Sunday, August 15, 2010


Nope, not the movie - just my musings on automobiles. And although the mommy-van turned 6 in June, my thoughts have been less about what I'll drive next and more along the lines of what I used to imagine would be fun to drive.

Before we had kids, I drove a cute little Saturn sedan.  Red.  Manual transmission by choice.  Sunroof, spoiler, and a CD player.  It was a fun little car.  When Mister J was born, I switched to Big J's larger sedan, also a Saturn.  That's the car we just replaced - but more on that later.

While I ended up keeping my little red Saturn until it was paid off, and for a few years after that, there was a time that I wanted to trade it in on an olive green Land Rover Discovery.  I never did, but two school years ago, I passed an olive green Discovery just about every morning on the way to drop the kids at preschool.  I was pretty envious of the young owner, though I tried to make myself feel better by rationalizing why it really wouldn't have 'worked' for our family.
I never did get a photo of the olive green Land Rovers - but this similar to the one I wanted.
When I drove by the house where we used to live, there was a black Land Rover parked out front.  If you read that post, you'll understand why it's an interesting 'coincidence' - and why I really don't desire a Land Rover anymore.

(I'm skipping back and forth a bit here, but bear with me.)

In the first six months of Mister J's life we lived in two states, at three addresses, and traveled six weeks in a row during the relocation process (not counting a trip to Grandma's when our power went out during an ice storm [no heat in January!], and not counting our house-hunting trip).  During the six weeks where we traveled back and forth between our soon-to-be-former home and our temporary location, we borrowed Grandma RL's SUV.  It would haul more "stuff" than either of our vehicles, which was helpful during that time of transition.  It's also when I fell in love with fold-down seating.  

Soon after we settled into out new home, it was time for Mister J to move into a rear-facing carseat (out of the snap-in, newborn style seat).  We realized how difficult it would be to fit the larger seat into either of our sedans, so we knew it was time for a change.   Anticipating that we would expand our family, we made the move to a minivan.  Red.  Automatic sliding doors.  Second row captain's chairs.  Fold down rear seating.  And yes, the entertainment system.  It was (and still is) quite luxurious for something designed to simply get us from point A to point B.

I've been thinking about this writing post since I started collecting photos in the spring - putting my ideas together and just waiting for the time to write it.  Many of those days I was driving 65+ miles per day to get my kids to and from school.  I filled my gas tank up once a week, and ... longed ... for something more fuel-efficient.  Also, something smaller would simply be more fun to drive (back in high school, I drove a 1973 VW Beetle - cute!).  Of course, this would be a bit too small...
It's a smart car.

...but I bet you can imagine why it caught my eye!  It's a big change from the most of the cars on the road which, around here at least, are typically silver, grey, or white.  Actually, that Pepto-ish pink turns my stomach - ick!  Mister J used to have a keen eye for smart cars, but in the past several months has become a fan of Fords - in particular, Mustangs.  He also thinks Corvettes are pretty exciting, since we don't see those very often.  He can identify the logos of most auto manufacturers, so there's usually a running conversation about cars and trucks when we are in traffic. 

When the mommy-van is due for one of those all-day services and they give me loaner, I usually ask for something that's not a minivan.  Earlier in the summer I got to drive the new Honda Crosstour for a day - it was about the sportiest thing I've ever driven. 
I went shopping, had lunch with a friend, and picked the kids up from various summer day camp locations.  Mister J wanted to "keep this because [he liked] the front."
I've also driven the newer Odyssey, which has about 800 more buttons on the dash that the model year that I drive.  A couple of years ago I drove an Accord, which was fun to drive but not as convenient for buckling in the little ones.  Each time, I'm reminded why I love my mommy-van.  It's mine.  It's comfortable and familiar.  It's easy to get the little ones in and out. And while change can be fun - and it is good - it's just not my time to move into a new vehicle yet.

In late May, though, it was time for Big J to move into a new vehicle. 
Remember that I mentioned gas mileage?  And wanting something small and fun to drive?  Oh, how I love to drive Big J's car!  It gets twice the miles per gallon as the mommy-van, it's fun to drive, and parallel parking is a breeze.  I still drive the mommy-van, but since all four of us can fit into Big J's car we get to enjoy it, too - especially since the kiddos can buckle themselves now.

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