I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be moving into a mobile home. I know I should count my blessings, and this was a big one, but just the mere thought of moving into a trailer made my stomach curl up on the edges.
I didn’t have a lot of choices though. After losing my house to foreclosure, I needed a place to live. My credit was pretty crappy and my resources ranked in the slim-to-none category. When my step-father offered to purchase this little treasure for me, I was relieved. It was a place to go, somewhere to bring my houseful of cats and my collected treasures. Even more so, it was a place to heal.
I knew that complaining about the fireballs that life throws at us doesn’t change anything, so I made the best with what I was given. I read somewhere that if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back and a roof over your head, you’re richer than 75% of the world’s population. I had all those things, I just needed to stop comparing myself to all the people on Facebook who were living in mansions and vacationing in Europe. I made this choice, along with the mistakes and decisions that brought me to this point. This was what I had to work with, so I got busy.
I hired a contractor to fix all the rotten floors. I power-washed the exterior to make it a bit brighter (and less trailer-y), stained the porch and painted all the walls with colors that soothed my soul. I tossed out all the cast-off possessions the last owners so lovingly left me, even the old sample bottles of shampoo and used toothbrushes. The last thing I needed to work on was the windows.
Typical of trailers built in the 1980’s the windows left something to be desired. Every ounce of heat from the sun managed to seep through them in the summer. When the weather turned colder, the drafts were like artic blasts. I pulled out my handy ladder and caulk gun and set to work trying to stop the drafts, but there wasn’t much I could do about the sun.
I tried to hang blinds, but bear in mind that I also have cats. They look at those plastic strips that hang from tiny screws and see them as a gymnasium. They went to work on them quickly. It wasn’t long before every blind in my house had gaps along the sides where the cats pushed through to get a gander at the world outside, if they didn’t pull them down entirely. This presented several problems: privacy and sunlight.
Every time I turned on my kitchen light, I broadcasted my activities to the world outside. Granted, my town is small and the street isn’t busy, but I still didn’t want to stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a drink of water and show my neighbors my ratty old pajamas. I remedied this by simply not turning on the light, but it didn’t help me with the sunlight issue.
During the morning, the sunlight streams through my kitchen window like a mega-watt head lamp. The house quickly heats up, which requires my aging air conditioning unit to summon up its strength to punch the time clock, providing me with some wonderful $200 electric bills.
After nearly killing myself by balancing precariously on a kitchen chair to measure the window width, I ran off to Walmart, which is a half-hour drive in itself, to purchase a mini-blind. That lasted three days.
My cats nearly cheered in unison as I balanced on the kitchen chair again and hung it up. Predictably, it was pooled up in a pile on the windowsill soon afterwards. I attempted to hang it again, but the soggy wood around the window cried “uncle” and wouldn’t support another screw. I moved onto Plan B.
I would hang a curtain over the window. I scurried back off to Walmart and quickly discovered that they don’t carry curtains to fit my window. After some serious hemming and hawing, while listening to the melodious sounds of a child screaming in the next aisle, I grabbed a cafe curtain, hoping to make it fit. I didn’t measure and I didn’t plan it out accordingly. I just grabbed it and attempted to put as much distance between me and the screaming child as possible. When I got home, I discovered my error. It was too short to cover the entire window, but too long to hang it from the center. Onto Plan C.
I pulled out my ancient sewing machine and blew off the years of dust. My cats were quite excited by this venture. As I attempted to shorten the curtains, I had my own personal cheering squad to root me on. They pawed at the material as it zipped under the needle and attempted to thwart my progresses at every turn. By the time I finished, I was too worn out to actually hang the curtain, so I saved it for the next morning.
As I balanced on the kitchen chair again, attempting to hang the brackets that would hold the curtain, I began to wonder if the window was out to get me. The bracket set that I purchased only came with one bracket, which meant I needed to dig through several boxes to find another set, which were actually meant for a much bigger window. The screw gun slipped several times, resulting in several very sore fingers and I had to fight off five curious cats in the process.
All in all, the process of simply blocking out the light took me far longer than I imagined, but I was determined. I might not have accomplished anything major in most people’s eyes, but to me it was monumental.
I conquered my window nemesis.