I’m not really sure what I was thinking. The past year, I’ve been stressing we slow down and leave extra time for rest in our lives for awhile. That we needed more family time, less travel. Less stress.
I was lying in bed last week, resting. We were on week two of a nasty, take-no-prisoners upper respiratory virus that had knocked several of the children and me out. The children had also fallen with a stomach virus, resulting in comical races to various bathrooms in the house. To say I was (and am) exhausted was huge understatement. As I lay in bed my phone pealed through the blessed silence, shattering through the obscene sinus headache I’d been enduring for several hours. I picked up the phone and gingerly put it to my ear. Pain shot through my cheekbone.
“Do you want a camper?”
“Huh?” I asked.
My husband: “Do you want a camper? Someone at work told me about this website where you can bid on stuff the government is trying to get rid of. There’s a bunch of campers on there!”
We had a good laugh. But I know you see where this is going.
I would like to caveat this. I am not a gambler. I’ve never been to Vegas–and have no desire to go. I hate taking risks unless it costs me nothing and is guaranteed to come out in my favor. Which means no risk-taking. Prior to meeting my husband, I was the proverbial little old lady who hid her money under a mattress; I did not invest my money, instead I safely invested it in a savings account which hardly made me anything. But, it wasn’t going anywhere. I have never gambled, except when we were on a cruise a few months after getting married when my husband handed me $20 dollars and sat me in front of a slot machine. In a matter of seconds, I lost $20 and also lost several nights’ sleep over that money. I don’t bid, I don’t gamble, and I don’t take risks. I play it safe, very safe.
That night, once the kids were in bed, we sat in front of the computer, perusing the campers. They had been purchased by the government for Hurricane Harvey victims and were now being auctioned off. Most were bottom of the line with lots of damage. Many had large holes in the walls, walls shredded, blinds torn to pieces. Some had cabinet doors missing.
Then there was one that sounded in pretty decent shape. It had two pictures, both very dark and grainy. But the description didn’t mention anything beyond a missing mattress and a hole in the screen. At the bottom of the paragraph it stipulated that there could be more extensive damage than what was listed above. I barely noticed. I did notice that the bids were low and the brand was nice. I felt gutsy.
“Make a bid.”
We were very quickly squashed. Fair. It was low. Forty-five minutes later, we logged back on. There was three minutes left to bid.
“Bid again.” I said.
Again, not really sure what I was thinking.
My husband entered the bid and, to my utter shock, the minutes counted down to seconds and still no one had outbid us.
I was screaming.
“Oh my gosh! Richard! We are going to have a camper! Shoot! Shoot! What did we just do?!
“OH MY GOSH! NOOOO! OUTBID US! WHAT’S GOING ON?!”
The screen refreshed and added ten minutes onto the bid. The same guy had outbid us. We were in a bidding war. My pride hurt, my feathers ruffled but adrenaline running high, I urged my husband again. (This was fun!)
“Bid one more time.”
“What?!” I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy. Which is fair.
“This is the highest we will go. One more bid. For fun. He’s going to outbid us anyway.”
Yes, I said that. And, yes, you still know where this is going.
He punched it in. I hit submit. Cue the countdown. Cue the thrilled screaming.
“WHERE IS HE?! HE’S NOT BIDDING! WHAT’S GOING ON?!”
“RICHARD! OH MY GOSH!”
The screen refreshed. Only, this time it said that bidding was closed and the camper was no longer available. We stared at the screen in utter terror. On the bottom of the screen, a notification popped up that we had gotten an email. A confirmation of purchase.
We started laughing maniacally.
“What have we done?!” My poor husband asked.
“We are grieving.” I responded. “We just bought ourselves a large tattoo.”
We swapped nights that we were up stressing about this camper we bought sight unseen. This camper that meant we were going to have to replace a vehicle so that we could actually tow it (I very quickly squashed the idea of buying the tank of a conversion van for which my husband was ready to trade in our Kia minivan.) This camper that was going to be ours, even though we had both acknowledged we needed desperately to slow down. Nightmarish thoughts grew in our heads.
“What if it smells like a urine bomb?” (That was my husband.)
“What if it smells like cigarettes?” (I hate that smell!)
“What if it’s torn to pieces but they forgot to say so?”
Here’s the thing, though. I stopped caring. We can live our lives penned in by What If’s. My husband and I kept saying we would do things, like buy a camper, once the kids were older, once he retired, once this happens, once things slowed down, once we are more stable, once he retires. Because what if he deployed? What if we had to move again. What if, what if, what if. We kept putting off buying one, putting off other stuff. And, not long ago, I saw a great man put off his dreams and goals…and the once this happens never came. The What Ifs got him. And I won’t live like that anymore. God gave me today, and darn it, I’m going to live it for all it’s worth.
So, Richard made the long trek south yesterday to pick up Scout. With many prayers, huge faith, and a borrowed tow vehicle, he went to obtain our camper. Once he was on the lot, I gave him about twenty minutes and called. He had just walked inside.
“It’s gorgeous.” I exhaled.
Today, I finally got to see it. We pulled up to our new adventure and I walked inside. All will be well. It’s pretty dirty and the last people jacked the mattresses, but it’s in such good condition. Praise God. Our new little adventures await…once we deep clean.
Because little getaways can be restful. Sneaking away for a night or two can be calming. We don’t have to go every weekend. But this camper, this Scout, is memories waiting to be made. Memories with my children who seem to wake up taller every morning. Memories with my husband, who has been wanting a camper since before we married. Memories for me, since I no longer have to sleep on a sleeping bag on the ground. Pulling back and calming down doesn’t mean no travel, no trips. It means being intentional about the times we choose to go.
So, for once, I think my crazy risk-taking paid off. No, it wasn’t safe. Yes, we risked a lot. Yes, we lost sleep (precious sleep). But, God is good. We got a camper in really good shape for well below what that model is going for right now. And we can stop saying once life slows down. Because it won’t. I’ve given up hope on that (but, you’re free to surprise me, God). And I don’t want the What If’s to get us before I have a chance to make good on the dreams and goals.
So, if you need me, I’ll be deep cleaning our new ship of dreams. And I’ll keep you posted on our latest adventures. Because our once this happens has turned into once upon a time by taking a little (big?) risk.