This is what determination looks like

The forecast called for subzero temperatures, the winds were blowing strong and the roads were glazed with black ice. As I laced up my boots, I thought to myself, “This is what determination looks like.” Everyone thought I was crazy to do it but I picked up my bestie, Jamie, and we set out to brave the weather and kick some Mander butt!

4 hours of white knuckles, a few girly squeals, some fist shakes at way too fast drivers and 15 cars in the ditch later, we made it safe and sound! We arrived with just enough time to clear all the snow off the roof of Mander and get her furnace roaring.

The next day I woke up to -22 degrees and wind burned cheeks but Jamie and I weren’t gonna shy away. We stepped into our snow pants and headed out into the arctic tundra. My Dad gave me an additional propane heater to put in Mander so between the furnace and that heater, it wasn’t so bad! We were even losing a few layers towards the end of the day. Jamie got to work on prepping the shower for new walls. That meant the shower faucet needed to be removed, the waterproof coating needed to be sanded off and all the caulking and glue needed to be scraped. That kept her busy for nearly 2 days!

I worked on getting the insulation in the wall and ceiling. Then sealing things up with more spray foam.

Just a girl and her Stanley knife.


During all that hard work we made sure to have some fun! Evidence of that here and here…

Never too old to make a snow angel!

Here’s a little background on me and Jamie’s friendship. We met in 5th grade and were instant BFF’s. After 23 years of ups and downs, trials and tribulations our friendship is still going strong! The glue that’s held our relationship together all these years is love, laughter and the love of laughter. We have the same sense of humor, love being silly and don’t take life too seriously. I have laughed to the point of tears, sore cheeks and burning abs more times than I can count with this girl. On top of that we have each others backs no matter what. Here’s an example of how thick we are: One day we were having some propane issues because of the change in temps. When I swapped the old tank out for a new warmer one, a bunch of propane shot out. I went into the garage where Jamie was working to give Mander a chance to air out and I told her what happened. She said, “Do you want me to come with so if it explodes, we explode together?” Now THAT’S a best friend! Ha! I am beyond grateful for her.

Not only did I have my bestie to play and laugh with this trip, my Uncle Bill agreed to pay a visit and lend a hand! Because of my Dad’s neck pain he has a really hard time doing anything over his head. We had one last piece of the ceiling to build and I needed an expert carpenter’s help. That’s where Bill came to the rescue. He finished the piece and it only took us about 5 trips back and forth from Mander to the garage! It was a tricky little piece.

With the last of the ceiling now framed out, we started cutting the lauan which will be the finishing layer! Bill also did lots of little tweaks to the ceiling that needed to be done before the lauan can be installed. Unfortunately, I was short a can of spray foam to finish the insulation so I will have to wait until next trip to see everything in it’s final place. Bill had plans to go fishing so we broke for lunch, then sent him on his way with a full belly to go sit on the ice.

IMG_20161219_140432.jpg I was so grateful for the extra help, my Dad was really happy to visit with Bill and I heard Bill caught a HUGE fish. It was a win all around! Thank you so much for mandering, Uncle Bill! My ceiling will be totally finished next trip thanks to YOU!

Meanwhile….Jamie was learning how to be a plumber!

I’m not positive about what I’m doing with the kitchen yet but I definitely would like a new counter top and I’m pretty sure the faucet is broken, at the very least janky AF, so I will need to replace that.

The last day arrived and since I was at a standstill with the ceiling, I set my sights on getting the wall finished and the window in. We were due to head back after lunch so everyone went to work! With Jamie cleaning trim for the bathroom and my Dad working with that brain cramping math, I started prepping for the finishing lauan piece to be put in place.

Such good little worker bees!
Almost ready for lauan!

My Dad is pretty good at figuring out all those crazy angles and cuts because it only needed a few small changes and it fit like a charm.


With my Dad screwing everything together on the inside, Jamie and I ran around the outside with my window.

We hoisted that window up, my Dad secured it and….holy shit! I have a wall! It may not be pretty but it’s solid. The prettying up will come later.


This was the best trip yet! I had not one but TWO extra people help me and Mander is really, truly, getting her bones back. I’m so glad we didn’t let the weather scare us away. I’m starting to feel squirrely when I’m away from Mander now. I want to work on her MORE. But I also have to earn money, take care of my cats and buy another can of spray foam, so I’m home for now. I can’t wait for the next trip when I get to see the ceiling finished! I might even paint it just so I can see a little bit of the pretty potential.

Until then, this Girl and Her Commander are wishing you the happiest of holidays. May you do all the crazy things you never thought you’d do, in 2017! Let your light shine!

20161218_162943 Jamie, thank you so much for bringing the silly, being one bad ass chick and all your hard work! There’s no one I’d rather be laid up in the hospital with from a propane explosion, than you. I love you!

3 Comments on “This is what determination looks like

  1. “She Transformed” is the 1/10th of the iceberg showing above the surface (with the floodlights and the flash cameras and the press coverage that makes it look soooo easy) – no one watching would ever have a clue about the 9/10s of enormity beneath the surface. Was it easier for Egyptians to build a pyramid?

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