Trailer Trashtastic

on a mission to live in & love our mobile home

Frustration

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So.

I know that nearly every time I finally get around to posting on Trailer Trashtastic I start with a big fat apology for why I’ve largely abandoned this blog… this time isn’t much different but I’m feeling the need to blather on awhile about my reasons.

Obviously Sugar Dish Me keeps me busy. New posts go up there 4 or 5 days a week and my forays into web design/monetization are pretty time consuming. That doesn’t include all the hours I spend in the kitchen. You understand that excuse, right? It’s a pretty good one, I think.

But lately I’m really frustrated..

When I launched Trailer Trashtastic I was pretty excited to try to morph this itty bitty living space into something tolerable while we save up to move into a much happier, permanant, and larger place… preferably one that isn’t mobile. I still have a brain full of ideas and things that I’d like to do “if”, but the “if” is my biggest problem. I am COMPLETELY OVER living in this trailer. My family is rapidly outgrowing the limited space.

The boys are bigger every day and their room is small. Small would be fine, but there’s barely room for two beds and a dresser in there, much less all the toys and things that little boys need. I’ve been looking into purchasing a bed like this.twin over full bunk bed with storage
It would totally help with the space issue in their room, I think, but it’s kind of an investment. And when we move into an actual HOUSE where they can have their own rooms, I’ll have to purchase another bed and then deal with the argumentative aftermath. Who keeps this bed? Who gets the new bed? Blah Blah Blah. Let’s not forget the mattresses that will need to be purchased in addition to the beds. The moral of the story is that this option ain’t cheap.

So I’ve been putting it off.

I’d also like to buy the boys new bedding. They’re bigger now. It’s about time. But bedding has to fit the bed and since I’m up in the air about beds and mattresses, then bedding is in the same boat.

See? Frustrating.

Add to our limited space the fact that we have NO outdoor storage. Which, in retrospect, seems sort of weird since our landlords require us to handle all the yard upkeep. The lawnmower lives under a cover locked to our back porch. So do the bikes (and they are a little weather-worn from all the year-round outside exposure). But the most gimantico problem that having negative outdoor storage when you co-habitate with a fella like Chad is that he has LOTS of things that belong outside.

But they are inside.

Tools to work on the rail buggy. Tools to work on the car. rail buggyTools to put together and take apart all the remote control cars he and Evan have amassed. The pepper plant stuff that went from hobby to obsession rather quickly. Workout gear to infinity. Parts and pieces to ehvureeething ever. And let’s not forget the at least 5 computer towers that live in my bedroom closet.

Please don’t misunderstand me here… I wouldn’t dare complain because my guy can seriously fix anything… I know I am very fortunate. But there is nowhere to put all the fix-it stuff and it gets in my little corners of our home and I always feel like my whole entire space is invaded with boy and sometimes it make me pretty crazy. Like right now.

Frustration #4,287: Norma Jean.

Ohhhhh my kitty… who would have ever thought I could develop such serious affection for a cat? Not me, that’s for sure. But Norma Kitty Jean is special. my danger kittyAnd she’s actually not supposed to be here. A little over 3 years ago when I moved in, the terms were NO PETS. But when we found Miss Norma in our yard, nearly starved, in the dark, so teeny tiny she fit in one of my hands, and was basically just waiting to be eaten by an owl, we just HAD to bring her in and give her some love.

She’s been my faithful and annoying companion ever since. I love this crazy cat. So I ignore the No Pet clause because did they really expect me to leave her out there to die?!!! If I were the property owner, I would evict my tenants for NOT saving a tiny kitty. Not the other way around.

Since we are essentially not supposed to have Norma, I have to do stupid things like hide out in the bedroom with my girl when repairs to our home are being made (we recently had a water leak under the house). It’s probably only a matter of time before we are found out.

So while we’re on the topic of animals, those of you that follow at Sugar Dish Me will know about the puppy that visited our house on New Year’s Eve. If you need to catch up, you can find that article HERE. Anyway, that little puppy has been out in the rain, the cold, and the dark on my neighbors’ porch since they thanklessly retrieved her from me. She has no shelter. And whenever I walk out my back door she pleads at me with these sad eyes. She also told me she hates them. They ignore her.

Usually I try to be kind of politically correct when writing about real life people around me, because WHAT IF they stumbled upon this written word and then freaked out, right? But not this time. My neighbors are total dirtbags. And I’m not okay with the whole puppy situation. Take care of your pets!!!! Because if you don’t then you’re a dirtbag. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s add energy inefficiency to my list of trailer gripes… we can’t keep it warm or cold in here to save our lives. I’ve lived in houses 3 times this size and the power bill was 1/3 less. I’m pretty sure there isn’t any insulation anywhere. So our cheap rent is wasted on an outrageous power bill.

I’ve also decided that socially & culturally this area is just not for me. I’ve had a hard time with this aspect since I moved out here, and it has really isolated me. When I was single with my 2 little guys, no one took me seriously about ANYTHING. When I made a million and one phone calls to find housing before I settled on this place everyone kept asking where my husband was? They all acted like it was completely unfathomable for a woman to take care of herself. They really didn’t want to talk to me. I had to go way above and beyond to prove myself. It was ridiculous, and after growing up in a city (not even a large city!) it sort of blew my mind.

I can’t get used to the idea that everyone needs to ask me who my parents are? Or when they want to know the origin of my last name because they’ve never heard it before (they are looking for a COUNTY of local origin, not a genealogical family history). They do the same thing to Chad whose father wasn’t from this area and I think he’s been offering up these explanations his whole life. The teachers question my children. It’s weird. wine Family names have a whole other meaning here. It bothered me TREMENDOUSLY that the entire community assumed that the crabby old man I used to work for was my dad just because I worked there.

There are no decent restaurants. We have only one super lame movie theater. The mall is definitely close to closing up completely. The “international” aisle in my grocery store consists of a few cans of refried beans and a bottle of soy sauce. There is no art. No theater. Nothing inspiring. Everything closes at 9; 10 if you’re lucky. This is a dry county. That’s right. Buying and selling alcohol is illegal. Prohibition is alive and well in 2013.

But perhaps what’s been most disturbing for me out here is that racism and homophobia are socially acceptable ways to be. That’s not okay for me and my children. And it’s never gonna be.

All of my moaning and groaning is to say that I’m fed up. I feel done with a mobile home. I’m antsy to plant my feet somewhere that feels more like a HOME, even if it’s only temporary. I can’t move my boys in the middle of the school year, though, so in the meantime we are searching. Trying to find someplace we fit. Hoping to find somewhere to be.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

January 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

Chalkboard Command Center

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chalkboard wall project

If you also follow me over at Sugar Dish Me, then you’ve probably already seen this post. If not, then forge ahead! But also, if you fit into the “not” category, it would be super great if you’d go there and subscribe! (http://www.sugardishme.com/ )

So I’ve had a few projects in the works and figured it was about time to put a few of them up so you all don’t think I’m full of empty promises.

The Kitchen Chalkboard Command Center. I love it.

John Lennon quote

Like many homes, the kitchen is at the center of ours. Maybe it’s because I am literally ALWAYS in the kitchen? Maybe it’s because we almost always come in and out of the back door into the kitchen? Or that there are almost always muffins or cookies on the table? It’s probably a combination of all these things. It makes me happy and crazy at the same time.

Our kitchen becomes a dumping ground for all things: permission slips, homework that needs to be checked, the calendar, bills that need to be paid, coupons, the mail, Chad’s tools (MAJOR pet peeve). Also- our refrigerator is nestled in the little walkway between the kitchen and our bedroom with the closet door for our heating unit situated across from it. There is room enough to open the fridge and rummage around accordingly, but anything that gets pinned to the front of it has little chance of being seen. My kids LOVE to plaster their artwork to the fridge, but  it falls down into the floor whenever you walk past one too many times. The coupons I stick to the freezer are forgotten and out of date. Evan had 3 unused homework passes from last year- that’s how inconvenient and out-of-view that space was.

The wall where I hang my calendar is pretty big, but if you have any experience at all with the walls in a mobile home, you know that they are suuuuper flimsy, the chances of finding a stud are slim, and they are covered in wallpaper that is completely atrocious. So I nail the calendar to the wall… and it falls down into the floor. I put the nail back in. It falls out again.

organizing the kitchen

The solution for me was to remove EVERYTHING from the front of the refrigerator, throw out all the out of date things, and then make a plan.

The plan was chalkboard paint.

So if you read the post (linked at the top of this post) about our trailer not being trashy, you know all about the offensive wallpaper. I am campaigning to systematically eliminate each and every bit of it, but it is time consuming.

To Paint Wallpaper – I HIGHLY recommend one of two products : 1) Glidden Gripper (available at Home Depot) or 2) Valspar’s Bonding Primer (available at Lowe’s)

These two primers are made to adhere to slick surfaces. They work great on furniture, faux wood paneling, and in my case, the ugliest wallpaper on earth. I’ve used both products and don’t really have a preference of one vs. the other, but to cover the wallpaper effectively I did have to use two coats so I didn’t have pattern bleed.

I taped off my area, primed two coats (using a regular old 3/8 nap roller), and let them dry completely. I wanted to prime part of this wall with magnetic primer, which is really a cool project. But magnetic primer USED to be like $10-$15/quart. And now it’s closer to $30. I will probably still do a portion of this wall as a magnet board, but only after I’ve price-shopped nearly everything and am convinced that $30 is actually the going rate.

In the meantime I affixed a cork board square (about $4/pack of 4 at Wal-Mart) to the wall using wall anchors (CRUCIAL to trailer crap wallboard hanging efficiency), and punched up important things like homework passes with thumbtacks.

functional kitchen space in a trailer

The chalkboard wall gives us adequate space to write lists, leave notes, and scribble inspirational quotes everyday.

I’m sure you’ve noticed our defunct smoke detector in these photos. It’s wired into the house (because when this place was built that must have been cutting edge technology- we also have a built-in AM/FM stereo!! Yeah!) and is disabled because it likes to shriek whenever I boil water and there is steam. I might have hit it with the broom. Don’t worry. We have others.

To Apply Chalkboard Paint – follow the instructions on the product you purchase, I used THIS and it has worked wonderfully every time I’ve ever used it. Make sure you STIR IT WELL before applying. I like foam rollers for applying chalkboard paint because they give a really smooth finish. On top of the primer they do seem to slide around a bit, and this WILL take a couple of coats, but the end result looks great.

You can see that scribbling on the wall is fun for everyone. Evan likes to add things to my shopping lists.

This little central hub for family activity adds lots of charm to what was a really boring and out-dated space. I have plans for a mini-version on one of my cabinet doors over the stove, which may be a good idea for those of you that don’t have spare wall space. The smaller version will be for meal planning and grocery lists. Magnetic primer would be excellent there, too.

The tools that kept landing in my kitchen are disguised behind the simple tab-top curtains that we originally bought from Target, but are actually hand-me-downs from my little sisters’ old bedroom. The mounting hardware is from Ikea, and if you have one near you, I guarantee you won’t find stylish window hardware any cheaper.

The refrigerator is free of clutter! Notes and lists go up and then get erased.

So that’s it. Go paint something.

easy chalkboard wall project

 

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

October 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Playing Catch Up

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Sooooo… let’s pretend I had  this blog called Trailer Trashtastic that I failed to update for months at at time….

I sure hope you forgive me for that, because at this rate I’m going to have to start every post out with a big fat apology. Anyway, I’ve been busy! I have about a gajillion things to share with you.

Let’s start with the bathroom. Before our bathroom was finished, we spent 8 days in the sun at the beach. It was wonderful. What wasn’t so wonderful from my perspective was that we had to leave our landlord an open invitation to finish the work while we were gone. Because at that point the project had been going on for 3 weeks.

Yes. I said THREE WEEKS.

Suuuuuuch a headache. painted trailer wall repair
I’m not super cool with people being able to traipse in and out of my house unsupervised while I’m far away. It’s not that I think anything is going to wander off… it’s the snoop-factor. I’m not gonna claim to be so interesting that people just really wanna root around in my stuff, but everyone has drawers full of papers with student loan balances, old report cards, little scraps of memories… you know, personal things that you don’t share with everyone. Or anyone. And I KNEW the snoop-factor was a real possibility when I came back and all my mail was on the kitchen table (but not at my request). It was confirmed when I called Mr. Landlord to advise him we were home and thanks for finishing up and he gave me a 10-minute dialogue about how he was looking for toilet paper to clean the mirror he hung back up (P.S. Who cleans a mirror with toilet paper?) so he wandered over to our other bathroom, alllll the way on the other side of the house, because I guess the toilet paper in the remodeled bathroom wasn’t good enough? And while he was in the other bathroom he noticed that the lid to the toilet tank was broken.

After our phone call I went into that other bathroom and saw that he noticed the broken lid (which by the way never matched or fit either toilet) so much that he moved the framed photos and candles that were sitting on top of it and left them strewn haphazardly across the sink. Also it looked like someone rolled around in the grass and then sat on our sofa for awhile…

Snoop-factor. It’s real and not imagined.

On the up-side, though, the bathroom turned out nicely. I’m happy with the finished wall and even happier that the toilet is seated and in working condition.

I’m also happy that we rent this trailer and do not own it because the caulk that was used to seal everything off  is not the kind of caulk you are supposed to use in a bathroom. In fact, whenever I run a rag across it to clean, some comes off. I don’t know if it was wrong or out-of-date-or both, but it never set up. And since I can’t handle another 3 weeks of my home being invaded I’m just gonna leave it like it is.
trailer bathroom wall repair

Okay. Moving along… I’m not actually done with the bathroom. There are a few purchases I’d like to make:

  • cabinet space/shelves for over the toilet
  • another curtain for around the tub- preferably one with a pattern
  • new towels!!!
  • a row of hooks for hanging towels

And speaking of hooks, I have a cool project that I’ll be sharing in the next couple of days:

kitchen organization for small spaces

Kitchen Organization!! For cheap.

I also constructed what will soon become COMMAND CENTRAL in the kitchen, complete with a giant chalkboard wall.

We came up with a solution to temporarily hide the laundry “nook” ugliness annnnd there are lots of things going on outside, too.

Fall decorations, ya’ll.

Photos and instructions for all this mess in the days to come (I’ll make good on these promises, I swear!!!), and in the meantime, I’ll leave you with the last remnant of our summer garden…

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

September 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Thursday, Friday, Saturday…

with 9 comments

It’s Saturday, and I am happy to report that the bathroom project is moving along nicely. On Thursday, after my Wednesday full of frustration and panic, work went at a slightly furious pace, and by the end of the day the new sheet rock was up with a coat of mud and most of the tile is back down on the floor.

The siding is in place at the back of the house, which means the exterior wall is complete. The siding even got a good scrub! No more tarp as an excuse for an outside wall.

single wide trailer bathroom remodel
At the top of the above photo you can see that the ceiling around the skylight still hasn’t been repaired; I’m not sure what the plan is for that to be aesthetically pleasing.

The toilet isn’t set yet; we have to paint first, so until someone returns to sand the three coats of mud on the wall we are at a bit of a standstill. Chad and I went to pick out a paint color yesterday.

We will be purchasing an Interior/Exterior Bonding Primer from Valspar. It adheres to slick surfaces like cabinetry and vinyl, so it will be just what we need to cover the wallpaper. I have plenty of experience with Gripper, by Glidden, the original product charged with the task of bonding to slick, hard-to-paint surfaces. It works reliably every time I’ve ever used it, and I only hope its Valspar counterpart does as well. We don’t have a Home Depot in our area, and paint brands are store-loyal.

mobile home bathroom re-do
This is where the new wall joins the old wall; we’re going to paint the entire back wall one color straight across. We’re going with a darker accent color pulled from some of the detail in the wallpaper. I’m still not a fan of the wallpaper, but if I’m picking whole rooms to paint, we are starting with my kitchen before we even consider the bathroom.

Also my bath tub is clean.

Happy sigh.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Update on the Invasion

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Things wrapped up yesterday looking a little better. Chad came home from work and a super duper thunderstorm was blowing in, so at 5 pm construction moved into high gear. We have a wall!!! But no toilet.

Alas, I am still sharing the other bathroom with the little boys.

no toilet in the bathroom
This is the new wall. No drywall yet. The hole in the floor is where the toilet used to be…

mobile home bathroom remodel
This is the nice new sheet rock that will go over the new wall. This morning it is MAJORLY cramping my style because it completely prohibits me from accessing the bathroom counters and sinks at all. I can’t get to the cabinets down below with all my stuff in them.

Needless to say I’m looking pretty cool these days…

I did manage to reach the deodorant, so at least I think I smell alright.

To Be Continued…

 

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Home Invasion

with 37 comments

Let me begin by apologizing for being the worst Trailer Trashtastic blogger ever.

Sorry.

I do spend most of my time at Sugar Dish Me, so those of you that follow me there know that I’m not really missing. It’s just that I cook EVERY DAY, so taking a little extra time to photograph my efforts isn’t a big stretch, and there certainly isn’t any financial commitment beyond my usual grocery budget. I’m pretty proficient at doing things in a budget-friendly way, and while I would love to spend every bit of spare cash on home improvements and furnishings, mostly I just can’t really justify it.

Anyway… let’s talk about what prompted me to be here today instead of my usual Sugar Dish stomping grounds:

My home is in limbo (you know, the place Dante writes about that exists between Heaven and Hell when you just don’t know what to do or where to go? We are THERE.). It is not a happy place right now. We have been invaded.

It all started when I pulled up the rugs in the master bathroom for their weekly run through the wash. We have a really big bathroom (I mean disproportionately big… it’s almost as big as the master bedroom; I’d throw out measurements for you but math is not really my strong suit), complete with a pretty garden tub, flowy curtains, double sinks and a separate stall shower. There is a skylight that lets in lots of natural light. Our bathroom is generally a very happy bright place to be. Also – NO LITTLE BOYS ALLOWED.

So I pull up the rugs and start scrubbing the floors. Chad comes home for lunch and notices that against the bare floor the toilet looks sort of crooked. He messed around, pulled up a floor tile, and poked around for the source, but everything looked okay. Definitely crooked, though. When I returned to my bathroom scrubbing chores I noticed some light water marks at the bottom of the baseboards behind the toilet. Uh-oh.

It was a day or two before we had a few minutes to run over and inform our landlords of the issue. Some background on the couple we rent from: a very super nice retired couple that love to share fresh veggies from their garden. We are really very fortunate; I’ve rented from some real lame-o’s. These people are like hitting the landlord jackpot. BUT! They like to talk. So if we walk over the road to tell them anything, or even just to pay the rent, we can plan on being there for awhile. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit into our schedules.

By the time we went to let them know that the toilet is crooked and we suspect water damage from some of these crazy storms, the toilet was noticeably more crooked. That was Friday.


I took this picture on Monday morning before the work started. Even. More. Crooked.

So our very nice landlord/handyman wanted to do the work himself. Cheaper and faster, right? On Monday he got the ball rolling and took everything apart. He measured, made a list of materials, and got a good sense of what needed to be done. Basically there is a leak in the skylight or something that is routing water down the back of the house. The wall has water damage and it is now attacking the floor.

trailer bathroom remodel
When he finished working at 3 pm Monday this is what it looked like. At a glance, not too bad.

Tuesday morning arrived, and with it my early morning workout. Workout = Shower. The construction disaster should technically only affect one half of the bathroom. It’s a big enough space that I should have a clear path from the door to the shower. This half of the bath also includes access to the sinks and countertops.

THAT IS WHERE ALL THE IMPORTANT STUFF IS.

Important stuff like 42 bottles of lotion. And make-up. Jewlery. Face wash. Deodorant. Tweezers. THE MIRROR. My toothbrush and dental floss!!!!!! On my way to the shower I discovered that all of my clean towels have been thrown in one of the sinks and there is the great big mirror that’s been removed from the wall, moulding and all, just sort of leaning all heavy and dirty on top of them. The candles that usually rest on the tub are lolling on the counter waxing up bobby pins and a stray necklace. The bathmats that I washed, dried, and carefully laid over the side of the tub (remember the rugs that got this whole ball rolling? Yeah. Those rugs.) have dirty boards leaning on them. The lid to the toilet is in what was my sparkly clean bathtub. Also there is some unidentified dirt in there. Tuesday morning on the way to the shower I started freaking out.

mobile home bathroom remodel
Another thing about Tuesday:

At the end of Tuesday everything looked exactly like it did at the end of Monday. Rain was in the forecast, and even though it never rained and was 86 degrees and sunshiney bright, Tuesday must have been like the bathroom re-do Sabbath. Time to think and reflect maybe?

While we were sleeping Tuesday night/Wednesday morning it rained. A LOT. So at 4 am I woke up to a really cool watery dripping sound . That’s because it was raining in my bathroom.

mobile home water damage
I don’t know how much you can decipher from this, but the material you see with the horizontal slatted appearance is THE SIDING. That little bit of vinyl is all that exists between us and the outside world. The soaking wet board and insulation still hanging out in the middle of the wall are confusing for me…

water damaged mobile home sub-floor
My favorite part of Wednesday morning was this rained-on rotted sub-floor grossness.

After this I became afraid to enter the bathroom at all. Also I have been air-conditioning the backyard since noon on Monday… because I have room for that in my budget. I have become very worried about my washcloths, hand towels and PRODUCTS. How do you disinfect Argan hair oil?

By 8 am this morning I’d passed the point of no freak-out return. I called my best friend. She talked me down. Sort of.

Work began about 9:30 am (after the Tuesday hiatus… P.S. this morning it was actually rainy). The siding came off, the rest of the wall came down, and I resorted to frantically typing this post because I need to vent. FORREAL.

I can’t cook, can’t bake, can’t think with all the banging. I am terrified that we will be taken over by spiders since we have no wall. I think I may have to sell my soul to the power company at the end of all this.


When work stopped for lunch I poked my head in the bathroom. I have a blue tarp for a wall and why yes, that IS my back yard you see there!

I don’t know how many more days this will go on, but I do know that I am a girl and I need my bathroom. I really wish someone would have asked me where I would like my clean towels? Or told me that I should just go ahead and rescue all bath products before the work started. Or let me know that I’d have no wall…

Do you have any crazy remodeling experiences? Tips for how to survive this?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm

A Little Help, Please?

with 14 comments


I should have titled this post “Who Knows What To Do With 9,053 Wire Hangers?”

Someone should ask Joan Crawford, maybe?

Okay, but on a serious note – I hate a wire coat hanger. Chad’s work uniforms are laundered, which helps keep metal grounds and sand out of my washing machine, but means that once a week he comes home with 10-15 more wire hangers. I transfer the uniforms to the neatly organized plastic hangers before putting them in our closet, which leaves me with an ever-growing pile of wire hangers that have taken up residence above my washing machine.

I can’t make myself throw them away… it feels like a disgusting misuse of natural resources.

And we have established that the uniform company does not pick the hangers up for re-use (though they should!!! **if not in the interest of the planet then at least in the interest of their bottom line**).

We have used the wire hangers here and there for small projects – wish I’d had the foresight to take pictures, but I didn’t… sorry! Anyway we have re-purposed them for:

  • pretty hangers for Christmas stockings (thanks to Chad and a handy pair of pliers)
  • markers for moon flower seeds in the garden
  • the wire backing for homemade greenery wreaths

I’m sure there are a few projects I’m forgetting about. I can use the hangers one or two at a time, but then I get a whole new set the following week and the JUST KEEP ACCUMULATING.

A little help, please?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Projects

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