Chapter 8: Brian and I make a good team. We have completed a lot of renovation projects that are beautiful and done right. However, I use the term “team” very loosely since we mostly do things independently. Our projects are the result of individual efforts. It’s a theme in our relationship. For example- in the garage, he builds cabinets while I paint. In the yard, he pours concrete while I plant. In the library, he installs lights while I sort books. Even in the kitchen, I cook while he cleans or he cooks while I clean. We engage in what Dr. Spock refers to as Parallel Play. We don’t really do things together because we would kill each other.
It was bothersome when I first realized that we couldn’t move our play beyond the toddler years, but now I know this works for us because we both get to be the boss. The Great Elvis Reno Project will be no different. I will design and he will build. More accurately– I will design and he will start to build. Then he will come up with some brilliant idea I didn’t think of, or I will change my mind. Then I will redesign, and he will rebuild. Throughout the process, I will do a lot of research. I am definitely the boss of research.
Last weekend when I visited the shop, Brian showed me what was happening with Elvis so far. Then I started asking him a million questions. It’s not that I don’t have 100% confidence in what he’s doing; I just always have a lot of questions. Maybe I am a toddler. It makes me feel secure getting really good answers. My father must have hated me. Brian definitely wishes my mind was less inquiring. He promptly asks me to “look into trailer insulation”. We are weeks away from needing trailer insulation, but it’s clearly Brian’s way of getting me in front of the computer and out of his shop. (I am on to you.)
So this weekend, while I am NOT camping, I am researching trailer insulation. The Camping Gods are punishing me for refusing to sleep on the ground.
According to Wikipedia, cellulose (not to be confused with cellulite) is the most common organic compound on Earth. Cellulite is fast becoming the most common compound found on humans (just kidding). Cellulose is obtained from wood pulp and cotton– it’s what your morning newspaper is made from. Please don’t shoot the messenger here, but many items on your favorite grocer’s shelves contain gobs of cellulose. Marketing minds call it “Dietary Fiber”. We humans have very limited ability to digest cellulose (unlike termites) so it basically all comes back out. Mission accomplished. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #7).
Simply put, cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper, sprinkled with some fire retardant. It’s a popular choice for “Green” building because it has the highest recycled content—thank you for putting your Sunday Times into the blue recycle bin.
The main competition to cellulose in the free world is fiberglass. Fiberglass insulation is that pink fluffy stuff that you see in walls that looks like cotton candy. It is actually made in a similar way to cotton candy but from glass crystals instead of sugar crystals. Owens Corning claims to use up to 58% recycled glass— thank you for putting your beer bottles into the blue recycle bin.
And finally, for the love of camping gods, the last insulation I choose to read about on this exciting day of research is foam insulation. There is rigid foam, spray foam etc. Today’s spray foam claims to be environmentally responsible and non-toxic. I even watched a guy eat it on YouTube. (Amazing what people will do to promote their product!)
There are pages of the pros and cons of different types of insulation. Its a bit more complicated when considering the application in a trailer with limited space, curved walls, and the fact that it will be on the move, unlike a stationary building. If you want to hear what the Airstream Cult members have to say about trailer insulation, go to AirstreamForum.com. They have a thread that goes on for years.
In the meantime, I will gather my stack of research, pour a glass of beer with foam, and wait for my parallel playmate to come home.
Trailer Trash Quiz #8.
How do YOU keep warm in winter?
a. I drink. Nothing beats a hot toddy on a cold day.
b. I eat. It packs on lots of natural insulation.
c. I put on lots of layers. I saved $35 bag check fee by just wearing all my clothes on the plane.
d. I shop infomercials. I just bought a Twin Snuggie, Matching Microwave Slippers and Glovers for Lovers.
e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)
See my answer on the next post. Until then…..