Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Good Day’s Work

After a lunch in Kenai with my old friend Tom, I spent the afternoon at Johnson Tire, getting my trailer wheel bearings repacked. The mechanic said the bearings on one side are fine, on the other side the outer bearing is salvageable, but the inner one is not. Of course the grease is dried up and solidified, and the seals are scored. But it can be fixed and I’ll be safer.

I called around to find used tires to fit, but ain’t none in this little town. The old ones are no good but hold air, so I thought I’d wait. Then there was a big hassle trying to get them back on, since they are so much a wrong size… So finally I decided to just bite the bullet and buy new trailer tires for $100 each and not be worried about them all the time. Those old tires had been on those rims for decades and were a bitch to get off. (But when I paid the bill, they discounted the tires 15%, then gave me a 15% fleet discount on top of that, so the bill for everything was $406.) It’s money I don’t have, but it makes the trailer usable.

The mechanic says everything else actually looks pretty good. What a relief that is. The kind young man suggested that I put a post support under the saggy roof when the trailer is stored during the winter to stop more snow damage, which is a very good idea. He also said he’d do work for me on his own time whenever I need help, and much cheaper, so now I have my own (adorable and young) mechanic.

The electric line pulls out every time I turn a corner. I don’t see how it ever did work with this truck. The U- Haul guys did the light connection for me, and it wasn’t cheap. They’re a bunch of Yahoos anyway.

I’m very glad I didn’t sell the trailer. I’d have almost given it away, just to get it gone and out of my sight. Now I’m very hopeful that I can fix it, at least to be decent enough for fun times. It was great that all the workers at the repair shop admired my old trailer! It’s survived all these years, could stand to have some love now (like me).

My dear friend Katie is getting an old trailer too, so we can be “two old women camping together again”, as she says. I can’t wait!

All in all, it was a good day for me. It was also sunny and warm, so that didn’t hurt. I’m so glad all this got done before my friends Sonny and Gloria arrive next Tuesday to stay for two weeks! Now I can relax, and just do painting and cosmetic work on the trailer before I take off for “the woods”. I think my grandson Janek and my dog Cheyenne will be delighted to go with me this summer.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera today, so no pictures!

Question: Why? or Why Not?

There were some difficult showings of the trailer to interested buyers, while it was sunk into the soft ground where it had been parked for seven years. Then after one said it would have to be winched out and probably has frame damage, I decided I should get it out of there to see what might have gotten worse and could be seriously hopeless. I fretted for a while wondering who I could get to help me, then decided that since I had parked it there myself and have the truck, a good handyman jack, and wasn’t quite am elderly invalid yet, I should at least try to do it. It wasn’t easy but I had to laugh at myself as I fumbled and sweated, trying to do more than I thought I could do. I got it hitched up and was amazed when I finally shifted the truck into gear and inched slowly forward. The trailer followed easily, it rolled right out and the tires weren’t even flat! Maybe mud is a good tire protectant.

Two things happened then that changed my whole attitude. First, my friend Jo wrote an excited email about me using the trailer for camping this summer, which drove me to the paint store where the guy said there is a new strong primer that can stick to pretty much anything and the paint will probably not peel anymore. He told me exactly how to scrape the interior, rough the edges and the shiny aluminum patches with a palm sander, then how to clean it before priming. That’s hopeful, but then the salesman said the second thing that really knocked me on the head. He said that probably if I do fix the peeling paint it might not even be worth it to fix the obviously broken roof beam, since I’m short enough that I don’t even notice it and if nothing leaks it probably won’t hurt anything at all. He said: “Why even fix the broken roof if it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t leak, if the trailer tows well and if the electricity and gas work? Even if you can use it and just have fun for a couple of summers, then it’s probably worth it.” Why, indeed? It never dawned on me that the roof didn’t have to be fixed! I’m short, and it’s way above my head so I could just stop looking up!

I came home and dragged out enough extension cords to plug in the power, and presto, the lights and outlets all work, even the fans! But since I forgot why there are double fixtures everywhere, I blew two perfectly good 12-volt bulbs by testing then on the electric side before I remembered the other side is for battery power… too bad, hopefully it is even possible to buy them anymore. Next was the propane, and there was a nervous moment while turning it on and lighting the stove, but all the burners and the oven lit perfectly. The refrigerator began to get cold almost immediately. Suddenly the peeling paint and even the drooping roof looked manageable. Maybe I’m not as old and helpless as I had started to believe. I’m thinking that if the new paint primer works, I could use the trailer after all. Even if it peels, painting the interior again once a year isn’t impossible.

Usually I’m a can-do determined and capable woman, but now I wonder how many things I give up on before even trying. This seemed overwhelming, and of course a complete rebuild repair really is impossible for me, but a half-assed but usable patch job might just be enough for the years I have left. As I’ve often said, sometimes big changes are just a matter of a person changing her mind, or his. We might only need an attitude adjustment.

The more I look at everything in this trailer, the more I like it. All the curtains I made are nice, they need washing but they look good. The beautiful cherrywood floor I had installed needs a little refinishing but is perfectly flat. The laminated table I had made got warped, but fortunately I kept the old one and can get Formica installed on it and put it back in since all the fittings are still the same.

I boiled some water to make tea and was sitting at the table out there yesterday with Prairie Home Companion on the radio, using my tablet on Wi-Fi from the house (who knew it would reach that far?), and decided that first I’ll scrape some paint, do some sanding, and see what this new paint does. Then I’ll bring out a mattress and sleep there a night or two, just try camping at home and see what it’s like. Of course I am now getting more serious interest from buyers, so I need to think about what to tell them. It must be fate that nobody already bought the trailer! Will I still sell it? I don’t really know…

If the house sells this year, I actually could live in my little trailer when I come to Alaska, at least for a couple of years. Maybe those old dreams don’t have to die when they don’t work out as we hope.

So, here we go, I’m scraping, cleaning, and prepping the interior. I don’t know if I will sell it later, but it is looking better already. I thought I was too old to do this work, but I keep plugging along.

  • 1 P1180799 before interior (Large)
  • 2 P1180795 closet refrig bath (Large)
  • 3 P1180802 to the front (Large)
  • 4 P1180807 scraping paint front (Large)
  • 6 P1180813 sweeping up (Large)