Real Estate

How do we have a big holiday on a bus?

We found out the hard way that our bus isn’t waterproof. Here it is draped in a big blue tarp to stop the leaks.
We found out the hard way that our bus isn’t waterproof. Here it is draped in a big blue tarp to stop the leaks. Submitted

Every living situation has its quirks.

Some houses have windows that you need to bump with your fist, like you’re Arthur Fonzarelli, just to open them. Others have doorways with little space for the door to swell, which makes entering the room a challenge one day and a breeze the next.

When you go tiny, you forgo some creature comforts, we knew that going into this project. But one thing we didn’t think about is how to pull off holiday meals.

Quirk 1: Cooking holiday dinner

I come from a family who goes all out for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Our tables were filled with carbs of all shapes and sizes, a ham or turkey — and one year both.

One Thanksgiving my parents convinced my grandparents to go out to a restaurant for dinner so it would be a stress-free holiday. Halfway through dinner my grandmother told us not to eat too much because she had some things at home. When we got there, we found ourselves sitting around the dining room table as she served us a full Thanksgiving feast. We should have worn stretchy pants that year. Needless to say an understated holiday is not in my blood.

Unfortunately, a holiday meal like this won’t work in our skoolie. Our kitchen plans only allow room for a two-burner propane stove top. No oven. So how do you have a big to-do with so little a kitchen?

That is what we set out to answer this Thanksgiving. The first thing to go was the turkey. While we do enjoy a tasty bird, it’s a lot of work and money.

So this year we tried a holiday meal of just side dishes. My wife, Jenn, and I asked our two kids what they would like to see at the table and here’s what we came up with: Homemade cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, candied sweet potatoes, honey carrots, Pillsbury crescent roles, and a store-bought pumpkin pie.

It was a stress-free time in the kitchen. Sure, we’ll need to find new ways to cook some of these old favorites next year once we’re moved into the bus, but it’s a work in progress.

Quirk 2: Weatherproofing

It’s been a very wet fall here in Georgia and we recently found out that our bus is not as water resistant as we once thought. This poses a problem for installing insulation so we needed to find a way too keep water off and out of the bus.

We started by putting tarps over the emergency exits on the roof. That helped some of the leaks but then we found water near the windows. So we went out and got a bigger tarp — a 20-by-30 foot that was just enough to cover the top and side. The next step will be to install rain gutters. Funny, I know. But it’s actually a common solution for skoolie owners.

The holiday season has left little time for the bus. We continue to make progress, but it’s still baby steps. We are planning on bigger strides in December. Maybe Santa will bring us a sack of money, but we probably haven’t been that good this year.

Next time on Redefining the American Dream: How does Santa land his sleigh on a school bus? Where’s the tree go? Do we really need the holly if we have the jolly? Answer to these questions and more. Same bus time, same bus article.

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.