Thursday, September 27, 2012

Off the lot

When my wife was pregnant with the little guy, she was driving a Mini Cooper and I owned a Volkswagen Jetta. She absolutely adored her sporty little car, and I was pretty fond of my ride as well (notwithstanding its problematic electrical system which was always causing trouble that could only be fixed at the dealership, or the fact that it was burning oil at a truly noxious rate near the end of it) but changes were on the way. The Mini went first, before the little guy was born, because there was no way an infant car seat could fit (safely or otherwise) in the semi-existent backseat. The Jetta had room for a car seat and in fact contained one for a few months, but when the little guy was about four months old my car finally gave up the ghost. My wife’s family-oriented upgrade was to a Honda Accord, while I got a Mazda with almost no options. We thought we were pretty well set, even when the little girl was born and each of us got a second car seat in our respective back rows. The Honda is just roomy enough for the four of us when we need to make a family excursion, and more than good for my wife and the kids; my car is primarily relegated to taking me back and forth to the train station, plus the occasional weekend errand.

Now we have Baby number three on the way and it has become inescapably clear that we are not as settled in the automotive department as we previously believed. Three kids under five years old, which is what we’re headed towards in March, means three kids in car seats. There’s an outside possibility that the oldest of the three could be ready for a booster seat by then, based on weight/height/age(/fudging), but we’re not counting on that. Instead, we’re trying to figure out what kind of large, three-row seating vehicle to incorporate into our fleet of two. (No figuring needed on which car we’ll get rid of: mine, by unanimous assent. After which I’ll take the Honda and my wife, home with all the kids far more often than me with the new work configurations, will have the family bus.)

As you long-time readers are no doubt sick of hearing by now, I really dislike SUV’s on principle, and by “dislike” I mean “with a deep and visceral fist-clenching, teeth-grinding loathing”. On the other hand, I’m really much less antagonistically inclined towards minivans. I learned how to drive on a Dodge Caravan and have some residual fond feelings originating from various adolescent memories. My wife, however, more or less regards minivans with the same kind of revulsion that I reserve for SUVs. Her reasons are different, but the end result is the same. And she nods and smiles and pats my head when I rant about SUVs, but does not feel the same way herself. Of course good, strong, healthy relationships can accommodate these kinds of splits in car preferences (or AL East teams or whathaveyou) in theory but we were really, really enjoying the fact that it was all theoretical and our little family of four fit just fine in a mid-sized sedan. But so much for that. We now need to make one of those adult compromises where there is no middle ground and one person has to just suck it up and deal with something they really don’t want.

So we have about 24 weeks to figure out if we are going to be a one-sedan, one-minivan family or a one-sedan, one-SUV family once our newest bundle of joy arrives (or, ideally, shortly before said arrival). I foresee some test drives in our future. When the transaction finally goes down I will duly report on it. Right now, I honestly believe it could go either way. Or maybe a third kind of personal family vehicle will be invented and released just in time for Christmas! You never know!

No comments:

Post a Comment