Today it was finally time to start moving in. As ya'll know, I've been sitting on this Orla Kiely stuff since last summer, just itchin' to finally play house in my trailer with it. All this brakes this and safety that sure can get in the way of the actual fun part, namely, cutification.
It was also time to really get into the drawers and unearth some relics of the not-so-cool vintage type. Powered laundry detergent circa 1985 anyone? How 'bout empty coffee cans? (Yes, I kept 2. I know. They'll be useful. But a dozen? Come on.) Dried up sponges? Bundt cake pan? Pancake syrup holder? No, no, and no. Plus I am fending off my parents who think this is a great time to unload stuff on me. More No.
My rule: If I don't know what it is or don't use it in my daily life then I don't want to haul it cross country. If someone can convince me I really might need it, I'm open to suggestions. Otherwise, OUT. Out, out, OUT. No, no and more NO.
Lest you think I'm austere, you can see I did find some room in my trailer and heart for some frivolous things. Above see my pear theme kitchen. Orla, natch. My dishes and glasses (melamine and plastic, as befits a trailer) are all nestled into their drawers and cupboards. Aren't they sweet? Awww. I just like looking at them.
And today I ran around buying new cotton mattress pads for the beds. Some things ya gotta spring for new, ya know? Anyway, you can see the back bedroom is shaping up.
I also got the drawers lined in a classic red and white picnic check paper.
But the real work was that Jeff got the trailer washed. No, it's not a mirror finish. Those take hundreds of hours of hard work with a buffer, btw. Praise the dickens outta anyone you see with a real shiny trailer, they deserve it. But, my trailer is a lovely soft gray and clean and I'm pretty damn proud of her.
And so here we are. Tomorrow Laura flies in around 10, Tiffany around 1:00. Trailer Angel Gary will take us out for a final trailer 101 lesson before cutting us loose on the highways of America.
Don't you hate it when people take up an obviously expensive hobby and then complain about how damn much money it costs? Yeah me, too. So quit reading if it really bugs you, because the money is flowing into the trailer at an alarming rate.
A better way to look at it is by taking stock of how much I got done with the help of my "Trailer Angel Team" lead by the amazing Gary. Gary's brother Len owns a RV/ Trailer supply place. When I called to whimper for help, Len told me that with it being Memorial Day week-end, he was just swamped. This was shortly after we got home from the hospital on Thursday and I was realizing how much deep shit I was in if I actually want to pull off this trailer odyssey. I must have sounded truly terrified/ weenie/ incompetent because he told me Gary was retired but that he might be able to help me. Well THANK GOD for Gary. He is amazing. One of the trailer people on Yahoo told me that I would meet wonderful people, Angels dressed as mere mortals, who would show up just when I needed them. Umm, truthfully, I thought she was a little crystal/ woo woo if you know what I mean. But nooooo, she was so right it's crazy.
Gary is breathtakingly competent. He knows all about all kinds of trailers and has the additional trait of being both calm and funny. SOLD on Gary. Yesterday he helped me move the trailer from the storage place to my parents driveway. Ya'll. Seriously. This dude is a trailer bad-ass! He drove it out and over like it was a Mini-Cooper. Popped it right into the driveway, right where we asked for it, on the first try. And then casually mentioned that the brakes on the trailer were not working. I stand in awe.
Gary gave me a list of things to buy and told me he'd be back in the morning.
While this is all going on, I am remembering how lethally allergic to Oregon I am. I'm having a sinus/ allergy attack that is killing me. My drainage is so awful I can't even swallow liquids without it hurting. So, I manage to buy the things Gary told me to get, crawl into bed and sleep in an attempt to ward off further sinus cooties.
No such luck. I can't even sleep. And the pressure is mounting because I have 2 weeks worth of stuff to do in, oh, 3 days. So I drink my tea with lemon and force myself to be well.
Today Angel Gary showed up, got the trailer brakes, lights and several other things working. I hate to sound star struck, but, really, this guy can fix anything. Meanwhile, I am scrambling around trying to help, but probably just more in the way than anything else. Gary patiently put me on jobs like washing light covers and scraping cruddy old sealing tape (that stopped sealing around 1980) off of tail lights.
Enter my second Angel. My parents have the sweetest neighbors ever, the Kennedys. They share their garden crops. They unfailingly wave. They are just Good People, if you know what I mean. They also own a Father & Son painting business. So in anticipation of my short schedule I had asked Rick ,"Father", if Jeff ,"Son", might want to come help me with the trailer while I was here. So Jeff, who is a hoot, just funny and upbeat, shows up and says "What can I do?" As Gary was on the priority task of oh, you know, roadworthiness, I got Jeff to help me by doing some repairs, such as whipping up a new bottom for a drawer that had rotted out. Sa-weet! Tomorrow Jeff is going to help me wash the beastie, head to toe.
Meanwhile, I had realized that since I can hardly breathe, it was unlikely that cleaning a dusty trailer was going to be something I could do justice to. So I had my Mom call Betsy, her amazing friend and Cleaning Lady, and general wonderful person (remember the horror movie scene? Betsy.) Betsy came over and cleaned with a vengeance. She scrubbed, vacuumed, and wiped down every surface.
Behold: My trailer is roadworthy, spotless, and gets a bath tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I went and bought more supplies, like contact paper for drawers and cupboards, and other such items, and then went and got windshield wipers on the van.
Now, it has been a very expensive day. But worth it, worth it, worth it.
So, money be damned, I went and splurged on a luxury- an updated console for the radio in the van. I know, I know, I know. Not technically mandatory. But, come on. How the HELL can anyone drive 2,500 miles without decent music? Now we have an aux jack and can plug in ipods and rock out.
If I can get my head off the pillow, that is. I still feel terrible. But, thanks to the Trailer Angel Team, lead by Gary, I'm in a good place.
Hello from Oregon. Yesterday was Quite the Day.
Let's just say that after I had been in the air for 6 hours on 2 different flights and waited at PDX for an hour, my mom arrived at the airport in near tears. My Daddy who had a skin cancer spot removed from his face recently was "bleeding". He was home. I called his doctor in the car and the nurse and I talked and she said that some bleeding was normal, so I told her I'd see what things looked like when I got to the house.
We arrived home to what looked like a scene from a freakin' horror movie. Sweet Jesus. Blood everywhere in trails and my poor Daddy just miserable, drenched, absolutely drenched, in blood on the couch.
I called the doctor back and gulped "NOT normal, Mayday, Mayday, coming your way NOW" and bundled up and headed to the hospital. Sparing you the gorier details, suffice to say it was not as serious as it looked, and the doctor was able to stop the bleeding and re- bandage fairly quickly. The downside was Dad had lost quite a bit of blood so hemoglobin levels, etc had to be checked. After visiting 2 doctors and a lab we arrived home very spent.
At this point I was feeling overwhelmed. I mean, my God, my Dad was very weak, my Mom very freaked out, and somehow, over a "holiday" week-end, no less, I was going to figure out a 33 foot 60-year old trailer?
20 hours after I had woken up, I was finally back in bed, trying to process. And you know what? I realized that though it had certainly been a very trying day, it was actually OK.
I thought about all of the people who had helped us. The nurses, doctors, the adorable cleaning lady who coincidentally had shown up to clean the house as we were bundling Dad up and who proceeded to clean up a nightmare of a scene. The security guard who got Daddy into a wheelchair and took him up to the doctor. The lab people who hurried through the tests. And even the people who helped me at the airport and along the way before my day got really weird. And I realized, people are kind. It's ok to find the grace in needing help. And, amazingly, help is out there.
And I then proceeded to pass out for 12 hours, which further helped my POV.
Upon waking, I decided that "People Are Kind", PAK, is my new motto. And I went on to have a fantastic day thrift shopping for kitchen items for my trailer, hitting Target, and having lunch with my college freind Betsy.
So much to be grateful for.
In that way that the final days before a big event seem to develop a momentum of their own, I am inching closer to the vortex.
And suddenly, it is the night before my trip and I am packing and doing the obligatory freakin' out.
Everyone keeps asking, "Aren't you EXCITED?!" and I'm thinking, "OMGOMGOMG I can't breathe, OMGOMGOMG", and I'm shrugging and actually saying, "Yeah, yeah, sure, of course I'm excited.". No terror here, no siree. Absolutely A-OK.
But in fact, I am feeling that calm that washes over one once the plane takes off and if you've forgotten something you are simply resigned to paying 10X to buy it all over again it in Paris/ Cabo San Lucas/ the Piggly Wiggly.
So, what exactly am I toting to Oregon? Well, the suitcase with trailer related gear looks pretty odd. I had a brief conversation with Tiffany about if I should write a note to TSA to try to provide reasonable explanation for a solar panel, flashlights galore, shark vacuum cleaner, rainex wipes for the windshield, half a dozen maps, 3 clipboards with random trailer checklists and advice, and of course, a beautiful 2- tier Orla Kiely serving tray & door mat & tablecloth among other really misc items such as pipe cleaners and an unopened box to tin foil.
Tiffany and I stared into the bag and concluded any explanation would make little more sense than the contents, so we scrapped that idea and I look forward to getting the little note telling me TSA searched my bag. I'm sure they will conclude that if I am, in fact, a lunatic terrorist I am indeed a stylish one. Thanks Orla!
I tried to mix up taking what fit in the suitcase so I don't have to buy it again (tin foil) with what I can get at my parents or the local Target/ Walmart. My Target/ Walmart list includes the cooler, lawn chairs, method dryer sheets (for freshening up musty cabinets), sheets, stick up LED lights, zip locks in every conceivable size, bug spray/ sunscreen, and one of those emergency road sets with reflective triangles and flares.
This random list is largely brought to you by all my fabulous fellow geeks at the Vintage Trailer Group on Yahoo, who have been holding hands with me and politely trying to help save me from myself.
The outstanding advice, though, I must say was the simplest: "It will follow you." So, my little rolling party, van, trailer and, yes, tin foil are gonna be just fine.
In anticipation of the Big Trip I had some girlfriends over for movie night. We went with the granddaddy of trailer flicks: The Long, Long Trailer. Ahh, the screwball antics of Lucy and Desi, capturing the 1950's in all it's beauty and f'ed up ideals.
Naturally, the whole idea was to capture the fun and glamour of vintage trailers by watching them in their native habitat. Well, much in the way The Nature Channel can remind you that cute little critters are actually wild animals...
Yeah, so the thing about the '50, entertainment-wise, anyway, is the utter predictability of the humor. The gags are not subtle, and the set up for them carefully ensures even the most dim-witted person won't miss it. That is part of what makes it comforting. The clever audience can see that Aunt Anastasia's rose trellissed driveway and landscaping is doomed. Lucy's rock (boulder) collection and canning obsession are building up to a scene involving a narrow mountain road.
The problem with all this gay hilarity is that, even with such clearly exaggerated antics, the issues: stopping the trailer, driving in traffic, backing up, parking, and yes, narrow mountain roads, are still alarming to the demographic of women aged 30-45 who are about to embark on a 2,500 mile 10-day trip hauling a Long, Long Trailer.
Our little group's Oohs and Ahhs over the fantastic Trailer Show scene and delight in looking at all the cool housewares in the trailer slowly turned to nervous laughter, then consternation, and finally audible gulps of wine as the ineptness of our poor protagonists makes their trailer trip a slow descent into Hell.
Aiii Lucy, indeed.
We turned on all the lights in the house and talked about how silly the monsters were. I mean, really, the New Moon trailer in the movie weighed over three tons! My trailer only weighs 5,200 pounds plus the hitch, say 700 lbs, well, hummmm...crap, we're probably over three tons, too. And the New Moon was 40 feet! Desi says that all the time in the movie!! Except, ahem, the real New Moon was only 32 feet, vs. my Spartan at 33 feet. Double crap.
Well, we did add up a few obvious pluses in favor of our trip going smoothly. First off, we will not be wearing skirts 3 feet wide with matching high heels. Though we did like the pedal pusher and plaid shirt tied at waist look.
Second, we won't be trying to make a "wonderful home" to "take care of" any men. A 50's newlywed film is bound to be sexist, but it's still tough to take. He does not even want her to drive, for pete's sake. And the gag is that he is the Nervous Nellie and she is overly confident. Which is crazy funny because, you know, he's the man. Women drivers ha ha ha. Gag me for sure.
Finally, while our tow vehicle is not a beautiful pale yellow '53 Monterey Mercury convertible, it does have the useful addition of seat belts.
We got our equilibrium back and we are fabulous again, thanks. And, hey, maybe we'll run into some of those helpful "trailerites" that want to be all up in your business. Or the trailer park owner who wants to back your rig in and get you all hooked up.
For sure we can find the people who want to have a few cocktails and share snacks. Yeah, we'll be just fine, folks. It's all sunshine, Yosemite and singing out loud again.
Woo Boy. The thrill of the cake now behind me, I have to say The Trip is looming large. Which is both thrilling and ummm... well, alarming, quite frankly.
I may have, I dunno, mentioned in passing that I don't know really what I'm doing. Umm. No, really. This is unlikely to be a funny post, for the exact reason that technical ain't funny. Probably why I can't abide much of it. I mean, I'm not a lost cause, but I'm also pretty much outta my comfort zone.
Deep breath. Let's be positive. Things I have done to prepare include pretty much the obvious and rational. Had new tires put on both trailer and tow vehicle last Summer. Had the wheels checked. Skylights had rotted so got those replaced. Van got a "check up" and had fluid changed and some small issues touched up. Checked frames on both trailer and van for rust or decay- looks good. Van has been garaged so looks great, actually. Will have trailer brakes and lights hooked up and tested before departure.
Letsee, I also planned the route as carefully as possible- no more than about 400 miles a day, usually less. Got AAA triptic. Double-checked route with Trailer Life Directory's route planner,
which assures me "no low bridges, weight restrictions, or hair-pin turns." Whew. Let's hope they freakin' deliver because just typing "hair-pin turn" made me sweat. Made reservations for RV Parks that feature my favorite campground amenity, Pull-Thru Spots.
My real precaution against bad road voodoo was carefully enlisting girlfriends who are known for their tenacity, common-sense, and most importantly, sense of humor. It is critical that all crew members have the ability to think waiting on the side of the road for AAA to show up while planning what exactly
to say to AAA, is, in fact, the makings of a good story, and a reason for all involved to eat pie at the very next opportunity
Otherwise, Welcome to Wing-n-Prayer, a time honored way of approaching life's big adventures.
I really, really did try to be more... thorough. I have been earnestly reading all kinds of web groups on the subject of vintage trailers for months
. I am astonished at the knowledge and general coolness of the hard-core trailer folks. The only thing is: I usually can only roughly understand about 1/2 of what they are talking about. I feel like a high school kid at a college lecture- unsure what to take notes on, so write (um, print) out anything you think you might need. The result is a good tree's worth of critical information... which is largely incomprehensible
I'm holding my head in my hands. I know, I know. It's ridiculous. But really- be honest- do you know what a "grease buddy" is any why "those don't fit (Spartans)"? Or what a cotter pin is? Castle nut? Drum? Studs? Ummm, if you do, what are you doing the first half of June and can I call you? Because I don't exactly know why I think it will make any more sense to me in the throes of an emergency.
Awww, Hell. Wind, meet Caution. Caution, Wind.
So, an excellent question came up the other day from one of my faithful readers (Ahem, my friend Suzanne): Does the trailer have a name?
And, interestingly, the people over at the Vintage Trailer group
on Yahoo were having the very same conversation about their trailers.
Don't you wish you owned The Glammed Ham, also known as Cardinal Sin? Damn. You think she's having any fun? I do. Or The Chiclet, of which the owner simply says, “It is small, shaped like a piece of Chiclets gum, and owned by a chick”. Man, my trailer looks nothing
like a chiclet. It would have to be The Doublemint King Size.
Some trailers have more mystical names: Moonbeam, Hideaway, Woodstock. Funny names: The Tin Pirate, Bee's Knees, The Astro Lounge (I bet you could get a drink there, yes, siree). Vintage girl names: Betty, Rosie the Riveter. And, of course, Bad-Girl names. I love these! Runaway Sue, Calamity Jane, Trixie, Pricilla. Hot Child in the City-kinda names.
All these fabulous names, stories and even pictures just make me yearn. Because while it seems like there are a lot of named trailers out there...sigh...my trailer is not one of them. Yet
In my family, we always just called it “The Trailer”. I am tempted to fib to make myself look cooler by saying we at least called it “The Spartan” but lying to total strangers on the internet, while a tradition in itself, is not for me.
Truly, it seems a trailer has to earn it's name spontaneously. So, I'm kinda hoping something will come up on our trip.
Something that does not
recall doom like “The Blowout”, “The Inferno” or “The WTFWIT?”.
I'll keep you posted.
Hey Ya'll, for my birthday my awesome friend Monica arranged this work of edible art (aka "cake") that put all my favorite things right on one fork: vintage Spartan trailer + chocolate+ Orla Kiely+ sass!
Here is another look, complete with added paper umbrella and festive candles. And, in case you are not just glued to my blog, I'll refresh your memory about those flowers. They are inspired by the Orla Kiely
fabric I just poshed up the interior of my trailer with. Sweet details!
Monica IS the birthday cake fairy. On my birthday I always
have my girlfriends over for cake. It's my tradition. And ever since I met Monica, she has put herself right in charge of that cake. The first year she called up Whole Foods and ordered me a beautiful cake, frosting roses and all. And they asked what the cake should say on top. And Monica replied, "Well, it's for a woman's birthday." So the day came and she picked up the cake...and.... and... I love this! the cake said: "Happy Woman's Birthday" in fancy script. I laughed so hard I'd liketa die. Hilarious! So, naturally, now every
cake has to say:
We had a great time, like always. The cake was perfect. She had printed out pictures of my trailer and gave them to the cake magician
. Do you love the little frosting "rivets"? I do! And I love the way it hangs right over the base cake, because, lordy, it IS bigger than life.
One more quick look as the cake drives off...
Why? Why? Why?
Why is it that blog writing makes a person unable to rite a centance or puntuate wurth a dam? I mean, I dun been to kollege and evethin, and I swear, I kan't write nuttin good no how on dis here blog. It all goes krazy like and reading it is painfull.
I apolojise now four hurting your head readers. I yam soo sory. I will try to doo gooder. That is alll.