Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...



I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Getting close

I awoke at 4:30 today, as I have every morning for the last 3 weeks.  Most of these days have been filled from before sunrise to after sunset with work at breakneck speed, on the bus conversion, and it has been a lot of fun.  Yesterday was the first since my two days at Happy Camper RV Repair, where Jeremy and Duncan did an amazing job hooking everything up.  Since then, and especially this morning, with the deadline of making my appointment with them behind me, my pace has slowed and a deep melancholy has laid itself over me like a thick blanket of snow.  My friend Scott Gusmer once noticed that a project is a reason to live, and when it's over, there is a void.  I am not done with my bus interior, there is plenty more to do even before I head west, but a major push is complete, and I have some time to be morose (so why pass that up? :-)

I have a habit of buying more of a fastener than I need for any given project, so that I have a good supply on hand for the next time I might need it.  Before I left Massachusetts, I organized in little 6 mil poly bags I ordered from the internet for the purpose, dozens of sizes and varieties of metal bolts, Phillips and slotted, nuts, washers, lock washers, sheet metal screws, wood screws, Phillips and slotted, pop rivets, screw eyes, toggle bolts, and other bits of hardware (about a third of which is in the picture to the right.)  After a stopping point on a project, I like to straighten up all of my tools, and sort any stray hardware back into their pouches.  This morning, I re-sorted the hardware that had been left spilled on a Sterilite lid for use during the recent push.  But, my usually joyful hardware husbandry felt lonely and futile, today.  I thought about the house in Fleetwood I didn't get to buy.  I thought about how this is clearly a replacement project.  It's just a bus/camper, but it's my territory.  I live here, wherever here is at the moment.  What will I find out west?  (If it's an endless series of creepy paid camp grounds and WalMarts, I'll be very disappointed.)

Despite some despair, I completed my sorting, noted which bits need replenishing, and I'm off to Home Depot to get wood for shelves over my windows, and I'll restock the hardware supplies too.  Who can travel without at least a couple dozen wood screws in each of sizes 1 1/4 x 8, 1 1/2 x 10, 2 x 12?  And some 6-32's, 10-24's, and 1/4-20's in a variety of lengths, with nuts, washers, and locks?

Got milk?  Got Screws?

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