I sat staring at this blinking cursor and asked myself “Should I? Should I tell this story in it’s entirety? Do I really want to re-hash it?” I am still friggin' raw. But—this is a series blog, writing is therapeutic for me, and if the events of the last 6 months save one person the trial-and-error we’ve gone through, I’ll feel better about it. Okay, so let me pour a glass of liquid Band-Aid and we’ll begin.
I’ll start with a re-cap of where I left off in Living Small Part I. We’d just re-evaluated our goals for sustainable living. After researching shipping containers, campers, and tiny houses we started looking at modular, it seemed the logical choice, being middle-aged. If I had “gotten” this earlier, we would have a small living community by now. Anyway right now, a modular is the quickest route to get off the wheel, well—as soon as they take the tires off the home.
We went to dealerships to check out some new model’s. The first criteria for our purchase was that it would be paid for in cash, same as the land. After a few lots we decided to scratch new, the cost was more than our allotted cash. So—we entered the no-mans-land of used modular's.
For a month we followed leads on Craigslist. Let me tell you, mobile home selfies are misleading as hell. I nearly fell through the floor of one property and feared a snakebite on another.
I rode back-roads for miles, looking for those crooked little signs that said mobile home for sale. One Saturday morning last May, a new listing popped up. A lake-house modular on the Santee in Eutawville. My sister and I went to check it out. Good bones, solid, small and, as the little bear said in The Three Bears, it was Just Right!
The owners were wonderful. They explained that originally the home’s purpose was for entertaining and a temporary residence for business contacts but they recently decided to build a home on the site. I could see its potential. And—they were throwing in the most tacky décor I had ever seen in my life for free. A resin cast toilet seat with embedded hollow point bullets. What The Hell?
We shook hands that day and I came back 2 days later with cash. Our acquisitions sat on two different rivers, exactly 55 minutes apart.
Now all we needed to do was find a mover. Piece-of-cake right? Well, apparently, the world of mobile home moving has become a seedy profession. I called 22, that’s right…22 movers! Sixteen of which were no longer in business. The six left on my list were undesirables to say the least. They gave quotes sight-unseen, had a longer list of what they wouldn’t do than what they would, and had other dis-qualifiers like you would not believe. There are reasons that this profession has declined morally, but that’s another story.
I narrowed it down to the three worthiest of the non-worthy. I felt led to one particular mover, because he did all the right things, (in the beginning.) He met me at the site to give a quote, talked knowledgeably about the procedure, signed a contract that I wrote up, and assured me that the date we were looking to move could be achieved. I made a huge deposit. You don’t want to know. One thing that was cohesive in mobile-moving jargon was the price. It was going to be upwards of 10K for a 55-minute move. We didn’t see that coming, but here we were.
In two weeks I was packed and ready to go! Don and I were settling into the comfortable possibility of not owing a soul for anything and staying that way for the rest of our lives. We were Googling solar panels and grids, Don gets a chicken coop design book ordered. I started declining any invitations to anything because the move was imminent. It was June 15th, the last day either of us felt peace for six months.
We were one hour away from home in Eutawville, the mover was doling out periodical phone calls to let us know of progress. The Move was the first of next week! And then I got a call—“Mrs. Renae, So & So’s truck alternator went out and we have to rent a truck to haul this or that, I need a check to cover the cost.” he said. I wasn’t suspicious at this time, being contractors ourselves, we know stuff happens.
“Okay, we will give you the second draw, since the move is next week anyway.” I told him. Work commenced and I felt like we were okay; moving along again.
A few days before the moving date, I got a call. The mover said “It’s raining here.”
Now, I am like Doppler Radar, Doppler can’t move without me. 90% of our business is exterior. I am the best weather barometer in these parts. I replied “There’s no rain anywhere near us or Eutawville.” He told me that they would resume work the next day.