Cathy Worthington Moen
After being evicted from our town rental by a grieving widow anxious to cash out, we moved to the ranch and into a 40-year old trailer house formerly occupied by my in-laws. Unlike my patient mother-in-law, who lived in that trailer for 30 years, I wanted out now and I’d only lived in it for a week. The trailer was right next to the corrals so fresh country air took on a whole new meaning. We were also living without most of our belongings, so I began shopping for a new house immediately. I drug Mark to the contractor building my parents’ retirement home to discuss our options. Not only was it going to be expensive to build a custom home, but it was also going to take months, so that option was off the table unless we built a Tiny House. I love my family, but I love them more in larger spaces.
Mark thought a modular home might be an option, but I was skeptical as I’d lived in mobile homes before. “Modular” was just a fancy word for “trailer” as far as I was concerned. My first home was a camper-sized trailer that my dad drug all over Wyoming following highway construction jobs. We moved up to a 50-foot trailer when my sister was born and nine years later my parents were hired to manage the trailer park we lived in, and the deal included a house. The house was in the park, on a dirt road, and out of town, so I didn’t see this as a big step up. Thankfully, the trailer park was sold a few years later and my folks bought our first real house on a real street in a real town, and just like that, I went from nomad to princess. Ironically, I was living in a trailer house when I met Mark. It was all I could afford as a divorced mom, but it was cute and it was mine.
I finally agreed to look at modular homes and we looked at EVERY model between Casper and Denver before finding one I liked. I was actually impressed with the quality of the home, but there was just one little thing I wanted to change. The salesman mentioned the engineering fee was the same for one revision or several. Big mistake! With that in mind, I decided to get my money’s worth and make a few more changes, which turned into dozens and soon we had an unrecognizable floorplan and very grouchy engineers. Consequently, the move-in date was pushed back by months and begging didn’t help the county inspectors inspect faster. My parents moved into their stick-built house 90 days after groundbreaking. Our factory-built house took eight months to finish. We lived in that old trailer so long, I named the resident mice because our cats had lost interest. We heard the builder went out of business soon after they completed our house, but I’m pretty sure that was just a coincidence.
We finally moved in and Mark thought the house debacle was over, but as usual, he was wrong. Although our modular house in no way resembled the trailer houses of my childhood, this princess had more changes in mind just to make sure it was not mistaken for a double-wide. We replaced tile, hardware, light fixtures, towel racks, and carpet with wood. I wanted to do more, but my frustrated husband reminded me of the saying, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but home is where you hang your crown.” He may have messed up that saying.