Update on my Spartan trailer

I may have mentioned here before that I bought a Spartan trailer. Here’s an update. Several friends have asked.

Back story first. I started researching trailers online last summer, when I realized I wanted the flexibility of not having a monthly mortgage payment. The ability to downsize on stuff, outright own my home, and have it be portable made trailers an irresistible option to explore.

I like vintage trailers because they’re stylish, less expensive than new, often made better, and recycled. It didn’t take long for me to learn that Spartan trailers were the cream of the vintage crop.

Spartans were mostly made in the 1950s by a Tulsa company that had manufactured aircraft during World War II. Richest-man-in-the-world J. Paul Getty owned the company, and they made top-of-the-line trailers.

I discovered an online community of Spartan lovers. I’ve been lurking on their list for months, taking in what I can.

I kept my eye on the large Spartans. It’s going to be my primary home, and I didn’t want to feel like a sardine. That’s okay for camping, but with needing a huge truck to pull them and gas prices being what they are, I’m probably not going to be hauling mine to campgrounds. (Unless I get a smaller one just for camping!)

I learned that leases in trailer parks are usually month to month, so if I want to move, I have more freedom than an apartment dweller. Plus, rent is very inexpensive and usually includes some utilities.

The biggest Spartans made were 10′ x 50′. A few even had two bedrooms; some people even added a washer/dryer.

Hmm, I thought to myself. This could work.

I kept my eye on several big Spartans for sale while I downsized on possessions and put my house on the market, hoping one would still be available when my house sold.

When the money came through, only one of the big ‘uns remained available.

The Spartan Carousel.

It’s a rare model with a skylight, round kitchen, and awesome vintage light fixture! It has a lot of windows and built-in storage. It needs some repairs and updating.

I can see myself enjoying living there and having a couple of guests over! That suits me perfectly.

I bought it sight unseen from a man who’s been selling vintage trailers for years. Nothing I’ve seen or heard has led me to believe he’s anything less than reputable. He loves these old trailers and refurbishes them.  He put lots of photos and information online. So far he’s been an excellent person to do business with.

To see more photos, click this link. Scroll down and click the 1959 Spartan 10’x50′ Carousel link to view photos and information. Here’s my favorite showing part of the round kitchen and the living room.

Right now I am awaiting a new title. A transport company will haul it from Washington state to Austin, where it will go into a quiet, clean, spacious, private trailer park in far south Austin.

I’ll hook it up to utilities and have someone handy check it out with me — plumbing, wiring, LP gas, etc., and we’ll fix what needs fixing and update what needs updating. Then I’ll move in.

I’ve never lived in a trailer before, but this one seems like a great start. If I don’t like it, I will have learned something and can do something else.

I will join a new community to learn from and share with. I’ve already heard from a man who wanted the seller to connect him to me. He collects Spartans and would love to take photos when it’s ready for that. He might be interested when I’m ready to sell.

Not to mention there’s an awesome group, trailerchix.com!

A trailer like this needs a name. Something besides Spartan Carousel.

One suggestion I’ve gotten is Atomic Ranch. What do you think?

Ordinary gratitudes: car, house, friends

Today’s three gratitudes are pretty ordinary. My car, my house, my friends.

I’m grateful to have my car back. It’s been disabled or out of my possession since December 22 and has been at three different mechanic shops.

I took it back once because the dashboard warning light for the electric battery (it’s a Honda Civic Hybrid) was on. It  wasn’t on before the accident.

I did not get that issue resolved satisfactorily. The light is still on. However, the electric battery appears to be working just fine.

All Honda has said is that because of the age and mileage, I need to replace the battery. I get that State Farm really wants it to be my problem, not theirs, because those batteries are expensive.

I feel frustrated because I don’t believe that any of these mechanics actually laid eyes on the wiring and cabling from the engine compartment, which overheated, to the electric battery behind the back seat. All repairs are based on electronic testing and what’s in the database. If it’s not in the database, they’re not going out of their way.

Anyway, I am grateful to have my car back, to have the collision damage fixed, and to (so far) have it running well.

I’m grateful to have learned something about the way insurance companies work, when a car is a hybrid and they don’t have a ton of information in their database about what can go wrong and how to fix it.

This is the dark side of owning a hybrid.

~~~

The option period on my house contract expires today.

Yesterday the buyer tried to get me to come down $10 grand because of a ridiculously high overestimate on foundation work. My realtor told his realtor that I refused.

I’ve had two people express interest in being backup buyers, but they never put it in writing. If this deal had fallen through, I feel certain I could have gotten my asking price.

Today I agreed to come down $2600. That’s reasonable. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush — sometimes. In this process, several people have advised me to take low offers and to cave.

My realtor says we’re about eighty percent of the way to closing. Next, an appraiser has to state that the buyer is not paying more than the house is worth. Once that’s done, we’ll be ninety-five percent ready to close on Feb. 18.

Although I had no idea there would be so much drama involved in selling my house, today I’m grateful for the progress.

~~~

I had lunch today with my friend Katie, and my friend Thomas called and wants to go a weekend workshop that Byron Katie is doing in Austin tonight and tomorrow. I bought a ticket from someone who had an extra one, and it’s even more of a pleasure to be sharing this workshop experience with Thomas.

I’m very grateful for my friends.

Day 14: Being a mad scientist, having a wise realtor, leaving home

We’re two-thirds of the way through the 21-day gratitude challenge!

I’m grateful for the “mad scientist” aspect of my personality.

I’m happily dreaming up and promoting the next challenge, a two-month experiment in doing the trauma releasing exercises.

I’m an Aquarius, born Feb. 7. That sign suits me. (If the “new astrology” is real, I’d be a Capricorn, which doesn’t suit me.) I like experimenting and learning!

I have no idea if anyone will follow me, but I’m willing to be the “lone nut”. (Most Aquarians are.)

That lone nut reference is to a video about leadership lessons from dancing, which you can view here. Are you willing to be a first follower?

I’m grateful for the wise advice of my realtor, who told me not to meet with the buyer of my house until closing. Yesterday I did meet him, but we didn’t converse. His realtor, his inspector, a foundation repairman, and he all came by yesterday to move ahead with his plans for buying and remodeling the house.

I wondered about that advice, and then I realized how emotional it is to sell my home in which I’ve lived 10 years of my life.

It’s the end of an era, not just of the house, but in my life.

The buyer and I will close and I hope we’ll spend some time hanging out. I can tell him about the plants and what I would have done if I had remodeled.

I’m grateful for the 10 years in which this house has provided me a home. So much has happened in those 10 years: The jobs I’ve had that paid the mortgage and bills, the times I’ve been unemployed, the people who have lived or stayed here with me at various times, the work I’ve done and have had others do, the heartbreaks and disappointments, the fun, the moments of joy, the moments of incredible stillness and peace and bliss…

The me of 10 years ago didn’t know herself (or like herself) nearly as much as I do now.

This house is where I recovered from my major childhood trauma, and where I got present in my life and truly acknowledged from the depths of my being how lucky I am to have a community of friends and family.

The guests I’ve had!!!

The yoga I’ve done!!!

The meals I’ve cooked!!!

I’ll be blogging more about my gratitude for this house and the past 10 years over the next week.

A contract on house, relationship woes, and 1950s housewife takes LSD

I’m up very early today, which is going to be a long one full of NLP training for master practitioners. It’s metaphor weekend!

Yesterday I gratefully signed a contract on my house! It feels really, really good, seven and a half weeks after listing it. It looks like the couple who saw it Thursday night for the first time and came back Friday to see it in the daytime are offering a backup contract, if the first one falls through.

Also yesterday, several people I care about were experiencing relationship difficulties. Feelings of disappointment, betrayal, anger, hurt, sadness, disrespect; expressing feelings, finding support, creating distance, moving on in some way. (Don’t try to make sense of this — I’m talking about several conflicts and people here. I’m sure you have experienced something similar — a loved one’s pain.)

I’m especially grateful to my Facebook friend Fran who asked this key question:

What is the lesson? Therein lies the silver lining!

Great question! Thank you, Fran!

I thought about it for a while. I got how my energy had gone out into each person’s hurting heart, feeling their pain. I got clear that these difficulties belonged to them (even if some were of their own making — like, “Man, what did you expect would happen? Snap to! You’re hurting someone!”), and that I could just simply extend my heart to them.

The pain is in discovering that the world is not as we believe it to be, that people are not who we believe they are. It is as it is, they behave as they behave.

if you can’t trust ’em, move on with those you can trust. if you betrayed someone’s trust, know it will probably never be the same. forgiveness, compassion, good boundaries solve a lot of problems. i hold them in the light.

And finally, today I am grateful for the wonderful finds on the internet. Here’s an old film from the 1950s where a normal housewife is given LSD and interviewed by a scientist on camera. Back when Technicolor was new. ; ) Enjoy!

Having options is the antidote to anxiety, two offers on my house, three work possibilities

Monday night I didn’t sleep well. My mind was restless with anxiety about selling my house (the fat lady only sings when you actually close), finances, transitioning to new work, the uncertainties of the future.

I discovered that coming up with options is a great antidote to anxiety, and I am full of gratitude for making that connection. The antidote to anxiety is having options. I realized I could seek contract work (and indeed felt some urgency about doing so), and I also realized I could get a roommate (or two) in this nice old East Austin house while it’s on the market.

Today, Thursday, I am grateful that I have two offers on my house. Both of them are in the ballpark of what I’m asking. I feel good that one of them will come through.

I’ve had to come down twice on my asking price. It’s a buyer’s market, and buyers are skittish about interest rates and the economy.

My net will be less than I expected, and I don’t want to deplete my savings. I fear being broke, and the antidote is…having options.

So…Tuesday and Wednesday I spent time updating my resume and getting it to recruiters. It’s been six years since I’ve looked for work as a technical writer. A lot has changed. Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter: the social media didn’t exist. Some software has gone away — PageMaker, anyone? I felt like I could benefit from a crash course in writing a resume for today’s job market.

I needn’t have worried.

It was gratifying to hear this morning from a recruiter that I come across as a solid writer, and that she has three good possibilities for me, working three or six month contracts at three well-known technology companies as a technical writer.

I think contracting is the way to go for me, to have a good income and be able to take the training I want in between contracts!

I continue to draw people and myself toward more well-being as I transition to offering this joyful service full time, earning more than enough to live on.

Generosity, root vegetables, and an offer on my house!

Today is the fifth day of my 21-day gratitude challenge. It’s still raining! I mentioned my gratitude for that yesterday. Another day of rain in January translates to more wildflowers in April in Central Texas. Plus, with the summers we have here, variety is welcome!

Here’s what else I’m especially grateful for today.

Generosity

Today I’m feeling especially grateful for the generosity of friends and strangers. Since my car has been disabled since Christmas eve (but ready tomorrow — yay!), my friend Thomas has twice let me use his car while he was traveling.

I have appreciated that, and his friendship, very much. The car loan has helped me out tremendously, since I didn’t have rental coverage on my insurance (do now!), and he hasn’t had to pay for long-term parking. I’ve picked him up and dropped him off at the airport (with my daughter filling in once when I had a yoga workshop), returning his car with a full tank of gas. Thank you, Thomas!

I also appreciate my friends letting me bounce my ideas about creating my right livelihood off them, supporting me and sharing information about possibilities for training and people they know who have an inside scoop. I’m mulling over a lot now, and I recognize that my friends have a lot of resources, wisdom, and connections to share.

This last anecdote falls into the category of random acts of kindness, a form of generosity. Who isn’t grateful for those? My friend Victoria shared a story about how she (currently carless) accidentally left her bag with the extra layer of clothes needed to wait at bus stops in January at her workplace, and how a woman waiting behind her in line at a coffee shop offered to drive her back there to get her bag. The woman refused any compensation, as she had had the experience being a carless bus rider herself. Victoria felt supported by the Universe and appreciated having that extra layer of clothes as she went about her day.

Root vegetables

I just made a big ol’ pot of borscht, with parsnips, carrots, red-skin potatoes, and most of all, beets, among the ingredients. Red beets and orange beets and sliced beet greens.

Beets and rainy winter days go together really well. The jewel-like color of borscht made with lots of beets is a warming, heart-opening color to nourish you during these days of low gray clouds and cold dampness. Beets have an earthy taste like no other vegetable I can think of. If you need grounding, eat beets.

Negotiating

I got an offer on my house yesterday, and this time it was in the ballpark! Yay! I’m feeling very grateful. It’s been six weeks since it was first listed, and to tell the truth, it’s been a tiny bit nerve-wracking. It’s not the best time of year to sell.

So I am grateful that a prospective buyer and his realtor are taking my listing seriously enough to make an offer.

I met with my wonderful realtor/neighbor today, and we made a counteroffer. This could go back and forth several times, and it could also fall apart, with one or the other of us walking away. I’m asking what I want, having already come down once, because if you don’t, guess what? You won’t get it!

She’s letting another couple of very interested prospective buyers know that I’m currently negotiating, so if they want to make offers, now is a good time!

Keep ya posted!