Sunday, November 6, 2016


That Man, which is how the male half of the fraternal twins I nanny (and who turn 3 tomorrow!) refers to My Man, has been after me to update for QUITE a while now . . . but finding the time is - ACK! - so hard!  So, it's all on me.  Don't blame him!  ;)

At the last installment, you'd learned about the disaster that we discovered upon ripping up "the bad spot" in the trailer where we'd been told we'd need to do some work.

Insert hysterical laughter.

"Some work."  Uh-huh, right.  Well, I don't know how much I should spill ahead of time, but I think My Man would say that had he known what we'd find, he would have demo-ed the entire trailer down to the frame and started over.  And I don't think that's an exaggeration.

The "bad spot" became bigger and bigger as he tore it out.  There was layer upon layer of rot and ineffective patches.  Eventually, he was down to the trailer's factory frame, and the ground below was exposed!

The picture above gives a wider angle of the damage.  The area on the right was where the bed sat, on top of the hot water heater (which is the white square you see).  But, the demo had to continue until we found firm footing in the flooring.

 The floor studs were so rotted that they literally fell apart in damp handfulls.

When I returned from the rental cabin (I clean for friends) one afternoon, the bathroom was G-O-N-E.  The rot had continued throughout that portion of the floor AND up the interior wall that separated the bathroom and bedroom area!

The above is an image of where the floor was underneath the tub in the bathroom.  If you biggify it, you can see the dark base of the far wall.  That, my friends, is black, rotted wood.  You can also see the frame of the trailer here as well as one of the jacks that the trailer was supposed to be resting on.  Which it ain't.

Here's a selfie of us with a "sturdier" piece of the rotted wood that was holding the back end of the trailer together.  (Actually, I think the aluminum skin was the only thing holding the back end of the trailer together!)

Further examination revealed that the wall studs had soaked up the years of water damage and were also rotted out.  So, after tearing off all the interior paneling, we cut the damage out from the bottom up, planning to sister on new studs once we'd built a new floor!

Above is an action-shot of the Sawz-All-ing of the rotted studs.

If you've ever wondered how much insulation is in a 1982 travel trailer, it ain't much!  The studs are only 2" deep, and a little rolled insulation (which quickly soaks up moisture) was all that lay between the thin veneer interior paneling and exterior metal skin.  We were soon pulling out rotted, mildewed insulation, too.

Meanwhile, I decided to go for some immediate (and positive) gratification by beginning the exterior scrubbing process.  Did I mention that this trailer hadn't been moved in 20 years?  I don't think it had been washed once, either.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks to the next chance we had to really attack the project.  My Man was still working his full-time job a couple of hours away and could be here for just a couple of days at a stretch.  While he'd worked on the trailer all day, I'd been away either nannying or cleaning.  When I arrived at the trailer at the end of the day, he met me at the truck with a funny little grin on his face.  "I may have pulled something a little too hard", he said.


Well, that gives us better access to the trailer's frame in the back end, right?!

And, I'll leave it there for now.  I need sleep.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Where Was I?

Howdy!  Well, it has been a BUSY month+ since I last wrote.  My man was able to get a very workable schedule change at his job, so he's now up here one week and down there (2+ hours south) the next.  One week on, one week off.  This is necessary so that we can have solid chunks of productive time to work on our new home.  The down-side of this arrangement is that he won't leave his job until November 1st, but that's okay . . . given the (new schedule as a) trade-off!

Our first real chunk of time spent working on the trailer together began on August 19th.  Parts of the trailer (mainly the kitchen & living room) were so scuzzy that we HAD to start there and make some visual improvements.  When I look back, I realize how silly it was to spend the time there given the MUCH bigger (and structural) problems we soon discovered, but - like I said - it helped with the whole "feel of the thing" to get some of the dirt removed.

My man attacked the stove and oven.  It's really a nice little stove, and I'm SO looking forward to having four gas burners instead of the one, electric single-burner I make do with in my cabin.
There were years of gunk and loose rust to scrape off of the stovetop.
I took on the disgusting job of scraping the THICK, caked-on grease off the hood above the stove.  There was an old saw blade laying around, and that was the best tool for the job (oddly enough).  If you biggify the picture below, you can see how thick the putty-like grease was.  YUCK!

Then, my man moved into the bedroom/bathroom area to do some investigation.  We'd been told that the biggest issue with the trailer was the floor in that area which had suffered a lot of water damage.  Seems that the water tank stored underneath the bed had leaked badly at one point, and the flooring had never been repaired there.

While he did that, I moved to the front of the trailer to check out the status of the floor there and the windows (i.e. how badly they leaked) and to do some cleaning.

There is one bad spot in the floor of the living room.  If at all possible, though, we may leave this repair job until next year.  I have a sneaky feeling that if we start ripping the damage out, we'll discover the same disaster that was the entire back end of the trailer.
All the windows and sills were coated in mold, dirt, dust and cobwebs.
I just remembered this area of the living room, too.  The water damage is just to the left of the front door.  I think I've conveniently blocked it out.  As I mentioned above, I think this (moldy mess) will result in another bigger-than-anticipated rip-out and rebuild.  While it may look worse than the other corner, the floor is not noticeably soft here.  Note to self:  mix up a tea tree essential oil treatment to spray on this visible mold.
My mom and dad, Mama & Papa Pea, came up in the afternoon to see the trailer (I don't think my dad had seen it before) and bring all the fixins for root beer floats!!  To eat our treat, we took them over to the new, permanent site where we'll move the trailer* so they could see that space.  (*As soon as it's solid enough to move!)

This will give you a rough idea of how the trailer will sit in the new space.

Back in the trailer, my man had pulled up the layers of old carpeting and then the linoleum on the floor between the bedroom and the bathroom.  Conveniently, this area sits just inside the back door (which you can see on the left side of the picture).

Further excavation revealed . . . uh oh! . . . rotted flooring beneath the linoleum:
Attempted patches to the water-damaged floor had been previously made with spray-in foam insulation and . . . poured cement????
While I'm tempted to leave you with that cliff-hanger (ha!), I'll end on a more positive note.  Below is a progression pic of the living room from the time I first saw it to how it was at the end of this (above described) work period.  Of course, NOW it's full again with construction materials!

 Until next time, then!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Where Have I Been?

Good morning, old friends!

So, where have I been, and where am I now?  I've been busy - especially this summer.  Although, who among us hasn't?

The spring brought major changes in the lives of the three kiddos I love so much.  Their dad hired a full-time live-in nanny, cook and housekeeper - all rolled into one.  Was it a good decision?  For him, yes.  For the kids?  Jury's still out on that one.  What that meant for me, though, is that I have the kids just 1 day a week now.  But, I'm grateful I have that.  Very, very grateful!  Because of an out-of-town wedding last weekend, it had been a full 2 weeks since I'd seen them when I picked them up yesterday.  TOO long!  I missed them SO much!

My schedule was actually much lighter when I was caring for the little ones each week.  Now, I'm juggling three jobs.  Four, actually, for the month of August into the beginning of September.  I work for my dad (Papa Pea) two days a week, have the (above-mentioned) kids one day a week, clean the VERY popular AirBnB rental at least one time a week (generally more), and care for three other kids two days a week until school starts.  I think I have just two days off in the remaining weeks of August.  But, hey, ya gotta make it (hay, that is) while the sun shines!  :)

In other news, I've met a boy!  Well, a 45-year old man.  While we were both on an online dating site, neither of us were really looking.  He tells me that my profile read very "anti-relationship".  Which, I guess, is partly true.  After 6 years of single-hood, I was to the point of wanting someone to just . . . find me attractive, I guess.  My "ideal" situation was to find a newsy e-mail waiting for me at the end of a long day and meet someone for a meal out every month or so.

Of course, NOTHING ever goes according to "plan", so I've found myself in love (who knew?!!) and very much looking forward to the time that he leaves his job and home (just over 2 hours away) and we move in together!  "There's no constant in life except change!"

My wee cabin is too small for us to live comfortably, but we've fortuitously been gifted a 34-year old, 30' pull-behind camper that is to become our new home!  And the long-term use of land to park it on!  It's located 9 miles inland (from where I currently sit) in a different micro-climate (in this large county of many micro-climates) from that at my cabin:  hotter in the summer (ugh!) but colder in the winter (ahhh, lovely).  It sits on a BIG inland lake where the fishing is abundant.  We won't see the lake from where our trailer will be nestled in the trees, but it's just a short walk to our canoe or water (to haul in the winter).

My dear friend showing me the trailer for the very first time in May.
It was owned by an elderly gentleman who is no longer able to live independently.  His family has since come and removed all his belongings. 

It's our five-year plan (hence the name of this blog) to live there cheaply for that amount of time while we work hard and save up enough money to buy land and build.

My man is not able to leave his job until the beginning of October, and his time up here beforehand is very limited.  So, a LOT of hard work will happen in October as we ready the trailer for living and get it as winterized as much as we can for this first cold season.  Of course, I have big dreams of painting the semi-dark wood interior a nice, bright (white?) color to make things seem lighter and brighter inside, but that may have to wait until next summer or, with luck, quieter (wintertime?) days when I can do a little here and there.

I'll stop with my musings here so I'll still have "before" pictures to show you and mental meanderings to share before things REALLY start to change in our new home.