It's pitch black when the alarm sounds at 2:30 AM, a mere three and a half hours since we fell into bed last night. I throw on a hoodie and the new down booties I got for Christmas (thanks, Jodi!) and make sure Tyler is groggily getting up as well. By 3AM we're on the road to the airport. The heat is blasting in our little Honda Civic, which feels like a toy compared to yesterday's truck and trailer.
At 4:20, we're pulling into the US Airways departure gate, and I remark how I love airports. To me, there's always an air of possibility and wonder waiting within. What amazing places could we visit today? Where are all these people headed? Tyler heartily concurs as we get out of the car, wearily holding one another for a moment. I burrow my face into his warm neck, nuzzling him goodbye.
Back at home it's time to start Operation Camper Makeover. Those ugly grey and purple velour valances and cushions will be the first to go. During a mid-afternoon visit to the fabric store with Tyler's mom Jodi, I pick out a pale green canvas for the main cushions, a pink-and-green striped canvas for the back cushions, and a pretty lemon print that will work for a kitchen curtain.
A few hours later, I've designed a pattern, and I'm ready to cut out the fabric for the cushion covers while Jodi is away at her dance class. The iron is heating, my pulse is racing, and my palms are sweaty. My nervousness stems from the fact that I'm exhausted, and that I'm not the most confident seamstress in the world.
I wish my mom or my grandma, both excellent, professional-calibre seamstresses were here to guide me, or better yet, swoop in and take over the project. It's the cushions I'm nervous about. I can envision making curtains, no problem, but the cushions? Yikes!
Ohh how I hate precision! I like sewing when I can do it fast and furious and imprecisely on my industrial-strength sewing machine, like I'm on the war path. But this feels important, and I want it to look nice. I crack open a cold Mountain Dew for fortification and a surge of energy. I never drink soda—it's quite a jolt to my system.
SUCK IT UP, ALAN, YOU CAN DO THIS! I say to myself out loud, all alone in Tyler's mom's big house. And thus, I take a deep breath and lay my fabric on the floor and grab the scissors. Just before I make the first cut, I set the scissors down again and call my mom for a real pep talk. Oh how I wish she were here!
She assures me that I can handle the cushion-cover making. She even joins me in my late-night (possibly all-night) sew-a-thon by beginning a valance-making project she's been thinking about doing for ages. It is immensely comforting to know that, while I'm cursing and cutting and ironing and pinning, my mom will be doing the same. Sewing solidarity. Represent!
With my mom's blessing, I plunge in, measuring, and using the grooves between floor boards in an attempt to cut a straight line. How anyone cuts in a straight line is beyond me. Amazingly, by the time Jodi gets home, almost all of the pieces are ready. And, miracle of miracles, she offers to whip the cushion covers up on her sewing machine in the morning! God bless mothers and mothers-in-law.
Meanwhile, as I've been engaged with Operation Camper Makeover, Tyler has successfully landed in Charleston, purchased a truck, and begun his drive home. Every hour or so, he calls, telling me about how thing are going. The truck is in mint condition, there's scarcely a speck of rust on it, and the interior is fantastic. Even the engine bay looks brand new!
Besides the excitement about our new truck, the drive is, thankfully, uneventful. After much coaxing by myself, Jodi, and my parents, Tyler decides to call it a night at my parents' house rather than driving straight through. He'll have a nine hour drive tomorrow, and then we'll get to work on the final touches for the camper together!