Risky Business

20150121_095621We are being teased with an early spring in Middle Tennessee this week. I don’t believe it for a minute and I wish my jonquils would do the same. I see them peeking their curious stems out of the ground and I yell at them, just like I yell at my teenage offspring. “Don’t be tempted to do something stupid! Make good choices! Be safe!”

But, like my offspring, they are going to try it. They are going to take risks and they will get their little stems frozen for it. Risky behavior is inherent in teenagers and spring flowers. Not so much with middle-aged women. Unless, of course, a middle-aged woman decides one day that she is going to buy a vintage trailer for a writing studio and then buys the danged thing the following day.

Yes, I’ve reached the “what was I thinking?” part of this journey. Yesterday — a warm and lovely day — Boy Child and I continued to demo Daisy. We had planned on keeping most of Daisy’s interior intact, but were going to remove the paneling that had obvious water damage. Even though it looked like old injuries, we wanted a fresh, strong, surface on which to paint fun, retro colors. We discovered we are a long way from fun, retro colors. Using an angle grinder, we carefully cut away the top part of the paneling above the sink/stove cabinet. Soft, rotted wood greeted us. Oh dear. The cheap 50s paneling had dried out and just looked bad. Behind that? The frame? Daisy’s BONES? Crepe paper. Each time I banged my head against the wall in dismay, charcoal-colored flakes of fifty-six-year-old 2 x 2 rained upon me.

The basic rule of thumb when one is ridding a body of unwanted rot, decay, or other type of cancer is to remove until there are “clear margins.” When one of my besties had a lumpectomy, the surgeon didn’t cut far enough and she had to have a second lumpectomy. She will agree: It’s best to get it all out the first time.

This means we have to cut the frame that holds Daisy’s sides up and replace bad wood with good. I am having flashbacks to buying an old house on a cool street when I was pregnant with Girl Child and learning that the entire breakfast room wall was infested with termites. When the contractor ripped out the drywall, what remained was a sheet of undulating, scurrying, maggot-like creatures. Beneath them was tissue-soft material that used to be wood. Carpenters had to cut away until they found clear margins.

We took advantage of that by filling the room with French doors. My friend with the lumpectomies took advantage of her situation to get a new rack. I will take advantage of Daisy’s misfortune somehow. Probably not French doors. We had to remove the sink/stove cabinet to get to the rot at the bottom. Daisy seems more open without it. I think she’s breathing a little easier. I might not return the sink/stove cabinet to its former position. Maybe Daisy will get a new rack.

Just as I know my jonquils will take a bit of a beating when the weather turns cold again, I took a risk and I’m getting a little frostbite. I suppose the key to taking risks is to make them such that one can recover from them. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best, I’ve always heard. As Boy Child prophesied doom and despair yesterday, each time he uncovered a layer of rot, I reminded him that Daisy is about the journey and not the destination. She probably won’t be ready for this year’s Bonnaroo, but we didn’t know what to do about her lack of bathroom facilities anyway.

Besides, it is a far bigger risk to go to a music festival with two under-age progeny and 90,000 of our closest friends than it is to restore a vintage camper. “Don’t be tempted to do something stupid! Make good choices! Be safe!”


4 thoughts on “Risky Business

  1. The rebirth of spring allows us all to make mistakes and feel good about it…. But I am not sure that buttercups or Daisy is a mistake. I will be able to go out and pick a bouquet of daffodils to save them from certain frostbite and we will have them to enjoy inside – and they will surely re-bloom next spring. Will the trailer (when repaired and operational) make us feel good about ourselves like a ‘rebuilt chest’ does for a lady?


  2. I love your blog. I really really do. Today, well let’s just say, has been spent in tears. I found you had posted a new story and I just had to go to read it. Tina, Thank you. Thank you so much for this. I needed it.


  3. I put this on Brittney’s parent’s ad for her senior H.S. yearbook. Somehow I think it applies:

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

    So throw off the bowlines.

    Sail away from the safe harbor.

    Catch the trade winds in your sails.




    – Mark Twain


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