What I have Learned Living in a Trailer House
December 1 2020 marked the 5 year anniversary of Erin and I moving into the country. I was still in college at the time but was commuting 3 days a week from Salina to Manhattan. Twenty-eight acres, 1250 square feet of concrete, and a trailer house got us out of the city and the first step down the road to the dream home we are building today. I pray every day that before the 6th anniversary passes we are out of this house and into the new one.
Don't get me wrong, I love our home. It has been very good to us for the last half a decade. Protecting us from all types of things as we slowly made preparations for our future and grew our family. But good home or not there are some things that I will never grow to like about a house that is not directly connected to the ground.
One of the main things that makes a house a home in this day and age is the ready availability of water. However, since our house does not touch the ground that means there is a 3.5-foot stretch of the incoming water line that dangles below our house exposed to the elements. This section is under our trailer skirting and we have further built a protective box around it complete with insulation and heat tape to keep it warm. The best made plans are laid low before mother nature though. It is currently 10° outside with a wind chill down to -1. At that temperature, our incoming water line will freeze solid in around 5 hours if nothing else is done. The first and hardest lesson that I learned after moving out here at the start of winter 5 years ago was this one. When you go to bed, leave a faucet dripping.
The water coming out of the ground is warm and the water in the house is too. So as long as the water is not allowed to stay in the short section of pipe long enough to go from the 52° it comes out of the ground at down to freezing there is no problem. Keeping a small amount of water flowing can help ensure that you don't spend the whole next day trying to thaw out a pipe under your house. An unfortunate situation we have been in far more times than I would have liked in our stay here so far.
Lesson number two took a little while longer. That spring when our dog chased an armadillo of all things under the house. (Very rare in this part of Kansas) We thought we had our trailer skirting tied-down pretty well until that first time something really wanted underneath it. With a combination of digging and pushing that animal slipped under our house and we had on a heck of a time trapping and getting him out. Erin finally managed to catch the terrified little guy with a trash can and drove him a few miles away to let him go safely. This was not the last animal to get under the house, but finally, after putting about 2 inches of gravel all the way around the house we managed to slow them down quite a bit. Someone has also recommended digging a 2 by 12 board about 6 inches into the ground all the way around the house and attaching the skirt to that but I have never gotten around to doing it.
The last real big thing that has thrown me off about this house is how people treat you when they find out you live in a trailer house. There is definitely a stigma that people living in these types of houses don't take care of themselves or the things that they have. The number one thing that Erin and I hear people say the first time they come into our home is that it is a lot nicer than they were expecting on the inside. While I have definitely been in a lot of trailer homes that reinforce that sigma, I was still surprised at the sheer number of people that expected less of us because of the house we lived in.
It is not the building that drives the quality of the people living inside it, but that people that control the quality of their environment. A trailer can be a castle in the right hands just the same as a mansion can become a shack with the wrong occupants inside it. This home has been our castle and helped serve as the base of this "kingdom" that we have been building and will continue to build over the remainder of our lives.
I hope that your home is your castle and it has been keeping you safe from the storm of the world as of late. Until next week I am still another confused father wondering...
Is that armadillo still okay?