Rock had two days in a row off, so we made the most of it! We spent the better part of both days, hip-deep in the transformation of The Prairie Schooner into our teeny Tiny Home. Frugal Engineering 101, at its finest!

(For those of you who wish to only read the parts list and prices, it will be on the bottom of Frugal Engineering, Part 2‘s page.)

Insulating the Ceiling

I’ve discovered that if you’d like to gauge your communication ability as a couple, that you need to install ceiling insulation together! It truly is a project that needs about eight arms, but only has floorspace for about 1.5 bodies!

I had pre-cut the foam board to the dimensions of the ceiling that we were going to insulate a few days before he got time off, so they were ready to go! All we had to do was invent HOW we were going to get the stuck to the ceiling… contact cement dissolves the pink foam board, and adhesives like PL400 are rather over-kill for sticking up light-weight foam. We settled on Gorilla Glue’s Contractor Adhesive in a caulk tube. It doesn’t expand, so it won’t distort the very thin skin from which the van is made. Let’s move it and get these panels installed!

Here is where that Communication Assessment is administered. Can you make the images you see in your head able to come out your mouth in a manner in which your mate can interpret and thus similarly visualize? Apparently, I cannot. And apparently, this makes me quite testy that he (obviously, intentionally, obtusely) can’t see what I’m talkin’ about. Which might kinda-sorta make him a bit defensive that I am crabbing at him. In retrospect, it is rather comedic, but at the time, it somehow took on a dynamic aspect that far exceeded the scope of sticking tiles on the ceiling.

I must give JUsT credit – we both stood there (or stomped off) with our bottom lips jutted out defiantly… but only for about 15 minutes. We quickly realized that “Carpe Insulation” far outweighed “You meanie!”

The first piece was the hardest to get up there. Initially, poor Rock stood there like Atlas, holding up the world. My arms would have given out long before he began suggesting that perhaps the directions had under-estimated the speed in which the glue would “grab” and hold.

We traded places and I help up the piece while he scouted the garage for something that we could wedge between the foam and the floor to hold it in place while the glue solidified. He quickly returned with a 6′ step ladder and deftly angled it against the foam board to hold it in place. Success!

Kinda. We didn’t have five step ladders to use as propper-uppers. Fall back and adjust fire!

Rock dug around and fished out a handful of the support rods from my 3-room camping tent. Ingenious!

Back we went… Panel #2 was much easier to get in place, and a couple strategically placed tent rods quickly held it up so we could move on to the next panel. Now we’re cookin’!

Within an hour, there was a forest of tent poles sprinkled across the van!

Tent Poles being used as Prop Rods to hold up the insulation panels while the glue dries… (Why does this show up sideways?)

With the pre-cut ceiling panels installed, we sat back to admire our handiwork! This called for a celebration! Rock whipped up a Crown and Coke, and brought out a Gin and Tonic with lotsa lime for me. We piddled around in the Prairie Schooner with a dry erase marker and sketched out the reading lamp, main lights, USB charging ports and 12 volt power outlets. Life is good! This amazing success deserves yet another cocktail, doesn’t it?

Fresh drinks in-hand, we continued to figure out where to locate the light switches and the inverter. I got excited, and set my new, full, perfect Gin & Tonic on a step of the ladder, so I could show Rock something pertinent and exciting – only to have the ladder lurch away in apparent surprise. Fizzy, sweet, sticky tonic water sprayed in a beautiful arc across the interior of the van, glistening in the waning sunlight and settling in every available  crevice.

The Prairie Schooner had been christened!

More on the progress made over the past couple days, in Part 2 of Frugal Engineering, coming (most likely) tomorrow!



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3 thoughts on “Frugal Engineering, and a Christening”

  1. Congratulations on tackling the ceiling insulation! I love watching the progress of this tiny home. Hope you made yourself another drink after that last mishap.


    1. Indeed, we did. I’ll post it later, but we ended up Test Camping in the driveway with both dogs! LOL! Much fun and frivolity and dog hair ensued!
      We have GOT to get that exhaust fan installed… 😉

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