Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Opening Decisions

I need to point out before I get too far into this process that I am only just starting to make decisions about this project.  I know that I want to do it, but that's it.

This post is a list of things I (we) need to consider before even beginning:
  1. Bus or House?
    • A bus is mobile, but a house is cuter.
    • A house will need to be towed, which would mean buying or renting a truck every time I wanted to move it (and who knows how often that will be).
    • When it comes to trailers (house), I would probably need to get someone else to drive the truck. I moved cross country from Florida to Los Angeles, towing a trailer, and my mom did 75% of the driving because I had no idea what to do. Going straight down the highway was fine, but forget parking.
    • Because I would not be carrying passengers, I wouldn't need a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). I would however need lessons on how to drive it, though there's a lovely woman in my church who drives a school bus who can probably teach me. (Note to self: ask her advice!!)
  2. Plumbing
    • I will definitely need a grey water holding tank, to hold waste-water. 
    • We'll also need a fresh water tank, for the sink and shower.
    • Toilet? This is a difficult one. There are pro's and con's to each of the solutions I've seen
      • Composting toilet - easy to install, but the idea just grosses me out.
      • Incinerating Toilet - How efficient is it really? Would it be strong enough to handle daily use by 3 people? Does it smell? How do you clean it?
      • RV toilet - the closest thing to what we have at home: easy to clean, easy to operate, "normal." Would need to install a black water holding tank, which would mean finding a way to dump it: stopping at an RV park once a week? Or a campground? 
      • Are there any other options?
    • Kitchen sink/ Drinkable water: do we lug it in in 5-gallon jugs? (That's what I do now.) Do we use that water just for drinking? Or for the kitchen sink in general?
  3. Electrical
    • I have no idea what to even consider here. I know I will need to be able to run 
      • lighting
      • computers (probably just charging, but there are still 3 of us)
      • cell phones
      • Fridge (full size or mini?)
      • Cook top (gas or electric?)
      • I don't want to have a TV at all, especially as there is no way to get cable (and I wouldn't want it anyway). We can run Netflix or Hulu from our laptops.
      • microwave? I'm not sure I want one. I certainly don't use it that much.
      • other appliances?
    • I want to go Solar, but how big a system will I need for the above? What about batteries? And where do I put the panels?
    • Outlets?
    • Wiring?
    • DIY or Professional install? (Probably pro: electrical is a bit scary to me.)
  4. Vehicle - this goes hand-in-hand with the bus/house question.
    • If I go house: I will need to rent/buy a truck just to move it. I don't like trucks
    • If I go bus, how to I bring my car along for the ride when I move?
    • I've thought about getting another scooter (I won one on the Price is Right and then crashed it a couple months later). I could store it on the bus or the patio area of a house while moving, so I don't have to drive 2 vehicles.
    • I just bought my car in May, I don't WANT to get rid of it, but I will need to be practical, and the payments aren't cheap.
  5. Registration / Parking / DMV etc
    • The House would technically be a trailer or RV, but the bus is it's own vehicle. I know there are ares of the city that it's illegal to park an unattached trailer on the street, but I don't know what the restrictions are for parking a bus on the street wherever.
    • For a house, I would want to find a backyard or something similar where we could set up and just live, like in a guest house. I would not want to park it on the street.
    • A bus I would love to be able to tool around the city. Maybe advertise this blog on the side and help me pay for the whole project. Which reminds me:
  6. Budget
    • The two projects are different, but similar at the same time. 
    • A bus would have a larger interior, and would need more finish materials, flooring, paint, etc. But the exterior is done, and we wouldn't need to build the structure.
    • A house would require more exterior materials, and would be smaller inside.
    • I'd like to use leftover materials from other building projects, maybe vintage windows or the like if I did a house. 
    • The initial outlay for the bus is a lot more than a trailer, but then I'm going to bring up the whole needing to buy or rent a truck thing again. Something I'm not keen to do.
  7. Build-out location
    • Either project would require a location to do the build. I live in an apartment in Santa Monica, so there's no doing it here. I have friends with houses up in the valley, but then I'd be driving all over the place to work on this.
    • I feel like the bus might be easier because I could literally just park it at the Home Depot and build it there. Maybe.  
      • Oooh! Maybe I could get Home Depot to sponsor the project. That would be cool! or Lowe's. Or OSH.
      • And then I could get someone to help me do a video blog of it, and they could post it on their website.
  8. Other items
    • Decor. Ok, I know this is something I won't really need to think about until it's done, but at the same time, I need to think about the location of items, where I'm going to put the fridge, where I want lights, and all that. Plus, because of weight distribution, I'll need to consider the weight of furniture and other items. I don't want the whole house or bus to fall over to one side.
    • A Bus has an engine. I will need to think about gas prices, repairs (Do I stay in a hotel if the bus needs repairs, or can I live in it at the Mechanic's Shop?), mileage, etc.
    • Insurance. I need it. How much will it cost me?

I know there's a bunch of other things that I will need to think about. If you have anything else for me (us) to consider, please comment!