Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Car Wars

Amid all the badness of the last couple of weeks, one small bit of selfish good has happened in our little household as a direct result. We were finally able to justify a 3rd car.

Let us all take time now to throw things at our heroine as she hangs her head in shame, for shameful it is.

It is true. Three. Cars. In a family of two drivers, who, truth be told, almost always carpool anyway.

Let the justification begin!

Let us now take time to go find new, heavier things to throw, having already let fly with our stock of rotted tomatoes and wormy apples. There must be a "D" cell battery or 3 around here, somewhere...

The first vehicle is el minivan, complete with 57 cup holders and a good safety record. It has surprisingly reasonable gas mileage, too, as good as the small sedan it replaced. We tote kids and often a grandparent or two, at least once a week. We anticipate that our children will have friends that will need toting in the near future, too. So, really, the van makes good sense. Fine. I am somewhat able to sleep with that and rarely cringe as I get into it anymore.

The second vehicle is a several-years-old (mumbles) SUV. It has 4-wheel-drive and is paid for. It has horrible gas mileage but there are about 10-15 days each winter that we have to have it to get to work. Neither of us has a job that recognizes "snow days". We live way out in the country with the cows and deer. Wisconsin is also surprisingly hilly, the county road that we drive for much of the way resembles a rollercoaster, enough so that Colin shrieks with glee when we drive it. We are into cheap thrills in this family. Try as we might, we just can't get around needing the shameful SUV. We need the weight as much as the 4-wheel-drive and anti-lock brakes. A nice little Subaru just won't do it. The wind in a blizzard will just blow it off into the ditch and the cows will then laugh and shake their heads when they find us come spring. Cows are like that. Bitter creatures.

That leads us to the new car. It is small, it is stripped down, it is fairly gutless, and it gets really great gas mileage. If gas stays at this price, we actually make money with the purchase, given the commute. The seats are less comfortable than a gym bleacher, the windows, mirrors and locks are all dealt with by using your hand, rather than some remote, infra-red button or switch. It has 2 demi-cup holders. The radio is pure, tinny crap. It happily takes regular gas rather than "super". It is a stick shift. It feels like you are driving faster than you are, unlike the other two cars, where you frequently glance at the speedometer and then quickly in the rear-view mirror, expecting the flashing lights of the patrol car.

It is little and black and sexy. Well, sexy to two people with a minivan and a shameful SUV.

We have taken to covertly staking our individual claims to this piddly car. I started things by saying, "I love it. This is MY car," during the test drive. Hah. Dibs. Charles trumped me by driving it home while I took the kids and his mom in the minivan. Grrrrr. I drove it last week on the day we couldn't carpool, citing some obscure law about wives getting to drive the vehicle of their choosing on Wednesdays. Plus, as principal, he often has to drive kids home (yes, chaperoned, of course, such are times). He should have the vehicle with most seating. Yesterday, we were again unable to carpool, as it was "Family Fun Night" at school and I really didn't want to wait hours after the clinic closed to go home to the kids. I again claimed the car on the grounds that he should have the more deer-resistant vehicle as he would be coming home after dark. He countered with "squatters rights", placing HIS lunch, work-out clothes, pile of papers, coffee mug, PDA, and all in the front of the car. I ceded defeat of yesterday's battle, glaring beetle-browed through the car window, MY coffee mug, coffee pot, purse and lunch bag in hand, and vowed to piss on the driver's seat in the near future. Today, we are at a limited cease fire as we carpooled.

I am drinking lots of water and coffee. Better to fill a bladder.

So, there we are. A sad, sad pair.

Fire away.

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Blogger Cagey said...

Nah, you are too hard on yourself. We have discussed what we will do when we break down and get our next car - probably we will keep the two cars we currently own (they are paid off anyway). Besides, the older of the 2 cars is worth far more to US than as a trade-in or even a sale-by-owner option.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

Oooo, forgot to mention that I loved how you used your blog as a mini-confessional. :-)

You're forgiven, my child. hee hee

Go in peace?

10:05 AM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Sounds nice--I would think the tinny radio would be enough to keep Charles a little disinterested, maybe when you leave the car tune the radio to country music or right wing chat? I think you will prevail in the "car wars" !

3:57 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- Thanks, honey, for the absolution as well as the support. It just feels bad, even though I do think it is the sensible thing to do. What a massive rationalization that is. Feh.

Stace- Yup, the radio drives him crazy. Sounds just fine to me, actually. Picks up NPR, what else do I need? Sadly, I fear he will abduct the car and put in a better sound system, soon. He has already mentioned that Best Buy has this free installation with purchase of stereo. I may be trumped.

5:28 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Can't remember a thing past the bitter cows, which are hylarious [hysterically hilarious,see]. Oh drive whatever you need and don't apologise for it. Your life, your needs. Would be better if you posted aggravating pics of said cars, say, the whole family in Hawaiian attire smoking, guzzling beer and littering Wisconsin. Or something.

[Don't mind me, am still quite high from drugs for some reason, nimesulide and clavamox were never this fun bfr. Bizarre. Will return at some point, read and cringe.]

9:52 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- You poor, poor schnuggie. At least you got some goodish drugs. I am not entirely sure what the Yank equivalent is, but I am guessing a broad spectrum amoxicillin/clavulanate relative and a steroid. Perhaps the little endorphins and natural opoids in your melon are kicking in, having a glorious party? Even under the influence, you, dear, are hylarious. I like the image, all our bellies hanging out; pasty Wisconsoner cheese and beer bellies.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

I can't say anything. Back in the day (when the day was 1992-93) I owned a 1973 Olds '98 (in other words: a tank).

It seemed to take $5.00 worth of gas to go 6 miles.

And I LOVED that damned car.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Babs- Thanks for the support. Seriously. I have always had good gas mileage cars and just hate having the tank. My first car, by the way, was my grandad's little tan '67 VW Beetle. That was back when gas was around 75 cents a gallon, in the early 80's. That car loved me. My uncle has it now and it still runs.

8:53 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Hey. You could always justify it by saying that it's Dana's car and you're just holding it for me until I get a driver's liscense. How's that? Since I'll never get one, you're safe.

I don't like SUVs, I think they are kind of evil, but I was seduced by one when a friend gave me a ride home from work. She has a sun roof and a moon roof. And flippy things and cup holders and heated seats. Wow. It was amazing.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- It will hereafter be known as "Dana's Shameful SUV". I always knew you were a true friend. (You were volunteering to be the owner of the guzzler, right? Because the little sexy car already has the 2 of us fighting over it and I really don't want to have to fight a war on 2 fronts. That way lies madness.)

9:43 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Well, it goes against all I believe in as a tree hugger but hey, that's the kind of friend I am.

You're going to regret this someday when I do actually get a liscense and show up on your door step looking for my SUV. But the chances of that are slim to none since I can't even spell liscense, let alone get one. License? Just doesn't look right.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

This post totally reminds me of a fairly recent commercial, showing a husband and wife fighting over the new car. Each day, they get up earlier and earlier to try to be the one who gets the car for the day. One day the husband puts a mannequin in bed to fool the wife. In the last scene, the wife is pulling away and it's dark out because it's so freaking early, and the husband throws his suit (on a hanger) on the ground in disgust. It is a riot!

I've recently discovered your blog and really am enjoying it. I was reading about the swearing in ceremony and was practically sweating, wondering if you'd make it there in time. I had to stop being the navigator for our family (forever) when I would yell out which way to go at the very last minute and then be wrong. Drives are much more peaceful, but it still bugs me that I ALWAYS have to drive!! But, the same type of thing would happen to us, where my husband would assume the worst (we'll NEVER make it in time), and I would quietly think, "we've gotta try at least, maybe something will happen and we WILL make it." I really like your style of writing. Also, LOVE the Cliff Claven reference! It's a little known fact.....

I'll be back!

12:23 AM  

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