Saturday, July 27, 2013

FEMA Trailer Life

Well, the end of June has come and gone some time ago. With August fast approaching, we are going on our fifth week of living in a FEMA trailer. No, contrary to rumor, we have not been the victim of any natural disaster, just the victim of optimism. We actually bought the FEMA trailer as soon as we bought the house from a local dealer who buys them from auction. We intended it to be guest quarters since the house is fairly small, but now that we have been living in it ourselves, we are not sure it will fit the bill.

The primary problem with it is that FEMA trailers have seen way more hard living than your average 7-year-old private family-owned trailer. So the couch, booth seats, and table are way more unlevel, uncomfortable, and warped than any I have experienced. Whereas a similarly aged trailer would have been used a few weekends a year, this one has been used non-stop for several years.

Second, in an effort to make them very quickly and very cheaply, and knowing the government was the buyer, and knowing the person receiving them was incredibly desperate with very little avenue for complaint, they were made with very little storage. I have been in many different travel trailers; I know where the cabinets and drawers are supposed to be. Honestly, I would say at least 50% of them were never installed in FEMA trailers, and I understand why. There are no cabinets above the bed, no drawers underneath the closet, no cabinet above the toilet, no cabinets above the couch, no cabinet to hold your television, etc.

For example, here is a picture of the kitchen cabinetry:

Notice that the frame was clearly intended to hold more doors and drawers, yet a recessed flat piece was put in many places to cover otherwise useful, now empty space. I imagine this saved GulfStream a lot of money and the government a lot of time. I somehow missed this when I bought it.

Another cost saving measure: I have exactly one linear foot of counter space. So not cool since I live here. Also, there are not near enough electrical outlets. There are four, and two of them are located so that your cords have to be over a sink.

All that being said, there are 2 really awesome things about FEMA trailers. First, they have full-size, real refrigerators with freezers. For a family who actually cooks most meals in their trailer, this is indispensable for us. Second, it has a real full-size porcelain toilet. Most travel trailers have small plastic "toilets" that are really somewhere between an outhouse and chamber pot in terms of civility.

Anyway there is my answer is someone asks me if they should buy a FEMA trailer. If it is like $1000 I say go for it, but here they are selling in the 4K range, so I think I overpaid. Live and learn, but it has given us a place to live for a while. Speaking of which, the contractor is saying the house will be done by August 1st. We will see.

Oh, and the bees left us. I have no idea why. They seemed happy at first and then every day there were less and less of them. At least they are not dead. Or at least we can't find the bodies.