Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our little girl is growing up

I believe a car can say a lot about a person.

I drove a Suburban in college. It was 15 years old, had a thick orange stripe down the side that was once touched up with acrylic paint after a minor accident, and my Dad was constantly reminding me to “check the oil”. It was awesome. On my 20th birthday my Dad installed a horn in my dash that played over 22 different songs. It took a while before people realized that I did not in fact sell ice cream. My Suburban earned a nickname during those years. Two in fact. Its primary term of endearment was “The Beast”, but since it also took a long time for the heater to warm up in the winter months, my friend Jon liked to call it “The Fridge”. The Beast was a really fun college car. I still remember putting 17 people in it with my 6’7” friend Shawn lying on the hood, posing as a hood ornament and driving through Taco Bell to order a water with 17 straws. Ahhh…college life. It’s startling to think we actually thought we were hysterical (*wink*wink* to my new friend Randi).

You see, I was the kind of person in college who loved the cars that had been converted from a hearse to a painted cow. I thought that people who drove cars like that must have had tremendous personality. And when I drove down 700 East playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for all the neighbors to hear, I too felt like one with character. The only other car I wished I could have had during that time was a Jeep. I imagined that the kind of people who drove Jeeps wore jeans and t-shirts and went hiking and ate Odwalla Bars under pine trees and roasted s’mores every weekend, and that seemed like a good life. Anyway, I always wanted a car like that. After I graduated college I had to surrender the Beast back to my parents, then Cory and I got married and we shared his Nissan Sentra. We moved to Colorado, put ski racks on the top and drove it to the mountains in our early married life as if to say, “We are young and sporty.” Samantha was born, and I believe that this is when all my minivan issues started.

There seemed to be this notion that when the sperm connects with the egg, one should go out and sign a contract for a Dodge Caravan. Well, I wouldn’t have it. I couldn’t bear to be one of 129 minivans in the church parking lot on a given Sunday. To me, buying a minivan was like becoming inoculated with a Stepford injection of the Mormon kind and that the side effects involved the denim jumper becoming my constant companion and wood crafts becoming an at-home business. We bought a Honda Accord.

Shortly after Drew came along, the pressure to become minivan-ized intensified. “They’re so roomy”, “It’s so easy to get kids in and out”, “You can drive other kids”, blah blah blah. First of all, since when did “driving other kids” around ever serve as suitable motivation for anything? Oh, so you mean to tell me that not only can I fit MY kids in there, but I can drive YOURS to school too??? How could I have overlooked all of these perks?? We bought a Ford Explorer. Its maiden voyage on I-225 blasting Depeche Mode’s "I Just Can’t Get Enough" on my new 6-CD changer was an epic journey. My sunroof was open, my windows were down, I sang along and bobbed my head to the beat. There was plenty of room, I had no problem getting my kids in and out, and I wasn’t carting along other children that didn’t belong to me. It was the car I had always wanted, and it not only fit my family but it fit my personality.

The car is now 10-years-old and starting to fade in its glory. A few months ago we were taking my family to the Renaissance Festival and my kids were each bringing a friend. It didn’t even occur to me that we didn’t have seats for everybody until the day before. My friends were on vacation in Florida, and I knew their minivan was sitting in their garage. I called their cell phone and asked if they would mind if we borrowed their van for the day. They graciously agreed.

We got in and I thought, “Wow, it’s really roomy.” We drove the hour or so to the festival and when we arrived I noted, “Hey, the kids sure got out of there with ease”. And finally, “The kids had so much more fun here with their friends. It’s a good thing we were able to borrow the van so we could take them along.”

This last weekend was good. Friday we took the Explorer to do exactly what its title suggests and we went 4-wheeling in the mountains:


Then we went hiking at 10,000 feet above timberline to this:

And on Saturday, we went and bought this:


Not quite so different from an Explorer, an Odyssey also bears a connotation of adventure, right? Ithaca, here we come.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember that story and you telling me that Samantha was in the back seat with her ears plugged. I also remember losing a bread stick from Fazoli's out the window trying to cool it down. Ahh.. what life was before responsibility.

Audra

JustRandi said...

Welcome to the Stepford Ranks.

Now you really have a reason to be hysterical.

Rachel said...

It all started with Harry Potter...

ganelle said...

Just because it's called an Odyssey doesn't mean that you are going on any kind of Odyssey. Nice try. Of course, I'm no Pilot either, but at least I've managed to avoid the worst of the Stepford issues.
BTW, can you get that horn installed in your car, um... minivan, now? I think that would do wonders for your non-conformist urges.

Heather said...

If you have to get a minivan at least you chose a dang good one!

Brittany said...

Amen to Heather. The Odyssey is my husband's dream car. We're already saving for it, and our little guy is only seven weeks old.

"Vern" said...

rachel: So right about Harry Potter.
ganelle: I knew you were going to give me grief on this post. It seems necessary to remind you that driving a Pilot doesn't make you cool. Cool is having internet without free email and more than a dial up connection. Cool is also NOT living with your parents for six months. Mwah!

Anonymous said...

WOW, WOW, WOW!!! It looks just like my awesome Odyssey. I really can't believe my brother owns a minivan. It is a really great car. The sliding doors are really great when it's raining or snowing. You get out of the store and while you are running to your car you magically push a button and the door slides right open and in you go. AHHH technology.

Boliver ( I am still in shock)

ganelle said...

ouch!
And, BTW, we are getting real internet as soon as we get a real house. However, both seem VERY far away about now. Thanks for pointing that out...
PS No matter how cheap you think I am, I have never removed my own stitches!

Anonymous said...

Ok I can totally relate to this post! My suburban was gray and I painted the "Beached Whale" on the side, had leighs hanging from the mirror, and blue shag carpeting in the back. Now I dream of mini-vans, with the Odyssey at the top of the list. Sorry my kids were the ones that pushed you over to the dark side!
Ginger

Anonymous said...

Two words...
GEO METRO, 7 years with no car payment, 150,000 miles, 40 mpg and still going strong! Whewww!
Tim

Kira said...

Dude! *I* bought an Oddysey!!! I DID, I DID!
Except...mine's not "NEW."
Meh, new enough. STILL! Can we be a CLUB?

Lucas said...

I loved this! This is Jason Lucas by the way. the former "big deal" of Piney creek ward. =) I'm out here in Idaho with Carly and LOVE your blog's. I have a website now as well! =) freshnessfactor.blogspot.com

Hope everything is great!! Miss ya

Jason

Paige said...

Now that you have a minivan, you should trick it out. YOu know, make it REALLY awesome. Make sure to "mom your ride." Check it out here: http://www.forumeter.com/video/15997/Zima-Mom-My-Ride-