reacted chemically with the steel

Lots of action. I’ve been working and not writing. But I will write of it now.

I’ve had this idea of throwing some silica gel desiccant packets underneath the sub-floor before sealing it. That way, if any moisture did get in, it could be held in those packets. Lowe’s didn’t carry those, but someone there directed me to another desiccant product they carried, “Damp Rid.” I bought a bag of mysterious crystals without thinking to question their chemical composition.

I removed one foam board insulation piece from above each of the three main channels that run the length of the van in the steel floor of the vehicle body. I filled the exposed portion of the channel with desiccant crystals, and stuffed as much as I could down the length of the channel, under the adjacent still-in-place foam board. The crystals burned my hands a bit. A smarter man may have wondered, at that point, what exactly these crystals were made from. Once all the desiccant was in place, the foam board was replaced, as was the 1/2″ plywood. As I was merrily replacing the screws that hold down the plywood, a question occurred to me and I was gripped with dread. What if the desiccant reacted chemically with the steel? I grabbed the package, and what did I discover? I’d just packed the space under my sub floor with calcium chloride, the same stuff they spread on highways to de-ice them. The same stuff that rusts out the undersides of vehicles so badly.

Well, fuck.

So up come the plywood panels, up come the insulation panels, and out comes the shop vac, I had to remove the insulation panels from the adjoining squares as well, so I could vacuum the space out, and so I could wipe everything down with clean water. Wiped and dried and wiped again. Lots of cleaning, and taking my cleaning equipment inside to be cleaned too. This mistake cost me about a day. That was on Monday.

By the end of day I did have the plywood back in place, and had installed the metal plates to reinforce the point where four corners meet. It worked reasonably well, though I realized the best way to have corners meet like that is to have them all supported by and anchored to the same underlying support structure, instead of having them meet over a non-structural insulation panel. Obvious in hindsight.

I also learned that my outdoor carpet glue doesn’t like sealed wood. I haven’t used it yet, so hopefully it works. I only added one thin coat of sealant to my panels.

Tuesday I woke up so tired I couldn’t get out of bed. Lots of physical labor takes some getting used to. I did take the most wonderful, effortless shit that morning, though. Something to be said for standing up and moving around all day.

I ended up taking Tuesday off, and drove to MA to get some weed. It was a lovely drive.

Wednesday I smoked while I worked. That was yesterday. I decided to seal the space between panels in the “front room” of the house, where the sink and galley will be, and to leave the space between panels unsealed in the “back room” or garage/bedroom. I plan on doing some active drying with my 110v dehumidifier in the van, and I want the space beneath the sub-floor to be open to that effort. I did seal the wood sub-floor to the steel of the van along all the edges, and also painted silicone over the end-grain of all the wood, wherever it was exposed.

I also put up lots of rattletrap yesterday. I still have to do most of the ceiling, then I have to remove some plastic panels from the 3 doors that open on the house and rattletrap those doors. After that I’ll remove the headboard and add both rattletrap and insulation to that space. That will introduce the beginning of the insulation effort for walls and ceiling. Very soon I’m going to spray-foam select areas (like the structural ribs in the ceiling). But first we finish with the floor.

I ran power out to the van last night to leave the fan on in the roof (to help cure the silicone), and also ran a dehumidifier all night to hopefully keep moisture out of the sub-sub-floor space. I know it’s ridiculous with the fan on, but it was the best option.

Woke up today (late…I was out in the van till midnight last night, working with the headlamp) and got to the floor. Added my peal and stick floor tiles to the front room portion of the floor. Ended up going to Lowe’s to get more. Got them installed. They did very well in placed, and stuck less well in others. They do not like uneven floors at all. When I next do this, I’ll take more care with that, and will likely use a leveling compound of some kind. The panels didn’t stick well everywhere, and we’ll see how it goes when it’s lived in. Metal angle will help secure some edges.

The peel-and-stick flooring actually turned out better than I expected, but then my expectations shifted, and the small issues bothered me more. But it’s a learning experience. I do like the dark wood color I chose.

Tomorrow I’ll lay down some carpet. Carpet goes under the garage area and under the cabinets in the front. And I’ll add carpet on the vertical spaces where one can step in–above the step-up on the sliding door, and a bit in the back. Then metal angle over all those corners, including in the front. I have some angle that was in the previous owner’s build of the van, that I pulled out when stripping it. I think I can use that. If it’s too much of a pain, I’ll go buy some. It’s not too expensive.

I did have some trouble not getting high today. I have to remind myself that there’s no rush, and that doing it in moderation, in a controlled way, is the only way I get to keep doing it. I still have my drug-fiend, escapist tendencies, even with weed. I do want to be able to enjoy a recreational drug in moderation. I’ve been doing a lot of exposure therapy work when it comes to my intrusive thoughts…just sitting with and allowing the discomfort. The same approach seems relevant for this compulsive tendency to get high. Just sit with the discomfort, leaving it there. No need to try to mitigate the discomfort; better to learn to tolerate it.