I’ve gone about as fer as I can go.
In terms of polishing the exterior, that is. I had the tripod set up to shoot—a lá Muybridge—the hour or two I spent cleaning up the back side of the camper. Well, two weeks later… Jeez, but that was a tough one! Funny how 50 years of oxidation can ruin a fella’s day. Mother’s Aluminum Polish is, indeed, great stuff. But on a normal job. This was anything but.
In essence, I had to get the surface to a point where it could be considered a polishing job that was a bit overdue and not one that involved scraping off the residue of decades spent sitting out in the weather. To help me in this mission my mechanic did something no mechanic has done before: he loaned me one of his tools: an industrial strength polisher that kind of spun me around like a top if my feet weren’t planted firmly on the ground. Picture Harpo Marx wielding on oversized spinning gyroscope and that was me.
He also handed me a container of professional cleaning paste. I ended up going through four of them. This stuff was nasty! Red, muddy and stained like hell anything it got itself onto. I spread it on the skin of the camper and hit it with the Dino-polisher and watched as it turned to a black muck. This had to be immediately wiped clean before the black muck dried into black cement. Even with this cleaning agent and the Cyclonic polishing implement it was a several-hours job. By the time I finished it was a tossup as to who was covered with more black paste: The Canned Ham or just the plain old ham (me.) I won hands-down in the "Guess Who's Sweatier?" contest.
And still it wasn’t done! That just got it to the point where Mother’s could take over. And that meant elbow grease. Nothing else seemed to work. Just me, a bag of rags and 5 tubs of Mother’s. You can see from the photos the difference is really quite amazing. It’s tarnished in spots past the point where I am capable of cleaning it, but after all that hard work I’ll happily live with it. I think maybe a coat of Turtle Wax and we will call the job done!
When I was in the city this past week I picked up my cushions at Economy Foam on 8th Street in the Village. I’ve gotten all the upholstery jobs for all my houses done there. They ain’t cheap (I could buy a fleet of campers for what the cushions alone cost) but, dang, they are good! The place is lined with rows and rows of foam and fabrics. By coincidence, it’s in the same location as the former 8th Street Playhouse, an old movie theater which was my first job when I moved to New York in 1978. Imagine how thrilling that was—not only was I actually working in a movie theater, but when I was hired they were in the middle of a Judy Garland festival! This country boy thought he had died and gone to heaven. And I had, in a way, but I suppose I’d better save all that for the show…
The cushions are, as I knew they would be, fantastic. They fit perfectly and they’re comfortable and look great. It’s really like my kitchen moved out to the camper, with the same fabrics and floor tile. Last night Mickey and I went and watched a movie out there, just to see what it will be like. It was fun! Mickey loved it! I loved it! The surround sound was amazing!
What a year I have in store for myself once I hit the road.
A few minor details (installing the awning, replacing the glass in the windows and the rubber window gaskets, installing the [totally adorable] TV antenna, etc.) and The Ham will be off to summer camp (the mechanic.) Until then I think I’ll watch a movie every night! Maybe I’ll even sleep out there.
Here’s a set of photos of the latest results. Some are before-and-afterish, although not exactly. My friend Nadine, over at Bouler Design Group, and I are kind of fascinated by the ads that Google places alongside these blogs of ours. I’m going to try to force the issue and see what happens.
With that in mind: In the last photo of the set I’m wearing Mondo Unico boxer briefs. They’re 100% cotton and I like the way they fit.
Google me that, Batman!