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Living In A Trailer House


Jack Mann

Living in a trailer house can be one of the worst experiences you can endure. 

They look so pretty and neat when you go to buy a new one. The first problem you run into is where to put it. It seems, for some unknown reason, nobody wants you putting it near their house. Now that is hard to understand because this $45,000.00 beauty would be a great addition to any neighbourhood. The only place that will let you set down your new home is a trailer park with a bunch of old rundown trailers in it. Not a very good-looking neighbourhood but you have run out of choices. For some reason you think that it can be moved later to a better place so you put down roots. Then you get moved into it and within a month, strange things start to happen. A spring storm blows through and the next morning your underpinning is plastered up against your neighbour's house, that is, if it didnít blow out of the county. Half the shingles are gone and there is water all over your living room floor.

No problem, you think to yourself while trying to maintain some control. I will just have to wait until payday and get everything fixed. So, after tying plastic on the roof and drying out the carpet before the mould starts to grow, you take off to work. All day at work you are excited about getting home to your new house, kick back, watch some TV and drink a few beers. Thereís no place like home. So about 5:30 P.M. you drive up in front of your new trailer house to find water running out from under the walls and the yard is a mud pit. After quickly cutting off the water, you run in to survey the damage. The kitchen is flooded with two inches of water so you prop the door open and sweep it out. Thatís when you notice the living room floor has humps in it that makes you sick to walk on. The rain from the night before had done its job on the pressboard sub floor. It turns out the water leak was caused from a bad clamp joint in the gray plastic pipe they used for water lines. What kind of idiot would use that junk for a water line with 60 pounds of pressure on it, you think to yourself. 

Oh well, as soon as I get a little money ahead that is the first thing I will fix.. Now you have to make a beeline for the hardware store before they close so the leak can be fixed, otherwise you wonít have any water. It turns out you got there just two minutes too late and everyone is gone. Luckily, you know the owner so you find a pay phone and give him a call. After all, this is an emergency. No one answers so you figure he hasnít had time to get home yet. There is nothing to do but wait a few minutes and call him back. After about fifteen minutes or so you call him back and his wife answers. It seems that I just missed him. Being out of Bud Lite, he made a quick run to the beer store. 

Well, that wouldnít be so bad except that this is a dry county and the nearest beer store is forty miles away. I leave a message for him to give me a ring when he returns and head back home. As I pull back into the trailer park it is just getting
dark. Now which one of these ram-shackle pieces of junk is mine?

After a couple of hours, the owner of the hardware store calls and agrees to meet me at the store as soon as he finishes supper. By now itís about nine oíclock. By ten I have the part and have crawled under the sink to finally get the leak fixed. The gray pipe is about ĺ of an inch in diameter but the hole they cut in the floor for it to come up in the cabinet is about three inches in diameter. I made a mental note to plug that tomorrow before a very large critter decided to join me for supper. By the time the leak is fixed and I put the water back on, itís about eleven thirty and I still havenít eaten supper yet. Too tired to cook anything, I fixed a bowl of cereal and went to bed. Things have got to get better tomorrow, I thought, as I drifted off to sleep.

About three A.M. I awoke with a need to visit the little boyís room so I climbed out of bed half-asleep and made my way to the bathroom. Seeing what I thought was a ribbon lying on the bathroom floor, I turned the light on. Well, It wasnít a ribbon. It was eighteen-inch long copperhead snake. When the light came on, the snake took off for the closet so I had to move fast.

After throwing everything I could get my hands on at the snake, I finally hit it with one of my boots. There was no way I was going to let that thing get away and hide in my house. Well, after a while my nerves settled down and I started thinking about going back to sleep. I didnít notice the big hole I had knocked in the quarter inch sheet rock that covered the walls in the bedroom. It still was a long time before the sun came up. Just about the time I was drifting off to sleep, something dawned on me. How in the heck did that snake get in here? If one got in, then there could be another. That is when I thought about the three-inch holes that were cut in the floor for the water pipes. Thatís it! I am not staying in this house any longer until those holes are plugged up. I spent the rest of the night in my truck. Everything has to look better tomorrow.

The funny thing about a trailer house is that it seems to have a mind of its own. When you walk down the hall, the paneling pops loose. Get a hammer and some nails and try to fix it and see what happens. Every time I nailed the paneling back, the molding would fall of the wall. I kept thinking that eventually all of it would be nailed up good and that would quit happening but things didn't seem to work out that way.

Thank God the next day was Saturday and I didnít have to go to work. The sun came up bright, the birds were singing and things had to get better. I had a little mad money saved up so I took off to the Lumber yard to get a couple of squares of
shingles, steel wool and spray foam. Yes, today was going to be a better day. I would fix the roof, stuff all the holes in the floor with steel wool, and then spray them with foam. Things are going to be better tonight. After ten hours of repair work, the old homestead was beginning to look like it would keep the weather and varmints out. 

The kitchen floor was now humped up just like the living room and the icebox was listing about ten degrees to the port but other than that things looked pretty good. It was now time to cook a nice supper, drink a few beers and watch a ballgame on TV. A manís home is his castle and this was mine. Yea right! As soon as I turned on the stove, I knew there was another problem. I had forgot to call the gasman and get the butane tank filled. It was Saturday night and it would be Monday before I could get it filled. That meant no supper and no bath for two more days. I guess I will have to bathe in cold water and eat hamburgers for two days. Things could be worse, I am sure. I just canít think how, right now.

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