I can say old because I have had this beast, I mean delicate flower, for nearly two years. That is precisely one year and six months longer than restoration was supposed to take. The good news is that it should be done by the time my kids grow up, go to college, and buy a home so I can park it in the front, Cousin Eddie style. I digress. Finally made it out to work on the trailer today which is no small feat. I haven’t been logging any work hours on her the last few months since I went back to school full time. Psssttt, I’ll let you in on a little secret. . . taking full time college classes does not get easier with age. Turns out I really have to study, like a lot. So, Molly has to take a backseat. Today though, the sun was shining, homework was done and the kids were at school! Perfect. I remembered where I was in projects, I demoed some shit (always feels good) and then I used a super grinder sander thing and made some progress on a totally not related to anything necessary right now project. It was a win . It felt good to be back at it. Now all I need to do is replace two corners of frame, rewire for electrical and propane and I can put the siding back on!
I had this nasty patch on the side of Molly that I couldn’t stand to look at, last summer I took it off. This year I thought it might be nice to have a plan to replace it so, you know I could have a side to my trailer. Crazy, right? I YouTubed how to take off the skin and I thought “why the hell not, couldn’t get worse than a huge gaping whole.” Miracle of miracles, the divine light of Science shown down upon me and I didn’t damage anything else!! Of course that’s the good news, there’s always more though isn’t there?
***Side Note***You know what’s funny/sad looking at the second photo of the patch I hated so much? It doesn’t look that bad. Of course it was rotting out the bathroom/closet and would have destroyed a whole lot more if I didn’t address it but I can see now why I ignored it when I bought it. Okay less funny, more sad.***
First thing was to find a metal fabricator that could make me a new piece. At a little over thirteen feet this is no small task, especially when I want the same break pattern in the aluminum. I took my disgusting 55 year old piece of aluminum into Seattle to see what could be done. Let me tell you what makes you really feel your suburbaness: pulling up to a cool ass metal shop in your SUV that is only barely not a minivan and hauling out your piece of vintage trailer to fix. The shop was super kind and did a bunch of research into what it would cost, bottom line though is either i take it as two pieces or no break pattern. I passed. I can do better. I’ve found a shop outside of Portland (of course) that has like 12 different patterns, so it may not be the same but I can get close. They specialize in trailers so they can also give me the length I want. Just waiting to hear back to see if I can afford it!
Next item this project put on the agenda: replace all the rotten wood pieces in the frame that I had just exposed. This wouldn’t be hard, except I really want to do the two on the outer most sides. What does this mean? It means I am taking off the rest of that side. Cross your fingers for me. This piece of aluminum is perfectly fine and if I screw this one up it is totally a big deal.
So there we are. Major project started, no I still don’t have a floor, or a solid roof but at least I’ve got coffee and in coffee all things are possible.
As it turns out the previous owners of Molly are not the worst thing to happen to her, that honor falls to me. We can all have a good laugh now at my last post of my super cute fuck-ups, “Oh no! I climbed up a rickety ass ladder and didn’t injure myself.” Adorable. I have a legit fuck up now and it is super not funny.
One of the unholiest of sins against vintage trailers is applying the sno-roof goo to the exterior roof of the trailer. That shit is terrible and it doesn’t work and when you do inevitably get a leak you can’t get to it to fix it. I know this. This knowledge is laid out in big bold letters billboard style all over every vintage trailer restoration website. It is the gooey white devil of trailers (lol, gooey white devil).
This is the story of how I seriously, really, really, REALLY, fucked up.
I knew I should replace the entire aluminium roofing on the trailer, there was a huge patch on the front that was actually patched onto a newer piece of aluminum roofing that was then attached to possibly the original aluminium (possibly not). I knew I should. I knew it. Replacing the aluminium skin on the roof was a daunting task and I didn’t think I was ready so I thought I could just put one more layer of goo on top (there were already at least four existing layers) and buy myself some time, get used to learning new things, make my bones over smaller, less vital to the integrity of the trailer projects. I bought the goo, I took off the big patch, I bondo-ed the heck out of all the holes, I cleaned the heck out of the existing goo covered roof. I even removed the current ceiling vent so that I would have a clean thoroughly water-resistant surface ready for my new vent, which of course I didn’t want to install until the new roofing sealant was applied. It did make sense at the time. I wish that was the worst thing I did.
This whole event can really be summed up as “Kat sucks at reading ALL the directions” and pretty much could have been avoided if I had slowed down and read all the words. I digress.
I got out to the trailer on a gorgeous Monday afternoon, it was 72 and sunny an absolutely beautiful October afternoon. I read the directions on the can quickly before I started rolling it on, can’t let the temperature drop below 50, cool. Dew will just make it require more dry time, cool. Got it. Two coats required, allowing two hours to dry in-between and finishing two hours before nightfall. Well shit, I better hurry up.
I started rolling it on and it was GLORIOUS! It was bright white and covered all the blemishes and imperfections and from twenty feet away it looked so perfect. All the dents and bumps were still there but the were so much BETTER. I could see progress. Actual tangible progress. I could see my hard work actually coming to fruition. I was making shit better. Look, it’s better.
I ended up leaving it as one coat and was planning on coming back and doing a fresh two coats on Wednesday, I had lost the daylight. No big deal though, it was two hours before nightfall and the temp wasn’t going to drop below 50 overnight so whatever, just an extra layer.
I went to yoga the next day, Tuesday. It was wonderful. It had been months since I’d dragged my ass to a yoga class, I could use a little namaste. Our instructor mentioned the pending rain coming in the next few days and as I looked out the window I could see the clouds of doom coming together over our little town. After class I drove over to the trailer to throw a tarp over her and the big ass ceiling vent hole in the roof. I cried. The dew from the morning had liquified everything. Really, really liquified. Even the parts that were dry were no longer. I just stared at her. How could this happen? I had no idea what to do. I left Molly with a plastic garbage bag over the floor under the hole in the ceiling and called Andy. I had to pick the kids up and go to work so there wasn’t anything I could do for her anyway. There aren’t many days I can say I’m happy to go to work but this was one of them. If I hadn’t gone in I would have self-medicated into a coma. It was that bad.
I ended up having my mom (THANK YOU) throw the tarp back on, knowing, if by some magic, the sealant hardened the tarp would be there forever. A forever tarp. My amazing mom actually lifted the tarp slightly so that it doesn’t actually rest on the roofing so much, a slight reprieve would be granted should the worst occur. I called the maker of the sealant to figure out a worst case scenario fix, all they could tell me is that the sealant was compromised and they couldn’t legally advise me further. Thanks.
I went over first thing in the morning to assess the damage. The floor inside, drenched. Water/toxic goo puddles had pooled all over the roof. I borrowed a large tub from my mom to collect the drips (that should read as “rivers” not drips) and put a heater in the cabin to start drying things out. I went and purchased a new super duty tarp, I squeegeed off the pools of weird stuff (sorry world, I am officially the reason our kids won’t have drinking water) and ordered a much needed canopy to erect around Molly. I can not wait to see how much worse this gets. Namafuckingste.
I dont know about you but I’ve really enoyed watching this blog turn from “Molly McFixit to Molly McFuckit.” To honor this new phase of vintage trailer ownership I thought it would be fun to share some of the more idiotic things I’ve done while working on Molly. I do a lot of really stupid shit on any given day but here are some of the extra special gems. You’re welcome.
We bought the trailer on May 11th. I bought the adorable black and white check flooring in the evening, of May 11th. Seriously. The same day. Guess when I’ll get to put it in? What you don’t know? Oh probably not, since I DON’T KNOW! Genius. At least I bought enough right? Nope. I thought to myself “The trailer is super small, one box is probably enough. I don’t need to measure. Measuring is stupid.” Yeah, I had to order two more boxes.
I used this ladder one time to get on the roof because I was too lazy to move the big ladder (I mean it is REALLY heavy). It is some kind of miracle I didn’t fall to my death on that thing. The only reason it’s there is that it helps hold down the tarp on top of the Dream Machine. That’s right, every single rung has been cut so that you can’t actually use it for a ladder. Unless you have a death wish. Awesome.
My most favorite though is when I went out and looked at fabric for the cushions. HAHAHAHA. Because that’s totally happening this year. “Oooh I don’t know babe what do you think? Kitch or modern, turquoise or orange?” FUUUUCCCKKKK. I am surprised no one tried to strangle me with my stupid fabric swatches.
Or when I thought, oh you know what would be fun, ripping out veneer without trying to save the pieces for a pattern. Or that time I inhaled asbestos just so I could rip up some stupid tiles or when I sanded the exterior without a mask (those tissues were so GROSS). You can pretty much (100%) count on this being a recurring post. I could fill a post of stupid shit I do at the trailer daily. Again, you’re welcome.
The good news is that the silly deadline I had set for Molly has long since past and I still get to keep her, the bad news is that I keep making more work and can’t even imagine the day we can take her out on the road. So I mean that’s pretty rad right?
I feel like I keep making things worse, so much worse. That silly side patch that I took off? Well I also took out the whole floor in the closet and under the cabinet and also part of the main cabin. Why not, she’s not going anywhere anyway and who doesn’t love having your feet planted firmly on the ground when you’re standing inside a trailer?
Thank Science for my bro, Captain Fix Everything, he swears he has a plan and although he has explained this plan to me I still don’t get it. That might be the most frustrating part of working on the trailer. I just can’t understand the “how” of fixing something. I look at that picture and I see a big effing hole on top of a big effing hole with a side of big effing hole and I can’t wrap my brain around what the first step to putting it back together. Like I said my brother is the best.
I made a little more tangible progress on the roof. I ripped out the current vent and have used probably a gallon of bondo filling screw holes. All of that means that I’m about ready to seal the shitty roof that I don’t want to keep but have to make last at least one more season.
If I could just stop making holes in the stupid trailer I think I would feel a little bit better. At least the weather is holding now and I’ve got two tablets filled with cartoons and games that say my kids love working on Molly.
I’m back from vacation and ready to do some damage. I’ve sat with this roof issue for the last couple weeks, found the company to purchase the aluminium from and then decided I’m going to wait. I should do the roof, I know that but . . . well I think I’m just going to slather more goo on it and do a half-assed paint job on the whole thing and call it good for this year. This will save me more than a couple hundred bucks and give me a chance to build a bit of confidence doing all the other shit. Plus I can be road ready fast (as long as my beastly, I mean adorable, children cooperate).
So I’ve got a plan and it’s hella solid and check me out I already started step one. That’s right, suck it TO DO list! I’m coming for you! I started on the windows, I’ve got to strip them buff them and then take em out. I started stripping the windows today and it is so satisfying I want to pour Jasco all over everything. It’s tedious and slow but so so good. (Feel free to insert your own stripping joke here. I had like six but Phil would prob censor them.)
Windows done the end of next week, a plan for the electrical will be done by Thursday and the To Do list is my bitch.