Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Gutsy Dad's Dream Car

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I hereby announce that I will have to eat crow.  For years I have teased and derided my mommy friends who, one by one, have caved to the minivan craze.  Never!  I told them.  I will never drive a minivan.  I cannot be that person.  I will never be THAT MOM.  Well.  Just goes to show you that you should never say never.

For years I have been saying that we don't need a minivan.  There's nothing it could do for a family of four that our trusty Outback couldn't handle.  Until now, that has been absolutely true.  Faced with the prospect of becoming a family of five (seven if you count the fur children) and faced with the prospect of roadtripping from Kansas to Savannah several times in the next few months, not to mention the future roadtrips all up and down the east coast... it didn't take me very long to see the writing on the wall.

Yes, it IS possible to fit three car seats across in many vehicles, including the ones we own, and yes, we could have done that.  But then add in the dogs and the luggage and the grownups and the desire to be able to pick up other people's children from school or have everyone fit into one car when visitors are in town, and you are left with very few options.

I briefly considered getting an SUV or, as they now seem to be called, a crossover just so I wouldn't have to say I drive a minivan.  But on all fronts, the minivans rate better:  better fuel economy, better safety ratings, and they are much cheaper.  I couldn't forego all that just for the sake of my pride.

So, last week, it happened.  My husband got his "second wish," as getting something you really, really want is called in our family.  (I'll have to tell you that story another time.)  For well over eight years the man has been secretly and not-so-secretly lusting after the minivans.  I tell you it takes a man who has a deeply rooted sense of his own manhood to lust after a minivan.  Every time we would borrow my parents' minivan or on the occasions when we had to rent one The Gutsy Dad has been eager for me to love it as much as he does, grinning over at me in the passenger's seat, his hands proudly on the steering wheel as if to say, Now isn't this just sooooo nice?

When I gave him the green light, it happened quickly.  There was market research conducted amongst our minivan driving friends, in parking lots at the gym and the preschool, over lunch with colleagues, before and after seminars, with complete strangers at the grocery store.  There were late night surfing sessions devoted to Consumer Reports and Carmax and Edmunds.  And then, within days, there was a brand, spanking, new minivan sitting in our garage.

It appeared over night.  In the morning, the Gutsy Dad took the kids out into the garage to show them the new wheels.  The first words out of Madelyn's mouth? "Oh, Mommy, you got dore Mommy-Van." (dore=your.)  This immediately harkened back to the day when I was shopping with Jillson when she was two and she cried out, "Oh, look, Mommy!  Vacuums!  Your favorite!"

Nevertheless, I tried not to cringe (especially because I already liked the damn thing) and I just responded with a "Yes.  Mommy got a van."

Yours in all humbleness,
The Gutsy Mom

PS:  There is nothing mini about a minivan.  The thing is a boat, no matter how sexy my husband thinks it is.


ajk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

Ahhh ha ha ha! He finally got his minivan! I remember your great minivan debate that ended in an S60. If it makes you feel any better, I think Jared would be ecstatic if I said I wanted a minivan. In fact, I think he and Chris had more than one discussion about it back in Germany.

The Gutsy Mom said...

Pam, I am sad to say that it was the S60 we traded in for the van. The Subaru is paid off and has life in her yet, so the budget dictated we swap one car payment (Volvo) for another (van). I was way more sad saying goodbye to the S60 than Chris was.

On a much happier note, I am grinning imagining Chris and Jared bonding over minivans. Too funny!

Heather said...

Details, please!!! DVD players? color? (and ps I saw your comment in the previous post about Zofran...yes it is truly a wonder drug!!)

The Gutsy Mom said...

Okay, y'all. We got a 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L. The color is Smokey Topaz. I went into the dealer "knowing" I wanted a black one. (I thought it would be the sexiest option.) I also knew I did not want a white one or any of the lighter colors. I really liked the Polished Metal (which is a dark grey), but there are about 600 in this color amongst my peer group here, so I was hoping for something different. Then, we test-drove one in Smokey Topaz, and I fell in love with it. It is a super dark taupe color, grey to the untrained eye, bronzey-brown-putty to the trained.

This led to some issues because they didn't have the color in the trim level we wanted, so we had to scour the internet again, called a handful of dealers, and finally found it. If I hadn't stubbornly decided I wanted that color, the whole buying process would've been even quicker.

We purposely did NOT get the DVD players. I know many people who have them and love them, but my kids watch too many shows as it is. As I told the dealer, "car rides are for singing and conversation." Yes, he did roll his eyes at me. I didn't want to hear "can we watch a movie????" every time we got into the car. For roadtrips, the girls can watch shows on our iPod, our iPhones, my laptop, or our portable DVD player. We've got it covered.

The EX-L is the lowest trim level that comes with leather, a feature I really enjoy having with multiple kids and dogs. The "wipe away" factor is essential. Our interior is "truffle" colored, i.e. a dark brown/grey/taupe/putty color.

Lastly, we really would have liked to buy a used minivan, but they are hard to come by, unless you want a REALLY used one. The gently used ones were not much cheaper than the brand new ones. That said, the 2011 EX-L has some neato features I think we will really like. It interacts wirelessly with our phones so you can call, answer, and talk through controls on the dash. It has a back-up camera and power everything (doors, tailgate, etc). It has two cigarette outlets, one USB port, and one A/V port in the front, making it possible for Chris to run and use any and all gadgets all at once. (Plus the requisite "Koolatron" outlet in the back.) It has beverage holders everywhere. (Six accessible from the driver's seat, at least 3 accessible from each rear seat. It's crazy.) Lastly, it has a little built-in beverage cooler in the front console that you can turn on to keep bottles of water, sodas, or whatever cool. I plan to put apples and cheese sticks in there for our roadtrip.

I think that's probably more details than anyone needed, but there you have it.

Mom on the Move! said...

Hahahahaha - you got a SWAGGER WAGON! And I find often as a mother that being practical over rides most anything else. Including - all too often - what I would really rather do.

Pictures! Did you go with some great color like (cav-tastic) red to spice it up a little???

Mom on the Move! said...

And as for the DVD thing - I totally agree that car time is the time when B and I get to talk. I almost get irratated with too much carpool time cause it cuts into that. However, TMOMD insisted on the entertainment package for our new car and I balked at having it and (mostly) paying for something I could strap in for long rides. However, we don't turn them on unless the trip is over an hour (which we used the portable one for anyway) and I'm thankful she pretty quickly got the idea not to even ask.

Rachel said...

We have one kid and we're looking at taking the plunge. The 'crossovers' are so darned expensive and I feel we need something bigger for the cargo space. Maybe we'll decided on something different--and a lot depends on our next assignment--but right now it's looking like a mini van. I can barely type that without cringing because I never thought it would be me but I secretly love the idea of all that space and comfort...

Patrick Gauer said...

Welcome to the side of the Minivans, heh heh heh! Seriously, teasing aside, it would be a fun family car. You always need that space when you have kids in the car. Comfort is a great quality to have when driving.