Three years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long), I wrote a post called The Stuff I Didn’t Buy. In that post, I talked about wanting to buy a camper or RV and how I had these grand visions of traveling with my family. Last year we bought a camper when we got a good deal on an old one that we could pull behind our Ford Flex. Naturally, it had some issues and I’ve made a couple repairs, but I have to admit we’ve had a great time with it. So much so, that I’m now casually shopping for a bigger one.
With the pandemic this year, sales of RVs and campers are crazy. People aren’t vacationing at the crowded beach, a major theme park, a cruise, or major resort. Instead, people are taking their campers on vacation and getting outdoors where they feel a little safer. Aside from that, here are five reasons to go camping.
True, it’s not all fun and games. The kids stay up way too late when we’re camping, especially the youngest. Since our camper is crowded, they always fight a little and whoever is sleeping on the dinette has to tear apart their bed so we can eat breakfast.
All the work is absolutely worth it though. I enjoy sitting by the campfire and playing Connect-Four with my daughter even though she usually wins. I love that she makes s’mores for her little sister and helps her eat them. Plus, I can send messages to my family like this: “We’re camping in Ohio. It’s 10:30 at night. The 2-year old had like three s’mores and is dancing to Five Finger Death Punch by the campfire”. I may not win parent of the year for it, but that’s making memories right there.
I’m not saying everyone should run out and buy a camper. Check out sites like Outdoorsy.com, RVShare.com, or CruiseAmerica.com to rent one first. Many RV dealerships rent them as well. And if you do own one, you can turn it around and rent it out through one of those websites to make a little extra money. Alternatively, many campgrounds have furnished cabins you can rent for far less than a hotel at a resort, and you wouldn’t believe the amenities of some campgrounds.
Even if all you have is a tent and sleeping bags, get outside with your family and check out one of the thousands of campgrounds in America.
Vintage or Garbage
This is me on my Wonder Horse when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite toys of all time. With my horse and a lasso, I thought I was going to be the next rodeo star. One of my favorite rodeo events to emulate though was steer wrestling. I would ride as hard as I could, then leap off and tackle something - pillows, cushions, whatever.
After I outgrew my Wonder Horse, my little sister played with it and so did many of my nephews. At some point I brought it to my own home for my kids to play with.
Nothing lasts forever though
Before I knew it, I had to put tape over a crack in the saddle to prevent pinched rear ends. The kids kept playing with it and it only got worse. Last month, when I had a wet basement to deal with I moved several things, including the horse, to the garage.
I kept looking at it knowing that I should get rid of it. No one had been playing with it for a while. It was fairly dangerous with the broken seat, the handle that wouldn’t stay on anymore, and the sharp metal stand that was missing a rubber cap.
But how could I possibly part with my horse?
I had spent countless hours playing with it as a kid and enjoyed watching my own kids play with it. After all, this is vintage 1979 and people collect these things. It’s worth money right? What about all the great memories? In other words, all the usual excuses went through my mind about why you can’t part with a sentimental item.
When I mentioned it to one of my sisters I heard, “You can’t get rid of your horse!” I started thinking that maybe I could repair it. Then I thought of all the other projects I have laying around the house I already don’t have time for. Since I have six sisters, advice is never more than a phone call away. I asked another and found out she still has hers. She plans to make a carousel horse out of it. “Then what?” I asked. “It’ll just sit around in a corner I guess. I should probably get rid of it”.
I broke down and decided to sell
I put it for sale on a local Facebook group for the bargain price of $15. After a week, I lowered it to $10. Here’s an interesting thing about selling on Facebook. If you didn’t know, you can check the statistics of your item to see how many people have looked at it, saved it, etc. The stats on my horse were poor. Even at $10.
I finally worked up the courage to put it on the curb
I deleted the posting on Facebook and set it on the curb in front of our house. Normally, you can put anything out here and it will disappear in a matter of hours. Late that night, it was still there and the forecast was for rain. I brought it back into the garage. The next day I did the same thing. An excited grandparent stopped and rang the doorbell to make sure I was giving it away. When I showed him the broken seat, he changed his mind and drove away.
Someone finally took it. I keep telling myself it went to someone who will repair it and not to a scrap dealer. I’m sure my beloved Wonder Horse is being repaired right now so a kid can pretend to be the next rodeo star.
What did I learn from throwing my childhood on the curb?
First, I learned I don’t miss the horse, but I love the extra space I gained in my basement. Second, I learned that while my sisters sometimes have good advice, they are not the ones to ask if I should get rid of something. Third, when you detach yourself from a sentimental item and look at it objectively, it will be lot easier to see why you should let it go. In this case, I zeroed in on the broken seat and sharp metal and realized it was unsafe. I knew I would never get around to repairing it, assuming that was even possible. Finally, you can convince yourself that the sentimental item you were attached to is still out there making someone else happy. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
I wanted to write a quick post just to make sure everyone knows I'm still here! Since having our fourth child in February, it's been pretty tough to find time to write anything. My time has been filled with swimming, baseball, softball, maintaining my house, a Baptism and First Communion on the same day, a 2nd Grade field trip to a museum, Cub Scout activities, rock climbing with the kids, the Detroit Whisky Festival, a piano recital, and even my first 5K of the year. Not to mention I have a job to go to every day and I'm still constantly removing things from my house.
A couple weeks ago, our sump pump stopped working right after a weekend of heavy rain. It was by far the most water we've had in our basement in the 14 years we've lived here. Nothing was ruined but we had so much stuff stored downstairs that I took a bunch of it to the garage just so I could move some other things off the wet carpet. It was motivation to purge so I wouldn't have to carry it all back downstairs. I sold a set of three heavy wood bar stools on Facebook and posted a couple other items for free just to get rid of them. Now I have a plumbing job ahead of me to replace the sump pump and install a backup system.
As you can see I've been too busy to do much writing but I have gained a few new email subscribers. Welcome! If you are getting emails but haven't followed me on Facebook, please do. Likewise, if you aren't receiving emails, you can subscribe just by putting your email in the form below. Also, if you ever have a question, comment, suggestion, or just want to say hi, you can email me at Dave@DaveLubke.com or send me a message with Facebook messenger.
Finally, I have one small request. If you happen to be on my website, take a look to the left side of your screen. You should see a small rectangle that says "Reviews" with a green check mark next to it. Please take a second to click on that and then click on the stars to rate me. If you have benefited from my website in any way, I would love it if you left a short review (preferably a good one and 4 or 5 stars). This just lets others know that my website is a safe site that can be trusted and that it's not some sort of scam or phishing website.
Thanks for reading and rest assured I have a few posts already in the works and plan to get back into a regular posting routine very soon.
It Takes A Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child but in our case, it takes a village just to give birth to one. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything they have done or even offered to do for us over the past weeks. And the outpouring continues.
The last nine months have been a whirlwind as we prepared for having our fourth child. She’s one of the greatest surprises ever. Keeping our sanity through just the preparation and birth though, wouldn’t have been possible without so many generous friends and family.
Since she was born a week later than expected, we spent a few weeks constantly coordinating plans with friends to handle all of the activities our other three kids have going on. It’s been one message after another of “well, if it happens on this day so-and-so can get this kid to their activity and this other person can bring them home”. Even after the birth we are still making those plans so my wife won’t have to leave the house with a newborn in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in decades.
The day she was born, I made three trips home from the hospital. That night, I came home exhausted (certainly not as exhausted as my wife was though). I sat down to enjoy a glass of Scotch to celebrate my new addition to the family and do some writing.
I looked at everything that needed to be done at home and felt like I should do the dishes and shovel the snow in the driveway. Instead, I keep reminding myself how important it is to enjoy this time and get the whole family to appreciate the miracle of it all. There will always be something that needs to be done but it’s a good reminder that if we have less stuff, there will be less to do.
Now we’re all home with little Maggie and trying to get into some sort of routine. She was unexpected but is greatly loved. If God is going to throw me a curve-ball in my forties, this is as good as it gets.
There’s something I kept catching myself doing in the hospital though that really bothered me. I wanted to tell everyone the great news so I sent out text messages and emails. Then, I found myself sitting there with this beautiful new baby in one arm but looking at my phone trying to respond to all the attention I was getting. I suddenly felt ashamed for ignoring my daughter for my phone. As if the most important thing I needed to be doing at that moment was responding to text messages and emails.
I told myself how stupid that was and to focus on her instead. I had to keep forcing myself to put my phone down and stare at her. Then I would hear my phone buzz again and I had to see who it was from. I decided that I have to pay more attention to those around me and less attention to my phone.
That is one of the primary reasons to live with less stuff. We all need to spend less time handling all the distractions that keep us from what is really important.
Thanks for reading but now do yourself a favor. Put down your phone or tablet, close your laptop up, and take a look at your spouse, your kids, your friend, or whoever is around you waiting for your attention. Spend some time with them now before you miss something.
How do you prepare for a baby when all the bedrooms are occupied and your kids already have too much stuff? First, you procrastinate by pretending that you have plenty of time. After a few months, start asking friends and family if they have any baby stuff they were planning to get rid of anyway. Finally, a month before the due date, start to completely panic.
Spend a Thursday night touring the new birthing center of the hospital. Follow that up with a Friday night shopping spree when you're tired and your decision making abilities are severely impaired. Fill the weekend by clearing out a room for the baby by moving your youngest son in to share a room with his messy older brother. Don't worry about finishing it all that weekend. Hopefully you have a couple more weeks before the baby comes.
Continue spending all your free time cleaning, rearranging, and buying the last few things you need while hoping the baby doesn’t come early. I forgot how much stuff babies come with!
Strangely, one of the last things we bought was a simple diaper bag. We were being indecisive because with our first three kids, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl so most of the baby stuff was neutral. This time, we know it’s a girl so we wanted a diaper bag that looked like it was for a little girl. They’re not as easy to find as we thought.
The generosity of friends and family made all this possible. Many people gave us gift cards for the above mentioned shopping spree, and/or bought something for the baby. We also received hand-me-down clothes, shoes, toys, etc. Some friends were even generous enough to come over and help us sort through all the clothes.
Here we are less than two weeks from the due date though and we’re ready enough. The car seat is sitting in the house and each car has a base installed for it to snap into. The crib is set up with bedding and she has clean clothes in the dresser and closet. While it was a surprise to find out we were having a baby at our age, we are blessed to have so many generous friends and family members to help us out.
She'll be here before we know it and I'm sure we'll find out there's something we forgot to have on hand. Now, if we could only decide on her name.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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