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What Does "Profoundly Satisfying" Mean?

While converting my new cargo trailer to a travel trailer, I've had "profoundly satisfying" experiences. The question is: does this phrase really mean anything, or is it just a pretentious way of saying, "Wow man, like, this is a great experience?" I want to believe that this phrase is significant.

But before theorizing and explaining, let's put some 'boots on the ground.' I apologize for these details. They are petty in themselves but they keep me from floating in the clouds of platitudes and generalities.

For instance,
1) An incipient purchase of a major item brings on anxiety. In my case I altered the freshwater tank and procedure in my old trailer, just because I wanted to see if the improvement would work in the new trailer. I haven't changed this in a decade. Why not? Why had I procrastinated so long? Did I really not believe that the water pump could self-prime by lifting water upward for two feet?

Anyway, it can. Now I just bring in a 5-gallon jug of water from the tow vehicle, and set it on the floor next to the water pump. Then I insert a flexible hose into the 5-gallon jug; this is the inlet hose to the water pump, of course. After a few seconds of gurgling, water fills the plumbing lines.

No more bending over (with 45 pounds of water) to pour the jug of water into a small water reservoir. No more spillage.

Now, when I heat the water on the stove in order to take a navy shower, I just bring the pan over to the flexible hose, or pour the hot water into a 1-gallon plastic container, and stick the flexible hose into it. Geesh, I should have thought of this years ago.

2) I once told a relative that he must have had a lot of fun building a new house, as opposed to constantly remodeling an older house, which was my experience. With new construction you are the designer; you are starting with a blank piece of paper; your work is additive and constructive.

In contrast, renovating/remodeling involves so much un-doing and the endless stripping of surfaces down to bare wood. You have to accept the other guy's mistakes, and try to live with them. And when you are finished, everything looks so ad hoc: there is no unity to the structure.

These two opposite approaches are somewhat analogous to the English Model and the French Model. In the political sphere I admire the English Model and distrust the French. Even in the house/rig racket, there are certain advantages to the "English Model", such as getting to live there immediately, and making piecemeal improvements with no huge risks.

3) When an individual does "home improvement," he frequently needs to be at both ends of the board or both sides of the wall, at the same time. Nobody's arms are twenty feet long. So the poor devil sticks vise-grips on the hex head of the bolt and tries to make them run into something, or maybe taping them down somehow. Or he uses unwieldy clamps. Well I survived these situations, but always resented them.

At long last I had a chance to use carriage bolts -- you know, with the heads that have a square layer that gets pulled into the wood, and locks up, so you can go to the other side of the wall and tighten the nut. What a marvelous invention! Nostalgia is a strange thing: carriage bolts remind me of my grandfather's farm, where there were lots of them.

4) Tearing my trailer apart before insulating it. Finding out where the mistakes are, where the wiring runs, and where the blasted "rafters" are, so that I can screw to something solid.

5) And last but not least, I experienced a happy ending to a 20-year-long retro-grouch episode. That's how far back I can remember a discussion with another home-improvement guy. He was already using one of those battery-operated, portable, screwdriver/drills. Those Early Adopters, won't they ever learn?! I held back and held back. On the day I bought my trailer I finally bought one of these tools. Now I can't imagine being without one.

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary tells us that 'profound' comes from the Latin for before + bottom. It defines the word to mean: 
1a : having intellectual depth and insight  b : difficult to fathom or understand
2 a : extending far below the surface  b : coming from, reaching to, or situated at a depth  : DEEP-SEATED  *a profound sigh*
3 a : characterized by intensity of feeling or quality  b : all encompassing  : COMPLETE.

What a marvelous and mysterious word it is! And what about these profoundly satisfying experiences? What do they have in common? Perhaps it is the feeling that comes from many years of low-level frustration that manages to stay mostly in the background. But the resentment builds up. When the situation is finally fixed, you realize what a load you have taken off your back.

OK, I'll add a couple photos later today. I mean, really! It's as if people would rather look at photos of blow-by-blow progress rather than read my "profound" words. Right now it is driving me crazy to try to type with Band-Aids on half my finger tips. That happens in single-digit relative humidity.

From the stern, looking toward the bow. The starboard side (curb-side to lubbers) is now livable with the bed, overhead storage boxes, and a garment rack at the foot of the bed. The latter is an efficient use of space, since your feet don't mind the neighbors and the dog thinks it makes a nice, cozy den. I am going to leave the plywood walls unpainted, at least for now. Condensation between the layers can not evaporate through the aluminum skin of the trailer. So drying can only take place inward. It's not like a house, where you would use a vapor barrier between the living area and the outside world.


Wayne (Wirs) said…
Probably the first post of yours that I completely agree with! :)
Bob Giddings said…
Never "apologize for these details". It's actually the details people are asking for when they ask for pictures. It's the details that keep us all honest. You can't have depth without details.

The biggest problem people have when building something from scratch is the tendency to reinvent the wheel, spending many dollars and hours and barked knuckles to do something "original" when somebody else solved the problem a hundred years ago better than they can, with a ready made solution available just down the street for a couple of bucks.

A minor example: for years I carried four 6 gallon jugs from Walmart to hold fresh water so I wouldn't have to bring the trailer into town. Lots of hauling, bending, lifting, and spillage. Then I discovered a 26 gallon potable water sprayer tank at Northern Tool. It's no more trouble than the jerry cans, but with the help of a cheap portable water pump and a short hose I never have to lift water again. Nor do I have to move the trailer before I want to. It's light and easy to move around when empty, but not so much as to blow out of the bed. Besides, I use a strap to snug it down. They make smaller ones, but this one hit the sweet spot in terms of bulk and capacity for me. It just stays in the back of the truck, so it is always there when I happen to blunder across water.
Neil said…
Thanks for your blog.

Curious about your reasoning to get the ramp door. I have a cargo trailer and always thought if I converted one for living that I would go with side swing rear doors. Would value your thoughts.

Well, how about that! You really would suffer joist/rafter envy if you saw me screw into the plywood floors and walls wherever I want. The ceiling is harder, so I'm basically leaving it alone, except for the insulation.
Tesaje said…
For me, I find that the making of something from design to finish to be a creative endeavor. I get a profound satisfaction of making something both beautiful and practical. I also get a lot of satisfaction in figuring out how to solve the inevitable problems that arise in the design and build. Constant puzzles that require thinking to solve. It helped a lot once I got over the old "girls aren't good at that" mindset nonsense and realized that half of the people who do it for a living are not above average in intelligence. They just learn the tricks from those who are and figured it out the first time. A can-do attitude is a good thing to have.

As for remodeling as opposed to building, it doesn't have to look tacked on when done. That is a failure of design and implementation, in my mind, but all too often done that way. I'm pretty sure that the remodeling I've done to the front half of my house now looks like it should have from the beginning instead of the ugly shortcuts done by the original builder. Hopefully it will help in selling it.

Neil, one thing that the drop door gives you is a deck off the ground. Don't know if that's why Boonie chose it.