28 May 2011

Mom Jeans and Mini-vans

After some debate, a little apprehension on my end, encouragement from my mother, and discussions with my husband.... we bought an almost new mini-van!  Now hold on: before all of the jokes, the scoffing, the snobbery of being above Suburbia's #1 Family Transport, let me explain...

Since planning our move to the West Coast, a main concern we've had about traveling cross country was what the heck to do with our two cats.  Where would we put them in our PT Cruiser with the litter box, our luggage, my computer, and our driving supplies?  At first we considered flying them to California-- but that's hella expensive and makes me nervous (an airline just lost a famous Spanish basketball player's dog for 5 days!). Then I thought about bribing my mother with food, gas, and lodging to caravan with us and keep the cats in her mini-van-- this was pure delusional theorizing.  Finally, we concluded sedation and bringing them with us was the only way... and so we were back to square one with the insufficient size of our car.

Several weeks ago, my husband suggested we trade in our cars for a mini-van, thus solving our space problems and ensuring a comfortable drive, not to mention the benefit of having the vehicle for future moves. I was not happy.  Though I've grown up with them, I hate driving mini-vans.  They make me nervous... or at least I thought they did.  Turns out my nervousness was more due to my mom's overprotective attitude toward her van than my actual driving abilities.  Plus I felt like vans are boats, impossible to park, and just not cool.  I'll be honest, the words "soccer mom" and "Girl Scout cookies" flashed across my brain and my immediate reaction was NO.  Then after sharing the idea with my mom-- obviously an advocate for mini-vans and who I thought would disagree with getting a van since we got our PT not even two years ago-- LOVED the idea.  It made sense.  So the seed was planted, my husband and I began discussing the benefits and weighing our finances, and now you know the result.  Sure, in L.A. terms a mini-van is bottom of the barrel cool, but think how useful it'll be to have in an area that has a car pool lane and for hauling film equipment.  The practicality continues to grow. So excited to pick it up on Tuesday.

Oh! And here are some specs: we bought a used 2010 Chrysler Grand Caravan with 4600 miles on it, stow and go seats, DVD player, MP3 player, 30GB hard drive, electronic safety driving features, in-car phone capabilities, wireless headphones, rear camera, and the capability to download navigation & SIRIUS traffic software (we've got a touch screen!). To lower the payment, we traded in our PT for $9000 (they were originally going to give us $7500 but changed their minds when we were about to walk out the door empty handed) and ended up getting a $31,000 barely used van for half the price.  Of course we're financing-- a new adult experience for us-- but they finally dropped the payment to a doable range for us so we couldn't say no.  And we'll be selling our Ford Focus to add a couple thousand dollars to it-- anyone in the market for a cheap car?

I have to say I am pretty excited even though I'm more of a mid-size SUV person. This mini-van lifts a load of stress off my shoulders about traveling, will be great for hauling stuff since I'll no longer have the use of my mom's van on the other side of the country :(  and is perfect for carting our children (YEARS from now people!).  And though I've compromised a bit of style for substance with the Soccer Mom mini-van, I can safely say the Mom jeans will never come into play.

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