Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Please Honey, Just Humour Me?"

So it begins...

A beautiful sunny morning in BC and my sister has offered to take the kids for a beach day with a sleep over! WHOO HOO! This means a date with my wife! We drive over to her place at noon to drop off the girls. As we drive away from the house I look over to my wife and say, “Honey, for the next hour can you do me a favour and humour me?”. She reluctantly agreed, so I proceeded to drive the 10 minutes to Hazelmere RV park where the BC Airstream club (WBCCI) were having a weekend camping event. As we pull into the park my wife looks at me and says, “Is this an Airstream thing?”. I gently remind her that she agreed to humour me, so rather than answer the question, I just smile. As we near the back of the property we soon see about 30 aluminum trailers in different lengths, years, models, and of course, gloss level. We park and introduce ourselves to the first person we see with name tag, a very nice gentleman named Gene. “ Hi Gene, my name is Moses and I’m thinking about purchasing an Airstream, so I was hoping that by coming here today, some of my questions will get answered by the experts assembled here.”
Five minutes later I’m sitting in Nick an Joanie’s 2005 19 ft Bambi. Joanie is kindly offering us Scotch or coffee. Nick gives my wife the “up and down” once-over and I assume he likes what he is seeing.......”Hey there little lady! Why don’t ya come right on over here and sit on ‘ol Uncle Nicky’s lap!” . Funny guy, and pretty spry for a fella’ in his eighties.  
After narrowly escaping Nicky’s advances, Gene graciously rescues us and spends an hour as our tour guide while taking us through various Airstreams, going through pro’s and con’s of each (mostly pro’s), and inserting tidbits of Airstream history along the way. 
He was such an amazing host and very passionate about Airstreams, but all his passion and question answering still did not convince my wife that the expense was worth the quality. I could sense she was warming up to the idea of camping in a silver egg, but still needed a bit more of push.... and I new just place.
We hop in the truck, thank Gene for time and exchange phone numbers. I then drive to Langley to our local Airstream dealership. This not like an American dealership that will have 20-80 units on the lot, they unfortunately had only 3. A 16ft Bambi, a 19ft Bambi, and a 25 ft International. my wife suggested that we do our “do diligence” by “keeping an open mind and checking out the other kinds of trailers”. (There is really no point but I love her and will humour her, but I will not be purchasing a vinyl box.) We enter one of the “other” trailers and her first comment is “This is nice”. I smile and nod. Her next comment was “This doesn’t feel like it will last. Look, this is made with particle board.” Again, I respond with another smile. We go into  a few more non-Airstream trailers and, judging by her comments, she is trying to convince herself that she’s ok with an “SOB” trailer, but her facial expressions betray her. (Note:”SOB” stands for “Some Other Brand” in the Airstream community.) I know deep down that she is not ok with an “SOB” trailer because she herself is an “SNOB”. No fancy acronym here, just a snob, plain and simple. Always has been, always will be. (Ok, “snob” might be a bit harsh, let’s just say she like the finer things in life.) I feel she is getting closer to becoming a believer, maybe 95% now. I’m on the one yard line.
We make our way from the “SOB’s” to the 16ft Bambi. Her first comment is “This is nice.” (Getting closer.) “Oh, the toilet is actually in the shower. Yuck. This trailer is too small.” (One step backwards.) We head over to the 19ft Bambi. It’s locked, so I seek out the salesman and he let’s us in. “Oh, this one is really nice”, she says. “And look Honey, the toilet and shower are separate”. (Whew. Back on track, she likes it.) The salesman then proceeds to tell her about Airstream, how they have made trailers since the thirties and approx. 60-70% are still on the road; how Airstream trailers result in 30% less gas consumption due to the aerodynamic design, etc, etc. (I see her eyes widen, I am almost there!) “So tell me...” she asks, “Just what IS the comparison between the SOB’s and an Airstream?” He looks at her with a blank, cold stare and simply replies, “There is none.” (BAZINGA! I have achieved lift-off!) I can tell by the look in her eyes that her mind is trying to compute “There is no comparing and Airstream to any other trailer????” I cannot conceal my smile and can barely suppress my laughter. 
We thank the salesman and exchange contact info and agree to be in touch. We get back in the truck and we’re not even out of the parking lot before I hear my wife say those three little words every man wants to hear from his spouse....... “You were right.” 
Looks like I’m getting me an Airstream!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

She Wants a Trailer???

“Honey, I think we should get a trailer.” When I heard these words escape from my wife’s lips, the first thought that came to mind was “I am not trailer trash”. My dream has always been to own a cabin on the lake. I want to sit on the deck and watch the fish jump, hear the loons call one another, and occasionally get caught skinny-dipping by friends that just happened to leave town a few hours earlier than expected. (“I think it’s great you came early......can you please pass me the towel?.....well, um, actually the water is quite cold, but thanks for asking.”) But a trailer? Is that really me? 
When I think of trailers I picture being stuck in a campsite with a bunch of emotionally detached parents that let their kids run loose with loaded firearms and half empty bottles of tequila. Considering I’m the proud father of several pretty darn pretty girls, the thought of spending my vacation time in a constant state of “To Serve and Protect” doesn’t sound overly appealing. The cabin thing, on the other hand, is something I can sink my teeth into. I have wonderful childhood memories of spending a week every summer at our friends cabin in the Caribou region of BC. It is an incredibly beautiful area of our province, and remains to this day relatively wild and untouched. (Bear sightings were an almost daily occurrence.) When I was a child my father did not make what I would consider a decent income. As a father of four, he would have made more on welfare as he did as a branch manager for a large Canadian financial institution. (His income was such that a reporter for the Vancouver Sun was tipped off and approached my dad wanting to do a story on him. I’m not sure if it was fear of reprisal, pride, or embarrassment that kept my dad from meeting with the reporter, but it never went to print.) So if it were not for the kindness from our friend with the cabin, I doubt I would have these deliciously fond memories. 
Another large part of the dream of the cabin is so that I can “pay it forward” as well, and offer my cabin to those who simply need some grace. So while I believe the cabin is attainable in my lifetime, it likely wouldn’t happen while my kids are still young. I am a firm believer of creating memories with and for your children. After all, once we are old and grey, all we really have is our memories, and hopefully a tooth or two. It was this fact that started me to rethink the trailer thing. If I had a trailer, I could have a cabin on any lake I chose. We could go down to the Grand Canyon, sleep on the beach on the Oregon coast, go see Yogi and Boo-Boo at Jellystone National Park, and of course camp with our friends. The reality is I simply could not see myself in the typical trailer with its’ fake mahogany wood grain and tacky orange seat cushions and, *barf*, vinyl siding. I have always done things just a little differently than everyone else; it is what makes me me. I told my beautiful little wife the only way I would consider getting a trailer is if it’s an Airstream. “Are you serious, the big silver looking thing?” And so begins the negotiation. She wants to camp with friends, I want style, comfort, and quality. (Ok, maybe a bit of flash as well.) I once heard a great definition for marriage...”Marriage is a negotiation, a constant, never-ending, give & take, sacrificing negotiation.” It’s true. Certainly love, respect, laughter, faithfulness, compassion and more make up a marriage, but for it to be successful, both participants have to learn when to bend. I’m not the greatest negotiator, she’s definitely going to need some convincing.....