What I Learned from a Lemons Race Car: Dealing with Disappointment, Part 1

I titled this “Part 1” because I am sure there will be more disappointment on this journey, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to deal with my frustration when I am disappointed.

For me, actually owning an RV is a very big milestone for the progress of this journey.  There is progress being made elsewhere- a lot of downsizing, a huge garage sale/Craigslist pile, giving away half of my chickens, selling a car.  We are making things happen, slowly, but steadily.  It feels really good to be sorting through our lives, cleaning out closets, throwing away things that have been moving around with us for 7+ years.  However, I desire something a bit more tangible, something as a symbol for this next step in our lives, and in my mind the RV is a pretty huge symbol of “YES, we are doing this!”

Consequently, I have been looking at RVs on Craigslist and RVTrader.  Every. Single. Day.  I’ve probably seen every Class C under 30 feet and Class A Diesel for sale within 400 miles of Seattle. I’ve seen good, bad, and hideous RVs for sale.  I hold a new disdain for people who write terrible Craigslist ads (c’mon people, “1995 26 foot Motor Home for sale. Awesome running!!!” with 1 picture does not tell me ANYTHING!)  We have found a few we liked, only to hear back from the seller that it was too late, already sold.  One Monday, while doing my daily Craigslist troll, I found an RV in Canada that met almost all of our criteria (we have a list, it’s “prioritized”).  Diesel, check.  Class C, check.  Under 30 feet, check!  Interior remodel with “wood” floors, check!  Cabinets painted (white, even!), check!  The seller was quick to respond and answered all of our questions. We were able to schedule leave for Wednesday and had a good gearhead friend willing to drive three hours with us to go check it out.  Tuesday evening, we are having dinner with friends and we get a text, “Sorry man, just sold the RV.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I held it together through dinner, but once we got into the car I had a bit of a “meltdown.”  I took this news with a shitty attitude, and I let it ruin my evening, and almost the next day as well.

We woke up early the next morning; I was thinking “since we didn’t get this RV, I may as well not waste my leave and go to work.”  Ian’s thoughts were “we already scheduled the day off, maybe we can make something useful of it.”  So we browsed Craigslist while laying in bed at 5am, and made the decision to head south, toward Portland.  We stopped a few places on the way toward Tacoma, and that started us north instead of south.  I found a diesel, under 30 feet, about an hour north of where we had stopped for lunch.  It was a bit above our price point, but researching NADA and similar RVs for sale on RVTrader, I felt the asking price was about $10k over what would offer. Long story short, used RV lot salesmen are not my favorite, we left a little bummed out, but we learned from the experience.  I was feeling frustrated again and Ian pretty much told me to “suck it up, cupcake.”

What does all this have to do with race cars?  Well, last weekend happened to be 24 Hours of Lemons race weekend. Our team car, NasKarl, while more beastly than last year, wasn’t quite running right. The car was spraying water, overheating, and the guys just weren’t positive of what the problem was. But they didn’t stop working on Karl, they didn’t get mad, or let any frustration show. They simply moved on to the next possible solution to their problem. Looking at pictures from 11pm the first day of racing, with barely any track time and with a whopping 28 laps around the Ridge, those guys have smiles on in their faces.  After working late into the night (thanks to Kenny for the 2am engine revving, to let anyone sleeping know that Karl would indeed be on the track the next day), NasKarl spent ALL of Sunday doing laps.  Sure, things didn’t go as planned, but everyone, especially the boys, still had a great time!

I feel disappointed in myself for letting my dissatisfaction over a RV ruin an otherwise great evening at dinner with friends.  I could have let it ruin my entire weekend if I hadn’t decided to change my attitude.  Then these guys blew me away with how much fun they had fixing a car they wanted to be out racing, and I can’t keep this thought out of my head.  Memory Millionaires doesn’t have some special start date when we hit the road.  Memory Millionaires already began, it started the day we decided to make Ian’s idea a reality.  I can be disappointed in our RV search, but I can’t let myself become upset/frustrated.  This is part of the process of Memory Millionaires.  It can be part of the fun too.  We could have gone to Canada and bought that RV, but thinking about it now, it wasn’t right for us.  We did learn a lot of things on our day looking at RVs, and we will continue to learn through the process until we find the “good-enough” one for us!

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