Mander Island

I’ve been so busy working and meeting with craigslist people to buy stuff for Mander, I haven’t had any spare time to blog about my last trip. Life doesn’t seem to be getting less hectic anytime soon, so I better bust this entry out now!

 It was raining buckets with no signs of letting up and Mander was on an icy island surrounded by a shallow moat. We’ve had a warm winter this year so my Dad’s yard was basically an ice skating rink with anywhere from 3-10 inches of standing water on top. Real dicey. For how many trips we make back and forth between Mander and the garage, I’m shocked nobody bit it. Once I got started tearing into Mander we used the pieces to make a pseudo bridge and that helped a little.

Speaking of trips back and forth between Mander and the garage…It took us about 362 of those trips to make the trim pieces for the ceiling/wall. These pieces were necessary for a few reasons. They provide some added support to the ceiling, hide seams and one ugly repair spot. The reason it took us so many trips is because the ceiling is anything but straight. My Dad thought it would look better if we cut the pieces to fit snug. Ha!

All those curves!

I should have known better. We spent a fair amount of time trying to figure the wiggle out, thought we came pretty darn close but by the time I got around to installing it days later, it was like a whole different ceiling was there. I knew Mander was tricky that way! Oh well. I installed it anyway with hopes that once Mander goes bouncing down the road the ceiling will settle right on top of those curvy boards.

My Aunt dropped my cousin off on the way out of town so I had extra help for the rest of the day. I’ve gotten really lucky with these two! My Aunt Audrey has a job in the cities (MN) but can mostly work remotely (WI). Lately, they are wanting her to come into the office so she’s been staying at my place and taking care of my cats when I’m out of town. We do a little switch-a-roo and it works so well! This is a HUGE deal for me because one of my kitties gets insulin and I would need to pay a pet sitter if Audrey wasn’t helping me. My cousin Kendra recently moved back home so she is often around when I’m working on Mander and offering to help me. I am blessed and I am grateful! The biggest, fattest thank you to Audrey and Kendra!

I put Kendra to work demoing what I have been calling the horseshoe. Originally, it was another seating area with a table that dropped down to form a king size bed. The tops of the horseshoe were made of nasty, ridiculously heavy particle board. The skirting around the sides were made of busted up paneling. All of it had to go!

Kendra pulling up the mysterious extra board
Someone along the way decided to just add another board on top of this water damaged one to solve the issue. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.
I spent a lot of time in the trunk.

After Kendra ripped some things apart she was ready to head home. I set my sights on taking out this small section of raised floor. This area will be my under bed storage so I need every inch I can get! There are some water lines and conduit that run under it and we will make a small lip to hide them. This lip will also serve a second purpose as a catch for my storage bins. That way, they won’t go sliding out if I have to slam on my brakes.


There were all kinds of rusty, stripped screws holding this together so I got my Dad to cut in breaking points and I used my brute strength to pry and pull! I can’t tell you how good it made me feel to find all that mouse stuff and be able to clean it up!

When building the lip to hide the water lines we will make sure to make it mouse proof! Here’s before and after pictures from the day of demo.

Kendra came over again the next day and started where she left off. There was a lot of clean up to do, so she got to work wiping things down and pulling one million staples.

I have a section where my new wall meets the old wall and it’s a hot mess. After some consulting, I decided to fill it with caulking and then mount a “headboard” over the top so nobody can see it.


You can’t even tell, right? Looks brand new! 😉

My Dad got to work cutting the tops for the horseshoe. Sounds like a quick and easy job eh? WRONG. Like I’ve mentioned before, Mander is pretty uneven so what looks like a legit rectangle will actually measure 29″ on one end and 28 3/4″ on the other end. Such a pain!

You know what else is sometimes a pain? Being in rural Wisconsin with a 2 hour round trip for supplies. That often means you work with what you got. The plywood we had to make the tops for the horseshoe weren’t the right thickness to sit inside the lip and be flush. I believe we had 1/4″ and it needed to be 1/2″. Don’t hold me to that though. All I know for sure is that I sat inside the trunk and skimmed the entire framing with lauan so we’d be at the right height. Cut, glue, screw. Cut, glue, screw. Cut, glue, screw. And so on and so forth. Once I had finished that and my Dad had finished with the back and forth from the garage to Mander thing we love to do so much, it was finished!

These new tops are much lighter than the particle board and stronger too!

The next day my body was feeling sore so I decided to take it easy and do some painting. I washed the walls, started painting and had a little fun. I also, allowed myself a nap in my spare bed! When I was settling in I found the cutest winter food stash. This smart mousey must have been so busy collecting tiny seeds and then I just threw them out the door! I felt bad but it had to be done.


After my short snooze, I finished painting one of the walls. I wish I can say I am happier with the results but I kind of feel like it looks like a polished turd.

On the last day, I needed my Dad’s help with my headboard. I had bought the supplies at home and as I was working on it, found myself wondering about how the heck I was going to install it. Because Mander’s walls are essentially made of styrofoam, I couldn’t think of a way to mount it that was going to be sturdy. I finished gluing the batting and decided I shouldn’t go any further until I knew what I was doing. My Dad and I put our heads together and decided on french cleats but as my Dad likes to say, I put my shoes on before my socks so I had to remove all the batting to attach the cleats. Here’s a little stop motion video so you can see how the cleats work.

And with that, I loaded up my headboard and headed home. In the time I’ve been home, I’ve bought new light fixtures that work with LED bulbs and a 2015 Kymco Super 8 150R scooter! I won’t be bringing my car and I wanted to have something a little more gas efficient to run errands with. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to see more of the Mander decisions that are happening! I try to put different content everywhere so it’s not a bunch of the same.

Until next time, I’ll be working on that headboard now that my socks are on and signing up for motorcycle classes! Beep beep!

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