In the beginning, was the trailer trash.

And we looked upon the trailer and saw that it was good.

The sand in the oyster.

Needs a bath…for starters.

And also that it would need a lot of work.

Step one was to find the land. So of course we’re starting this blog with step two, which is to procure job-site living quarters and a tool security structure. Or as some have so astutely pointed out: a trailer.

I stole this idea from my friend Marc, who did likewise.

Home sweet home.

Home sweet home.

This beaut, Clark, had a price. A princely sum of $200 which I, using my shark-like marketplace skills, bargained down to $180. Then I paid the guy $20 for his temporary trailer lights to get it home. Sharp, right?

You get what you pay for.

Roofscape? Or post-industrial hellscape? Or mid-century American artscape?

Roofscape? Or post-industrial hellscape? Or mid-century American artscape?

We start with the roof. Whether you’re building a boat, or a house, or a houseboat…or a trailer, you’re nowhere if you can’t keep the water out. The water has not been kept out of this trailer for some time.  We’re not complaining, understand. The trailer is older than both of us — we estimate this gem left the line in Indiana somewhere around 1963.

Time to scrape and chip and, later, sand. This is most of what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days.


Time for elbow grease.



There’s a saying: “If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.” Somewhere along the way, this can came into contact with some kind soul who wanted to plug her leaks. If some caulk is good, lots of caulk is better. With enough caulk it seems he thought you could re-float the Bismark. You can’t.*  But you can make it hell on the next guy, so thanks for that.


Hoosier trailer? Bristol, Indiana circa 1963.

Inside the tin, is the wood that got wet. Inside the wood that got wet, are the ants that like to live in wet wood.

I pulled down all the water-damaged old birch veneer. This would have been a beautiful example of mid-century vacation-taking. I could have worn a bowling shirt and creased flannels, smoked a pipe with my martini. Jamie could have popped that patterned sun-dress and a couple of tranqs. Idle idyls. The American Dream. It’s what they sell in Indiana, after all.

I vacuumed up all the ants, and their nest, and their eggs.  It was gross. Replaced the damaged framing. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a budget solution to a temporary problem and not the time for a full rehabilitation. So we’re doing as much as we must (but we are going to re-paint that sweet stripe).

Run, Flik, run!

Run, Flik, run!


Taking the bad, leaving the less bad.


When skylights sit in the bottom of a bowl, they leak. No matter how much caulk you use. New framing eliminated the bowl.

Plenty more to do. This weekend we’re going up to the land, so we can put step one next.

We’re looking for a name for this lovely beast. Suggestions welcome.

Whites whiter! Colors brighter!

Whites whiter! Colors brighter!

*Nothing can. The Bismark was conclusively and irretrievably sunk some time in the spring of 2000 in Nick’s English Pub, Bloomington, Indiana by members of the Indiana Law School class of 2002. Eye-witness reports indicate there were no survivors.

One thought on “In the beginning, was the trailer trash.

  1. I’m not messing around with that nonsense unless you need somebody to paint flames on it. I do expect a call once there’s a slab poured and a sketch of the finished product is scrawled on the back of a coaster. As for naming the trailer I vote for “Mrs. Mendelbaum” and I can offer no explanation as to why.


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