The 'Why?'

To find out what this journey is about, start with the beginning, the 'Intro' post.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Inside Van Tweaking

Needed to do a little tweaking on the inside of the van.  Today I will hit the road a while in it to check and see how it all rides.

Got an added layer for the bed.  Before, it was two full size 3" ventilated foam toppers cut to fit.   Since my bed sits crosswise at the back, I had to cut the length to fit the space between the windows to 66", making it shorter.  But it's okay, the height of the topper put it right to where the ledges are below the windows on both sides, adding an additional 6" (12" total) on both ends for more head room and feet room . 

Added the new topper, a 2" memory foam with the cooling bead things, and it was able to go over the useless ledges that sit at the base of the windows, utilizing all 74" of mattress topper across big window to big window.  I only had to cut a bit around the molding towards the rear by the back doors where the windows were.  I guess if there will be two people sleeping there, the shorter one gets to sleep near the back doors, haha.  Least, that's how me and Kiddo did it on our Texas trip.  Her shorty self got to sleep by the back doors, worked pretty good.  :)  And when you sit on 8" total of memory foam.. it really sucks you in, ahhhh!!!!

Also wanted to redo the drawers.  Was not fond of having to fish clothing out from under the bed.  Needed to have better storage solutions.  Was also not fond of the cheaply made bigger plastic bin I had found previously.  So I went to work on those issues.  I removed the food items from the cheapy plastic bin I was removing and put them in a large plastic tub that slid under one side of the bed, accessible from the inside.  There's still plenty of room above the bin and around it's side for more food for later on.  Can just slide out bin when I need to get to food.

I know, I know, I know what you're thinking..   I would need to access food more times than I would clothing throughout the day.  Hear me out:  I HATE trying to figure out what to wear.  Like, every day.  So much I've threatened to buy the same outfit in multiples so I can just throw it on, like I used to do with scrubs when I did xray for 10 years.  So on the trip, I pretty much had to pull out all of my clothing and go through them all to figure out what to wear.  PITA.  With food, I know it's either breakfast, lunch or dinner, and I already have an idea of what I'm going to eat.  Just a matter of sliding out the bin, grabbing it, and sliding it back.  With the clothing in the drawers in the living space it will just work much better for me.  I tried it the other way, this way will work better, for me.

Found some better made plastic bins, bought two. They each have two big deep bins to them.  The bigger one I had in there before was pretty flimsy.  When trying to move it about or such the top would pop off.  And when you sat anything of any weight on it, like the jumper pack for instance, the top would dip down inside the front of the top bin.  If you had anything of substance in the bins, like when I had water bottles in the bottom one, you couldn't hardly shut it completely without some real effort, opening it wasn't so easy, either.  Was just a pain.   So, I bought two better made ones, made of thicker plastic, sturdier frame, enclosing drawers that slide in and out easily.  Out went the bigger plastic bin (the smaller one stayed), in went the two new ones.  I managed to arrange them around to fit them easily enough, and now have more storage.

Trying to figure out how to keep them closed while driving was perplexing.  Enter Mr. Super Duper Smart Old Man.  :)  He figured out to put a single bolt in the plastic between the two drawers.  The head of the bolt, when in place, keeps the top bin from sliding out, and the bolt goes through to keep the second bin in place.  Just pick up the top bin a bit to slide it out for use, and remove the bolt to open the bottom bin.  Easy peasy!!  He's a genius!!    (Thank you Timmy!)

On to the desk.   I had previously had a long bungeed strap going from behind the desk, across the top diagonally, hooked around one of the drawer handles, and down to the front bottom under the drawers on the side.  It worked.  Just move the strap over to access any drawer, it stayed in place, and the drawers didn't come out.  But, boy, it was kinda ugly.  And, every time you opened the side door, it was the first thing you saw.  There had to be a better way!

The other day me and the kid were at the hardware store.  I was just looking around hoping to get an idea on what would be a better solution, without it looking hideous.  I had bought a few things before that didn't pan out..  hook and eye's, a steel dowel thinking to run a hole, etc.  That day I found some latches for baby proofing that goes inside the drawers, thinking they might work.  Heck, it was $4 to find out.  Yeah, that one won't work, either, without being a major pain in the rear, and issues with the wood being too thin in some places.   There's got to be a better way!

Enter Mr. Super Duper Smart Old Man again.  He took the hook and eyes, and on the side of the drawers, so it's out of the way, attached the hooks, then screwed in on the side of the desk the eyes.  So I can latch the drawers, separately, it's not sticking out where my leg and such would catch it, they will stay closed on the road, unlock em as needed, and it's not hideous, woot!!!  (Thank you again, Timmy!! :)  )

Found a cute basket with painted flowers at the thrift store a few days ago for fifty cents, trying to spruce up the place.  So far I've got two wooden baskets, I strapped them on top of the plastic bins. In part to make the inside more cozy. and the other part, they catch the more useable items that I access a lot.  Things like doggy leash, small battery powered fan, wash cloths, bandanas, air freshner, sunglasses, emergency alarm/whistle, etc.  The wooden baskets look way better than the cheapy blue plastic ones I originally was using.  I think some greenery, somewhere, would help it look more cheerful in there.  Will keep eyes open.

Next thing I'd like to do is get a shoe organizer, cut and sew to size, and hang over the window behind the desk.  Would be for cooking utensils and spices.  Handy, organized, and neat.  Need to also get to work on re-doing the screens on the sliding doors on the back windows.  Will be using them a lot for ventilation, and don't want to be ate up by mosquitos.  Never done them before, should be fun. :)

Other bone of contention, the portable dvd player.  I can not figure out the best placement for it.  Have a hanging behind the seat organizer thing that it can set on, it has sleeves and stuff I keep my movies in, making it all handy.  Problem is, it is only useable with the 12v plug, of which I only have one at the moment.  Plus, the cord to the dvd player isn't all that long.  So I must keep the two pretty close together.  Bah, I will figure it out..   that's the fun part, right?  Maybe once I get the house battery thing done I can find the best solution.  Not that I watch movies in there all that much, preferring to read, but you never know. 

Will update this post to include pictures of the above once I get some today.  :)

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