Monday, 8 April 2013

How We Nearly Gave Up Bing

The last few months have been tumultuous for us, and precarious for Bing. Twice, we pretty much made up our minds we'd have to sell her. Twice, we suffered broken hearts. Then we came to our senses and made a pact: no matter what happens, even if Bing sits forever in the driveway, we will never sell her. Not while our kids are young, anyway.

Here's what happened:

Way back last fall when I came down with a raging case of Glamper Fever, I knew our current vehicle, a 2007 Mazda 5, would be a major obstacle because it doesn't tow. Anything. Not even a garden trailer. We'd only bought the car two years prior, and switching cars seemed frivolous to say the least. But, I had a dream, and pretty soon, the entire family shared my dream. We determined to make it all work, and went ahead and bought Bing.

Then our dog, Higgins, got sick. He swallowed one little fruit pit and next thing we knew, he'd undergone emergency surgery, developed an inflamed liver, and suffered a spinal arthritis flare-up that sent him into full body crisis. We spent our entire Christmas vacation listening to scary words like CANCER down at the vet's office, terrified we were going to lose him at the tender age of 8. Fortunately, our beloved pooch healed up just fine--liver, arthritis and all--but our bank account was severely injured. (Yes, Higgins is SOOOO getting a paper route this summer!!!)

Enter Bing Crisis Number One. How could we afford to keep her? Shouldn't we sell her to recover some of the vet expenses? How'd we ever think we could afford a camper anyway, not even counting the vehicle problem? My daughter and I spent one entire, miserable day just wandering the house in tears. It was not good. For both of us, the end of Bing meant the end of THE DREAM. I'll never forget Ariel wailing, "Mommy, do you mean that dreams don't always come true? How can our dream not come true?"

Oh, boy. I know life teaches some hard lessons and children must learn to make sacrifices. But seven is an awfully tender age to be faced with the harsh reality of something as terrible as a failed dream. And I needed Bing. She seemed to fulfill a lot of different needs in me; the need for my own space, the need for something of my very own to nurture and share with my family, the need to give my children some beautiful memories, the need for the personal challenge of doing things on my own. And the need to do something for myself without the guilt or regret that mothers often feel when they indulge in a little soul nurturing. Doug and I had a heart to heart and resolved to keep Bing.

The New Year carried on and we suffered another couple of minor unexpected setbacks; still, we started our search for new vehicle in earnest. We got out the LemonAid and the Consumer Reports and all the other used car guides to find just the right vehicle for towing Bing. Since our little glamper weighs in at only 2000 lbs. GVW, we knew we didn't need a truck. And since we're a one car family, we needed something small enough to whip around town without guzzling too much gas. The 2008 Ford Escape turned out to fit the bill. It has an excellent safety record as far as we can tell, tows 3500 lbs, and is affordable. We started hunting Used Victoria and all the other listings for used cars nearby.

We found a lovely, lady-driven model with 106,000 km on it, a clean bill of mechanical health, and a nice price tag. We bought it and drove it home. We could finally tow Bing! We couldn't stop pinching ourselves.

Five days later the Escape's transmission blew up. Enter Bing Crisis Number Two. As the hefty repair estimates rolled in, we again went into despair. The only affordable path we could see was to fix the Escape, sell it, and sell Bing. We hadn't sold our Mazda 5 yet, but its value is the lesser of the two vehicles, so the numbers crunched in its favour. Again, we faced the loss of dreams and a household full of broken hearts. I went on the Glampers on the Loose Facebook page and poured my heart out.

"Don't sell Bing, even if she just sits in your driveway!" "We're rooting for you!" "Keep your chin up, honey, it'll work out!" All those lovely ladies chimed in. They were right. Bolstered by so much support, I blew my nose and got down to the business of Making Bing Work.

The previous owners of our Escape got wind of the troubles and phoned right away, offering to pay half the repair bill. I will forever love them for it, because it made all the difference. We were still out of pocket, but the blow was lessened now, and it no longer made sense to sell everything. Bing was here to stay.

And so, now we see things a little differently around here. We have a brand new transmission--all the better to tow Bing with, right? We have new enthusiasm for the work we need to do to Bing--and her mini renovation is well underway. We also know how much this little glamper means to us--ALL of us. I think she means more to us than we even realized. We will never give her up for a little thing like a financial crisis.

And best of all, my daughter has learned a lesson I think will support her for the rest of her life:

Dreams really do come true.


  1. Bless the heart of previous owner. What a honorable thing to do for your family.
    My fever was abated last year when we had many thousands of dollars on vehicle expenses a month after I caught the bug. Now, with credit card back at zero, we are happily stalking kijiji again!
    Balancing personal values, desires, and necessities can be daunting at times. The satisfaction earned by persevering through difficulties is sweet and lasts long. Stay true to you dream.

  2. I'm so happy you got to keep Bing. The previous owner of the Escape was very generous.....a kind of pay it forward event! Sometimes when things look bleak a little wait time and some problem solving will win out. I'm looking forward to seeing your work on Bing.

  3. Sassy:Best of luck to you with your search! I hope you're able to fulfill your glamper dreams soon, too!!
    And Lynne, you're so right, and thanks again for your encouraging words too!