We weren't PLANNING to buy a van. Well, for a while there, I suppose we were. My brain could not figure out how to put three small children and their ginormous car seats in a Mazda 5. And hadn't we put off the minivan long enough?
Then Wonderful Jen emailed all about how THEY put three small children in THEIR Mazda 5 and I was all, YES. That is what we shall do, thereby staving off 1) the Minivan Stigma and 2) car payments, which are infinitely worse than Minivan Stigma.
But then... we tried out that configuration one weekend (big kids in the back, baby seat in the middle row, the other middle row seat folded down) and it WORKED but it wasn't GREAT. Actually, I felt way better about it than Phillip. I felt cheered. Relieved. We could hold off the car payments for at LEAST a few years, right? It didn't matter that the backwards baby seat meant my knees would practically touch the glove compartment. And Jack would be moving into a booster seat one of these days, and that would free up some more room. But one thing you should know about my husband is he likes Whatever Is The Best. I mean, most people do, but there are certain things that Phillip just needs to be good. For example: our TiFaux. It is, perhaps, not functioning at its most impressive in the new house, and the amount of rage I've seen directed at that TiFaux is more rage than I've seen directed any other person, place, or thing. So stuff like that, right? Which includes cars. The Mazda 5 setup was Unsatisfactory.
I talked him into it, though. NO CAR PAYMENT!!!
Then a while back, a little girl was killed in a car accident not far from here (you may have heard about her) and suddenly I began to feel some of the Unsatisfactoryness. There is no latch system in the back! No airbags! It's a SMALL CAR! Nail biting, nail biting, nail biting.
Then! Enter FIL, who in addition to being the most generous FIL alive, is also the most anxious. For about a month or two now, FIL has been asking for Car Buying Status Updates, and is never particularly pleased when we tell him that there is, uh, no update. He was car shopping for his own self, but OCCASIONALLY would get some information on a minivan as well and look! Here's a brochure! Or did we read this article? This link? Do we REALLY think the Sienna might be a better choice than the Odyssey? Did we check to make sure it would fit in the garage? Do we want to borrow his friend's Odyssey for a week JUST TO MAKE SURE?
We decided that, perhaps, we should buy a minivan.
And today, we did. We didn't PLAN on it, but we'd done enough homework, we knew exactly what kind of payment we could afford, we brought all our numbers and I was prepared to keep my mouth shut while Phillip, you know, played it cool. (Me: incapable of playing it cool. Can only keep quiet.)
But I think we hit the perfect car buying combo today: a pleasant, cheerful salesman who didn't act like showing us every van on the lot was a huge affront to his sensibilities, the end of the day, the end of the month, the end of the season, and a very slow day at the dealership. I think those factors played into how much they dropped the price (more than we expected) and how much they gave us for the Mazda (more than we expected) and how much we had to put down (less than we expected) and then holy cats, we were moving the car seats from the mini minivan into the real one. And then I drove it home.
I do not have Minivan Issues. I grew up riding in The Largest Civilian Vehicle On Base and if I wanted to share my distinctive maiden name on this website I could write a big list of all the nicknames my high school friends gave my family's van. I suppose that is to say I got over my Van Stigma early on. I think what I like about big houses is what I like about vans: there's room for everybody. It's not like we're carting around large groups on a regular basis, but now we CAN. There are room for cousins and friends and family and I just LIKE THAT.
I also think sliding doors are God's gift to mothers, and I can't figure out why some of my friends would prefer an SUV to sliding doors. And now my sliding doors? ARE AUTOMATIC, BABY!
So anyway. YESTERDAY I went to the mall with my mom and sister and spent a fortune on New Preschool Clothes. TODAY I spent the rest of our fortune on a car. We are going to celebrate tonight with the first of many many ramen suppers.