The Small Small Trailer

An essay in inadequacy.

When I bought our twenty foot Jayco Lite travel trailer before our house closed in the spring of 2017, I figured we’d be living in it for a few months while we looked for a new home.

I was wrong.

We lived within the confines of it’s half-inch walls for almost two years.

When I spotted it in an ad, I was sucked in by the extra amenities and the price. Plenty of room for the job as I saw it at the time. It came with a TV, radio, an air conditioner, central heating and something else so appealing I’ve forgotten what it was.

It also came with a badly rotted floor which I didn’t know about at the time. The rest was standard.

We spent a summer living in the thing expecting to find a property with a house. We didn’t, and ended up crammed in for much longer than we expected. The single table inside was only big enough for my son and his computer so I spent a lot of time in our bunk at the rear or outside in our half-built shed. My husband even moved his TV and Xbox outside during the summer. It was too cramped in the tiny house on wheels.

The sink was too small, the bathroom was too small and the hot water heater was glitchy. It became an art form to take a shower. We had to set the timer for twelve minutes exactly from the time we turned the hot water heater on. Whoever was taking a shower had to be ready to jump in at the mark or the water would boil out of the tank outside within a couple of minutes.

We managed to break not one but two windows and had to tape them up and when the freezing temperatures hit, we had a major problem on our hands with the canvas walls of the pullouts.

We ended up putting rigid sheet insulation and plywood around the walls and over the roofs of the pullouts but zero degrees doesn’t care. The rain had a tendency of finding a way through the tarps we put over them too. Wet mattress pads, sheets and pillows were the order of the day. I don’t know how we survived but we did.

Some time during the summer the rotten floor made itself apparent and we crawled under the contraption to shore up the floor with two by fours to prevent a “yard sale” while driving down the freeway at sixty-five miles an hour.

There wasn’t much between the outdoors and us in a canvas pullout.

One night shortly after we’d set up camp on our new property, we heard a distinct scraping sound against a trash barrel outside just feet from our heads. We’ll never know what was out there. I took the outside position only one time and ended up on the inner side within minutes.

Last fall we got a fifth wheel, not knowing for sure when we’d be able to build a real house but our fifteen year old insisted that he didn’t want to see the Jayco go to waste. He’s a teenager and he still lives in it.

We were quite happy to say goodbye and move next door forty feet away. At least we no longer have to worry about Mr. Foot reaching his hand under the canvas wall and making away with my husband.

 

What We Do and Don’t Have In Common With Cousin Eddy

It’s scary to even think we have ANYTHING in common.

I’m lumping the do’s and don’ts together.

  • Neither me nor my husband have steel plates in our heads; yet.
  • We both live in trailers.
  • We don’t live on a former atomic testing site.
  • Our child isn’t in the sex trade to supplement our family income.
  • We don’t fry our food on the rocks (although we brewed coffee with a blowtorch once).
  • We have a sense of taste in clothing (although more often than not, we’re semi filthy from doing some sort of project or another on the property).
  • We don’t have a dog with a sinus infection but our cat slobbers profusely when petted.
  • We both quit toting a beer around in a beer holster a long time ago.
  • We sweat, but not as profusely as Cousin Eddy.
  • We have a sense of social awareness, unlike Cousin Eddy.
  • did ask the tour guide where the damn bathroom was when we visited Hoover Dam.
  • Our son hasn’t been kicked in the head by a mule; hopefully won’t ever be.
  • We have to empty the shitter on a regular basis, just not into the sewer.
  • Our son has a tongue.
  • We haven’t had a case of lip fungus in our family within recent memory.
  • We don’t have to deal with Mississippi Leg Hound Syndrome.
  • Our garden isn’t spitting out 50 pound tomatoes. The deer ate them all.
arizona asphalt beautiful blue sky
Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

What My Fifth Wheel Looks Like To Me

A translation.

No, not a turkey. I am temporarily out of my own pictures pertaining to RV repair.

I didn’t know how to install a water pump so I went to see the local RV repairman last week. He’s probably been doing this for about 100 years now and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about customer service anymore. When I asked him about the wiring he said in an extremely tired and irritated voice while gesturing violently at the water pump I had in my hand “red is red and black is black”!

Well, I made this picture for him to translate to him what I saw. No, he hasn’t seen it nor will he ever. 🙂

wiring3

Creation-The Beginning

God said “let there be a blog about a crazy family living off-grid” and it was so. And it was good.

A quick note: These blog posts are not in chronological order. They are in the order of what came to my mind first but there’s a general framework. Hopefully they’ll be able to stand on their own as bits and pieces from the life of an eccentric family stupid enough to move to the frontier. 🙂

We are afraid of the water heater. It’s gas. We finally got it into our “new” used fifth wheeler yesterday and we wonder if it will blow up or something. Did we install it right? Do you have to turn it on and off manually when you want hot water? We checked for gas leaks with soapy water and sealed it up good so no worries about that. Then we watched an episode of Mythbusters where they over-pressurized some hot water tanks and they blasted off as if rockets going to the moon.

I didn’t tighten up the water hoses well enough either before we turned on the water. Water leaks everywhere and one that just won’t stop. At least it’s just a very slow drip. Tons of teflon tape on the threads and around the outside, duct tape, spray sealer..nothing works. Just put a cup and a towel over it for the night and do again in the morning. Just in case, we turned off the gas. We’re calling a real person to fix this in the morning.

So now for some context. My counselor told me to write a book so I’m writing a blog instead.

This is actually the introduction post about a family going off-grid, not for any philosophical reasons, we just liked the land and the quiet.

I’m hoping my blog is funny. We’ll find out.

Summary:

  • We are a husband and wife who sold their house in western Washington and moved to eastern Washington.
  • We are not perfect. Far from it.
  • We don’t care that we are not perfect; and we are known to swear but we are nice (although one neighbor said we are evil but more on that later).
  • I only semi know how to write so forgive me for all of the grammatical mistakes I am about to make.
  • We lived in a trailer all summer of 2017 while we looked for property.
  • We found property we liked. It “spoke to” my husband. 🙂
  • We moved onto the property and continued to live in the trailer.
  • We had a major reality check as fall progressed.
  • We weren’t very well prepared financially and some things happened that made it worse but things are better now 🙂
  • We made the best of things but winter sucked.
  • Summer then sucked.
  • Fall is here and we’re doing WAY better but some things still suck.

A lot of things DON’T suck…don’t get me wrong. We love our new lives here! It’s been one hell of a year.

Life off the grid is difficult. Things you have to think about that you now take for granted: water, shelter, power and all of the other things that are ready made if you live in town. But if you live “out there”, every little thing has to be thought through and executed in the best way you can figure out and/or afford. You have to allow for freezing temperatures in the winter and sweltering  highs in the summer when planning this shit. There seems to be no spring or fall here. It seems like a place of hot or cold with little in betweens.

I have cried more times than I can count and I have laughed fewer times. Just being honest. It hasn’t been easy but it’s sure been rewarding and a learning experience so far.

Things I will talk about in the future:

  • Honkers the goose
  • The Spring
  • The Garden
  • Going Solar; Kind Of
  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Sling Shotting and the Ball Return System
  • Prospecting!
  • Mushrooms; Morels
  • The Shed
  • The Neighbors
  • The Other Neighbors
  • The Antiques On The Hillside
  • The New Fifth Wheeler: a Saga
  • The Old Trailer: a Saga
  • Insulating or Preparing For Armageddon?
  • Bridgette the Truck
  • Art: Making Dorodango Balls Out Of Mudd