Tomorrow is my birthday – something that I have not found particularly exciting in years. I know it’s cliche to dread birthdays at my stage of life. But why get so excited about it? Our culture over-celebrates birthdays and, yet, it is horrified by aging. Everybody gets older, “age is nothing but a number” and I should just be happy to still be vertical. Right, I get all that. Furthermore, even my numeric age is in dispute. Am I 61 tomorrow or 61 and 9 months? I guess that depends upon one’s belief about when life begins. And, actually, I am entering my 62nd year tomorrow because my first year of life was measured in months. So am I 62? See, that’s why I don’t get excited about birthdays. They are fiction…arbitrary…imprecise. Like Valentine’s Day, they mean more to Hallmark than to me.
I get more excited about Father’s Day. All a birthday means is that I successfully navigated the birth canal…so what. But being a father – that took some doing. I was an imperfect dad, to be sure. But the fact that my children still acknowledge the occasion with a card or a call tells me that I must have done something right. Many fathers are completely out of touch or, worse, estranged from their kids. I see that a lot among my contemporaries and think that’s really sad. Maybe that’s because I know too many alcoholics. Booze is so damaging to families.
So, I am marking the occasion of the first 3 months of Sparta’s rebirth. I have accomplished much, but have stalled a bit. Up to now it’s been pretty easy. I’m good at tearing shit up and laying down strips of sticky neoprene is cake. The windows are now resealed and it is time to tackle the actual leaks. You know, the ones that necessitated tearing out all those once beautiful birch panels. At 42 feet in length, Sparta is really just a crazy quilt of aluminum sheeting held together with well over 17,000 rivets. While those seams were once impervious, time has rendered many of them helpless against the persistent encroachment of water. I must now find where they are failing and seal them up.
After much study and learning via the web from other trailer bloggers, I have come up with the following plan for finding and, hopefully, fixing the myriad leaks in Sparta.
- I will fill a 3.5 gallon hand-pump sprayer with non-staining food color and water. Working from the ground up, I will deliver a steady stream of easily visible H2O to the outside perimeter of Sparta, all the while having an assistant inside marking the suspect areas with a bold Sharpie. This will target leaking seams and also windows and doors. Once the exterior walls are tested, the roof will be sprayed and, hopefully, all leaks identified. Bear in mind that Sparta is bare aluminum inside and the skin is easily viewed from there.
- With my trusty assistant still inside the trailer, I will have him/her direct me to those areas of leakage (skin seams are clearly visible inside and out and can be counted to determine precise location). There, I will apply Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure to those seams in question. If the stuff works as advertised, it will insinuate itself thoroughly into all the little nooks and crannies where leaks live.
- Next, with the goal of never again confronting a leak within my lifetime, I will spray a rubberized coating on the underside of the entire roof and all vulnerable wall and window seams.
- Finally, once everything is dried and cured, I will conduct the leak test again, repeating the subsequent steps as necessary.
This all sounds pretty good on paper. I will let you know how it actually plays out. Time to go bake my cake and become a Jehovah’s Witness.