Four Years

 

Four years is a relatively long time.  It’s enough time to graduate from college, or give birth to two separate elephants (although I would only recommend this if you were an actual elephant).  It is also the length of time I’ve lived in the pink trailer.  And that is the longest I have lived in any home, other than the one in which I grew up.

There have been ups and downs in my little portable palace, but overall, it’s been a good time.  And it has been a great life lesson.  Here is what I’ve learned:

Less is more.  Living in a tiny space forces you to keep only essentials.  This means I have fewer clothes, shoes, keepsakes, mementos, and furniture.  But it also means that the things I do have, I love!  It is very satisfying to love all the things you see in your home.  And when you fall out of love with a certain item, or curtain, or whatever it may be, then you can replace it with a new love.

Don’t always feel like you deserve better.  I’m not taking about sociological or psychological behavior – of course nobody deserves to be abused or anything like that.  What I’m talking about is the way advertisers love to tell you, “You deserve the best!”  “You’re worth it!”  “Get the ____________ that you deserve.”  These slogans are out there, not to remind you that as a human you should hold your head up high and realize you are special, but to sell you crap you don’t need.  To make you believe your life will be better if you have newer things, a faster car, a bigger house.  But all these things often just lead to a larger debt.  So if piles of bills is your thing, then by all means, you deserve to go and max out your credit cards.  But if a happy life is your thing, realize that the size or grandiosity of your home is no reflection of what is in your heart.

Contentment is key.  I have an uncle who is an atheist, and we were at lunch together a few years ago when the host prayed before the meal.  One of the things he prayed for was to be content with what he had.  Although he is non-religious, my uncle was very impressed with that thought, and decided to remind himself of that idea regularly.  To be content.  The desire to keep up materially and economically with those around you will literally drive you crazy.  Learn to accept what you have, as well as your situation.  Reuse your things, fix stuff that breaks, and feel the beauty that comes with feeling satisfied with what you have.

Keep your eye simple.  This means don’t complicate your life with acquisitions.  Yes, sometimes it would be really fun to own a boat and a quad and a dirt bike and a snowmobile and a….  But all those things need maintenance and time, and honestly, how much would I use them?  It’s the same with a home – a guest bedroom would be great, and an extra room for a ping pong table, and a space for a big dining room table for large formal dinner parties, and a separate living room and family room which would be great for entertaining….  But, honestly, would the number of times a year I would have an out-of-town guest or a formal dinner party really be worth all the extra money I would have to pay for a place big enough to support those moments?  For some people it would be worth it, but not for me.

Swallowing your pride isn’t as bad as you’d think.  My neighbor, Natasha, and I were roommates long ago – back in the 20th century – and we often laugh about how our 20something selves would be horrified that our 30-40something selves are living in a trailer park.  We were too proud.  And we were too worried about what others may think.  Now?  We realize that choosing to live the way we do has nothing to do with being “trailer trash,” but how we want to spend our time and money.  And it has a lot to do with our own creativity.  It’s much easier (and takes way less time, money, and effort) to renovate and re-renovate a trailer than it would a stick-built home.

Success in life has nothing to do with stuff.  I work at an estate planning law firm, and regularly meet with clients who have more stuff than they can list or remember.  They are busy trying to decide who will get the stuff they’ve forgotten they have when they die.  Sometimes they like to micro-manage their assets from the grave.  Often they have a larger retirement account than they do a measure of happiness.  And that is sad.  Focus on your quality of life, rather than your quantity of stuff, and when you die those around you will be so sorry to see you go, rather than kinda excited at the prospect of inheriting your junk.

So that’s some of the stuff I’ve learned.  A lot of it I knew, but putting it in action is much more monumental.  And most of those points are generally related.  Basically, be happy with what you have, don’t long for what you don’t.  Live small.

Puffins are happy just hanging out.  I should be too.

Puffins are happy just hanging out. I should be too.

Rebecca Knabe

Advertisements

Where Have I Been?

I don’t really have a good answer.  The best I can come up with is that I’ve been tired….  I know, that’s a terrible response.  But I’m back, and have a bunch of pictures of the stuff that’s been keeping me busy (and tired) for the last 2 months.

I helped this wonderful couple, and two of my favorite friends, celebrate their 10th anniversary:

mm1

Then I watched the Sierra Nevada mountains go from this….

m3

…to this:

m1

I also had a myriad of visitors!  Some stayed with me in the pink trailer, and some did not.  Some were invited, and others, not so much….

Cassi's best friend, Bella.  Cassi and I, and Bella and her mama, Shawn, all lived together in Bend, Oregon in 2003/04.

Cassi’s best friend, Bella. Cassi and I, and Bella and her mama, Shawn, all lived together in Bend, Oregon in 2003/04.

A great night out with Shawn & Steve, visiting from Oregon.

A great night out with Shawn & Steve, visiting from Oregon.

Dannica (we have been best friends for nearly 40 - ugh! - years) visited from Kelowna, BC for our annual super-happy-fun-extra-long-weekend-and-Black-Friday-shopping-extravaganza.

Dannica (we have been best friends for nearly 40 – ugh! – years) visited from Kelowna, BC for our annual super-happy-fun-extra-long-weekend-and-Black-Friday-shopping-extravaganza.

Next, my sweet sister-in-law, Sierra, visited during the coldest few weeks of the year.

Next, my sweet sister-in-law, Sierra, visited during the coldest few weeks of the year.

My favorite fella, John, visited from upstate New York for a few weeks.

My favorite fella, John, visited from upstate New York for a few weeks.

And I can't forget Joey, my frequent uninvited guest, who loves to rub his hairy butt all over my bedding.  Good thing I'm allergic to cats....

And I can’t forget Joey, my frequent uninvited guest, who loves to rub his hairy butt all over my bedding. Good thing I’m allergic to cats….

With all the extra days off during the holidays, I had a few sleepovers at friends’ houses.  Conveniently also during some very cold days and nights.

Here, all are participating in a very riveting napping session.

Here, all are participating in a community napping session.

New Year's Eve was spent trading makeup and falling asleep before 11:00 with these two beauties.

New Year’s Eve was spent trading makeup and falling asleep before 11:00 with these two beauties.

I nearly froze to death, on a couple of occasions.  On nights like this, living in an un-insulated trailer feels like barely a step up from being homeless.  But I’ve managed to figure out a system with my space heaters that prevents my pipes and I from freezing solid in the night (even when the temps hit 0F/-18C), without blowing a fuse, and while keeping my electric bill under $200.

Even on bright sunny days, the pink trailer was home to many icicles.

Even on bright sunny days, the pink trailer was home to many icicles.

Beautiful icicles flanking the laundry room of a local trailer park.

Beautiful icicles flanking the laundry room of a local trailer park.

Then my friends let me babysit.  Although “let me” doesn’t sound quite right.  I wasn’t exactly begging to do it….  But remember the 10th anniversary friends up above?  As part of my anniversary gift to them, I bought them a movie date and offered to babysit.  It was my first babysitting in a couple of decades.  No one died, no one pooped, and we only had one crier, so all in all, a pretty successful evening….

b3

I have also been spending a little time at a great new local coffee shop, Coffee Bar….

c1

…where Marty McFly’s De Lorean was recently parked:

c2

And finally, I had a fantastic long weekend in Vegas (one of my favorite cities to visit), catching up with friends and family:

Wearing blue to Blue Man Group.

Wearing blue to Blue Man Group.

Enjoying The Strip at night.

Enjoying The Strip at night.

Watching the Bellagio fountains, Ocean's Eleven style.

Watching the Bellagio fountains, Ocean’s Eleven style.

Beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

Beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

The breathtaking Nevada desert.

The breathtaking Nevada desert.

So that’s a little of what I’ve been up to, while being the world’s most neglectful blogger.  I promise to be better.  I promise.  🙂

Rebecca Knabe

Supergirls

Do you have any friends that you feel like you’ve known forever?  I have a few.  They know me well, they’ve met my family,  they understand where I come from and where I want to go, they can read me like a book, we have history.

One of those friends is Natasha.  We met about a million years ago – ok maybe it was about 17 years ago – and we are still in each other’s lives.  We came to be roommates in Bend, Oregon in the late 90’s, and now, several years later, we’re trailer-park-mates.  She lives right next door to me.  It’s almost like living together, just without getting on each other’s nerves.  Perfect scenario.

That's me in the center, on the chair.  Natasha is on my right, holding the kid.  The 5 of us lived in a small 2 bedroom house.

That’s me in the center, on the chair. Natasha is on my right, holding the kid. The 5 of us lived in a small 2 bedroom house.

I'm the wench, Natasha is the gypsy.  Renaissance Fair 1997.

I’m the wench, Natasha is the gypsy. Renaissance Fair 1997.

That's us strolling around Athens, Greece in 2000.

That’s us strolling around Athens, Greece in 2000.

This past week, Natasha staked a claim in epic-friend status by helping me build a 242 square foot outdoor paver patio.  Neither of us have attempted this before, so I googled like mad, and with a ton of hard work and sweat, somehow we pulled it off.  I’m pretty sure I owe her a beer or two….

Patio1

Patio2

Patio4

I’m pretty sure we’re Supergirls.  You can almost see our capes under our dresses….

Patio3

Rebecca Knabe

Stormy Sunday

Posted by Rebecca

We don’t get many thunder storms in Reno, but when we do, they can be a doozy.  The one we had last Sunday had lightning that lit up the menacing, swirling sky over and over again, before unleashing a downpour of flood-like proportions.

If you’ve never heard the rain from the inside of a trailer, it’s like a rhythmic fox-trot is unfolding on the roof with pitter-patter footsteps.  This storm was not fox-trotty or pitter-pattery.  It was more like plunking over Niagara Falls in a tin can.

Storm1

Storm2

Storm3

I fear that being housed inside an aluminium tube with that weird antenna thingy strapped to the roof during a lightning show can’t be a good idea….

Rebecca Knabe

Joey

Posted by Rebecca

Joey is the neighborhood thug.  But he’s a loveable thug.

Joey is a cat that belongs to my neighbors, James and Tanille.  He ‘belongs’ to them, but I’m pretty sure the whole trailer park really belongs to Joey.

Joey4

We have a lot of random cats running around the neighborhood.  Some have owners and some don’t.  But Joey tells them all what to do and how to do it.  Fights are caused and fights are broken up, and Joey is always the ring-master.  If it seems that Joey has lost a fight, or is afraid of another animal in the park, it’s because Joey wants you to believe that.

Cassi was afraid of Joey.  Have I mentioned that Cassi was a Rhodesian Ridgeback?  They were bred to hunt lions.

One evening a couple of years ago, Cassi and I were hanging out in James and Tanille’s living room.  Joey glared at Cassi, and Cassi (at 85 lbs., and one who never jumped on the furniture) jumped on my lap.  When I tried to get her down, she whimpered and trembled until we finally carried Joey into the other room.  That’s the kind of power Joey has.

You would think that Joey would be miserable to be around.  I had a miserable cat like that once – he would knock things over while staring at me, hiss, and then run away.  But Joey isn’t a miserable cat.  Mesmerizing and controlling, yes.  But miserable, no.  Joey purrs and rubs up on you.  He coos when  you talk to him, and follows you around the house….

And this is what he’s been doing on a near-daily basis at my place lately, when he convinces me to let him in.  Joey stands at my slider, whines and cries, and hypnotises me with his swirling hazel eyes until I cave and open the door.

Joey1

My old age has brought a pretty gnarly cat allergy, but Joey doesn’t care.  He covers every square foot of my trailer, shedding abundantly, charming me with his dashing good looks and brilliant personality.  Before I know it I’m covered in cat fur and my face is itching unbearably, even though I haven’t even touched him.

I have a policy – I don’t feed or pet cats – to keep their interest in me at a minimum.  But Joey isn’t discouraged in my indifference, or my allergies.  He talks to me and shows me love and attention.  I’m convinced that he either gets a kick out of my squirming, or he thinks I’m his girlfriend.

Either way, I think Joey thinks I’m the cat’s meow.  Or at least that’s what he wants me to think.

Joey3

Rebecca Knabe

 

Trailer Pick of the Day – Ocean View

Posted by Rebecca

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. -Jacques Cousteau

Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. Sarah Kay

At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun. -Anonymous

Ocean Front RV Park is the perfect spot to enjoy the vast expanse of the sea from the comfort of your travelling home.

OR16

OR17

Posted by Rebecca

Trailer Pick of the Day – Angie’s Place

Posted by Rebecca

Angie and I have been friends for almost 8 years.  A couple of years ago she moved from Reno to Brookings, OR.  I spent a day with her last weekend and she told me she had recently moved into a trailer and was working on the renovations.  Next to my dad, she’s my biggest blog fan, and was so inspired by trailerchic that she was bursting with excitement over her new project and trailer home.

Angie promises to email me some before and after photos of the inside, but until then, here are a couple of the outside.

OR15

OR14

OR13

Living so close to the ocean, Angie’s collecting driftwood and using her creativity to bring a bit of the beach to her front porch.  Check out the mirror and lampshade she recently constructed.

OR18

OR20

Thanks, Angie and Chewy, for the tour and the visit!

OR9

Rebecca Knabe