Extreme is way too cool and is perfect for the Burning Man enthusiasts in our family.

I wake up every morning, crazy-early, obsessing about her and what all needs to be done.  Dylan said when he saw me up so early,  "You're a different type of species."  Thanks Buds.  :-)

Now, I'm eagerly awaiting for David to wake up so he can unlock her and I can embellish her all the more.  It's craziness, I tell you!!  True craziness...but I wouldn't have it any other way!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Next Time You See Me, Things Won't Be the Same...

Another post written by David:

Just when we needed a miracle, it was delivered to us with the bus being ready to pick up Wednesday.     Talk about being in the nick of time...she is scheduled for some work at McClain's RV Thursday morning and then the audio/security system on Friday.  This crimps our original plan of leaving on Saturday, but we will paint over the weekend and leave on Monday morning.  I knew that if we stayed positive, it would work out and it appears to be doing just that.  Now, if all goes well with the paint job, we will be able to catch Forgotten Space at Club Dada Sunday afternoon to get us primed for the upcoming week of amazing music!  First, we'll see Forgotten Space at Martyr's in Chicago with John Kadlecik and then the final three Grateful Dead shows ever with the remaining four original members, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart.  They will be joined by Bruce Hornsby on piano, Jeff Chimenti on keys and Trey Anastasio on lead guitar.

As Pigpen once sung so soulfully, Next time you see me, things won't be the same!"  Over the next few days, we will be moving into psychedelictechnicolorland.  And we can't wait to share her with you!  Here are a few "Before" shots... 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

BUSted down on Bourbon Street, Set up like a bowling pin Knocked down, it gets to wearing thin…

This post was written by the one and only...David McQuaid.  Sweetest, most patient soul I've ever known!  <3

Note to self…getting an old bus repaired takes longer and costs more than getting your car fixed!   With that bit of painfully obvious information out of the way, I’m pleased to announce that after THREE WEEKS in the shop, Sugaree is back in our grubby little hands, with less than a week before we leave on our trip.  All we have left to do is to tile the kitchen backsplash, paint a few walls, have the rear-view cameras installed, tile the bathroom floor, have the stereo and alarm systems installed, wallpaper the bedroom and paint the exterior.  But before we paint the exterior, we must first sand the entire bus, wash it thoroughly, tape it impeccably and THEN, paint it’s 35-foot mass.  If everything works exactly perfect, we will still be pulling out of here this Saturday morning.  If for some reason it doesn’t, we have a couple of extra days of fluff on the front end of the adventure, so we should still be ok.

Wait a minute…this just in…after having Sugaree back for only an hour, the FRONT brakes caught on fire!  Now, we’ve had two fires on the bus…the rear brakes and the front brakes.  This is throwing a left-handed monkey wrench into our perfectly laid-out plans.  Again, fortunately, the fire happened on Oak Lawn, so, thankfully close enough to home.  The girls were able to Uber home, and as they got into the Uber car, Kelly asked the driver if she could have his two bottled waters to help douse the fire in our bus, as if it was just a normal thing.  The girls all then drove back in my car and followed me and Sugaree as we limped back home, hoping not to catch on fire again, and bring out the fire department and the neighbors again. 

I just heard from George, the mechanic, who said if everything goes right, we should get it back tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon.   It looks like we will be leaving on Monday instead of Saturday, but that’s ok…as long as it happens.

As with any true labor of love, the project always takes longer, costs more and ultimately squeezes every last drop of energy out of you to see it to its ultimate reality.  This project has been no different, but we are SO going to be pleased with the end result.  So much love and care has gone into our every decision on every element of the bus, from the floors to the ceiling tiles, to the exterior paint.  No matter what happens, it will be interesting to see how we pack all of our crap into 6% (yes, that’s six percent!) of our normal living area for a month.  We will learn a lot about conservation, interpersonal relationships and many other things we haven’t even thought about.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

She's Gone...

...And nothings going to bring her back!  Or, that's how it feels at this point anyway.  We're so sad to have her away from us again, especially so soon after we just got her home.

Sugaree finally made it to the mechanic.  Only to find out it will take several days for them to do the diagnostics on her.  Who knows how long the repairs might take.  I don't mean to be a pessimist, but now, time is of the essence.  I know it will all work out but, there's still so much to be done before she's road trip worthy.  First order of business when we do get her back is to add at least 6 fire extinguishers to her lovely decor. :-)

Happy summer my friends!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"This Wheel's on Fire"

This past Monday was the day of all days.  We got to scoop up our Sugaree!  We had the family all at the RV service center where we were eagerly awaiting her unveiling.  We've had so much fun seeing her transformation.  To finally get her home to further make her perfect in every way, makes me so happy...YAY!!!!  

Again, Jeff had very patiently taken us through all the complicatedness of our most fabulous bus.  David had the wise forethought to have Dylan videotape all the in's and out's of our bus as Jeff explained it thoroughly to us.  There definitely is a lot to learn and still lots of work to be done.  Of course, we are up for the challenges that we will no doubt encounter.

We hardly got her home and couldn't wait to show her off.  First stop, David's parent's, Tom and Sara, whom seemed rather impressed.  Next stop was my Mom's house.  She took a tour and also seemed to be impressed with our efforts.  How can you not be?!  She's our beautiful and Darling Sugaree!  Our parents all have continually been super supportive of this whole bus idea.  Even as crazy of an idea as it is, they must've thought we lost our minds to buy a school bus in the first place.  Much less with the intention of converting her into an RV.  Thank you Mom, Tom and Sara for always loving and supporting us, especially through our latest mid-life crisis.  8-}

We headed home on I-75 and took our usual route South from North Dallas.  On the way home the kids and I were saying we need to get that exhaust thingy that Jeff was talking about fixed because a little smoke started bellowing in our bus.  David, oblivious to the smoke, was overly thrilled because he thought people were waving at us because of our cool bus.  He very happily waved back with great enthusiasm and a huge smile on his face.   We finally get home, Cassidy was moving her car to make room for Sugaree.  She had a major panicked look on her face and started flapping her arms around saying "We're on FIRE!!!"  Literally, as soon as we pulled up to our home we were definitely on fire.  Everyone was grabbing bowls of water from the house running in and out until the fire department could get to our Sugaree.  People were probably waving to us on I-75 because we were on FIRE, not because of our "Panther Pride Runs Deep" military looking bus!!!!!  

In typical UP fashion, our wonderful firefighters were here to help us out in no time.  However, not quite the unveiling we were hoping to have for our girly with our friends and neighbors.  But there definitely will be another unveiling after she's all painted and "psychodelified" and hopefully will not require another visit from our dutiful firemen.  Thank you to our UP guys rock!

We sat around all day today waiting for the tow truck.  They were originally going to be at our house at 9am.  Then after a lot of the typical run-around via recordings we finally got to speak to a real, live person.  One of many as it turned out, by the end of the day.  EVERY person (as the recordings) had the same schpiel.  They would begin with, "Is this an emergency, if so, please hang up and call 911."  Our response was always ,"No, we're all fine.  We've been waiting for our tow truck all day.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  The guy finally showed up after 5pm.  He told David that he had to finagle some things under the bus to make sure she wouldn't catch on fire again while he was transporting her to the mechanic.  He was very clearly not happy about David questioning his abilities regarding how close the generator, AC, etc...what seemed to be maybe 3 feet off the street.  Tow Truck Guy's response, "This ain't my first rodeo."  That sure was comforting and made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I absolutely must say this had nothing to do with Jeff or McClain's as they were not expected to address any of the mechanical issues.  They were only to oversee decorating and reconfiguring the living areas.  Which again, we're happier with the way she turned out, even more fabulous than our expectations.  David had a mechanic check her out before we took her to Denton originally to Camping World.  That mechanic gave us his seal of approval.  Plus, we drove her all the way from Shreveport, so we assumed all was well.  Stuff happens and it could've been way worse than it was.  We will continue to have her checked out and do trial runs again and again before we commence on our big adventure.  AND we will be buying at least 6 fire extinguishers for every room on our bus.  The one fire extinguisher that we did have wasn't even half full and wasn't helpful at all.

On a decorating note, I'm embarking on another sewing project...the window treatments.  I've done them before for Avery's nursery 21 years ago.  They were a lacy, delicate fabric and I was very happy with how they turned out.  I would be remiss to not thank my Mother-In-Law, Sara for my love of creating...whether it's cooking and trying out new foods, sewing, decorating.  You should see the outfits she sews for herself.  And the bedding and drapes she's created for us over the years, outfits for the kids when they were toddlers, etc...  She's quite impressive indeed.  As for me, straight sewing lines for the drape project I think I can handle.  We shall see.

Bus on fire, fire trucks and neighbors gathering...Good times!!  We're thinking very positively that our bus will be repaired and in perfect shape to travel half of our country in...wish us luck!  

Our Darling Sugaree saga, to be continued...