Read The Fucking Manual

by Iza Feyeux

There is a saying in Peter’s family to “R.T.F.M.” Pardon my French, but this project did not come with a manual.

We are not contractors, electricians, or architects (oops wait, Peter is).

We’re just two kids with a lot of time on our hands – full of inspiration and endless opportunity.

From our extensive Google, Instagram & Pinterest research, we have found it to be true that every van conversion is different, creative, and personal. That’s what makes the community of van dwellers so amazing and inspiring.

From the beginning of bare-backed Vanny DeVito to where we are now, it has been fifteen days. Fifteen long, grueling, but incredibly rewarding days.

Our personal journey has been a combination of the following:

Over-thinking, self induced stress, research.

Constant trips to Ace Hardware, Home Depot, endless hours of sifting through amazon products and reviews, DIY youtube videos, and pulling from other various portholes of inspiration, technique, and advice.

Bending. Squatting. Drilling. Sawing. Plugging. Tugging.

Tears. Hugs. High-fives. Shouts of pure joy.

Peppermint back rubs.

Waiting. Whining. Wine.

Angry customer service calls.

Cursing. Lots of cursing.

This van conversion has been exercise of patience, support and the balance of letting go and having control.

Throughout this project I have learned that I am the more right brain thinker – intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective. The more creative type. For me, I have to read the instructions more than a few times to understand what I have to do. I am a visual learner and only really understand something when it is explained 150 times, showed to me step-by-step or literally drawn out.

I am the cheerleader, quiet examiner, devoted emotional coach, the one who makes sure we’re hydrated, fed, and sun-blocked up. I am awesome at organizing our construction site. Come to me for a great back massage or an ego stroke. I am the construction assistant, tool passer, saw horse stabilizer, and interior decorator. I am not allowed to use most power tools, but the electric sander is my new best friend. Acutely sentimental, at the hint of criticism or un-reciprocal support, I shut down like a brat outta hell.

We are doing this together but Peter truly is the force of this project. He has made our dreams come true, and brought our ideas to life.

While Peter is the more left brain thinker of the two of us; logical, analytical, and objective, he is also tremendously creative and his three-dimensional thinking is nothing short of sexy. His design skills are what the kids say, “on fleek,” – a perfect combination of art & science, with an aesthetic vision of beauty and style.

He is naturally perceptive, a fountain of knowledge, and stubborn as a mule. He’s a perfectionist, haunted by minor mistakes, and throughout this project has turned inward in frustration. This has been like being back in architecture school all over again. His tireless work ethic is nothing short of inspiring.

Most importantly he is passionate, devoted and cares so much about all that he does. Petty details become emotionally charged and sometimes come out in moody in a way that I can’t relate. It can be called paralysis by analysis. It get’s the best of him every time and he’s not into being coddled.

The overbearing mother in me had to learn to give him time and space in a supportive way.

It’s been amazing to watch Peter’s mind, and work closer than ever before with a true artist of craft and precision. We have learned to communicate in a way that we have never had to before. Soon it will be time to sit back and enjoy the fruit of our labor, somewhere in a valley, next to a mountain, or down by a river.

Together with our collective whole brain, a variety of moods and attitudes, and new communication skills, we have managed to come out on the other side. Every day we push each other to do our best, with the time and resources that we have. During hard moments we often remind each other why we are doing this in the first place, and try to tap into the dream that started it all.

For smaller projects when there is a manual, Peter, with his boyish excitement breezes through the beginning of instructions and jumps right in. At the end of a long day, when his brain is tired and his expert intuition fails him, things don’t always turn out as imagined. Yesterday, he electrocuted himself twice, blew a few fuses, and growled with the fire of a thousand suns. Not being able to help myself, I piped in sweetly, “babe, did you RTFM?”

3 comments

  1. Comment by Lisa Secan

    Lisa Secan Reply 10.10.2017 at 10:21 pm

    Love this insight! I could not have described Peter better myself – believe me, I’ve been trying for almost 34 years! Love you both and can’t wait for your next post. (You are a gifted writer, Iza 🙂

  2. Comment by Jenifer

    Jenifer Reply 10.10.2017 at 11:20 pm

    You write so beautifully I love to read your posts out loud to Bud. Stay safe and enjoy your new home to the utmost.

  3. Comment by T. Westcoat

    T. Westcoat Reply 10.13.2017 at 1:00 am

    REALLY enjoying your travels and life lessons. Once again…beautifully written, Iza.

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