Anyone who has a home has a home improvement project in mind, in progress, completed or abandoned.    Within days of moving into your dream home, be it a house, condo or apartment, you start thinking of things you want to change.  New paint, flooring, cabinets for the kitchen.  Perhaps you want to put your own individual stamp on your home, beyond the matter of furnishings and décor, or maybe you’ve found things that just don’t work for you – that unused space under the stairs, a paltry pantry, or carpet in the dining area that’s already being stained by your toddler’s habit of offering half of her food to the dog sitting under the table.  And if the home you’ve moved into isn’t your dream home, well, that just means you have MORE improvements in mind.

It was the same for us.  The trailer we purchased was not our dream trailer.  Our dream trailer has quad bunks (a bed for each child), a full slide (or two), a U-shaped dinette so that all 5 of us could sit down to dinner together, counter space for a few appliances, and MORE storage space.  Nevertheless, with the constraints imposed by the RV Parks (which only allow models less than 10 years old) and our budget, our trailer was a good compromise.  It has a number of amenities – including air conditioning and a microwave – and was meant to be a short-term solution anyway. 

As it’s turned into longer term housing, home improvements have become both desired and necessary.  Addressing the storage issue has meant small and only moderately successful improvements – a stacking shelf added to the overhead cabinet so that canned food space could be doubled; an under-shelf basket attached to the TV shelf to hold the remote, chargers and the latest redbox movie; a variety of storage cubes and drawers placed in the closet in the bathroom (essentially giving up hanging space for folded clothes/towels space); and a number of hooks affixed to the walls for backpacks and jackets. 

My attempt at addressing the counter space issue was abandoned when the solid oak counter extension pulled away from the thin cabinet side leaving holes, and additionally hindered the ability of our partial slide to retract. 

Bunk beds, a dinette that seats all, and a full slide can only be realized with a new trailer.  As for more space, well unlike houses, it’s hard to build on to a trailer.  Hard, but not impossible – you can purchase something called an “Add-a-Room” – a canvas and screen ‘room’ that attaches to your awning and I keep a look out for a used one on craigslist and eBay.  If we add a room we could put a table and chairs out there and eat outside. 

Beyond the desired home improvements the burdens of day to day living have taken a toll on our little home – things have worn out, clogged up or broken down, creating some necessary repairs. While most have been within my ability to fix with the purchase and installation of new parts, the application of elbow grease, or copious amounts of duct tape, some have eluded me.  The most difficult home improvement project I’m facing is repairing/replacing the floor.  When we purchased the trailer the dealer informed us that there were ‘soft spots’ in the floor, but that they weren’t really indicative of a problem, nor would they likely become a problem.  That might have been true if we were a family that used our trailer for a week or two every year.  But we aren’t and those soft spots have created a problem.  The linoleum (no carpet, thankfully) has cracked over those spots, and the cracks have grown.  While patching the linoleum (more duct tape) is a possible short term fix I suspect that doing it right would require removing the linoleum, and addressing those soft spots!  I’m told the floor under the linoleum is ‘marine grade plywood’ and quite sturdy but if that’s so I would think that it would take some pretty serious problem to soften it.  Like maybe some sort of leak (one soft spot is in the bathroom, the other between the hot water tank and the sink) that would continue to fester if addressed with a duct-tape Band-Aid solution. 

So in between searching for a job, chauffeuring children around, mailing eBay packages, and doing household chores, I contemplate the feasibility of taking on the floor as a DIY project, or finding a ‘home’ improvement contractor who could do it for us.  What would it cost? Could it be done piecemeal? How would we live here and replace parts of the floor at the same time?  Or should I let it be the next person’s problem, the approach the previous owner took?  Just tape it up and hope that we have a chance to move up to our dream trailer before the floor falls through?  Ah, the joys of home ownership!

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