We bought a vaaaaaaaaan! (James already told you that)
Still working on the "now what".
After we actually bought the van on Monday, we took my parents out for a celebratory dinner at Salsa's, ate maybe a little too much, and woke up on Tuesday ready to make things happen. Unfortunately, we weren't entirely sure where to start.
We were raring to go, we were at the foot of the mountain, but we were just staring at this huge rock face trying to pick a line. We were forcibly reminded that every little decision in this project is tangled up with every other thing. Trying to find a place to start, we kept getting sidetracked talking about decisions three or four steps down the road. Tempers became short as we continued to run in circles around decisions. Add in my Mom's many insights and my Dad's slightly heavier-handed (well meaning/informed) suggestions, and our indecisive duo was majorly struggle-bussing.
*Cue mental stomping and throwing of imaginary objects (me) and a decision to just start tearing out carpet (James)*
There was a lot of generalized growling, working not to direct the growling at one another, getting comfortable disagreeing, and learning how to support each other's decision making.
The week was a test of our different approaches to decision making. Most of my friends would say I'm indecisive, but I think coworkers would say I'm decisive. James solidly earns that Prospecting "P" at the end of his Myers-Briggs initialism, but I lean more towards judgement. When faced with a big project, I like to identify key values-based decisions and make them early on. By starting with a framework, you set the basic shape of the endeavor and make later decisions easier. He'd rather keep multiple options open for as long as possible and make "just in time" decisions. Since this means you have as much information as possible at the time of decision making, it should improve your chances of making the right choice. Obviously, there are shortcomings to both. My strategy increases the overhead associated with a major change in direction, and raises the risk that you won't recognize when to pivot. With James's strategy, it's hard to identify the one decision who's time has come because you're actively trying to keep everything open. We do seem to make incremental improvements to the master plan every time we loop around.
Because we're assembling a foam mattress from four organic latex pet beds, we technically have the ability to hinge or split it into whatever segments we're willing to upholster (and possibly fall between). So my parents have been pushing the murphy-bed/ reconfigurable space idea pretty hard. James wants to fully examine all possibilities, so I've been trying to suppress my inclination to fight everything my Dad suggests and make myself at least minimally resistant. So we drew up some more floor plans (vs. the one we taped on the floor back in Pittsburgh) and discussed what a murphy bed would buy us, what it would cost us and what it would look like. In the end, James returned to his decision-evaluation standby of asking "why" at least 5 times. I completely failed to give a reasonable explanation of my thought process, got a bit upset, and said I just wasn't as comfortable with the murphy-bed, but that it was his van, so he should decide. That got me a hug, and a "but you're going to be living here too" and the rest of the conversation has been redacted due to concern for your tooth enamel. It was a good reminder for both of us that the whole conversion is just icing on the cake of a great adventure.
All said, it wasn't always particularly comfortable, but it was a good week.
By the time James left for Pittsburgh, we had:
Selected and purchased a vent fan on Amazon,
Pulled out all the existing carpet, paneling and insulation in the van
Cleaned up insulation bits
Uncovered and troubleshot (is that the correct past-tense?) internal rust
Blacked out the wheels (including the spare)
Decided to use wool insulation in the walls & ceiling and to use reflectix only for window covers
Decided on a floor plan*
Made a bet on how many likes our van-buying announcement would get - I lost, so I owe James drinking chocolate at the French Broad Cocolate Lounge, & I'm disappointed at everyone's lack of enthusiasm
*Or so we thought...