A Year with the Stigma

Well folks, it’s Saturday afternoon, and I’ve completed my summertime Saturday morning errands: bank, farmer’s market, natural food store, regular grocery store, pharmacy, and Starbucks (to bring home to a just-getting-out-of-bed CF).  Some laundry has been washed with our homemade detergent and dutifully taken down (by CF) to CF’s mom’s house for drying.  All non-perishable food items purchased this morning are still sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be put away.  Homemade deodorant has been made and tested (it works! More on that later….).  And suddenly I remembered that I hadn’t posted in F O R E V E R.

Now, should I clean up the kitchen and throw in a new load of laundry?  No. My public needs me.  Ha!

Dear readers, this serious delay in posts is due to the fact that the school year has begun–so I’ve been busy back at work and mourning the loss of my lovely summer break.

But this transition time of year marks off two new things: A new school year AND a new year in our dear Lot 26.

Though we didn’t move in until late September last year, our decision to move into the trailer park began on the first day of classes a year ago.  So I consider the beginning of the school year the right time to celebrate our “Tralier Park-iversary.” And in honor of our Trailer Parkiversary (yes I’m going to keep using that term I just invented), I thought we’d take a look at the goings-on of the past year!

As already suggested in my description of the morning, we still dont’ have a dryer, and I am still relying on homemade household and beauty products.  But there have been other changes to life here at Lot 26 over the past year….some I haven’t even mentioned yet!

So a year ago, we had a washer and dryer, a messy porch, a refrigerator that leaked water, a nasty leaky bathtub, a nasty nasty sink, one broken closet door, a furnace that worked and an a/c that didn’t, and a water heater with a timer.  Oh how times have changed!

Now, we have only a washer (RIP Dryer), a less messy porch (with plants on it!), a refrigerator that still leaks (do they make adult diapers in Large Kitchen Appliance sizes?), a lovely shower instead of a tub, a new (and inexpensive!) sink, no closet doors, a working furnace AND a/c, and a water heater that is free from its previous problems (you’re welcome, Water Heater).

Most of these things you’ve already read about in past posts, but not all.  For one, the closet situation.  We had these off-white colored closet doors in our bedroom, but one of them didn’t work because the track for it (in the frame of the closet) was really bent and damaged.  We didn’t feel like spending the time or money on buying and installing new tracking, especially since we weren’t in love with the closet doors to begin with.  So, before the school year (in a flurry of trying to do every chore and project around the house I could possibly do to avoid working on class plans), I made a decision, and put it into action:

Here's the broken closet door next to an unsightly open closet.

Voila! Now you can't see the unruly piles of shoes and clothes on the closet floor...

Yes, it’s not a perfect fix…some of you might see curtains being used as closet doors and think “that looks like a college apartment” or some other such thing….but, I think it looks a heck of a lot nicer than a open messy closet 🙂  AND it was cheap (I already owned the curtains, and the tension rods were on sale at Joann Fabrics).  Also, it creates a nice symmetry as the opposing wall has two windows.  As an added bonus, our bedroom looks much bigger without the monolithic broken doors leaning up against the wall 🙂

So that’s the update for that room.  As for the rest of the place:  well, we probably won’t replace Dryer any time soon.  This winter, when we’re drying lots of heavy sweaters, we might break down and buy one…but honestly, living without a dryer hasn’t been bad at all.  (And hanging up clothes to dry helps them last a little longer. ) However, we have added a couple of new pieces to our home.  One is a new back door!

Well, actually, the back door isn’t installed yet.  It’s hanging out in our hallway for the moment.  But after our Property Manager noticed our current back door and told us we HAD to replace it (no doorknob, and a fancy board nailed over it to keep out intruders.  Classy, I know), we knew it was really time to cough up the dough for a new back door.  We couldn’t find mobile home doors anywhere, so we had to special order one (thanks, Menards!).  That set us back about $200.  But we’ve saved money on so many other projects, that I don’t feel too bad about spending money on this one.  Besides, it’s a really nice door that will insulate the hallway much better this winter than the old door plus plastic that we used last winter :).

Also new to our home is a friendly kitchen appliance:

What a sleek, shiny looking thing, right?

We got rid of our microwave, and replaced it with our new friend Toaster Oven.  Toaster Oven can toast, bake, and broil, AND even has a convection oven setting.  He can also hold a 12 inch pizza.  Oh yeah.

Why’d we make the switch?  Well, we weren’t using Microwave very much, and CF was always trying to put things like leftover homemade veggie burgers in our regular toaster :). Also, microwaves kind of creep me out.  Radiation can’t be good for your food, right?  I mean, it has to change the composition of it somehow.  Anyway, I find it freaky.  And it’s just as easy to reheat food in a pan on the stove or in Toaster Oven.  And I can use Toaster Oven to make small batches of cookies quickly (remember?  Convection setting?!!?!?).  So yeah.  Welcome to Lot 26, Toaster Oven!

Other changes around here are less obvious.  It’s the beauty products I’m making (or not using at all….good-bye face wash!).  It’s the sheer amount of refrigerator pickles packed away in the fridge (and in CF’s belly).  It’s the new view out our window now that the run-down trailer next door is gone (and probably living at the dump).  It’s seeing new friends on our porch:

I've always thought a Praying Mantis at your door was a good omen.

It’s the anticipation I feel, knowing that the bush out front will soon turn bright red again, just like it did after we first moved in.  It’s the sense of relief I feel pulling into the trailer park after a long day at work.  I’m home here.  We’ve made it our home and the feelings of embarrassment and hurt pride are more and more the feelings of our past.

As we complete our first year here at Lot 26, I’m excited about things to come.  And I’m happy that this feels like home.  It’s nice to have a home you like, and a place that feels warm and happy.

I wish only the same to you, dear readers.  As you settle into current homes, or make the move to somewhere new, may you always find your home to be the place you want to be.

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About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
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