Good morning followers of my trailer blog. I am sorry to have kept you both in suspense, but for the past week there has not been much to report on the Spartan front. And I really didn’t want to launch into another recovery manifesto, at least, not so soon. By the way, for those interested in recovery and the voyeurism that inevitably makes our stories compelling (to each other), check out http://www.thefix.com It is a decent newsletter about the ever-growing world of descent into and recovery from addiction.
But back to Sparta. It is 5 am on a Saturday morning and I don’t have to be at work until 9 but here I am blogging about my new obsession. Actually, there are two obsessions – Sparta the object and Sparta the subject. I lay in bed many nights thinking about how I plan to trick out my trailer and I also toss and turn while composing blog entries in my head. As if I didn’t have enough to think about (like a 6 week old Grandson – my first!), this new vanity project is now taking up space. The hamster in the Habitrail (better known as my brain) is exploring the new wing of his already Byzantine home and working overtime in the process.
You will often hear in AA, “I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a thinking problem.” from people who rightly recognize that endless thought loops can be dangerous to sobriety. We often indulge the fallacious belief that we have a choice only between the seeming insanity of repetitive, negative self-talk and drinking. That, of course, is a dangerous cop-out. But with this trailer I have a new and productive focus and, other than losing a bit of sleep over her, Sparta is a great puzzle.
So the next jigsaw piece I will place is concerning her temporary resting place. As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, I found a lovely field to park her in. It is beautiful – grassy, dotted with poppies and a few gnarled trees long past fruit-bearing. But it is perhaps better suited to a picnic than a trailer project. The weeds are tall and vigorous thanks to an El Nino winter and they will provide cover for nasty rats and their nefarious plans.
I have learned through web research and actual inspections that rats and other vermin are hell on trailers, especially vacant ones. While you might think an aluminum box would be impervious to their mischief, rats have found much to like about old trailers. Spartan floors are wood (as are Airstreams’) and often they are rotted out in sections. Rats will chew through soft wood and wreak havoc on trailers, chewing though wiring, pulling out insulation for nesting and pissing all over cabinets rendering them foul and reeking. The last thing I want to find while peeling back a water-stained section of birch paneling is a rat’s nest made of trailer parts festooned with a thousand turds. Yuck! To avoid this, I decided to lay down a barrier against weeds and the undergrowth which might provide rats a beachhead from which to launch an invasion. Yesterday I took a weedwhacker to a 10′ X 50′ section of pasture and then rolled out a corresponding spread of 6 mil. plastic (actually two 10′ X 25′ pieces purchased at Home Depot for $50). I then laid out 5 foot pieces of thin bamboo all around the perimeter which I tacked into the earth with 4″ U-shaped staples (also purchased at HD in the landscape section). I am satisfied that I have created a welcoming and rodent-free plot for Sparta.
Having wrestled successfully with the question of where to place my trailer protected from weeds and rats, I have now turned my nocturnal musings to the subject of the renovation itself – specifically the debate of faithful and very expensive versus updated and just expensive. A quick visit to Pinterest reveals an amazing array of Spartan redos, from those that reproduce accurately the original, down to door latches and light fixtures, to more modern interpretations of a classic (there are also hippie hamlets done on the cheap with cast-off cabinets and fixtures but I’ll not go there).
Before deciding which way to go I had to answer the question of purpose (yes, besides the soul satisfying process of working with my hands while bringing back the dead). “What”, asked Tom, “is my exit strategy? Am I building this to fashion a great asset for resale or to create a wonderful place to use and enjoy until the day I am carted out of it feet-first to take a dirt nap?” I decided upon the latter. This decision was helped, in part, by the tremendous expense of reproducing faithfully a 60 year old anachronism. Do I really need to drop $25 on an original brake light cover, $50 on a door latch or $3000 on a working and reliable vintage refrigerator? No, my kids will be just as happy with my modern take on classic.
Not to mention that the $2,000 savings will fit nicely into my retirement fund.
Ooops, where did the time go? Off to work.