This is the story of our exploration of the human condition... continuing the adventures in our BattleWagons until something great happens or we decide it's a lost cause. Est. 2008

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Business as Unusual

Bart and I have been slammed at work. Business has been booming, and while we haven't met the goals we set out to hit, we're picking up pretty quickly, finding a rhythm, and cranking stuff out.

One of our first vehicle projects was installing checkered flag racing stripes on a Nissan Juke. Went well, and that thing looks fast!

We did a huge sign for a local eatery, the Twisted Cork. Their face was old and the colors were "muddy". We built and installed new faces for them, bright yellow to catch eyes!

We've also had the privilege of banning a custom wood sign for a father's day gift. It's a beautiful thing.

Keeps us busy and old!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Shop is Coming Together

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of insanity.  The location is rented, and we have tables, partitions, a desk, and little else.  Today is only the 21st, and we're looking to open up for Star Wars Day.

To catch you all up to speed on what's been happening, a couple of weeks ago, my brother and I entered into a partnership with a former employer of mine and the former sign guru of Salida, Colorado.  With their help, we're opening Salida Sign Works, a full service sign shop, running the gamut on everything from business cards to vehicle wraps, banners to billboards, and everything in between.

For the next two weeks, we're going to be moving stuff, building stuff, drawing stuff, selling stuff, buying stuff, setting things up to get it all going, etc.  After that, it's only running a successful business.  No pressure.

Pictures soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An Update: Counting Down to Bugging Out

Our lease expires in eighteen days. Eighteen days until we load up our trailer, hook it up to our truck, and make for the promised land.

Bozeman, Montana, is a beautiful place. There is no end of things to explore, places to go, wonders to see, but there is a certain amount of money required to maintain that, money which I am not making in my current profession.

Salida, Colorado is our goal. It's where I grew up, a small, artsy town nestled in the Sawatch Range and hugging the Arkansas River. Hopefully, it'll be a better fit for us.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

THURSDAY FEELS: Taking Back the Middle Class

I know this isn't what typically goes in feels, but I'm passionate about it, so I'm putting it here. I'm taking back the middle class.

With this whole project, moving into an old trailer, down sizing, saving money, etc., I have begun to think that this is the new face of the middle class citizen. Wages have fallen when compared to expenses. Houses are more expensive. College is more expensive. Food, gasoline, meds and doctors visits, all of the things we need to survive are so much more expensive when compared to how much money we're bringing in. Families used to enjoy the privilege of one parent working, while now, both parents work, usually with one parent making maybe $100 more per month then daycare costs. It's ridiculous.

However, I'm refusing to give this society that much of my time and money. I'm moving into a trailer, a tiny house that we've completely paid off already. We're going to park it at a mobile home park for $300/month plus utilities. This may seem cheap and tragic, but I don't see it that way. I see it as living within my means, responsibly, and not in excess.

It used to be that people saved up for a house. The average down payment was half of the purchase price. Now, people wind up paying so much money in interest to the bank for a suburban, cookie cutter mansion they can't afford, with a huge garage for their SUVs that they drive, solo, to work every day.

We can do better than this, and I think my generation is going to face a very harsh reality: America has messed up pretty badly. We've done on the government level what we've done on a personal and family level. We have tons of debt, we don't have any drive to get real jobs, the kinds of jobs that involve physical labor. We value sinking tens of thousands of dollars into degrees that help us work in retail and refuse to invest thousands of dollars into a certification that would potentially earn us close to six figures with overtime. We're lazy, and we're all moving in with our old parents.

So I'm downsizing. I'm working nights. I fix my own things when I have the means. I'm being happy with what I have, what little there is, and I'm saving for my future.

Help me take back the middle class.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WEDNESDAY SKILLS: Family Creations

I don't have any creative projects that I've worked on lately. Truth be told, we've saving up to do this trailer thing. However. In the spirit of Christmas, here is the Boy with a sonic screwdriver I made from a keychain, an old pen, and some duct tape. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TUESDAY UPDATE: The BattleStation

I figured I'd show you guys some of what we're getting into.  These top two pictures are the inside of the tiny bathroom in the back of the trailer.  Everything works,so we'll be moving in and re-modelling shortly thereafter. The bathroom floor will be replaced, a small electric heater added, and the cabinet and sink will be replaced.

Here is the interior.  The first thing we did after cleaning is take down all of those gaudy drapes.  Yuck.  Feels way better in there now, but work to do all around.

This is the outside.  1971 22' RoadRunner, apparently built in Utah.  The Woman looks like a boss, locking it with authority and pizaz.

Here's the kitchen area.  Counter tops will eventually be replaced.  We haven't decided what the counters are going to be made out of, although I am leaning heavily towards making it all a usable butcher block.  The fridge is plenty huge.  The furnace works, and the stove is all gas.  On one of our window shopping expeditions, The Woman picked out a back-splash/wall treatment that looks like the pounded copper in old-timey saloons.  I'm totally fine with that.  

Here's a better overview.  The dinette will likely be taken out and replaced with a couple of simple, folding barstools and a table that folds down and out of the way, creating much more usable space for kiddos to run around and get into no good.  We won't only be living in here with The Princess, but The Prince will be staying with us occasionally, too, as well as The Duke, a little boy whose parents we trade babysitting with.  The dinette will be the big project, however, afterwards, between where it is now and the bed/couch, I'd like to install a small office table to have a place to design or work on projects inside.  I feel like it's crucial to be able to stay inside, as the high today was 5 degrees here in Bozeman.

That's your sneak peak.  I'll let you know when there is more.  Our target date for move-in is January 1st.  We'll be throwing more pictures up as things progress!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

THURSDAY FEELS: A Few Notes on a New Career

It's just after 2 am.  A month ago, I would feel anxious and tired, but now that I'm working nights, it's not so bad. I'm still adapting, but coffee and I always had a basic understanding that we're currently expanding on.

I love the work I'm doing now. It's such a huge departure from what I used to do. No creativity here. No deadlines. No production and quality control.

Just interaction, and safety. I provide those two, simple things. Some of these kids have rough stories. Some have inept families. Some make bad decisions. But I'm finding, the more I get to know them, that they're my kids. They mean a lot to me, and if the shit hit the fan, I'd pick all of them up before I left town for safety.

The crazy part is that a year ago, I had no idea I'd be here. It's scary, but I can't afford to contemplate the future too much. Time to focus on the now.