Airstream Update #2


Life of renovation in a few words:

Fire ant bites, waiting for paint to dry, and the never-ending sealing adventure

The unabridged version:

Since the last update, we’ve made quite a bit of headway despite busy schedules, illness, and yes, even fire ants. Despite a swollen ankle that I had to keep elevated for 2-3 days (what is this ridiculousness??), we have been soaring through our to-do list.

So far:

  • Major leaks from rain- sealed
  • Brakes- fixed (serious kudos to M for this!)
  • Bathroom-almost finished with the painting

Can’t wait to post the the final look!

  • Hot water heater- ready for installation (this is our biggest splurge item on the Airstream, fingers crossed it was worth it!)

We are going to have to do some handy work to get the hot water heater to fit right. Gotta love all those curves 😉

  • More sealing of the exterior- never ending
  • A/C and Thermostat- up and running (hallelujah for A/C in August)

Mason’s Version of Completed Tasks

We calculated that a conservative estimate of doing all of these was about 54 hours- which doesn’t include all the research and planning that precedes everything we do

Since our plan was never a huge overhaul of the Airstream, but more of a “let’s do the best with what we have and keep it as original as possible,” we’ve had to do a lot of problem solving and compromising. However, I feel like this is enabling us to keep a lot of the fun, retro character of our Dream Stream. Keeping the vinyl walls means that we are dealing with a really tacky (as in sticky to the touch) surface that needs to be primed and painted white. The best thing we’ve found so far is to wipe the walls down with soap the best we can (I’ve given up on using bleach, extreme heat + extreme chemical smell = me feeling like I was slowly poisoning myself). After an initial rinsing and wiping, we cleaned the walls with liquid TSP which seems to prep the surface well enough for just one coat of primer and two coats of the white paint. Though to be honest, only time will probably tell. The issue we have run into the most is that where we use painter’s tape, the paint often comes up when it comes time to remove it. We think it’s because the paint wasn’t dry enough (again, it has been pretty darn hot), so we are learning to be more patient. We also just have to make sure we’ve gotten rid of most of the stickiness on the walls, which is a bit of a challenge. We are also considering using as little painter’s tape as possible to cut down on the risk of this occurring again.

Our current to-do list moving forward:

  • Finish painting the bathroom (so close!!)
  • Install Precision Temp hot water heater
  • Finish sealing exterior
  • Remove the galley (kitchen) counter
  • Paint the rest of the interior
  • Evaluate the furnace
  • Order & install bamboo floors
  • Replace the axles
  • Replace the galley (we have decided to use outside help for this bit– so excited about the future butcher block counter!)
  • Build the front sleeping area
  • Curtains/Cushions
  • MOVE INNNN
  • Polish and shine the exterior for that wow-factor reflection😉
  • Buy and install new awning
  • Happy little finishing touches here and there, plus adventures on the road

We have our moments when we visit friends and family in their apartments and homes and wonder what in the world we got ourselves into. We literally could’ve put a down payment on a small home by now, but we’re still so, so excited that we’ve chosen this journey. We’re at a time in our lives where there aren’t a whole lot of knowns or givens, and it’s nice to know that this little home can follow us wherever our future leads– in fact, it can take us wherever we need to go. That’s an incredibly reassuring thought at the end of the day. It isn’t holding us down. If anything, it inspires us to always keep moving forward.

For regular updates, feel free to follow our shenanigans on Instagram!

In Search of Simpler Times


It’s funny how in a couple of generations things can be forgotten, lost in time.

Traditions, places, faces.

Yet, when revisiting them it reawakens something we’ve never really lost.

The first time I visited far west Texas, I was sixteen. I wasn’t truly present to the family road trip, but I do remember the crisp air and the cool summer nights,the vistas and endless horizon, and the mountains sprawling like a distant memory.

Fast forward nine years. This time I was listening. This time, I touched link after link of connections to a time before myself. Somehow, this place felt ingrained into me from childhood stories and people I hazily remember.

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A ranch near Marathon, TX.

On our trip we found the ranch my great-grandparents lived and worked on. Their ranch house happened to sit within viewing distance of the mansion facade for the movie set of the Giant. From the road, you can see a few lonely timbers still standing.

Here, my dad reminisced at the general supply store- Livingston’s- where he bought his first cowboy hat. We explored the Marfa Cemetery and found my great-great grandmother Maggie’s resting place. Come to find out, her great-great-great-granddaughter would share her birthday 137 years later. Yet another link that made me feel happy. Happy that a part of her would live on, even if it was just me telling my niece in the future that she shared in such an expansive family past.

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On the side of a mountain between Ft.Davis and Marfa, I sat eating chuckwagon-inspired food at Bloys Campmeeting, where generations of my family have gathered for a little over a century.  My father talked about the camp meeting with such vivid childhood memories. The strangest part was as we sat eating, we sat as outsiders. My dad’s history the only window at which we could peek into this family heritage. I felt like I could know these people, I should’ve perhaps in a different life, but I didn’t. So we enjoyed our dutch oven biscuits and bbq brisket, were grateful, and left for our Airbnb in Ft. Davis.

 

***

This past weekend was my grandmother’s birthday. Once again, I felt myself steeped in strong memories. This time they were partly my own and partly long before my time. In all honesty, we don’t get to visit this small town of my childhood summers anymore. Life has gotten busy, that far-too-complicated kind of busy that truly doesn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of things. Surely we should always have time for these kinds of places? Such wonderful places that hold such big parts of who we are, and yet we let life sweep us along- further and further away from them.

As we celebrated her day, I sat trying to hold onto the threads that tied me to her and the town I loved so much. Up until I was 12, we’d visit the grocery store my great-grandparents owned there. I’d gladly wake up before sunrise and drive through the sleepy town to help open the store. My great-grandfather would set to work in the meat market, his meat saw loud and terrifying to a little girl who wanted to keep all her fingers. My great-grandmother and grandmother set up the registers and made sure the shelves were stocked. I’d proudly take the task of unrolling the flag and placing it back outside and flipping the NOW OPEN sign over as soon as the clock struck 8. I remember making cattle runs in the evening- feeding and counting cows while avoiding the snapping jaws of ambling geese (much scarier then than they are now). I remember the wonderful home cooked dinners I haven’t tasted from their hands in over a decade. Who knew I’d miss its comfort? I remember the way it felt when we would fall asleep from contented exhaustion. I don’t remember thinking too much, only being happily busy all day, loved, and enthralled by a world so vastly different from my own.

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Who knew all these things would fall further and further away into hazy subconscious, and be the one thing that I would cling to unknowingly as an adult- hoping to recreate it one day in my own way.

My grandparents and their parents and so on and so on have been reminding me of how simple life can be. Their memories have reignited my own journey to build a simpler lifestyle, and because of that realization, I miss them beyond words. I wish I could ask them so many questions- even the ones that I never got the chance to know. They hold so much knowledge that I would love to be able to call them up sometimes. Yet now that they are gone, I just find myself scrambling for it in books and on the internet, hoping that my intuition will be enough. They lived it without thinking, and goodness knows I think too much.

I get whiffs of them in little moments. When I smell that sweet hay smell that follows livestock. A certain taste of cheese that they carried in their store can bring me back in a wave of memories.

My dad finds it in homemade plum jam and West Texas honey. In worn-in leather and dry mountain air. We both are reaching back to them for these sweet moments. A link to their awareness of the land around them, their love of working with their hands, their recipes passed down from decades of trial-and-error, and their love of family and community. In many ways, with their passing we let that piece of ourselves be forgotten. We didn’t take the time to let them teach us, or we simply just took it for granted as the world changed. And that simplicity, well, hopefully we’ll figure it out again soon. It might not look the same as it did in our memories, but hopefully it will be something just as fulfilling.

**Since I know many of you follow for progress on the Airstream– have no fear, things are coming along and an update is coming soon! Sadly, I’ve just been under the weather- which really isn’t a good excuse, but that’s all I got😉

The Life of Things: Thoughts on Minimalism


This blog post is a part of the Cherished Blogfest that I stumbled across in my roaming around the WordPress community. Their writing prompt is “What object do I cherish the most?” Feel free to join the conversation and create your own post about this topic and add it to the linked list of participants– or if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! I thought their topic was appropriate and relevant to my life lately- happy writing and reading!

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More than ever I’ve been contemplating the accumulation of “stuff” I’ve holed up like a pack rat over the years. I think living at home after college truly can revert you back to your childhood in a weird time-capsule sort of way.

Yet, like me, it’s changed over the past 18-odd years, though the bones have stayed the same. I’ve piled my typewriter, journals, England memorabilia (this includes hotel pens that I’m terrified will run out of ink…  evidence showing my true hoarding capabilities), clothes, books, as well as so many other things that have meant something to me over the years. I’ve essentially collected objects that I’ve come to associate with who I am. Then I go in the Airstream and wonder how in the world I’m supposed to fit my entire life inside this aluminum-can-on-wheels. Do I think that if all these objects that have trailed me are gone, it will erase the history that I encapsulate inside them?

I think I have a gypsy heart some-days, itching to leave it all behind and be doing something else, restless for a change of scenery. Excited by the freedom of the future. Yet, here I am getting sentimental over a cheap plastic pen. I carry so much around with me. In essance, all these things that I collect around me have been given meaning beyond their physicality and even their usefulness.

One example is a gum tape dispenser (essentially a tape dispenser that holds wet tape) that belonged to my great-grandparent’s grocery store that I grew up in–napping in cardboard boxes, pricing canned goods, and playing “cashier” in the back stockroom/break room. I have absolutely no need for this heavy tape holder whatsoever. Yet, tears formed in my eyes when I was reunited with it. It’s as though just by looking at it, that special part of my childhood will continue to exist for me, even if other people can no longer experience it. I can still touch the store, a beautiful memory, and that means the world to me.

It needs some TLC on top of it all, too.

So as I start this journey of minimizing (because honestly, I think M will kick me out of the Airstream if I take that tape dispenser with me… unless I can find some useful purpose for it 😉), I’ve begun to wonder if it’s healthy to “cherish” things in this way. Perhaps all these things are just touchstones I’m clinging onto, afraid that I’ll lose a part of myself if I leave them behind.

I just need a little more square footage….😁

And so I’ll keep you posted on how I actively simplify through our renovating process, keeping these words from Eckhart Tollé in mind as I move forward:

“Most people’s lives are run by desire and fear.

Desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. All fear is the fear of losing something and thereby becoming diminished and being less.

These two movements obscure the fact that Being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already within you, Now.”

Month One of Project Dream-Stream


It’s been exactly one month since we brought the Airstream home, and I’m not sure this renovation will be as short as I was hoping. Between me working a normal 40 hour work week and Mason’s work schedule being the exact opposite of mine (working in the evenings and almost all weekend), we haven’t gotten as much finished as we would have liked. We get so much more accomplished when we are both working on the renovations together, but that time is scarce.

Even with such little time spent on it, we are falling head-over-heels for the ‘ole tin can. Despite setbacks, like having to figure out how to put the windows back on after re-doing the weatherstripping (or even just the weatherstripping process itself) and figuring out how we would get the new A/C on top of the roof with nothing but muscle and ladders, we are even more excited about the project than before. Or at least, I am. 😉

An initiation into weatherstripping

The first thing on our list after getting the Airstream, besides getting the title and paperwork in order, was making sure it was sealed tight to prevent future water damage. M tested out the weatherstripping he purchased on the door first, before starting the windows. It went so quickly and seamlessly. The old weather stripping came right off and he only used a bit of Acetone (followed by a quick rinse off with water) to clean up any leftover residue and glue. And viola, the door was done, 35 minutes tops.

We were pretty confident we could knock out all the windows in a couple days of working an hour here and there…

Oh how wrong we were.

First, we tried taking the old weatherstripping off with the windows still attached to the Airstream… which was awkward and not very efficient. I did some research and learned that you could disconnect the arms and lift the window as far up as possible and they would come right off, so that was an exciting discovery.

Yet, the process was still tedious with both of us using putty scrapers to remove the old strips and glue, and we weren’t too happy with having to use Acetone. So after we were able to do a decent job on one of the windows we gave up for the day, with plans for investing in GooGone for next time. It was about 8:30pm by then, and when we went to put the window to the left of the door back on, we could not get it to go. The top of the window frame where the hinge was supposed to pop back in was bowed, and despite using a mallet and piece of wood to try and pop it back on, we had to give up around an hour later because it was dark and difficult to see. We taped it into place and called it a night with bruised egos and a new hole in the window screen from trying to pop it back on.

That weekend we went to town on the same two windows. We were able to remove the last remnants of the stripping and glue by soaking it in GooGone and carefully scraping it off with the putty scrapers. Three-ish hours later, we finished cleaning off the old gunk and had replaced it with the new stripping. Once again, that second window just wasn’t working with us. Another hour passed, and finally M was able to get it back on using a wooden board and a car jack. Two windows and a door down, and six more windows to go…


For now, we are taking a break and moving on to other projects. Sealing up the windows has turned into a beast that we’ve decided to work on over time, enabling us to keep moving forward with the rest of the renovation.

The A/C makes its anticipated arrival

The most exciting part of this venture so far has to be when we were able to put the new A/C into place on the roof. It took some brain power, but at the end of the day, mostly just brawn.

We were feeling a little defeated before putting it up, thinking we would have to shell out even more money to rent a cherry picker or scaffolding. Despite our best efforts, we had accepted the fact that we would have to take apart the old A/C piece by piece to get it off, thereby ensuring we wouldn’t damage the Airstream trying to remove it in all it’s huge and heavy glory. To the salvage yard it sadly went.

In the end, M, an amazing friend, and my dad were able to use two ladders side by side to haul the new one up. In retrospect, I should’ve taken a picture, but I was too concerned for their safety and holding ladders to think of it.

Finally, the electrician came out to check on our wires and the safety of the trailer–giving us the green light to turn the power on. I have to say, it was the most magical moment for me so far. With the weather being 90+ degrees since we’ve had our little aluminum home, we haven’t gotten a true sense of what it will be like living inside it.

For the first time, we sat in it with the door and windows closed, the lights on, and the A/C humming happily in the background. We walked around rambling off all the things we can’t wait to do and some ideas here and there. We played with all of the lights, marveling at the way it made the trailer come to life. Mostly, we just took in the moment. A rewarding, sweet little moment to dream together.

The new A/C

The galley with a random cucumber from the garden

M playing with lights


Coming up…

Tearing out the gaucho/front couch and the galley

-Removing some of the vinyl panels inside to pop out two dents in the aluminum exterior

-Sealing the roof

-Painting

-Putting in the new bamboo flooring

-This list seriously goes on foreeeevvverrr… Stay tuned!

©livesimplykmm.wordpress.com

The Sweetness of Summer + Lemon Bar Recipe


With a long weekend ahead of me, I’m ready to soak up every ounce of cool river breezes and dancing firefly nights.

I’ll be dipping my toes in the water as I drift away from the river bank and into the sun.

With family coming in for the long weekend, we’ll be BBQ-ing and fish frying to our hearts content. And the desserts become the main event– see lemon bar recipe below.

I’m also excited to devote some of my free time to plan the renovations for our new little tin can– it helps that it happily sits just a short walk away from the river.

The AC is almost ready to be put in, we’ve started to seal her up (this has turned slightly nightmarish, but window stripping is apparently every Airstream owner’s induction ceremony), and after we check the wiring and gas pipes, it will be time to tackle the interior– which I’m super excited about.

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I’m ready to slow down too though– maybe its the searing heat that makes us languid, but my heart is happy during this sweetly simple few drops of summer I’ve been allotted.

As for the lemon bars… well I couldn’t not mention them. I’ve baked these for my family on multiple occasions. And every time they were gone before I could even snap a picture. I’ve already had requests for repeats, so I can say your pretty safe giving these a whirl for the Fourth of July Weekend, or any lazy summer day (they’re simple to make, too). I’m debating between making these and Fried Oreos which has also been requested this weekend. While the oreos are always a hit too, there’s just something about cool, zesty-sweet bars that make them a summer home run in my book.

Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Lemon Bar Recipe

What You’ll Need:

13 by 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper

Filling/Sticky goodness:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

**This recipe will add up to needing at least 3 large, whole lemons (depends on their size, I’ve used up to 6 small ones before)**

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the crust (first step): Mix flour, sugar, salt, butter and lemon zest together with an electric mixer until it resembles bread crumbs (works best if you work your way up to a high speed for the right consistency). Then, press the dough together with your hands, then pressing it evenly into the base of a 13 by 9-inch baking pan (lined with parchment paper). It can be sandy in consistency. The key is flattening the mixture to line the bottom of the baking pan.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or lightly golden. Let it cool while leaving the oven on for the next step.

Second Step: Put the sugar, eggs, and lemon juice and zest in a bowl and whisk until well mixed. Pour over baked crust (once it has cooled slightly). Bake for 20 minutes or until the top has set and edges are golden. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate over night or as long as possible.


Enjoy their zesty, sweet, here-comes-the-sun taste!


Though they aren’t a glamorous patriotic choice for the Fourth, they embody summer- and disappear just as quickly!

**I am in no ways a professional baker, just a by-the-book, line-by-line observer of recipe instructions. I only tweak where helpful or necessary– I can’t guarantee satisfaction, other than my own experience!**

Photos ©livesimplykmm.wordpress.com

Our Decision to Live Riveted


For many moons, a boy and a girl stayed up late at night, restless, trying to figure out how they were going to build their lives together. Many dreams were dreamt, and many they watched fade away into distant memories of who they used to be. Yet, time and time again, the questions remained, where would they start? How would they begin?

Since I was 13 or so, I’ve adopted the motto “Live Simply, Love Deeply.” It’s guided everything I’ve done up until now and has led me down some pretty crazy paths. But, it’s given me infinite room to grow. It’s made me much braver than I thought I could be. It’s been so important to me, that it’s the namesake for this blog. And so it was fueled in the 6th grade when I took Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” to heart. I really haven’t looked back… Just waiting for that sigh somewhere ages and ages hence

All this has led up to Saturday’s 22 hour journey to buy our Dream Stream—a 1972 Airstream Sovereign. We’ve officially taken the leap to live small and dream as big as we possibly can. It’s funny how I almost feel like this was something I always knew would happen as soon as M introduced me to the documentary Tiny. It just spoke to everything I believe in, and feels right for us. It isn’t for everyone and it probably isn’t forever for us, but it’s so so right for right now. Now that it’s home and ready to be renovated into our little landing place in the world, a huge weight has lifted off of me.

I’m not naïve enough to think it will be a walk in the park (it’s summer in Texas and the A/C unit doesn’t blow cold air– which means we’ve already had to shell out a pretty penny for a new unit, we don’t have a toilet, a bedroom, or really any idea how the wiring works… we are learning!), but I’m excited to become comfortable with less in a world that teaches us to always want more.

I’m so excited to be taking this time capsule from another era and breathing new life into it. Salvaging it into something special for us, learning how to re-purpose and repair what time has forgotten.

I’m ready to create a home I can afford, AKA debt free, at this stage in my life with the person I love most. I’m ready for the things we will learn and the travels it will allow us to take (Redwoods here we come!).

I’m ready for life in this moment.

And yes, you will probably see renovation updates in this space now. Along with the content you are used to me posting, this is just a little piece of the journey. I’m excited to share what we discover along the way, and hope you continue to follow along!


Image via Pinterest

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to both of our families and friends (and especially M’s dad and my dad) for your endless support and love. 

A sincere shout out to my wonderful fiancé for doing endless grunt work and hours upon hours of research for this adventure. I wouldn’t have had the peace of mind, let alone an amazing partner in crime, if it wasn’t for your devotion to me and this project. You are the only thing that takes my words away– there is never any amount of words to thank you. ❤️

I’m a Wanderer


I never thought as an English major that I would find myself in the world of marketing and advertising. I don’t know why really. I mean, not all English majors don a tweed jacket with elbow patches and a pair of spectacles for reading papers (though to be honest, I do love my tweeds). While that still appeals to me some days, I feel like I have a bit of a wandering soul. Despite all my angsting to have control over my life, I also get anxious when I feel stuck in the same place too long. I’m a bit of a strange fruit because my passions change with every rise and fall of the sun. If it has an inkling to do with writing or reading or anything about my lifestyle that I find enjoyment in, I’m interested. I pursue it.

So when I found myself as an associate copywriter, I was surprised that I could be inspired by the world of branding and marketing. I have always been a creative writer, not a marketing guru. How was this possible? Combine product that has the power to inspire people every day and meaningful words and you have a whole new perspective. I didn’t realize that there was a person behind all the e-mails and articles I read every day. It’s almost like something I just consumed mindlessly. No, I know I consumed mindlessly. There is a whole new world that opened up to me for writing that I never really thought about. Copywriting can be the difference between a run of the mill advertisement and a meaningful product that you can connect to and care about. Anyone can try to sell a product, but can you inspire people with it?

I remember when I was in college being asked what I was going to do with my degree. I hated it. I understand that people love labels and it helps them identify with you, but I couldn’t label my degree. I didn’t want to. I loved books and words and people’s stories. I loved writing and being a communicator. I felt like it was a wonder degree where I got to have the best of all worlds. No future career option with a background in English sounded bad. While I always have a plan and am organized, my only goal was to love whatever job I found and take whatever steps that meant. Be it publishing, writing, or teaching. If anything, my degree program taught me you could be anything if you could communicate clearly. I just want to write to my heart’s desire. There are countless possibilities.

More than anything, I am becoming a “yes woman.” There are so many experiences that I would have been terrified of before or thought I wasn’t capable of doing. After graduating I was at a point where I just needed somethinganything to get my feet planted in the world. It pushed me to be OK with the extraordinary, because let’s face it, extraordinary is scary but ordinary is a silent killer. It’s a big world out there and as hard as you may try to plan, you really can’t always tell where it will lead you.7594c85d89ea3e5fe7fab1000512330e

I’d like to say my wanderings have left my writing for this space long behind me, but I find myself constantly scribbling down notes about things I want to post in this little space. I feel a need to move on some days, leaving the world of my ramblings on WordPress behind. So much to do, so little time. But, I found I’ve grown to love this little expression of my soul. And though it may wander in and out and never truly become something super grown-up and professional like I often feel compelled to do, it’s honest. And goodness knows, in such tumultuous times, it’s a soft spot to land and say something heartfelt and maybe make a few meaningful connections along the way. While I wander every which way and struggle to find words sometimes, I think it’s still relevant– I just have no idea where the path may lead. 

But here’s to the journey and hopefully many more–Kassie 

 
Images found on Pinterest