Debut Details - by Sheri

When Marty and I started our skoolie conversion, our goal was to be ready to show at the Austin, TX National Tiny House Jamboree DIY Village.  With just minutes to spare, we made the check-in deadline at our destination for the weekend.  I had envisioned a leisurely Friday morning before our departure - a big breakfast, pedicures with my nails painted to match Bustachio’s exterior, lots of contented exhales and warm fuzzies of accomplishment shared between us.  Didn’t happen. We barely got showers and everything loaded inside before heading into Austin traffic. The ride there was uneventful. I got used to the gentle, rhythmic bouncing and let my mind wander to my elementary school bus-riding days.  Marty did a terrific job handling Bustachio in traffic and enjoyed returning waves and smiles to passersby.

Once we parallel parked into our designated spot in the DIY Village, we took a few deep breaths and headed over to our mandatory exhibitors' meeting.  Everyone was so warm (literally) and friendly as if they’d known us all their lives. Many of us were followers of each other’s Instagram accounts and have been watching the projects and journeys leading up to this date for a while.  After all the must-dos were done, some cold drinks and adult beverages appeared, laughter and story-telling ensued, and a good night’s sleep was had by all.

Ten o’clock in the morning seemed to arrive at seven.  Even though the heat and humidity were already uncomfortable, guests arrived in a steady stream.  Some were just thinking about “going tiny” and were trying to decide between a home, skoolie, or a van.  Some were in the throws of their own builds and came in search of ideas and inspiration. Some were skeptics who were pleasantly surprised.  Our family delivered P.Terry’s burgers for lunch, and many dear friends came by to see us and Bustachio. At times it was a bit overwhelming, but with comments in our guestbook like these, we couldn’t help but keep going.

“Gorgeous. Love the ideas.  Thank you for sharing!” “Beautiful home.  Congrats!” “Inspiring and Lovely!” “Great job. Love the name.” “Brilliant design!”

As the tour closed to the public on Saturday, the DIYers traded funny anecdotes and comments from visitors, relaxed in our folding chairs, and relaxed in our folding chairs.  Did I mention we relaxed in our folding chairs? Hunger finally took over and those that were able shared a dish or two for a delicious potluck dinner. Drones, electric skateboards, guitars, and reckless golf cart rides brought the evening to a close.

Sunday wasn’t quite as steamy, but our curious and complimentary company just kept coming! It was very rewarding to be able to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds and give them tips, encouragement, pointers, and a smile.  That’s what the growing tiny living community is all about. Folks helping folks. We not only served our guests, we DIYers helped each other in the form of food, supplies, showers, muscle, information, and open hearts in general. It was genuinely organic, instinctive almost, and refreshingly uplifting in a down-home kind of way.

As we headed home that evening, we were “good tired.” Overall, our first event was an extremely positive experience. Our new friends felt like old friends, and we can’t wait to see them “on the road again.”    


A unicorn and a shopper enter a store… - by Sheri

I love to shop!  Well, bargain hunt would be more of an accurate term.  Bargain hunting happened to be a valuable skill when decorating and stocking Bustachio.  Thankfully our current financial situation is stable, but I still like to watch my dollars and sense, if you know what I mean.  During this process though, I have uttered one four-letter word more than any other - ROSS. Ross is a heavenly dreamland filled with enchanting overstock, deals, and steals that one doesn’t know they want - no NEED - until they spy the mystical treasures on the seemingly mundane shelves.  I’ve even seen a unicorn trot through the aisles, leaping effortlessly over shopping carts in its path! Truth. Once I decided on a color scheme, I was able to start accumulating purchases, spreading out the expense over a period of months.  As of this writing, my home office is stacked with Bustachio’s goodies just waiting to be put into place. To be fair, I also scored some savings at Target, Hobby Lobby, Marshall’s, and Kirkland’s (all unicorn-worthy as well).  I rotate through all these fine establishments’ sales and clearance sections, keep each of their apps updated, and hang on to my receipts in case something doesn’t work or fit, or I change my mind.  As a bonus, I am now officially old enough to qualify for a Senior Discount. Ten percent savings is still savings! Yes, I realize it’s important that our bus runs, and is safe and road-ready (blah, blah, blah), but that’s Marty’s department.  


Rejects, Sighs, and Taking Shape - by Sheri

By far, my absolute favorite interior feature of Bustachio is the look of the vertically paneled pallet wall in the kitchen area.  Marty, who I’ve been known to call a hoarder behind his back, would travel through local construction areas and collect the abandoned pallets stacked in the debris piles.  I even helped in this endeavor a time or two, guiding the pallets onto our trailer and then acting casually when a car would drive by so as not to appear to be stealing. The pallets made their way to our home, stacked behind our garage out of my sightline and out of my mind.  Marty said, “I’m going to use these for something someday.” I responded with an eye roll. And a deep sigh. And most likely another eye roll. Long story short (‘cuz I can’t get through a too long blog post either), I’ve had to eat my words and steady my eyes. After planing and staining, these pallet boards are amazingly fantastic!  Sure Chip and Joanna made shiplap siding popular again, but these TLC’d pallet boards, with their organic “from the earth” warmth and character, are just the thing our big sturdy metal bus needed.  


True Confessions AND Concessions - by Sheri

There is not an adventurous bone in my body.  Not. One. I’ve spent my life mostly in the confines of my self-made bubble to appear somewhat in control.  Early childhood bullying does that to a person - just sayin’. Self-protection = safe, vulnerability = scary.  Over the years, when asked if I’m competitive, my canned response is always, “Sure, I’m competitive when I’m certain I can win.”  Not sure why that was relevant, but it was funny right? Anyway, I did no research about converting a school bus into a skoolie. I didn’t listen to any podcasts.  I didn’t read any of the fabulous blog posts that I just found today when I googled “Skoolie living.” I had watched some reality TV shows about bus life though. All those people were younger, hip, fearless types that didn’t seem to give a hoot (not the word I really want to use) about what other people might think.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think a few months later, Marty and I would be putting the finishing touches on our own school bus conversion and embarking on our new journey.

Now Marty has done his due diligence.  He watched YouTube, listened to podcasts, read important stuff.  He was ready. Marty looks at challenges as opportunities and is always optimistic.  I figure he’s been leading our family whole heartedly for 34 years, so who am I to question his sanity now?  Secretly, I’m excited and ready to give Bustachio a try. Can I survive without an indoor shower? Is the diesel engine going to be too loud when we’re driving?  Will the dry flush toilet be completely odorless?  But those discussions are for another day.  As for now, adventure awaits.