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Old 11-27-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
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My AS is My Favorite Tool

I've always been pretty obsessive about my interests, both business and personal. Probably an OCD thing. For example, I once restored a '60 Porsche 356 Roadster using only original parts, including nuts and bolts - it took 7 years. After many years I'm moving away from Porsches and into - drum roll! - The Airstream lifestyle.

It's kind of a fresh start in some ways.

I embrace the Wally idea of "Go see what’s over the next hill, and the one after that, and the one after that." I'm newly retired and I buy into that dream. It represents to me a new chapter in my life. A more relaxed time filled with quiet adventure, discovery, new friends.

But the OCD keeps cropping up.

I'm anxious to do this in a proficient manner, so I read and read and read. I want my trailer and TV to perform to a high standard, efficiently and safely. So I learn new acronyms - TPMS, WD hitches, etc. And find out I really should have this, and that, and that.

I don't want to fall down the OCD rabbit hole again. After all, I own the trailer - it doesn't own me. It's not an end in itself, it's a means to an end, simply a tool.

I don't want to start obsessing about the trailer!

Anyone else deal with this? I don't want to dial down all the way from perfectionist to slob, but part way would be nice. I want my AS to be my favorite tool that I use in a relaxed manner to chase some dreams.

Poppy
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
I don't want to start obsessing about the trailer!

Anyone else deal with this? I don't want to dial down all the way from perfectionist to slob, but part way would be nice. I want my AS to be my favorite tool.
If you're OCD, Airstreaming is not a cure! Aluminitis is a subset of OCD, after all! You just learn not to beat yourself up about it, and accept the fact that you have something worth being compulsive about.
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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Change is hard

If you don't believe it have someone hit you in the head with a roll of quarters!

I really think the secret to changing behavior IS basically what AA recommends - ONE day at a time. Just string ONE day out the NEXT day, then the third day, then... until you have a new habit. The idea of a daily prayer (exercise in meditation/plan of behavior for the day) is good to start the day.
  • today I will enjoy my Airstream
  • today I will not worry about something being less than absolutely perfect
  • If it's durable and not hideously ugly it's "good enough"
  • I'll reward myself by finishing some small task then walking away from dithering over it.
  • I'll reward myself by moving on to the next task
  • I'll keep in mind that the big reward is to travel - serviceable is fine.
  • Navajo weavers deliberately put a small flaw or lazy line in their rugs. To aspire to perfection is to offend the gods.

Practice feeling good about FINISHING not fiddling.
Do some small thing that is "anti-perfection" - like leaving your thumbprint in paint in an inconspicuous place.

most of all - do something silly every day,

Paula
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:19 PM   #4
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It's going to be tougher since you're retired, Poppy. I work way too many hours a week and am just grateful as can be to just hook up the trailer and get to a campground - anywhere - for a weekend or if I'm really lucky, a full vacation. I've never been accused of being a perfectionist (or even just basically mechanically inclined) so even when I retire (from my mouth to God's ears) I won't be spending 70 hours a week futzing with the camper - I'd rather use it.

7 years rebuilding a Porsche with original nuts and bolts - well, odds are unless you make a radical lifestyle change, you're going to have too much desire and too many hours available for futzin. I just hope you create some space to take it out, enjoy the road trips, camp a lot, and enjoy the dents and dirt as signs of happy usage.

:-)

You'll enjoy no matter what you do!
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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Yeah, sure. I have a strong perfectionist streak in me too. (Luckily - I guess - I lack the skills or willpower to do tasks like a seven-year 356 restoration. Miata gas-it-and-go ownership is more my speed.)

What happened to me: I made some pretty good choices in the first few months of ownership, improving the trailer. Not all of my choices match those on the forum - I used Nokians instead of Michelins, went with a different solar provider than AM Solar, remain happy with my Eaz-lift hitch rather than buying a ProPride - but I've got my reasons.

After that, I've happily fallen into "use it as a happiness tool" mode. Part of this was the result of a busy camping summer; I used the trailer with a few minor flaws, building up a list for the repair shop to handle in March. And part of it is just being really happy to have the trailer, happy to have the experiences that it brings me.

That said: as winter settles in, so does boredom and the lure of the credit card. Should I get new Ultraleather cushions made (with better foam too)? Is one solar panel enough (my wife says yes!!!)? Will we go another year without a ProPride?

So, to sum up, I'm not sure this helps. And I know your 1990 gives you more room for "self-expression" (and upgrading) than my 2007. But know you're not alone. And it all works out OK. After all, we all need something to do...

edit: One other thing - Paula mentions meditation. I can't recommend it highly enough. Helps the brain shift things into perspective, even beyond the challenges of trailer ownership.

Tom
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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If all else fails, the word of Robert Heinlien come to mind: "The fun of doing nothing doesn't come from having nothing to do. It comes from having something to do, and NOT doing it!"

Or the way I put it, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after!"
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:31 PM   #7
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Really great advice, Paula!

Depending on what you did for a living, maybe your OCD tendencies were a necessary survival skill and will dissipate some with the onset of less structured retirement.

Sounds like you want to get on top of and master Airstream ownership. I think that is a natural tendency for most new owners. All you have to do is read these forums to see that.

Get out there and enjoy yourself, being aware of your negative self, and work toward relaxing those stringent behaviors you are already aware of. Laugh at yourself, and let go of what you can.

That said, you are who you are, and need to accept that, too. Unless behaviors are harming yourself or others.......??

We are all unique. That is okay, and what makes people interesting.

Give yourself time, relax, and remember that change is a process....not an event.


Maggie
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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This is gonna hurt...in a good way.

Use your OCD to max your fun! Not your chores.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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You guys are terrific - you really are.

As Protagonist says, an Airstream is probably not the best way to try and get away from OCD. I've always thought of them as the Porsches of travel trailers. Fortunately for me I don't have a new one. Or even a vintage one. Mine is a '90 so I figure that at least for a few years it will just be an old one. That takes off a lot of pressure. I actually do like real patina from use.

I think Paula is now my lead therapist, great advice! There is one area with Porsches where they are thought of as tools and beaten to death - at the track. Maybe I should consider my AS to be in the same category as a Porsche track car with every imperfection earned.

Steve you're right about the retired thing. I've worked more or less maniacally my entire life and I can't believe the abundance of *time*. Which starts with T which is the start to Trouble. Idle hands and all that... I even would like to have the travels with the AS be a means to an end, maybe using GoPro's in interesting ways.

And Maggie, Tom and Channning - you're right! Smell the flowers (instead of "Hey, I could plant more of those. Maybe start a nursery...").

Hope to see everyone on the trail.

Poppy
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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people can be quite OCD, obsessed, or what have you...I once knew a person that bought a new AS - the months leading up to the purchase he managed to put up over 1,000 posts on this forum...

I always enjoy learning...but I would not say that my OCD is as pathological sounding perhaps as yours...every bolt and washer original....7 years....man that is serious!! :O

I imagine that when I retire one day I will do alot more tinkering and what have you, but I cannot imagine not getting out and using these beauties...we have our trips already planned out all next year including many likely weekend trips...first trip is starting tomorrow...dirt will get on the floor, kids will figure out how to hear up something...those cheesy ass blinds are going to take a beating....

I think to some degree my having 2 small kids has beat the perfectionist out of me...it took a while to beat it out of my wife...she still struggles...all the messes the kids generate cause her a great deal more stress than it does for me...paula needs to teach her that meditation.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:53 PM   #11
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It is, I believe, CDO. Lets keep things in their proper order.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:04 PM   #12
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I have a rule when I restore cars - "Perfect is the enemy of excellent" - that I violate over and over again. I get a part to 99%, with a defect that only I can see (problem is that's *all* I can see) then fuss with it until it reaches 80%. It can be very pleasing to stop short of perfect which I've fortunately gotten better at.

My old trailer is far from perfect (my buying a new one would be like pouring gasoline on a fire) so that's good. But I will be futzin' around with it.

My project this morning has been to refurbish the metal Airstream nameplates. Kind of fun as they were pretty weathered and the blue paint was in rough shape. I tried two different approaches and got two different results - albeit similar. With the first one I burnished it with the wire wheel on the bench grinder then polished it which made the letters very shiny. I then found the perfect blue paint and brushed the background between the letters. Tedious but fun.

I glass bead blasted the second one on low pressure and then polished the letters and painted. The letters have a bit of a matte finish but looks nice. Finished with a clear coat. I can't decide which look I like better - fortunately they don't side by side.

The nice thing is that I really do enjoy the process and feel no sense of urgency to finish things. After all, it's just an old trailer.

Poppy
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:45 PM   #13
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Poppy,

It sounds in many ways as though you are describing me! I used to restore/modify old Brit cars - sports cars, Minis etc. Still have a much modified '79 Mini that has won prizes at car shows.

Also own a 2006 bike bought new that has crossed the country a few times and still looks as though it belongs on the showroom floor!

I do have a problem that for me, everything must look perfect and work 100% and I can't abide even a minor scratch!

Since buying the AS, I am trying very hard to change my attitude and realize that it is "just a trailer" and any scratches or marks I pick up (we have picked up a couple!) are beauty spots or marks of experience and not defects!

It is a hard transition for people to make, but I think I am getting there! I still do like to have everything working 100% on the trailer though, even if I have to perhaps accept a scratch or minor ding!

One problem i have with the trailer is that I cannot park it overnight at our home and so it is difficult for me to undertake any major work on it - luckily it doesn't need any right now.

Because I cannot do much on it at home, I do like to fiddle with things, repack bearings, clean & wax our trailer, etc., when we are on trips, but my wife gets a bit upset at this and figures we should be out seeing things instead.

I don't think she gets the fact that I enjoy it and have a feeling that I need to do it!

I am trying to work out a reasonable compromise as a balance - i.e. unless we have a special day planned, maybe I'll work on the trailer for a couple of hours , then we'll go out somewhere in the afternoon!

Brian.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:56 PM   #14
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I hadn't thought of the pitfall of working on it while on the road Brian. That could be a problem as my trailer is stored in the Sheep Barn at the county fairgrounds 20 miles away. I have two boxes full of stuff that need to be installed. I guess there will be plenty of time during our 4-5 month trek around the Southwest if I pace myself.

Poppy
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