Life in the Chateau

Welcome Home! Welcome Home!

Our time in Aiken is nearly at the end. Last night, Roger and I were chatting about the excitement of coming home and what I’d enjoy leaving behind with this southern experience – at least until next year. Namely, living in my trailer.

I have affectionately named the LQ “The Chateau.” Meant as a complete mockery, my metal box on wheels has housed me and my two dogs for the past 10 weeks. It’s been a lesson in simple comforts and navigation, as the three of us dance around each other and try our best to guess where the other will move to next.

Here are a few poignant observations from Life in the Chateau:

Size Matters:
Life in the Chateau can feel a bit restricted. The living space, without the bed, is about 53 square feet – just enough to stretch your arms. Basic daily patterns become a dance when Roger visits as there isn’t enough room for the two of us! Now, say “Cozy” with a sarcastic tone and you’ll know how I feel.

And in the middle of the night when you need to use the bathroom? Be careful! As you leap from your mattress, be sure to carefully negotiate the yellow lab snoring peacefully on his bed, on the floor. No one likes to be smooshed. No one.

The Gypsy Life:
I live out of my suitcase. The suitcase sits on the pull-out sofa. The minimal hanging space is used for jackets, laundry and extra blankets.

Fine Dining:
The limited storage, small fridge, tiny freezer don’t provide for many culinary delights. The two burner stove is helpful, but the last time I cooked chicken the entire “Chateau” wreaked of hot oil and charred flesh.

Guess how many microwaveable meals are on the market? Now, narrow it to Kashi meals (because you’re trying to be smart about pre-made foods). Narrow it further to no red meat. That brings it to four choices at your local Kroger. Now, imagine “enjoying” those meals over, and over, and over again. It gets old. Quickly.

Living with Pets:
Consider the tasty treats you give your dogs (especially gassy labs). The air circulation is poor, and scents linger.

The boudoir - often claimed by Sophie.

The boudoir – often claimed by Sophie.

Bed Buddies:
Sophie LOVES the all-you-can-eat manure buffet at the farm. She also sleeps on her pillows next to my mattress. One night, I woke to the pungent odor of feces. I thought I had slept walked and fell into a fresh pile. No, it was only Sophie nuzzling up for a cuddle.

Nature’s Exfoliation:
There is sand everywhere in Aiken. Everywhere. And, even when you think you’ve cleaned, it appears again. It’s like a bad boyfriend – it just keeps coming back, and you can’t stay away!

Water Conservation:
Showers are short, efficient, and necessary given the amount of dust and dirt in Aiken. But scrub quickly as you’re likely to run out of hot water! Water on – spritz, water off, scrub/lather, water on – rinse, water off. Luxurious, right?

A Little Nasty:
Your toilet. Don’t look down!

Getting Dumped:
Fortunately a State Park nearby has a camping ground where I can empty the tanks. A big hose attaches to the LQ and then to their tank. Water moves fast, and has a curious way of finding openings I may have overlooked – a particularly unpleasant experience when emptying the black water tank – sewage. Ick.

Kashie culinary delight, anyone?

Kashie culinary delight, anyone?

Down and Dirty:
There is no end to the dirt. You find it everywhere. Even when I continuously sweep the floor and wipe the dog’s feet off, the sand finds a way in. It has a curious way of sneaking into the most unpleasant places, like between your bed sheets. Word of advice? Just give up. You will never fully rid yourself of it, especially with dogs. Consider it a home-made exfoliation service.

Despite my lack-luster accommodations, I am thrilled to have been able to make the Chateau our home for the season. I have the convenience and comfort of being just footsteps from the horses. I also save on costs by living in the LQ. I am more appreciative now of our new home then ever before. I can’t wait to be in a place where my mudroom, kitchen, office, living room, and bedroom are not all within inches of one another. A bathroom where I can shower and still have hot water left over to wash my face. All of this reminds me of how fortunate I am to have a LQ, horses – some people would be over the moon just to have one form of reliable shelter. I have two.

The horse world is speckled with variations. But, one thing we all embrace is the willingness to sacrifice our personal comforts for the betterment of our horses. As the dogs and I trip over one another and traipse sand throughout the Chateau, the horses are enjoying their private, 24-hour paddocks. I would not have it any other way.

Katie Murphy

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