Remember how embarrassing the outside of our bus used to be? I had to mention how ugly the outside was if I ever posted a photo of it just so everyone knew that I did not think the outside was complete… We really had no idea of when we’d be able to do something to the outside because we felt that working on and finishing the inside was more pertinent for our family to be able to live in it.
As we drove around and lived in the bus for several months, we got a lot of interesting comments and had several eye opening interactions. Most people who saw the bus on the inside had the same thought of, “Oh my goodness! You’d never be able to tell it looked this good by seeing the outside!”
Life on the bus was spent in the bus surrounded by our personal design and the beauty of our hard work so we automatically overlooked the unfinished mess of the outside. I had occasionally brought up to Scott how I’d really like to do something to the outside, but we agreed time and time again that it was just an expense that we weren’t able to budget for then so it would have to wait. Maybe for a long while.
This last March, Scott literally overheard a conversation about our bus as someone said,
“Wow, I feel bad for them. They must be going through some hard times.”
Hard times? HARD TIMES?!?! Are you kidding me?! If we wanted to, we could be paying a mortgage on couple thousand square foot home on some property BUT we’ve chosen not to. We’ve chosen to put everything we own into this tiny home so we’re not paying a mortgage. We’ve chosen a tiny home on wheels so we can travel as a family and experience amazing things and create unforgettable memories. WE CHOSE THIS LIFE and we are in NO WAY experiencing HARD TIMES! (Okay, now you can see that it was a good thing that Scott overheard that conversation and not me… they would have been sorry for opening their mouths in unfair judgment.)
As you can tell, that hit the wrong chord with me. While I’m not one to really care if someone approves or disapproves of the things I do, having someone wrongfully judge us and our family and our home was something that I took seriously. But again, Scott and I agreed that we were not able to add an exterior makeover to our budget at that time and I was distraught.
It might sound silly to pray about a bus, but this bus is our home, so I prayed about our home. I prayed for a lot of things and sought answers to questions I’d been having and then I felt prompted to lay out a plan for me to paint the bus over an available 4 day period. As I did the research, picked out paint and found willing family to help us store the bus while I painted, I started feeling massively overwhelmed. The bus was stored 30 minutes from my parent’s home where we were staying, I have two kids who I need to take care of throughout the day, and the weather was forecasted to rain every day that I was set up to paint!
As I was feeling overwhelmed I prayed harder and started googling RV painters. I called a listing and Ashley answered. She showed interest and excitement in my description of our renovated bus and said that Cody, the painter, was the best and people traveled from surrounding states to have their trucks and RVs painted. I talked to Cody and he seemed intrigued, but said that I’d have to bring the bus to him to get a quote. Moving the bus that day to their shop 40 minutes away wasn’t really an option for us at that point, so the next day I called and asked if I could take pictures and send it to them, per Scott’s suggestion.
I sent the photos and waited a couple days to hear back. They texted me a quote, but it was still too high for what we could potentially squeeze into our budget. I was very sad and thought that I’d be painting the bus with a roller brush, in the rain, and with the kids watching Netflix in the car.
As I prayed for good weather that next week, the days that I was going to start painting, I felt prompted to call and talk to Cody, the renowned truck and RV painter. I was a little nervous as I called and I felt silly about what I was planning on asking him, but I explained that his quote was a little out of our budget and then these words left my mouth:
“Could you do a subpar paint job? And how much would that cost?”
I was embarrassed as a second of silence passed between us and it felt like minutes. To my surprise he chuckled and replied, “A subpar paint job? Ha, I’ve definitely never been asked to do that before.”
I explained that the bus was in pretty bad shape from some dents, the chipped paint, missing layers from the previous wrap, and the nasty black stuff that attempted to cover up that it used to be city transit bus. We knew it was in bad shape and we knew that most of his quote was for the time it would take to clean the bus to perfection before painting. Honestly, I just needed the bus to look good in photos and while being passed by people on the road. He again laughed during and after my explanation and humored me by letting us still bring it in for an in-person quote.
Oh and did I mention that I asked if he could get the whole thing done within 4 days? Yeah, Cody thought I was one heck of a crazy person on the phone, but we hit it off when we met in person.
The rest is kind of a jumbled mess of anxiety and euphoria.
Queue, anxiety. Cody and his team looked over the bus and realized it was worse than they thought. He struggled with agreeing to do a subpar job since this is his livelihood and also a passion for him. I mean, he’s an artist for crying out loud! You wouldn’t ask Van Gogh to paint “Starry Night” for you, but with less swirls! I knew what I was asking of him and it pained me to ask.
We eagerly showed Ashley and the guys the inside of the bus so they could see the beautiful home that we’ve built for ourselves and they were all beyond impressed. After Cody spent some time alone with the bus, he agreed to do the paint job and we agreed on a price in our budget. Queue, euphoria.
I wasn’t painting the bus myself and over the next 4 days Ashley texted me updates on the bus:
Can you believe that? They sent me at least 1 photo update per day on the bus! It was incredible to see how fast they worked, as well as know that they really cared about our home. Queue, more euphoria.
When we picked up the bus, Ashley had also put in a little surprise for me and it really just tipped me over the edge in euphoria. Like euphoria was spilling out of me. Like I was experiencing more than just plain euphoria. And I’ve probably misused the word euphoria by now. You get the point.
So, as you know, our bus is now painted and we couldn’t be happier with the result. And you guessed it, Cody far outdid himself in the way of a subpar job. He really spoiled us with the care and attention to detail he gave our home to make it the best he could in a short time frame.
I am now extremely proud to say: Look out for us on the road!