Just when you thought the nastiest winter you’ve ever seen had lossened its vice like grip on your mental stability, it punches you again right in the nose. I can’t say I was confident that the winter nightmare was over, but I had the huberus to think it. Huberus gets me every time.
Yesterday, Easter was a lovely day. The sun was out, we were in the city visiting friends. We felt good. There was an ugly rumor that it could start snowing overnight. We thought, even if it did there would be no way for it to stick to the roads as spring had sprung and warmed everything with it’s hopful glow.
This morning we woke up to the sky dumping snow down on us faster than I could shovel it. It was the worst. I’ve called into work 3 times for a snow day which I then nervously work from home. I hate working from home. Work and home are to be separate things. Work is hard and often unpleasant. Home is relaxing and almost always plesent. When these two world meet it causes untold anxiety for me. That said in what could be called a fit of winter frustration. I decided to drive our car to Harrison to take the surprisingly robust Path train into the city. Kate was not excited about this decision, and thought I was being a bit too reckless driving in what was probably already 4-5 inches of fluffy snow. That was intensified by the fact that NJ had not bothered to get any plows out on the roads. I made to Harrison just in time for a Path employee to tell me that path service had been suspended. I felt like a fool! I drove 20 or 30 min in the worst snow I’ve driven in in 20 years only to fail. I was walking back to the car with my head hung low when I heard a train pull in. Magically thing where back on and I got on the train ariving to work by 9.
Today is a very hopeful day. After the last 9 months of what some would call a post apocalyptic atomic winter. Today is the tiny glimer of light at the end of this dark cold tunnel.
Baseball’s Opening Day! It’s not looking blinding bright for the Mets this year. In-fact I feel as if excitement is pretty down after last year’s injury plauged season. Pair that with the fact that the Yankees are looking real good and have superstar Aaron Judge and you have a lack luster start for the turds from Queens.
That said I can’t help but feel the warm glow of hope today (even if it is raining). They aren’t America’s team, hell they aren’t even New York’s team. They are a rag tag crew of underdogs with a better balanced group of players than in previous years. The game is at 1:10 and we are playing St. Louis. Let’s Go Mets!
as always Buttfuzz rocks her Mets jersey for opening day.
Late Sunday afternoon (yesterday) I got myself in action and finally made the first steps to get some organization in the basement. The suburban basement is a tricky mistress as it’s a sort of black hole for stuff. Turns out I hate stuff. All these years I thought stuff was cool. Well, let me tell you stuff is not cool. Stuff was holding me back. Holding me back from what you might ask? Living my truth? No, that’s never been an issue for me. “Living my truth” seem difficult to avoid, as if you take the “my” out of the equation it’s just “living truth” which is really just living. I digress…
I decided to make a pegboard wall to hang all the tools that have been stuffed into draws or cabinets in the basement and make finding anything impossible. Thus frustrating me on the weekends.
I went to my local Home Depot and picked up the pegboard and enough 1X2’s to make the frame. Over the past year and a half Home Depot has become a bit more manageable as this fool has learned to depend on the Home Depot app vs the turds that prented to work there. (Disclaimer)( I’m sure many a knowlegable employee work at Home Depot’s scattered across this great nation. My experience is only the Maplewood Vauxhall Road Home Depot.)
I came home and Kate had started to oraganize the stuff we had piled in the basement. I helped finish up and made a clear space to start the project. I’m not sure how long it took but I might guess only about and hour or 2. Here are the directions I used, not really needed but hey why not.
I’ve orders a few more hooks and trays. I’m looking forward to optimizing it. See the pics below it’s just a start. Plus you can see there is still plenty of just to sort out.
Just in case I forget in a year. This winter has been truly the worst…. I have that thing where the summer sun erases all the bad memories of the winter prior. I go into each new winter season thinking it won’t be that bad…. Like a hopeful young freshman in highschool. Starring off into the middle distance with his wide eyed dumb face thinking “highschool can’t possibly be a social damaging experience”.
This winter I shan’t forget. We have had 3 noreasters in 4 weeks. We have a 4th storm slated for next week and it’s the second half of March! To this I say for shame mother nature. The grey sky depression has taken hold and I can honestly say it’s not just me. It’s effecting the entire east coast.
It’s like being trapped in a snow globe that someone keeps dropping and then comically kicking around the room when they try to pick it up.
It’s like an prison with out walls. Covered in snow with no release date in sight.
It’s like a dare, a dare that didn’t keep kids off drugs at all… In fact it’s the dare that started this nuclear winter and the opeoid epidemic.
It’s like an alcoholic with a ski resort snow machine. In this scenario they’re not addicted to booze they’re addicted to burying the east cost in snow and self-esteem issues.
Yes, I’ve neglected you, and for good reason some might say. Since my last post in 2015, the internet has changed a lot. Instagram has become my main source of maintaining a fake sense of self importance. That said personal blogs became just too cumbersome for people to care about. It’s too much effort on both ends. Me to write and you to point your browser at.
The other day it came to my attention that this blog had fallen off the internet. That was a step too far even for this absent blog owner. So, last weekend I took the effortless steps to contact my server host and get things straightened out. That lands us here, at a cross roads. Is it so out of fashion that it is time to start this old, tired and pointless blog back up? Maybe, lets start with a short update to see.
Since the last post circa 2015:
The van has been almost fully restored
Kate and I took a Grand Canyon road trip in the van.
We bought a house and moved to West Orange NJ
I still have the same job
Kate is still at Eileen Fisher
I’m still bald
We still have buttfuzz (the cat)
Had a van project Kickstarter fail called Campskills.
That about it, certainly some big things in there and many posts that will never be realized, but that’s alright. I kinda mirrors my life in a way. Things just got too busy for me to embrace them and so they tend to fade a bit.
One of the bigger interior projects in the Westy we did just last weekend. We replaced the original refrigerator with a much more modern Truck Fridge.
The original Westfalia refrigerator was kind of impressive. It ran on your choice of 3 different power sources. It could use the auxiliary battery, the plug in shore power, or propane gas from the tank under the van. This may make you wonder why in the heck would anyone want to replace it. Well, it turns out none of those power sources worked particular well. We only got it working on the plug in shore power. Even when we got it working it would at best only stay internally 20deg cooler inside than the temperature outside.
The Truck Fridge on the other hand is a much more modern and efficient refrigerator. It runs both AC and DC power so we still have the option to run auxiliary battery or shore power. It also happens to be (almost) a perfect fit in the space left vacant by the original fridge. This only requires you to trim the cabinet frame and ad some posts to screw the flanges of the fridge into. Oh, there is also one other small issue. The Truck Fridge is only sold in black. This requires you to orders matching reproduction laminate for the fridge door, and then mask and spray the rest of the fridge to match the molding in the van…. So I did that.
I wish I took more pictures during the install but it turned out to be a full days job
I’m dating this post to match the day we bought our Westy. On June 27th Kate and I did a very un-KateandPaul thing. We drove to Newbury Mass. and bought, pretty much sight un seen 1987 Vanagon Westfalia. The Vanagon Westfalia is a camper van. It holds 4 people both riding and sleeping. It’s endlessly customizable. It is also our ticket out of the little NYC bubble we live in.
That might sound crazy but after 10 years in NYC it just like anywhere else. The path we run to work and back is well worn and difficult to break free of. The Westy is for that.
There are a few challenges. Vanagons are notoriously under powered and unreliable. The Westy tops out at 65mph on the highway. That, I don’t mind. There is an ease in knowing the slow lane is for you and passing is a non issue. The real challenge is the simple fact the engine is almost 30 years old and reality of a part failing and canceling a trip is inevitable. It’s a good lesson in patience and dealing with disappointment, but the future is most likely a Subaru engine conversion. Giving us 100 more horse power and a modern engine that most mechanics can quickly find parts for. Not to mention a level or reliability we will never have with the very old VW engine.
The previous owners really only used Westy as a sleeper. They didn’t take advantage of all it has to offer or all you can do with it. This is the most exciting part for me. On our very first trip to the Poconos Kate and I Installed the Go Westy Aux Battery Kit. This is a second battery besides your main car battery that runs all the electronics for the van. There is also a 14 gallon water tank built into the van that is used by the sink. The water lines for that need to be replaced. There is also a fridge built it. It’s suffering from old age and can be replaced with a Truck Fridge that runs on both AC and DC power. Hoping to make that upgrade soon.
Hey everyone Happy Easter. We had a pretty nice time here. Thanks to everyone that came over. The beautiful cupcakes from Michelle. The traditional Lamb of God cake from Megan. Kate made the Easter favorites ham, potato salad and corn casserole. Over all a huge Easter success.
We went to Antigua in the Caribbean last week to escape from the hell of the NYC winter. Now I know “Canada and Chicago are way colder”! But I don’t care winter sucks and we got out. Although we only got out moments before yet another winter storm. We had to think quickly to adjust our flight to leave the evening before we had planed. Luckily it all worked out and we got to Antigua safe and sound, only 2 hours later than we had planned. We stayed as the Sandals Resort……. so what it was all inclusive and a decent deal for late booking. Any way enjoy the pictures. Just a couple because most of the time was spent laying on the beach. We only had 2 days.