Summer 2019 Update

Anemia is still hell, but I have come a long way in my recovery. The summer heat is hard on me and physical activity will wear me down, but my recovery is much quicker and I am able to exercise. My career and personal life take up what little free time I have. I often forego going out to shows or events, so that I can properly rest up for work. I will choose to stay in entire weekends if I know I have a busy Monday coming up, but unlike last year, I can keep up with yard work and cleaning.

Outside of my health issues I have been finishing up work on my VW bus. In February I added AC (installed myself using a Gilmore enterprises kit), then in March I installed cruise control, a new steering wheel, rebuilt steering box, and an awning. I have put around 5,000 miles since I put it on the road April last year. The bus has gone on two trips from Florida’s Space Coast up to Asheville, NC. One month I did weekly trips down to South Florida to clear out my storage unit, 280 miles each trip. Still need to finish the kitchenette, the roof rack, and solar setup.

Now that the bus is a capable daily driver, I’ve been able to resume other projects, mostly focusing on my house, but also my computer and antique radio collections. The home got new AC last year, this year it’s been going through a deep clean, next up is a new roof. I cleaned out my storage unit and now have all of my vintage computers and antique radios. Still cleaning and organizing my stuff from storage, but I have my electronics bench setup and have done some vintage computer repairs and recently began work on some of my radios.

It’s nice getting back into the routine of things. Even though the fatigue and pain get bad at times, even though I have to stop to rest and force myself not to do things, I’m accomplishing more than I have in nearly two years. I may have to pause things for hours, days, sometimes even weeks or months, but I’m able to resume and accomplish. Maybe I’ll start updating my blog more often, but no promises.

Anemia Hell

Anemia is hell, or at least the kind I have is. After the hurricane hit Florida last September I started getting sick and never fully recovered. December and January I pushed myself hard with energy drinks, due to traveling and house repairs. I started having headaches every morning that never went away, my heart-rate was constantly high, I was constantly cold and I couldn’t do chores or even cook dinner for myself. Worst part, doctors would blame my issues on my fibro and I believed them at first.

Eventually I blamed the issues on mold. I had found serious mold in my kitchen in January and had to gut the sink area and build a new countertop. When the shitbirds were squatting in my house, the sink had leaked, possible for a couple of years, causing the particle board of the cabinets and drywall behind them to become moldy. After that I gutted part of my office/lab where I had an ant issue, found a small bit of mold, not enough to make a person sick though.

Exposure to that mold would make me sick for a day or two, so it made sense that mold was causing my health issues. I was wrong, as I remained sick and wasn’t getting better. The house was smelling good again, my sinuses were clearing, but I was not in good shape.

With my health was going to hell I quit energy drinks, quitting caffeine helped before. Even after the caffeine detox I started passing out every day. Usually around lunch time or shortly after color would drain out of my skin, I would become extremely chilled, then have trouble remaining conscious. At the worst it caused mental issues, confusion, word slurring, there were a few times that I started babbling pure gibberish. The mental impairment was scary, I could barely function. That coupled with the fatigue attacks causing me to pass out made me realize that I was becoming anemic again.

Everything about being anemic is horrible. I’m not sure what is worse, the weak immune system, infections, lack of sleep, fevers, the exhaustion, or the headaches, but I think it’s that I could only function during the day. By 5pm the fevers would have taken me out of commission, rarely would I feel better before the next morning. Sleep was nearly impossible, five or six hour was normal and upon rising I would have horrible headaches. If I tried to exercise, the headaches would worsen. These weren’t the only major issues I had.

Wounds, from minor to major would become infected, even if I cleaned and treated them. The infections made them itch so badly I couldn’t sleep. Wounds would take a minimum of 3-4 weeks to heal, then leave scars. In addition this was the first time in a few years that I had reoccurring sinus infections.

The anemia really made it seem like my body was falling apart. But once I realized what was happening, I bumped up my B12 and made sure my folate intake was healthy. It has been nearly two months since I was at my worst and I am recovering.

The headaches have gone away, I’m passing out less and less often. My cold tolerance is returning and I’ve mostly kicked the sinus infections. I still get tired easily, prone to low grade fevers (possibly due to fibro), evenings can be hard, but I’m sleeping more also. My heart rate is slowly trending down and my wounds are healing. One of the best parts is that wounds no longer become infected, they just heal with normal amounts of scarring.

Two and one half months left for initial recovery.

Hurricanes Do Not Agree with Fibro – Irma and the Aftermath

Originally written back in November 2017, then never posted due to me getting sick.


As a Florida resident I have to keep an eye on potential hurricanes. Tropical storms have never been an issue, unless I need to drive through flooded roads, but hurricanes I don’t mess with. In the twenty years I’ve been in Florida I’ve seen quite a few cat 1, 2, and 3 hurricanes. I’ve had giant old trees fall yards from the house I was staying in, and see roofs ripped off buildings where I have worked. Hurricanes are stressful and post cleanup can be exhaustive, not a good combo when one has Fibromyalgia. While my thirty years old home is in a good location, on a good grid and my street has never flooded, none of that helped during Irma.

Hurricane Irma came through and it was not as severe as it was expected to be, but the local utilities haven’t been maintaining their lines. Before I moved to South Florida the utility lines were always kept clear, after moving back I discovered massive overgrowth across the entire grid. Two months ago I had the power company out to see about doing line clearings, it was scheduled for the end of September, but because of the hurricane they still haven’t done the clearing. Luckily during Irma the overgrowth didn’t damage the lines around my house, but did damage the lines further back in the grid. The power line damage from overgrowth caused us to be without power from before the hurricane hit us through the entire week.

The house itself took no damage during Irma, front yard looked untouched, yet the backyard looked like a tornado went through it. Trees and bushes in the backyard were all pushed westward, branches twisted around branches. My orchid tree took the most damage from the wind, it looks like half a tree now that all the leaves and branches are on one side of it. My lemon tree took almost no damage, although we lost most of the lemons. Most homes in the neighborhood had little to no damage, but there was plenty of yard cleanup.

First day after the hurricane was bearable. Without electricity we had no AC, but the weather had not warmed back up. It was fairly easy to start on limited cleanup and it seemed like I was going to be in good shape. On the second day the Florida summer heat returned, along with mosquitos. We had a tiny generator to keep our fridge running and a fan on us, even still the late afternoon left us overheated and exhausted. Thankfully I kept my Quell unit charged, so while the fatigue grew, the pain was kept managed.

The hurricane hit us on a Sunday night, power was restored to us Friday afternoon. I was struggling to function at this point, having slept only a few hours each night. When power came on, and stayed on, that gave me an adrenaline rush that allowed me put the well system back online, but not much more than that. Over the next few days I struggled to sleep, then struggled to stay awake. I managed to take the plywood off the windows, one window a day.

After that, it took over a month for me to recover. I struggled with sleep over the following weeks, each week sleep improving by a tiny bit. Each day I felt extremely drained, heavily foggy, struggling to do the most basic of chores. I could mostly keep up with work, but at the expense of house chores and personal projects. I flared up bad and was in a flareup for most of October. The flare would occasionally become extreme and my immune system was weak. Got sick a few too many times over the past month. Now it is early November and I’m starting to feel more like myself. I’m able to keep up with my chores and have resume work on my projects. I have good days and I have bad days, but the good days are starting to outnumber the bad days again.

Sleep is so important to manage fibro, the entire body weakens without enough of it. It was a hard recovery, something I hope to not have to go through again. If we get hit with another hurricane I have a nice generator ready to keep a couple of window units running.


Mid August Update

Anemia issues are back under control and they weren’t completely due to me mis-medicating. Turns out we had a small bedbug infestation and they were feasting on me. Took nearly two months and a lot of money to have them professionally exterminated, but it’s over with. I am extremely allergic to bedbugs, and their feasting on me can trigger anemia flareups. I hope to never go through that again.

Once that was solved I took a week long road trip and drove my Audi from Florida up to Vermont then back. Detoured up through the mountains of North Carolina up through into New York state before arriving in Vermont. In Vermont I visited childhood friends and attended the wedding of one of my childhood best friends. After the wedding I drove back down through Massachusetts and Connecticut so I could stop and visit with relatives. It was a beautiful, but exhaustive drive that I may still be recovering from.

Upon returning from the epic drive, we adopted a dog. At just under one year old he is more of a puppy, but he is a beautiful black mouth cur. While he is a bit overly playful at times, he is a welcome member of our family.

House work has been mostly focused on cleaning up and fixing up the yard, cleaning up rooms, and organizing boxes of stuff from my home computer lab. The garage has been mostly cleaned back up, enough so that I can resume work on my fleet once the weather has cooled some.

Everything is slowly improving ^_^

Anemia Recovery Again – Recovering Well

After the anemia attacks the other week I reanalyzed my supplements and found that I was getting upwards of 80% of my B12 per day, some days far less than that. I had purchased a smaller dosage of sublingual B12 than I should have, this dosage was healthy for a normal person who can absorb B12 without issue. Because of the somewhat low dose my B12 levels slowly depleted over the months until it became too low again. We have doubled the dosage and I am in recovery.

I have not experienced a full crash since my dosage was doubled. While I still become fatigued and foggy in the evenings, it’s happening later and the duration is shorter. At the beginning of the week I would start to fade by 4pm, as of yesterday I didn’t fade until 6pm. Early in the week I would feel heavily fatigued for a few hours, then start to feel normal again, yesterday I started to feel normal after an hour. Before the treatment bump I was experiencing nearly non-stop fibro flares, bad ones.  A week later there is still some minor flaring, the usual aches and pains of fibro, I’m back to where I was a month or two ago.

Whenever my B12 gets bumped back up to healthy issues I have trouble sleeping for the first week or two. At first I’ll struggle to get 6 hours of sleep, but each night I should see an improvement and soon I’ll be back to my 7-8 hours a night. B12 treatment also has a small weight gain side effect, but it should be easy to prevent thanks to the healthier diet I’m on combined with regular exercise.

Anemia – A Year Later

A little over a year ago I began treatment for B12 anemia, aka pernicious or megaloblastic anemia. At beginning I saw many substantial improvements, especially with fatigue. At the time I even stated that it had stopped my crashes, but that wasn’t true. The seemingly random crashes went from regular to rare. If I don’t push myself too hard I may not see an anemia attack for weeks, but with the return of the summer heat combined with my morning power walks, I’ve had a few more attacks than I’m used to. The most recent attack happened yesterday, triggering a full flareup.

During my lunch break I climbed up on the roof to work on patching it before the rainy season. The weather was nice with a good breeze, so I didn’t experience overheating like I did last time I was up there. I was able to get my work accomplished in about 30 minutes and came down feeling decent. A couple of hours later I was at a doctor appointment and informed her of my morning power walk and the roof work that day. She commented on how energetic and perky I seemed, to which I responded that while I was feeling good at that time, I could feel my body starting to get weak. A couple of hours later, at dinner, I took all my supplements, including extra B12 to help fight the attack, but before I knew it, I was chilled and passing out.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe the feeling of the anemia attack. My body starts to feel off, motor controls may be okay, but everything feels heavy and tired, but usually not painful. As the attack worsens muscles get weaker and I start to feel a chill, not long after this my eyes get heavy and hard to keep open. Bad attacks, like yesterday evening’s, are rare, but they can trigger painful fibro flareups. When the flare began I could still get around the house and was planning on cooking an easy dinner, but the pain started to get worse making it hard for me to use my right hand/arm for anything. The pain kept on worsening, evolving from simple aches to more powerful pain spikes throughout my legs and arms, and extreme stiffness in my shoulders. That’s when I turn the intensity of my Quell up as much as I can handle.

With the Quell turned up as much as it can, I’ll start to huddle under blankets, trying to warm myself from this increasing chill. The blankets help, keeping breezes off me, as even a gentle warm breeze may trigger shaking. At this point the pain may be bad, but is usually manageable and I’ll pass out. This is what happened last night. As the air conditioner blew cool air throughout the house, I covered myself with blankets, turned the Quell up, and passed out for an hour.

Upon waking back up I will often find myself warm, unless it’s a particularly bad incident. Yesterday’s was one of these bad ones. Waking up was a struggle, I would pass back out for seconds then re-awaken. The chill had lessened, but I still chilled easily. My head felt like it was in a balloon and my muscles were hard to move. Took over a half hour before I could move from the couch without assistance (it’s why I keep crutches around the house). Once I was able to move, I could feel my body tiring again, but it was after 8pm and I was good enough to get ready for bed. I knew it was bad when I couldn’t get a new trash bag into the trash barrel, I gave up after a few tries.

Thanks to, what doctors and research tells me is the fibro, I barely slept for the first 5-6 hours in bed. I feel asleep for good around 4am waking up shortly before 8am. I felt meh when I woke up, I was still in a flareup. Shoulder muscles were stiff, walking wasn’t easy, and motor skills were definite reduced. I tried to put a trash bag in the trash barrel, then gave up. I wasn’t surprised when I had a second attack after lunch today, I didn’t try to stop it, I let myself pass out. I woke up an hour later and was able to resume work.

Even though I get foggy during some of these attacks, only the worst stop me from being able to work. It is far easier for me to type out a string of bash commands or code a routine than it is to come up with words during conversations. Even right now as I type this blog entry, if I try to talk to someone else in the room my speech is slow, my mind easily blanks, and I forget words. One of the reasons I was happy to go into software engineering was because it is easier for me to code than to hold conversations. I’m fortunate to have a career that I can maintain throughout these health issues.

I would be happier if these anemia attacks completely stopped, but they may not, it’s possible that there can be permanent damage. I used to experience anemia attacks like this when I was an undergrad 15+ years ago, rare but they would occur. I experienced them periodically throughout my 20s, maybe one a month. When the fibro became strong I started experiencing them weekly, the B12 treatments stopped that until recently. I’ve been told it can take a year to fully recover from anemia, even longer or never especially if there was any nerve damage. It’s time to double check my anemia treatment, get my blood tested again, make sure none of my other vitamins have gone wonky.

xmonad Resurrection and Why I Use Linux

I am a hardcore GNU/Linux (Linux) user and a fan of tiling windows managers such as xmonad. I have been running Linux as a desktop OS since 2004, first starting with LinuxPPC in 1999. While I have used many different distros, Gentoo remains my favorite, followed by Debian, Arch, Mint, Ubuntu, and Slackware. I really enjoyed Slackware when I ran it on the old Pentium I had in the trunk of my Impala, but that was a long time ago. Ubuntu has always been easy to get running, but hard for me to keep stable, Mint ran amazing when I last used it, but Debian and Arch became two of my go to distros.

Gentoo, requiring one to compile from code using the emerge command, I’ve usually kept for my more powerful and newer computers. The exception has been Gentoo on my Odroid U3 and Lenovo S10 Netbooks, both were surprisingly smooth to compile to X. Gentoo has been my main desktop due to it’s overall stability and powerful update capabilities with emerge. I custom build all my Gentoo systems, crafting the make.conf and various portage configuration files for the main purpose of the system. My average Gentoo system will run for over 200 days without a reboot, but I don’t know for fact how long they’re run as power outages or major upgrades have required reboots.

In addition to building stable systems, I customize my interfaces to my exact usage and needs. I prefer a clean interface, minimal clutter, lots of keyboard shortcuts, customized status icons and windows, and having windows in their exact places. In the past I would install Windowmaker or XFCE, but xmonad has become my favorite. I’ve run KDE, Gnome, Mate, Openbox, IceWM, etc, but until xmonad, I would always witch back to XFCE.

My personal desktop is a triple head intel core2quad with 16gb of ram, a nvidia 8800GTS and 295GTX video cards. In most OSes and window managers windows often pop open on the wrong screen, then repositioning them exactly as I would like became an excessive exercise for my right wrist. In 2013, prior to my move to South Florida, I started running xmonad alongside XFCE, and fell in love.

Due to the move to SoFla, not having a permanent room for nearly six months, some minor hardware failures ,and a new hard drive, I didn’t  reconfigure my xmonad install, plus I was using Macs at my new job. My Linux desktop became a hackintosh for a couple of years before I restored my Linux OS. Macintosh is next preferred OS after Linux, so I was okay with running a Hackintosh. I also had Gentoo running on my Lenovo Y510P hacking laptop, so I wasn’t without my Linux fix. Part way through 2015 I felt it was time to put my desktop back on Linux, so I recovered my Gentoo install and used XFCE for a while.

Fast forward to spring 2017. During March I avoided computers, except for work and necessary research. Come April I’m back on my Gentoo desktop, itching to reinstall xmonad and recover my old configuration, so I did.

Gentoo made the xmonad install quick and easy, but my old config file had mistakes in it that I never noticed in 2013. Xmonad has what are called layouts, basically grids for how you want the screen you are using to be laid out. A proper laytout can ever define where in the grid certain application windows should display and at what size. You update your layouts in a configuration file, maybe important layout definition files, then recompile and relaunch xmonad to load the new layouts. I would update my layouts in the config file, recompile successfully, but I would cycle through the same four default layouts.

I eventually discovered typos in the config file, plus mine was using older syntax, not taking advantage of updates to the syntax. I started picking my old configuration apart, rewriting pieces into a new configuration file following current standards. This worked, my xmonad config now switched between many layouts that I had never seen before. Suddenly computer stress lessened, these layouts were perfect for me.

I have a full screen layout, one that does split screen, another that I use to accordion multiple terminal windows into my portrait display, and circular layout that puts the main window in the center, and even a full screen that has tabs to let me switch which window is full screened.

Now that I have base layouts that I love loading, I can start working on app specific layouts. These are used primarily for things such as positioning your IM buddy list on a specific screen in a specific location, with the specified size. My plan is to have one layout for my cryptocurrency wallets, another for my IDE, one for my media player, status monitoring apps, etc.

It will take some time to get this all setup, plus there are other tasks to accomplish. I probably won’t finish these customizations for months, they’re a low priority now that the base layouts are working.  One has to balance their tasks and house repairs are top of my list, followed by bus and fleet repairs, and normal life. It feels good to have my Linux GUI set back up the way it should be. This may sound odd, but a customized OS simplifies and reduces stress in my life.

New Socks

Most people don’t get excited over socks. I get excited if they’re cute or super comfy, which is why I’m excited today. Recently received an order from Sock Dreams, my favorite online sock retailer. They have some of the most colorful and comfy socks I have worn.

Growing up socks were these rough ugly things you wore to keep your feet warm during the three seasons that are not summer. Socks came in a variety of shades of navy blue, black, tan, or white, and rough or semi-soft. The golden toe brand socks were often the most comfortable, most other socks drove my feet crazy. As an adult I either wore dress socks or none at all, at least until I discovered Sock Dreams.

Sock Dreams had more than just soft colorful socks, they also had socks in larger sizes. Since then I have also discovered that most of the one size socks will fit a size 11, sometimes a bit tight. My favorite socks are a pair of purple and pink rainbow knee high toe socks. While they’re mostly for colder weather, they’re so cute I can wear them almost year round in Florida.

This latest order of socks includes a bunch of plain black bamboo socks, my generic go to for exercise and physical labor. Usually I buy the ankle socks, but they were out of those during the latest sale, so I bought some crew socks. I also added more rainbow socks of various heights. I am a sucker for bright, pretty, colors.

Fibro and Summer Heat

Note: Brain fog is an issue today, grammar may suffer.

The Florida summer is finally coming upon us here on the Space Coast. The summer used to not bother me, overall I enjoy the warmth and extra sunlight, but these days the heat will easily exhaust me. Sometimes I end up dehydrated as I am terrible at maintaining hydration in the heat. Other times the heat makes me sick, triggering overbearing headaches, muscle weakness, and exhaustion. I have experienced heat sickness and dehydration periodically growing up in New England and only occasionally in my twenties living in Florida. Since the fibromyalgia became strong in my early 30s I’ve experience this heat sickness regularly.

While I was in my mid-twenties I purchased a home in an area many of my friends refer to as ‘the middle of nowhere’ in Florida’s Space Coast. Where the house is there are only a handful of other homes. Most of the lots are undeveloped with extremely tall pine trees interspersed with palms and well maintained 3 or 4 bedroom homes. It’s a nice quiet place to live, 10-15 minutes from most stores and the highway, about 30 minutes from downtown Melbourne, Fl. Having a quarter acre lot I proceeded to start adding gardens around the house and throughout the backyard. I would spend most of the day outside working on the gardens and house. Back then I could hop on my bicycle and knock out 15 miles in the middle of July, with only a rare flareup of exhaustion the next day.

When the fibro started to get strong I wasn’t able to do the physical labor of gardening, struggling to do the minimum maintenance. Many gardens died out and returned to grass, but I kept the largest most established gardens looking decent. Not only was the physical labor becoming difficult, but I was losing my heat tolerance, often becoming sick when outside. At the worst I would start to suffer heat sickness from standing outside too long. At one point I was on medication that made me highly prone to dehydration, thankfully that has since changed, but bad habits still lead me to occasional dehydration.

Hydration is super important, but I learned bad hydration habits growing up. I worked summers and most weekends helping my parents with their rental properties. While we would bring water with us, there were many times where we could only drink the water after we were done with our work. Same thing in school, you were only allowed water when they said you could drink. You learn to ignore the thirst, instead relying on the watch to tell you when you can hydrate, it is a very bad habit and hard to break.

Earlier this past week I was up on the roof trying to patch my skylights, I’m fairly sure the one above my kitchen is the reason for the bad roof leak(s). For the first half hour I was fine, but towards the end of the job the heat started to get to me, I was overheating badly. I was able to finish the work, get off the roof, grab a gatorade and lay down with the ice pack to help me cool off. I recovered from that by the next morning.

Come Sunday afternoon and a friend is borrowing my garage to do an oil change. I decide to work on the bus for the hour or so we’re outside. I go in and out of the afternoon sun many times, each time leaving me feeling a bit warmer than the last. Eventually I’m moving bus parts around and realize that I can no longer lift a door. Just minutes earlier I was able to lift the door without struggle, but now my leg muscles are starting to hurt as is my head. I struggle to put my work away, my friends are finishing their work. That’s when the dizziness starts to hit, I excuse myself and go inside to lay down with an ice pack. I made one big mistake that afternoon, I drank very little water or other hydrating beverages. Usually I’ll bounce back once i rehydrate.

I felt terrible for hours and even though I was rehydrating, my muscles were aching. I figured that I needed sleep and would be okay the next day. I’ve spent quite a few hot days outside working in the sun and heat, sometimes I’m fine, sometimes I get sick. I can be stuck in traffic in a car with weak AC and overheat, triggering a flareup. I can spend the entire day working on the yard and be fine, then the next week I will barely last two hours. Sometimes the fibro feels like rolling dice, you never know what you’re going to get on your next throw.

I woke up this morning feeling worse than when I went to bed, woke in a full fibro flareup. This is not normal for me, it may be the most severe reaction to overheating I’ve experienced, but nothing about living with fibro is normal. It was hard to move this morning, random pain sometimes triggered by movement, muscle weakness returned along with lots of stiffness. My wrists and hands ache, are stiff, and feel inflamed. My shoulders, arms, and legs are in a lot of pain. To add to it, I’m highly foggy, I lose track of what I’m typing easily and forget words. Luckily bad brain fog like this is rare and should be gone by tomorrow. I ended up having to take the day off from work so that I can recover. My day will be full of turmeric and ice packs, along with gentle yoga and stretches for the achy muscles.

Bus Restoration Update 1 – Some History and Status

In a previous post I mentioned starting the reassembly of my 1973 VW Westfalia camper, aka the bus. I originally had plans to completely customize the bus, even planned a custom dash. Over the years I had considered making it electric, throwing a modern 2.0T like my Audi has into it, and of course putting a diesel motor (OM616 w/turbo) from a Benz into it. Those plans never came to fruition, but other plans started to form.

Seven years ago I was blessed with the luck of the Irish, I was able to obtain a running VW type 4 2.0l w/AC out of a ’79 panel van that had been scrapped for parts. This motor would bolt right into my bus, plus it came with a nice six rib transmission and a slew of extra parts, for a fraction of their value. I built an engine stand for the motor and was able to fire it up, made sure it ran, then stuck it where it fit.

My first goal with the bus was to fix the body work. I started simple, banging out damage to the sliding door. The door would fall off and smash up the corner. Fixed the slider, fixed the smashed corner, then started work on the front clip.

The nose of the bus got smashed in badly, the passenger door wouldn’t open plus the heat vents couldn’t be reinstalled. Using a slide hammer In 2011 I pulled most of the accident damage out and was working on fixing the door area when my wrist issues began to act up. Carpel tunnel is painful, add the guyon’s canel to it and the pain becomes unbearable. I gave up on the bus, hoping that in a few years I may be strong enough to resume.

Fall 2013 I moved to South Florida, throwing my most valuable bus pieces into boxes for storage, saying bye to my ’73 bus thinking I may never see it again. It was a good dream, one that I would revisit once resettled in South Florida and earning the big money. South Florida didn’t pan out quite that well, my house renters became squatters, eventually giving up on any house maintenance or cleaning, and I grew ever more broke trying to afford a mortgage and rent.

Fall 2016 I move back to my house, finding my bus, its title, and almost all the pieces intact. The bus had become a cockroach filled storage unit for old broken camping equipment and trash. Many of the interior pieces were covered in cockroach (and probably roadent feces), as was most of the garage. My plan is to fix and sell my house, and I’m highly allergic to every bit of filth and dirt inside the house and garage, so I am forced to clean everything. As the months go on I unpile the bus interior and mechanical pieces, and clean them up to find them all still in good shape, most needing minor to no repairs.

Winter, February 2017, the house repairs are coming along  slowly, but well, but there are bus parts constantly getting in my way. So I bet myself I can do the body work and roadkill this bus back together. So one evening I take my scraper, paint stripper, and a blow torch to areas that have obvious bondo issues.

Nearly three months later and the body work is nearly done. The interior is read to have interior put in and most of the severe body damage and rust is repaired. There is accident damage to the front clip preventing the passenger door from opening and closing, but I’m stronger now, I can swing the heavy hammers without triggering a severe flare up. It’s going to be hard work to get that door to open and close properly, work I may not have the skills to do, but I’m trying.

As of today I have redone most of the interior pieces and restored the dash, the motor is still running, the transmission is cleaned up. Yesterday I quickly cleaned the Westy fiberglass pop-top and luggage rack, they look good. I have a new wiring harness ready to go in after I finish bodywork and paint. Today I refreshed the fuel storage system.

Over the past few weeks I cleaned out and re-sealed my fuel tank using the POR-15 fuel tank sealer kit along with a lot of muriatic acid (rust remover). I painted the outside of the tank, then stained it with other paint. I also replaced all the hardware, new fuel sender, fuel screen and line, all new fuel lines and clean brass pipes for connecting the tank to the fuel ventilation system. I also replaced the fuel filled neck, which was completely dried out and cracking. After 7 or 8 years the fuel tank is clean, sealed, and back in the bus ready for the motor and fresh fuel.

I also rescued my windshield from the side of the house scrap yard. When I began the rust repair I pulled out the windshield. The weather stripping was shot and there were many rust holes around the windshield. I carefully moved the windshield to the side of the house and put some beetle parts over it to keep it safe. Seven years later it is overgrown with grass and weeds, covered in dirt, and partially exposed., but undamaged. Cleaned up the windshield and moved it to a couch in my back room.

I’m close to being able to start paint. I need to finish the last of the body filler work, sanding, and priming, then I’ll start painting roof down. Due to work deadlines, cruicial house repairs, and fibro flareups, progress has slowed down over the past month. I want to have the bus in paint by the end of May, but I’ll be okay if it takes June. Then I can get the windshield in, reinstall the camper interior, and put the roof and luggage rack back on. At some point after that I have a nearly complete set of weather stripping to redo almost every window and door on the bus. Finally, I’ll be able to finish the automatic to manual conversion, do an engine rebuild, refresh the brakes, try to install AC, then I should have a running, driving bus.

I’m super excited ^_^