Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Adventures in tile-choosing

My daughter Mary took it upon herself to find me a loan for a new mobile home. The home would replace the one that I currently live in, which would be hauled off to the recycler. Yes, they do call it recycling. I thought that Mary was talking only to a lender but she was dealing with a mobile home dealer who was able to arrange financing (oddly, this is not usual).

Last week we learned that a loan had been approved, with a not-wonderful interest rate because of my bad credit, but I figured I'd follow up and find out more about it and about the new homes. So I met with the salesperson twice last week. I found that if my credit improves I can refinance with no prepayment penalty. Similarly, of course, I can sell the home with the same results.

On Friday I spent almost four hours with Merrill, the salesperson. First, we toured a number of mobile homes on two lots owned by this company. None were the size that I want, but of course many features are the same. After I had been through many I came to some conclusions about workmanship in particular and decided to go for a Skyline home rather than Fleetwood. I have been living in a Fleetwood lo these many years and have found that it has many faults in addition to those problems caused by my neglect.

This post is not about that whole process, though. It's about tile. And carpet. And the other "options".

I spent quite a bit of time looking at the details. The first thing to remember is that everything in a mobile home is fake. In a regular home this is often the case, of course, but in manufactured homes so much more so. There are homes that imitate a "craftsman" look - they have the sloping pillars out front and a fake stonework base - and fireplace. I saw the "stones" on the sample sheets after. It's common to see the river rock type stonework, fake, but this is stacked, like FLLW, and has such an eery similarity. But is "not quite right".

Nothing is quite right in that respect. I lingered over tile and formica choices for the counter - the typical finish is to place formica on the counters and edge with real tile, which I do not think I have seen much elsewhere. I wanted corian instead but it wasn't available, for some reason, in the size home I was considering. The choices are few and have certain similarities. In years past I remember that avocado and gold were all the rage and you could not get out of a kitchen without seeing some of that. Now the "style" - I guess it's a style - is fake stone, fake wood, kind of earthy without being earthy.

What struck me as I was looking at window finishes - again, not really a lot of choice - if you want more you "upgrade" and upgrades have different levels - and even then the choices are hardly extensive - was that I was giving this such serious consideration.

My father would have had a heart attack. He would have tried for the simplest finish possible, if pushed, but would have thought of bringing in someone to fix it later. I think he could live with a thing like this if he just walked into it but it would have been hard to justify actually choosing finishes. I can see him wanting a different kind of tile in the bath, something not available, and asking why it wasn't available.

I found I could choose something I could live with. This isn't a dream house. It's just a huge improvement over what I now have, and a step I need to take. I think that I will go ahead with the purchase. It will take a bit of time because I need to get a downpayment to them and arrange to pack up all my stuff and find a place to stay while they are installing the home. At this point I suspect I might have it delivered some time in October. That seems like a good time. I have also decided to get rid of almost all of my furniture and start fresh, with small pieces that fit the space (many from Ikea, probably). So I need to work out how I am going to pay for that, too.

My home is desperately cluttered. I am committing myself to packing three boxes a day, of whatever size, and having give-away and throw-away boxes alongside. It isn't so hard to ask the question, "Do I really want this?". One gets more brutal when packing things.

Naturally, I'm excited. But I would be much more excited if someone else were doing all this work instead of me! Or if I simply were sharing it. That would be the best. Mary is going to take a little time off to help pack things, which will be great, and Paul has offered his truck for hauling stuff. So I am not completely alone, thank heaven.

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