The Bustache

Best Laid Plans

Despite everything going on in the world, July 2020 was a big month of milestones for us.  Westi turned 10 years old – officially landing her in Senior Dog territory and securing her a daily pill regime that is supposed to keep the “pep in her step.”  I got my 18 month sobriety chip, though virtual, it’s still an achievement worth noting.  

And we celebrated our 10 year anniversary of getting Bustache –  meaning we’ve owned him for one of his four decades thus far.  We marked the occasion with sparklers, custom patches and, because it’s 2020 afterall, masks made from his curtain fabric.  We are DINKS.  And this is what we choose to spend our hard earned money on.  Sorry, not sorry.

It’s hard to believe a whole decennium has passed since we made the questionable decision to purchase a barely running 30 year-old vehicle.  

But, to the chagrin of our parents, I’d argue it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  He’s been a big part of our life ever since.  He was a prominent feature in our marriage proposal and wedding.  He was even the inspiration for my engagement ring.  

He’s been the mode of transportation to countless adventures – almost always making it there, though often not making it back.  As such, we’ve spent hours waiting on tow-trucks and mechanics.  He’s a great reminder that “best laid plans … often go awry.”  

In fact, his journey has regularly reflected ours.  When I was deepest in my addiction, Bustache sat idle, broken and neglected in the driveway.  Once, in a couple’s therapy session, our counselor suggested that we sell him.  Steve and I sat dumbfounded on the couch.  Then Steve simply said, “You obviously don’t understand, we will never sell that Bus.  Period.” 

But, when it looked like our marriage wasn’t going to make it, we DID contemplate selling, because…  best laid plans and all.  

When Steve and I started to reconcile and heal our relationship late last year, the adrenaline and excitement led us to considering an upgrade.  We needed something newer, faster, more reliable.  A vanagon, perhaps, or, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, a SPRINTER.  

But something told us to hold on – that there was something worth saving in our old, rumbly VW Bus.  We shipped him up north with us and waited to see how he’d fare in the Pacific Northwest.  

And now in Oregon, just like his owners, he’s getting a new lease on life.  He’s running better.  Getting TONS of attention (you might be shocked, but Portlandia LOVES Bustache).  And in an era of social distancing, Bustache is bringing us together again – starting conversations with strangers and instigating moments of reminiscing with passerbys.

It’s easy to assume Bustache has improved.  That his replaced spark plugs and rebuilt engine has made him a new “van.”  But I have a feeling, his drivers have changed more. I’d like to think we’re more patient, understanding and accepting than we were 10 years ago.  That we can now recognize when something is worth saving and that the goal is progress, not a perfect plan.

Happy Birthday, Westi.  Yay recovery!  And, thank you, Bustache, for the ride.

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