Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

Oh God. This is just so difficult. But I know if I get it out, I will feel so much better. You see, a week ago last Friday, we finally caved in and did it. We have been making noises about doing so for a while, initially in our individual private heads, then, each feeling the other out, skirting around it together. Finally, it became clear that the need was overwhelming and we broke down and did it.

Yes. We bought a (whispers) minivan. No, no. If I am going to accept myself for what I am, I must do this right. WE BOUGHT A STINKIN' MINIVAN. We are a 2 kid family with a dog, living in a ranch house with a minivan. We grocery shop on Saturday morning. We watch TV on the couch at night after putting the kids to bed with their stories and blankets. Our furniture is colored in navy blues and olive greens. We have a pantry full of cereal, pasta, canned goods, juice and dog treats. (Well, and wine, thank God.) We are suburbanites kidding ourselves in rural America. Our other car is an SUV. We are planning a car trip with kids and dog to the East Coast next summer and if that falls through, a car trip to Northern Wisconsin.

But the minivan was the last straw.

Heck, our parents never had minivans and they did just fine. Although they had those big-ass American sedans of the 60's and 70's with bench seats front and back that could fit 8 if need arose. And that's one more than the minivan. So, I guess, we are actually making do with less. Yeah, that's it. Less.

You see, we really needed one. Really. And the poor old stodgy navy blue Volvo was needing more and more costly repairs, repairs that could only be done at the garage 45 minutes away at fees that one would expect from the only Volvo repair place in 100 miles. And they were practically giving these Toyota vans away. Well, practically. And, hey, same gas mileage and even better safety than the poor old Volvo. So it's not like we really had a choice, right? Right. It wasn't cliche. It was sensible. Now, when our nearest and dearest come to visit, we can all pile in one car, not split up into two vehicles. So much nicer, you see.

So now we have a shiny, new minivan complete with automatic doors, 52 cup holders, and 18 outlets for plugging in all forms of personal entertainment devices so we won't as a family actually have to talk to each other on these proposed car trips. It also has roof rack and, ahem, seat warmers. Which I did try out a couple of nights ago and found to be rather... What is the word?.. Lovely.

So there it is. The ugly unvarnished truth. We have lost all pretense of being cool middle aged parents. But at least we have one shred of dignity to hang on to, deluded though it is. At least the minivan is an exotic foreign car. Made in the oddly named Japanese Provence of Tennessee.

Fight the power.



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