lemon_says: (Simpsonize)
[personal profile] lemon_says
My dad is a Car Guy. He built half his cars. Back in the 60s he had a Cutlass that was so notorious that the cops recognized it a mile away, and so did all the other Car Guys who drag raced through Orlando back when it was still a backwater. My mom told me once that she and my dad were driving through the suburbs in the early 80s, in a green station wagon full of Brownies, and they just looked at each other and couldn't stop laughing over the "how did we get here" aspect of it all. I imagine he thought more than once about the MG when he was piloting a giant bubble-top van full of kids through town.

My high school boyfriend built his own car, a 280Z, out of parts and pieces of other ones. It was his pride and joy. Years later, I dated a drag racer who once rigged his souped-up Eclipse so it would start when I pushed what I called "the red candy-like button" (in a Ren voice, in case you get that reference), which was actually usually a nitrous button, but I couldn't press that in downtown traffic, you know.

I get loving a car. For a long time I felt like my car was tied to my identity--especially my purple pickup truck, which I loved dearly and got me through college and grad school and many road trips, including the one where we got married. I used to joke (until people got way too freaking touchy about it, even though everybody NOT in a little red hatchback knew what I meant) that I would never want a Civic because I didn't want to lose all my driving skills, or that I couldn't have a green minivan and still respect myself (probably because I'd be out blocking intersections somewhere). Even now I don't have a mom car. But the time has come when we must put away childish things like personal preference and just get a damn car that holds everybody.

There have been two main things on our minds around here lately: one is poor P trying to shoehorn some stairs onto this house working within the limitations that he has (we think he got it last night), like property lines and what can get in under a repair permit.

The other is the car.

We're going to need a third-row car. P thinks of this as being one of those nebulous, futuristic problems and says we'll address it "down the road." Sometimes my husband forgets that time continues to pass while he is planning. Also, he's not the one who has to wedge his hand down between two car seats to try to fasten Monster's booster seat four times a day. I dread having to do that in carpool line next year.

There are some reasons he doesn't want to address it. One is that he'd like the house done first. I get that, but...well, nothing has happened with the house either. Second, new cars are expensive. Even if you don't buy a NEW new car, it is expensive.

Honestly, I think the main reason is that he doesn't want to give up his Precious. He loves his Scion dearly. I like the Scion. It's a great little city car. But here's the issue: it will only hold 2 car seats. No big deal if he's not the one who needs to drive all the kids, right? What if something happens to the other car, or the other driver? What if we got stranded somewhere? Do we just pick a child to leave on the side of the road? My car will at least (legally and safely, if not comfortably) hold three car seats. Not so much the Scion. I understand where he's coming from; our last few cars have been for me to be the primary driver (bigger as we got more kids), so we'd sell his car, he'd get my car, and then I'd get the new car. This was the first one in a while that he got to pick on his own, to his specifications, and he loves it. I just wish it were possible to squeeeeeze one more seat in there so he could keep it, but I just don't think it's going to work. Besides, mine is closer to being paid off.

But no, I'm still not getting a minivan.

Date: 2011-07-08 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mystech.livejournal.com
Must I have all the answers... after-market roof rack on the Scion. You can fit a half dozen or more child car seats up there, at the very least.

Date: 2011-07-08 03:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
You think that hasn't crossed his mind? :D

Date: 2011-07-08 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] travellight.livejournal.com
People who have minivans love them. Just don't get an Odyssey - no telling where you'll end up.

Date: 2011-07-08 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
People who have Botox love it, but I'm not getting that either.

Date: 2011-07-08 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] travellight.livejournal.com
Think how cute you'd be, tooling around town in a minivan. I would personally pay the extra fee (what is it? $25 or so?) for you to have a vanity plate. MOMSTAR or something like that, so everybody would know it's you.

Date: 2011-07-10 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] martina-d.livejournal.com
You do too know where she would end up. She'd end up backed into everything, and the damn Odyssey would look like someone went after it with a wheel barrow handle. Among other things. DON'T DO IT, LYNN.

Date: 2011-07-08 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cozzene.livejournal.com
Mini-vans are the scourge of the earth.

Now, I'm not a huge-car fan, but I'm enamored with the Ford Flex. It has that boxy styling of the Scion xB, but a lot roomier with its added length. I test drove one and it handles very well. It's not a flex-fuel vehicle... there's been confusion on that with the name.

Date: 2011-07-08 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
That's on the short list, along with a Honda Pilot and a Kia Sorento. You CAN get the Flex with the eco-boost engine, provided you want to plunk down an extra $10K.

Date: 2011-07-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themysteriousg.livejournal.com
I was wondering how much extra the eco-boost engine was. It might be worth it with all the driving I do and gas prices out here. I'm totally going to copy you and Mrs. Smith. I'm letting you people do all my research for me because I hate the process and I don't.want.a.minivan. Dammit. I don't care if it's childish.

I'm looking at the Mazda CX-9, the Pilot and the Sorento too. Must schedule date night with the hubby or, alternatively, go hit a dealer a week on my lunch hour to start the process.

Date: 2011-07-08 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
I had a Mazda3 for a few years, and was very fond of it. I have heard good things about the CX-9.

The Sorento is second on the best list for Consumer Reports.</i. The Toyota Highlander is the top one, but I didn't like it. The Pilot is about third or fourth (but you do need to check the year for braking issues, although those were not widespread), and the Flex is pretty distant down the list, but gets the highest reviews of any Ford product. It's painful, isn't it?

Date: 2011-07-08 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themysteriousg.livejournal.com
Yep, Penelope is a 2001 Mazda Protege. She was my first new car that I picked out for me. That's what Kevin still drives. Before that I had two other Mazdas that went to hell and back and got shared round with my brothers. They are fun cars even when they are old beaters. That's why I'm checking out the CX-9. It does have reasonable reviews.

I'm opposed to Toyotas because I've never come out of a toyota dealership anything but pissed off. I like them in theory but I can't deal with their dealers.

I think the Flex gets major hipster points.

I want bells and whistles this time like hands free, quality, car phone stuff since I drive a long commute everyday as well as ipod compatibility, etc. The Ford sync system is pretty awesome like that. I insist on a sunroof if it's available.

And yes, painful is the word. Why can't I just order it on the internets and know I'll get what I want at the most reasonable price and not deal with dealers?

Date: 2011-07-08 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lolliejean.livejournal.com
I've had a Flex for 2.5 years and love it!

Date: 2011-07-08 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] themysteriousg.livejournal.com
I need to figure out whether it's possible to slam a third car seat into Kevin's car so we can trade mine in. He HATES my car, as do I, and I think it will be me primarily doing pick ups and drop offs. We can always switch cars on those days that we need to trade jobs. It would be nice if the Mazda could hold three in a pinch.

Date: 2011-07-08 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lolliejean.livejournal.com
Here's a true confession:

I kinda love the Nissan Quest minivan. It's something about the way it's shaped that appeals to me. The hub made great fun of me when I proposed it while we were car shopping and then said he'd soup it up into a race van with custom paint and such so I tabled the idea.

I wound up with Valentine, the Ford Flex. It's got a retro station wagon vibe and I love it. It's got third row seats too that can face forward or backward. It's been out long enough that there may be some good used ones available out there.

Date: 2011-07-08 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
I love your Flex. I really like the styling of it.

Date: 2011-07-08 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs--smith.livejournal.com
I have a Flex, too! Just got it last month after a year of ogling and researching and shopping around. Love it to pieces. :) They still have pretty high resale values, though, so it's hard to find used ones that are significantly discounted unless they have major mileage on them.

Date: 2011-07-08 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnail-19.livejournal.com

I can't make myself do the minivan thing either. My car was a great compromise in going from a coupe to a 4 door car. Even then it is a sports sedan. No way I can do a minivan. An SUV maybe.

Date: 2011-07-08 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
There are so many crossovers now that a minivan isn't really necessary anymore if you don't want one. The leg room isn't there in the rear seat, but a lot of us will have car seats and short people back there anyway.

Date: 2011-07-08 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs--smith.livejournal.com
When did your opinion of minivans change so drastically? It was just two years ago that you told me you knew you'd eventually have one when you had a third kiddo. And Pete told us on Monday that he was leaning heavily that way given what all you guys had to work with. Quite frankly, it's the best bet given everything you guys are trying to accomplish with size, space and finances. The Nissan Quest and Chrysler Town and Country are really quite nifty, Landon himself has been enamored of the Town and Country for several years.

Let Pete keep the Toaster, man. It just wouldn't be right to see him driving the Charger around town!

Date: 2011-07-08 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
Er? I've always hated minivans. I remember joking that I was going to wind up with one, but I never seriously considered it, and if that's where Pete is leaning then Pete's going to be the one driving it. I'm not driving a minivan every day. It's like piloting a yacht, even more so than the SUVs.

And it's hardly like I'm being the big meanie who is taking his car away. It's pretty impractical to keep up a payment on a car that is not useable AT ALL for the family.

Edit--that sounded brattier than I intended. Anyway, my point is that it IS ridiculous to keep up payments on a car that is that impractical. And I was surprised P would say that, since I have already nixed the van thing.
Edited Date: 2011-07-08 07:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-07-08 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs--smith.livejournal.com
It's possible I misunderstood what he said then, about the van. We were all three kind of talking at the same time outside and I could have misheard, I suppose.

I guess I don't understand how the Scion is "not useable at all" for the family? It might not be able to fit everybody but not every family has two (or more) cars to fit every family member in it. That's luxury, not necessity, you know what I mean? I don't know any family that has three (or more) kids and also has more than one family vehicle. It would seem much more practical to me to keep the one car that has great fuel economy! But that's just me and my two cents, you guys obviously have to make the best decision for your family and all of its members!

Date: 2011-07-08 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs--smith.livejournal.com
And for the record, if you think driving a minivan feels like driving a yacht, just you wait until you get into the Flex. :) It often feels like I'm driving a double wide down 78, lol.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
Heh, I've driven something comparably-sized, but my college roommate had a minivan and it was huuuuuuuge. I even drove an extended-cab pickup and that van felt enormous. I think it's nice that they're putting backup cameras on things now, though.

It is a luxury, but it just seems to make more sense. Mine's almost paid off and his isn't, too, and his has a higher trade value right now since people are looking for the economy of it. I don't want to take his car away!

Date: 2011-07-08 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathrow.livejournal.com
As a person who ended up with a minivan last year (using the passive voice on purpose - we were given it for free when my sister-in-law's father-in-law died, and both of them had brand newish Hondas), it's not the worst thing. Yeah, it's big. However, I can fit 4 kids in there and 2 adults and just get on with my day. (2002 Chrysler T&C)

Now, I wouldn't have picked this for my car, but I'll drive it til it's time to get something else. I used to care more about cars, but now that we're down to one income, they have slipped down on the list of things I care about. I like being able to remove seats willy nilly and carry things around as needed.

I know this won't change your mind as someone who Will Not Get a Minivan. However, they are generally cheaper than SUVs and more flexible.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
One thing that surprised me about them was the the gas mileage wasn't any better than in many of the crossovers, and in a lot of cases was worse. My car is always the main car, so it has to have at least decent mileage.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathrow.livejournal.com
That's the one thing I regret - i was used to getting between 25-30 mpg city in my Toyota, which is now Tom's car. Now I get 15. That kills me, having to fill up every 7 or 8 days. I don't drive great distances, but it adds up.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs--smith.livejournal.com
I barely get 15 in the city. My Flex is a city gas guzzler and that's the one and only complaint I have about it. It does great on the highway, though.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
Yup, that column win went to the Kia.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathrow.livejournal.com
That's good info to know. I do covet the Ford Flex. So pretty!

Date: 2011-07-08 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geobabe1.livejournal.com
My sister used to have one of those green minivans, and...ugh. I do appreciate all the passengers one can carry, and I know lots of people who love theirs, but...ugh. We're not having any more kids, but would like to eventually get a vehicle that can accommodate more passengers, but like you, I really can't deal with the idea of a minivan.

Date: 2011-07-08 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gratefulbambina.livejournal.com
While I would prefer to be in a car than a mini van I had to step into a vehicle for 3 kids when we were unexpectantly pregnant with Francis. SUVs are top heavy so the chances of them flipping over is high and most don't have 3rd row seating anyways so that was out. I drove my MIL's mini van and it wasn't as dreadful as I thought it would be and for the price (which now you can get a really nice van for pretty cheap I was pretty upset when we were looking for Arnies car since everyone is looking for small cars) I was sold. Its alot nicer going on vacations with the extra space.

Only one of our cars holds 3 kids, though I'm looking at getting 3 skinny seats to sit in the back of the Civic so I'm hoping to be able to use that car for our weekend car. Have you looked at changing car seats instead of a new car? Maybe you can squeeze 3 seats back there maybe putting Anya in a seat that doesn't have to be buckled and unbuckled or something.

Date: 2011-07-09 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
Well, the chances of them flipping is actually fairly low, you know. It's more likely than a minivan, but the actual likelihood in the crossovers is pretty low.

I'm not buying another harness booster. We have two excellent, highly-rated booster seats, and those are the ones we'll be using in each car for A. It's less her seat that's a problem and more that we have to get a rear-facing baby seat in there.

Civic

Date: 2011-07-08 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bogie66.livejournal.com
Damn I lost all my driving SkillZ last week. :')

Date: 2011-07-09 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blakdove.livejournal.com
We need to get a second car because I can't commit to schlepping 2 kids to drop off and pick up R every day, and worry about being carless in an emergency (even if said emergency is a toddler who is driving me up a freakin wall and we need to get out of the house STAT). R is also not doing anything about it. Neither am I, because my head is full to bursting with stuff I need to get done in the next week or so, and, well, I gotta delegate somewhere. So here we are, carless.

And we'll probably end up with a minivan down the road somewhere. Not yet.

Date: 2011-07-09 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lemon-says.livejournal.com
Just go to CarMax and buy something. If you aren't that picky about it, go drive things until you find something you like.
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