After spending almost 25 years in a rural mobile home, and now in a suburban setting, I hope my triumphs, trials, and tribulations will be of help to those who are familiar with the unique challenges of mobile home living. Just as important, I hope to read and learn from you as well….. maybe a few laughs along the way.

Welcome to mobile home living!

– Keith   

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Pet Adoption

About ten years back, while still  enjoying the rural life, I was relaxing on my deck, beer in hand and chicken thighs smoking on the grill, when fate (no doubt as a cruel joke) deposited a small, very thin young cat on my steps. With his focus obviously on my Weber, he turned to me with those big eyes and in a quiet, frail voice inquired about the size and goodness of my heart.

I remember errantly rationalizing how nice it would be to have a good mouser hanging around and decided to welcome him to my world with a few ground rules: Outside Only -No Milk, Just Water-and Occasional Food in Tiny Amounts. Apparently disappointed with this arrangement, he almost immediately began plotting his revenge….

A few feet from my bedroom window became an almost nightly partying spot for him and a few of his cagier acquaintances. It became a devils den of casual sex, brawls, and what I can only assume was some form of feline binge drinking. My yelled reprimands had little effect and were met with snickers and snide remarks about my incomprehensible need to sleep at night. Slink, (as I named him), began displaying an acrobatic, but extremely annoying habit of hanging off my screen door with all fours dug into the mesh, loudly commenting on my lack of compassion. All this and more continued for weeks until, consumed and destroyed by his excesses, he wedged himself into a totally inaccessible corner under the house…. and died. The subsequent increase of the local fly population and permeating aromatherapy left me no choice but to fondly reminisce on our brief time together.

So….. lesson learned. The endearing qualities of domestic cats are largely missing in the personality of their feral cousins. I maintain they should be separate species. Feel free to experiment on your own  –  but beware!

– Keith

Of Mice and Mobile Homes

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s greatest housekeeper. But I do vacuum and dust, and I don’t leave dishes and food in the sink or anywhere else. I’ve even been known to mop floors and wash walls on occasion. But yes, being a man, bathrooms and under sink areas were to be tackled only after a few weeks of motivating thought and planning.

So, all in all, my home in rural Missouri was more than presentable. Guests felt welcome and comfortable…. and so did the field mice. They moved in shortly after me and I am sure are still there to befriend the current tenants. As far as my experience can tell, in the country you either live with them or move elsewhere. Even if your mobile home is sitting on an air tight concrete foundation with motion detectors directing robotic BB gun turrets,  you’re only making it slightly more difficult for them. Eradication is an impossibility…. population control is the only option.

I quickly learned, as I’m sure most of you have, that products like DeCon are a no-no. Nothing ruins a good day like coming home to the stench of a well rotted and liquefying mouse carcass that is located in one of the several thousand inaccessible rodent havens present throughout a mobile home. If I located it…. great! Otherwise I was condemned to suffer while the little corpse dried up and mummified…. until the next time.

Trapping is the only way. A few placed in mouse dining and party areas  provided a consistent yield…. and I soon developed a morning routine of collection and disposal. I admit I have clapped my hands and emitted a cheer  when the dull thud of a trap snapping home on pay dirt reached my ears. At some point I tired of the constant resetting and ‘hands on’ last rites. Enter the electronic trap! These things are great. Yes, they are far more expensive than snap traps, but the convenience and effectiveness are definitely worth it. Though I haven’t tried it, the Victor M260 Multi-Kill seems the be the Cadillac of them all.         Click here to check out the video.

Of course there are other brands and models less expensive. I purchased a more economical unit at a local farm and garden store and it performed very well using dog food pellets. I am very interested in hearing any of your experiences and advice for controlling our little friends. I’ve already tried steel wool in openings and I refuse to cat hoard.    🙂

– Keith

Is he really talking about tires on his roof??

Yes I am. Ya know the older mobile homes with the sheet metal roofs? Any thing more than a fresh breeze and it sounds like there are elephants up there.

I’m not sure when they stopped putting those roofs on, but it wasn’t a moment too soon. Having to re-tar the seams every few years, and watching it slowly develop its rusty ‘patina’……I bet whoever came up with that idea is still laughing. My short term solution to the buckling thunder was to place a couple dozen old tires up there. Even though my nearest neighbor was over a mile away,  I  wanted to keep up the looks of the place and made sure they were all whitewalls.

As soon as I was able, a roof-over contractor installed a proper aluminum fold-over crimped roof above an inch and a half of hard foam insulation. It even came complete with standard seamless gutters and downspouts! I never had a problem with it in the 25 years I lived there. The local boys who did the job were Kemco Aluminum.   I’m sure there are reputable companies in your area that can do the same for you.

– Keith

I found the greatest tool a few months ago….

I had just moved into my new home and was busy installing bathroom towel racks and such, along with hangers for my heftier wall pieces.

Now, we all know that interior wall materials, while they may be standard for mobile homes, are certainly not standard for fixed construction. The wallboard in my present home is a quarter inch thick, and the wood paneling in my old house even thinner.

So…. I was using molly bolts, the kind with the external head with little teeth that dig into the wall and the interior fastener that collapses outward when you turn the screw, and of course the pointy end that allows you to hammer the entire thing  into the wall to start, like a nail.        ……. anyone see where this is going?

  • It’s not a nail. It’s like making a short point on a 3/8 inch dowel. Try hammering that into 1/4 inch wallboard. Even if you hammer the molly bolt in successfully, imagine what the back of the wallboard looks like!  Always drill a hole for the bolt.
  • If you spin that toothed exterior head even a little, you’ve cut a nice circle into that thin wall. Now just add that pressure from the screwdriver you’re using to start the setting process and…. well, you get the idea. This is particularly true for the thin walled interior doors.

The ingenious solution to all this?  A molly setter!  Once the hole is drilled and the bolt inserted, this tool grabs the head of the set screw and pulls the screw out. No screwdriver, no pressure, no fuss.  

You can go here: to find out more. Unfortunately, the site they advise you to visit in order to purchase the tool no longer lists it in their catalog. I’m not sure if they dropped it, or just out of stock. You might want to contact them for more information on the tool. I have not been able to find it anywhere else. If any of you find it, please post the information here. The setter is not cheap…. I think around $46 dollars if I remember correctly, but definitely worth it convenience-wise.

– Keith