Dreams In Color

After Boot Camp style cleaning and fresh make-up she is ready for company.

Dreaming in living color is something that comes natural to me. I am by way of profession a color consulant with decades of mixing paint in a paint department, studying color under my mothers wisdom as an artist, and generally being fully soaked in color. God has blessed me with being able to see color and know it the way some people taste food or smell perfume. I dream in color, I don’t care what experts say. I have awakened and gone into work and created a color I saw in my dream. I cannot put a brush to a canvas and create anything but abstract looking art when I am trying to make a portrait, I cannot shade a circle correctly, I cannot make a frame-worthy work of art to save my life, but I can mix you the color to use with relative ease in any situation. It is a gift I have crafted but that I do not work at, a natural extension of who my creator made me to be. I have honed the craft since Kindergarten. I could mix colors before I could write my own name.

When I found Thelma Lou she had been updated with a color slap-dash applied in all the wrong ways. It was a wrong color, a wrong application, a wrong look, a wrong feeling. I saw the mission to set the poor girl free with a make-over the moment I stepped through her doors. She birthed a dream since childhood in me, and I felt I could bring her cosmetically to the full potential she had and was worthy of. My husband downloaded an itunes song yesterday that has a lyric “I can move a mountain when a mountain moves in me.” When I met Thelma, a mouuntain stirred in me. She has been a process, a project, a vision, a comfort and a lot of elbow grease.

Thelma Lou Before Boot Camp and Make-Up.

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THELMA LOU BEFORE MAKE-UP.

Thelma Lou has been a work in progress for 13 months. She was pretty much cleaned up and ready to roll in about a week, but I have continued to adjust and tweak things that just seem more suited to what she needs. As we spend time together I have gone from putting all the fun ‘PRIVATE-GIRLS ONLY!’ necessities inside that make her comfy, to taking her to a more public use and less of my whims. I recently redid her bathroom. I am still awaiting changing her old “leaks like a sieve” blackwater tank to a new holding tank, so we can use the toilet fully functioning. Currently the toilet bowl is fitted with a chamber pot arrangement for night time, that gets emptied each morning. This last week I took her to a more prominent part of the inside. She got a custom paint job that in a small space photos don’t do her justice, but in life made all the difference. Her bathroom feels like that small second 1/2 bath off the kitchen now instead of the ugly closet. When you have a 15′ trailer, ALL the spaces need to look uniform in order for it to feel comfortable instead of like a musty crackerbox. Now, I remind you, that I am making these trailers road ready, not rebuilt. She had good bones. Bootcamp axle building 101, cleaning like there was no tomorrow from afternoon to daylight, sweating like a football team with daily doubles in August, and using more sandpaper than hardware store can hold, is the bootcamp of our past. Now we are just taking the good bones and applying paint, curtains, a bit of removable carpet, and some accents. The wobbles in the paneling damaged from storage and a few minor leaks are still there, the ancient vinyl contact like paper on the ceiling with wrinkles in the corners is still in place, just freshly painted. Somehow fresh paint and newly sewn and starched curtains takes the edge off her age and blems. She is 47 and I am 50 years old. We both have need for a little make up when company is coming. My make up looks a little different. It has foundation, mascara, blush, eye liner, lipstick. Her kit has paint, trim, carpet, curtains, and recovered cushions.

ImageMAKE-UP KIT CONTENTS OF JALET AND THELMA LOU.

All the same, we have both weathered the years and come out of them with a few wrinkles and lots of character, a bit more charm for the miles, and become welcoming to those we love. Make up applied correctly gives both of us the illusion of having it more together than we really do, and you know, at the grandma stage of my life, I am perfectly fine with that.

*Song on iTunes by Danny Schmidt -Houses Sing

Progress Is Messy. Change Can Be Drippy. Smell Of Success.

New car smell, old funk trailer smell, choose one. Okay, neither smell appeals to me, but the faint aroma of freshly painted walls, newly sewn curtains crisply starched, and reupholstered cushions, and I am transcended into bliss.

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I bought Thelma Lou a year ago Fathers Day. Last June when we towed her home from Prineville she had been stored in a lot for awhile. She had been a weekend camper to the coast and housed a teen son and his friends for a time. She had all the ear marks of being a good horse, but had been ridden hard and put away wet – for example….

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She was full of funk, but not in the hipster kind of way.

I cleaned her up, spent an all-nighter giving her a paint job, and revived the gem that she is with a new facelift. Paint is a magic bullet. I was delighted in taking her from neglected, to a cozy cottage made just for a girl like me. I thought about her even when I wasn’t with her, like a first crush. Her blemishes were nearly invisible to me, even though touching every surface she had with a toothbrush or paintbrush revealed her issues as I progressed. Last summer I worked on her plumbing, redid all the pipes only to find out her tank (black water only) was more leaky than a sieve so there was no reason to get her toilet up and ‘running’. So we hauled water, slipped a little bucket into her toilet bowl for nighttime potty and dry camped with her over the last year. It has been fantastic and a game-changer for the adventure we can have as a couple and as a family. I adore Staycations like never before, and by Staycation, I mean the driveway sleepover – a home away from home, with a full kitchen and shower only 30 yards from her front door. Living in the country is a real plus for a Staycation driveway adventure. Grand kid sleepovers are a breeze, and you can always put someone out there in a pinch. Thelma Lou has lots for us to be in love with.

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Having waxed on to the point of sappy, I want to be real. She has issues. She has leaked, she has wrinkles in her paneling, ( don’t we all at almost 50?), some lifting vinyl on her ceiling in places, she needs a new tank, the toilet working, and she has a small tear in her siding from a meet up with a mailbox at our address. Having said that, she is real. Real history, real character, real bumps and bruises, real life under her belt and frankly, it is the charm of who this 2 wheeled grandma Thelma Lou is.

This week I have been painting again. Her adventures over the past year have left some scuffing on her hasty paint job. She needs a good deep clean again and we have been bonding this week. I think she senses I am getting her ready to house others who need some good R&R and could benefit from her cozy enveloping atmosphere. The fresh paint is covering the same old drips and runs that were already in place, but she seems refreshed. She seems ready for the road. She seems to be beckoning as if to say, “I am not perfect, but I am comfortable and hospitable. Come just relax, I’m real, I’m safe, and I can’t wait to meet you right where I am.”. So I am taking a clue from this alter ego of mine and getting her ready for company. She, no we, are about to embark on a new adventure, imperfect in body, and perfect in spirit. A half gallon of paint later, we are nearly ready to embrace a dream right where we are instead of waiting for perfection and the perfect moment. We don’t want to miss the life hiding under the barrage of details that would hold us back. We have planned this out, but left room for detours along the way. Even though I am a consummate planner, I don’t want to miss life while planning for it. At 50 years of age, I am finally starting to learn a bit about balance.