I mentioned in an earlier entry that a 42′ Spartan is more of a house than a trailer. In fact, long before tiny houses became the current rage, large trailers were built, in part, to satisfy the huge demand for affordable housing in post-WWII America. Today, old trailers are a great, ready-made tiny house alternative and circumvent code concerns in most jurisdictions for the simple fact that they have wheels. But calling a trailer a house is almost like comparing the one-night-stand to the bride-to-be.
Let’s start with the bride. She is courted, wooed and vetted to ensure respectability and compatibility. On the big day she is fussed over, groomed, painted and rendered flawless (not unlike staging a home for sale). She may never look that good again. Expectations run high.
The one-night-stand? Well, as seen through beer-goggles, she looks pretty great at 2 am, needs a ride because her friends abandoned her and, for the price of a drink, well, what does one have to lose?
Yes, I’m a pig but this horribly misogynistic analogy conveniently makes a point. It is the morning after, I have awakened and am thinking about chewing off my arm. Don’t get me wrong. I love Sparta. But as the dust literally settles and my infatuation is tempered by some harsh realities, I am starting to regret that last Kamikaze.
First, there is the title. You know, that thing that proves ownership. I have none and in my haste to acquire this gem during a day-long road trip, I did not give that issue adequate thought. I’m thinking “$4k, registration nearly twenty years old, abandoned in the corner of a dive bar – what could go wrong?”. Well, in the State of California this will be my worst DMV experience on steroids…forms, red-tape, fees, infinite hold-times. Do I even need a title? If I want to insure it or sell it, yes. I suppose I could just go off grid and who’d be the wiser, but that doesn’t sound very prudent. Fuck.
Then, there’s asbestos. Just about every linoleum floor tile laid before 1985 contains asbestos. A naturally occurring substance (we eat and breathe it in tiny quantities all the time), it was fused into plastic floor tiles to add strength, flexibility and colorfastness. When left undisturbed it is rather harmless. When torn up during a remodel you need to call out the Hazmat Team.
Anyone with a TV set is familiar with the word mesothelioma. Google it and the first words that appear are lawyers (naturally), cancer, malignant, etc. Unfortunately, there is no cure. I can’t just run down to the free-clinic for a shot. Shit.
Finally, there is the dawning realization that there might be a huge disconnect between the task at hand and my skill-set. It is human nature to exaggerate one’s capabilities when confronting a challenge. But I may have severely misjudged the scope of this project. Electricity? I have rewired countless switches and outlets.
Water and waste pipes? I have flaunted my plumber’s crack a few times. What’s to know?
“I got this”, the wanna-be contractor says after two episodes of This Old House. But I’m starting to feel like the little boy walking through the cemetery after dusk on a dare, whistling a feeble tune. I want my mommy.