...and crafting a purposeful recovery


Several months ago I made numerous concessions to trailer life that I took on willingly and, I’ll admit, with a bit of rebellious pride.  Not quite Thoreau, but I fancied myself an independant sort getting closer to his elemental self – minus the pond.  It is easier to imaging oneself a minimalist if one does away with TV, books, his music collection, the newspaper, running water, etc. – but is it really simplifying if all those things are now stored in “the cloud” (well, except the toilet) and accessed through my Chromebook?  In truth, I really haven’t grown any less dependant upon these modern distractions.  All I have done is added the vagaries of an unreliable Internet connection.

When I first moved into Sparta last summer, I lacked a heater, cooking facilities, a coffee-maker, hot water, a toilet and several other conveniences.  With the passage of time (and the addition of a girlfriend), I have acquired all of those things plus a curling iron.  This proliferation of cords has created a morning routine that defies any notion of simplification.  Upon awakening, I must identify, while fumbling in the dark, cords for the coffee maker, teapot and space heater.  I then plug in the first two and unplug the latter – lest I blow the breaker – having first unplugged those things that I do not need.  You see, next to the bed I have about eight electrical devices and only four plug-ins on the power strip.  These cords are like puppies scrambling for a teat and there simply aren’t enough to go around.  The process of assigning current usually makes enough noise to disturb a slumbering Cristina, adding to my distress.

So you get the idea and I didn’t even mention nearly tipping over our urine-filled porta-potty the other night – a mishap with obviously dire consequences.  You are probably now asking what any of this has to do with trailer restoration.  I will now tell you.  It has provided me greater motivation to get my ass in gear.

Once upon I time I figured I would lovingly treat every single 4 X 8′ birch panel the same – sand, condition, stain, poly, sand, poly.  Well, after about 20 of these and ten more to go I realized that was quite unecessary for those pieces that were going to be covered in the end with cabinets, appliances, closets, etc..   I also concluded that those final panels could be a cheaper, inferior grade of plywood.  This epiphany saved me time and money – nice work, Copernicus.  So in the past few days I quickly installed 7 plain sheets of inferior birch ply.  I only sprayed the back of each with Thompson’s Water seal (I concluded this might arrest future water intrusion).  Here are the results:

This is the exterior wall of the future bathroom. Note yellow 120v romex for wall heater.

Plain ply

Side wall where cabinets and battery locker will go. Note finished birch in foreground.

Tommy’s Tippy. Watch out.




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