I have a soft spot for endearing things. I’m not talking about kittens, daisies, and tiny shoes for infants (though I coo at those things too, don’t get me wrong). Rather, I’m referring to antiques and antique-like-things. It’s a trait I get from my mother. When I was a child my mother used to frequent yard sales and bring home endearing pieces of furniture and decorations. It drove my dad mad. But I get it. I also love creating an environment that’s charming and whimsical. If I can create it from used, cheap items – hey, all the better.
Especially when I think said items have the potential to be practical. I love keeping and acquiring items that may, eventually, have a purpose. Though, as I’ve previously stated, I’m working on this habit – trying to acquire only things that have actually demonstrated usefulness. Like antique sewing machines… and teardrop trailers…
But it’s hard.
For instance: I really want a sewing machine. Last year I found one at a yard sale for $20 in what appeared to be working condition… working, by 1951 standards. Come to find out the peddle was shot. But I really wanted to use it. So I got the pedal fixed for $80 (note: four times as much as I spent for the machine). Once fixed, I realized I had no idea how to use it. Then, when I tried to learn, I realized that it would never live up to my expectations. Hard to imagine, right, since I have 2015 expectations? Poor machine, it never stood a chance. Neither did my wallet.
But that’s a little thing. It matters much more when its bigger, a lot bigger… like the teardrop.
The teardrop is not, technically, antique. Though it’s design is based off of the old woody teardrops. The second I saw it I had to have it. It was cute, beautiful, and endearing…
… and practical – right?
Wrong. As you know, the teardrop started giving us trouble before we left. The lights were installed wrong, it leaked profusely, and then it fell apart on a Georgia highway. Each time we fixed it something else seemed to break. We worried constantly when we were on the move. Then, in Santa Fe, our worst fear came true: the frame broke.
The metal frame keeping the trailer connected to the car has three welded joints. When we pulled into the Cochiti Lake Campground outside Santa Fe we discovered two of them were broken. In half. There was no way we could move it – it was a wonder we hadn’t already lost it. We were stranded for three days before we found a stroke of luck. A mechanics shop that didn’t do welding recommended a local, so we called him. Shad drove out to us in the middle of nowhere with a portable welder (so cool). He was able to fix the trailer on the spot in less than two hours. He charged us extremely reasonably.
But by the time we got to Durango, CO the wooden sides were coming unglued.
In Durango, we made the decision to leave the trailer behind. Luckily, again, we were able to leave it with Alan and Glenda for safe keeping until the end of the trip. Once we’re settled somewhere we’ll fix it up and sell it, hopefully to a family with kids who will love it for short weekend excursions.
But I’ve learned an important lesson.
Endearing and exciting is not always practical, nor desired. Investing in things that are excessive often comes with a higher price than you expect. Alan and Glenda lent us a tent. Honestly, it takes just as much time to prepare the tent at night as it did to prepare the trailer. We can take it more places. It doesn’t leak. We get almost twice the gas mileage. I loved the trailer and it will be hard to get rid of. But when I really think about it, I only love the idea of it. I love the pictures of us with it. I love the way other people love it.
But I didn’t love the worry, and I won’t miss it.