It’s the eve of our big weekend. Tomorrow we start our big build.
I have four days off from work, we have a new tent (compliments of my in-laws), we have everything we need to get this bus ready for insulation and flooring. My wife, kids and I are very excited to finally start this adventure.
We close our eyes and try to sleep, but the anticipation feels more like Christmas Eve. Sleep eventually takes us over and visions of hammers dance in our heads.
That morning I wake up and something is wrong. My knee is in pain. I try to walk it off because certainly I must have just slept on it wrong. But the more I walk, the worse it gets. Our trip to the bus is canceled and I spend most of the weekend sitting on the couch with a heating pad on my knee and hobbling around the apartment.
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Steve Dassatti is at the plate, he’s been playing this game for 35 years now.
His batting record is above, but with this pitcher anything is possible.
Life winds up. There’s the pitch.
Dassatti swings and misses. Strike one!
Life throws one heck of a curveball.
My next pitch would be in three week when I had another long weekend off work and we prepared to go camping and work on the bus again.
The day before we were set to leave for the bus site, our van begins to overheat in the line at the drive-through. As we look for a place to park, the van sprays coolant across our windshield.
Another swing and a miss. Strike two! Is this it for Dassatti or can he pull this off?
The van’s radiator is cracked. Our trip canceled yet again. We order the parts for our van and — fast forward a week — are still waiting for them to come in.
Luckily we were able to borrow my mother’s car to get up to the bus between my shifts at work (the bus site is 1.5 hours away).
On these short trips to our beloved skoolie, we tackle the parts of the build that no one talks about. I mean who, besides my wife, likes to clean?
We bought a shop vac in hopes of making it easier to clean up all the screws, rivet heads, metal dust and fiberglass fibers scattered across the floor and between the walls. But it sucked. So we returned it and opted instead for a good old fashioned broom and dust pan — worked like a charm.
With the floors and walls clean, it was time to turn the rust back to metal. With a paint roller and a jug of Prep and Etch, we lathered the floor in the green liquid and watched the white bubbles instantly form around the oxidized metal.
Life wipes the sweat from its brow. Here’s the wind up, and the pitch.
Dassatti swings. It’s a long fly ball to center field and it’s just enough to get him on base.
He’s still going to need to work to get home, but it’s a start.
Whenever you follow a passion, there’s bound to be curveballs and road blocks that will try to derail you. It’s up to you to stay the course, listen to your instincts and try to keep a cool head about you. I didn’t always take my own advice, especially that last part, but we somehow managed to make progress with our bus renovation. Life never pitches a perfect game, so keep swinging.
Next time on Redefining the American Dream: Are we there yet? Is this piece important? Measure once, cut twice, right? Answers to these questions and more.
Steve Dassatti is a husband, father, film school graduate and now bus renovator. Despite his best efforts he has not lost his mind, or an appendage, yet. Follow his journey on Instagram @Thosemodernhippies.