Joke’s on me

4 Sep

If you recall, yesterday I laid out my plans for my children and husband to join me in a healthy to-do list around the house. I won’t bore you with the details of what they managed to accomplish (not much), but Steve and I got caught up in a project that wasn’t on my list. The pop-up camper needs some roof repair.

Ok, this camper is almost as old as I am. We bought it last year for $500. This is us last Labor Day weekend camping. Just in case you care, the camper wasn’t crooked – the photographer was. Anyway, I’ve been nervous that the camper has a leak. When we opened it up earlier this summer, there were definitely signs that our tarp wasn’t as effective at keeping moisture out as we had hoped. We live in the mountains of New Mexico, and in the late summer, we have what the weathermen like to call “monsoon season.” I think that’s a silly phrase since we live in a high desert. Anyway, after we popped the camper down a couple of months ago, we didn’t put the tarp back on. We were too busy evacuating. So the monsoons have been pouring down on our 35-year-old uncovered, possibly leaking camper.



Steve got the canvas sides off and the roof disconnected but not detached. We called some fabulous friends (hi Kevin, Jenn, and LeRoy!) to come over with their burly muscles and they helped Steve get the roof off. Not hard at all.

I took this picture shortly after our helpers left. I’m a picker, so I had already started peeling off the white ceiling. It was soothing – just pulling layers of ancient plastic and damp wood off.




This was what we ended up with. We had to take the sides completely off. You can see a couple of them behind Steve on the right. Now we’re trying to figure out if we’re going to scrape the 1/2″ layer of styrofoam off the aluminum base and build a new roof on that, or if we’re going to start over.

Not really how I’d envisioned the day. Yes, I got my little lovelies outside this morning to pick weeds, but they were more concerned about helping #4 pick flowers than helping me pull weeds. Because I got caught up in the camper project a little later, it was easier for me to let the kids hang out than to try to manage their inside cleaning projects from outside underneath the camper roof. So they had a relaxing day and I worked hard and am now sore. I pulled and pried dried and crusty caulking and silicone with my fingers for hours today. I never imagined that would lead to such pain. I feel like my fingernails are going to fall off.

I think the camper was getting revenge with the extra-tough caulking for something I did early in the process. We were trying to figure out how things were put together and I thought it would be a good idea to get through the layers, not really knowing exactly what the layers were. Steve had done some research online Friday night, but hadn’t seen fit to share any info. So I grabbed a chisel and got to work. Didn’t take long before I realized I was looking through a little hole down to the work bench. When I showed Steve, he said, “You tore through the aluminum!” Aluminum? What? Obviously I had no clue what I was doing. I punched not one but two holes through the roof. This is me being enthusiastic about my ignorance. Go me!






I will say, though, that the time I spent out there with the camper was good. It was quiet (no kids) and just me and Steve. We didn’t talk a whole lot, but it was nice just to be working together. We haven’t done anything like this in a while. Maybe a year or so when we made #1’s loft bed and painted a couple of bedrooms. Every once in a while a kid would stroll out, but nobody stayed with us very long. I guess we were boring. Oh well.



4 Responses to “Joke’s on me”

  1. Marianne September 4, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Oh man, I have to say, that doesn’t look like too much fun. But at least the company was good!

    • That Nolen Chick September 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      The company was fabulous. And it has all the makings of a good story.

  2. Kelley September 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    I am glad you are seeing the positive side of working on that camper- the quiet time! That looks like the only positive thing. Ha! I’m impressed with your hard work. 🙂

    • That Nolen Chick September 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      Yeah, I think the camper got revenge on me yesterday when my back froze up on me. What am I, 300 years old? Feels like it today. Sheesh.

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