The day the music died…

Ok, the day I bought a minivan.

The day I bought a minivan a little bit of me died. It may sound silly to some of you, but I am a city girl. I was born and raised in Toronto, and I don’t really like driving. I walk and I take public transit. That’s what I do.

Pre-babies my husband Nick and I didn’t own a car. We used to walk to work, the grocery store, walk to pubs, walk to bars, take cabs, streetcars or buses, whichever came first. On occasion we would rent a car for cottage weekends or road trips. When I became pregnant, we thought it was time to buy a car.

After a long search, I fell in love with a compact SUV, a Nissan X-Trail with a huge sunroof. I loved my little truck with my leather-heated seats. It was still small enough to find parking easily (I love parallel parking by the way – bring it on!), to park in my then teeny-tiny garage and it was strong enough to drive over snow and fit my groceries (we then discovered Costco – but that’s another story) and stroller into it. I loved my X-Trail.

Fast forward to two kids. My youngest was six months old and somebody reverses right into my X-Trail. This is two weeks before my lease expires. So we take it to a mechanic friend (this is very handy) and he hooks us up with a rental, which is a minivan. I have always hated minivans. I want to puke when I’m near one. They make me physically sick. (Sorry!)

This minivan – although I hate it – is very convenient. My in-laws are visiting from England and guess what? We all fit in one car!!! This makes things very easy and I have to admit that it drives very well – even though it’s HUGE! It’s a little harder to find parking on city streets, but I’m always up for the challenge and did I mention that I love to parallel park? So, I’m ok with the minivan, basically because I know I’m giving it back after two weeks.

Fast forward to two weeks of minivan driving, and my lease is up on my X-Trail. Nick announces to the family that we will not be buying the lease on my X-Trail but that we will be buying a minivan just like the one we rented!

BAH!!! (WARNING: there is some whining up ahead…)

”But I want a Volvo Cross Country, but I want a Mini Clubman, but I want a smart car, but I want a Vespa or a tandem bike.”

Doesn’t matter. These bloody vans are cheap (ish). Who knew? And with 0% interest, it makes the most sense financially. My in-laws – who hail from the land of small cars – are loving this idea. I mean we’ve been driving around the GTA for two weeks in pure comfort…ok, I need to take out a second mortgage for gas, but that’s only because we have visitors, we don’t normally drive that much.

I tried everything. I could not get out of this one. Money talks baby, and this stupid minivan with an ‘EXTENDED’ cab wins every time. Nick loves it. I cry.

You may think I’m joking, but after I exhausted all other options, I went to meet Nick at the GMC dealer, and I cried. I felt sorry for the salesman. Well, not really, but let’s pretend. Smarty-pants husband of mine tells him that he needs to convince me. That’s the last step to us making the purchase. No more leasing, we are taking the plunge. So he’s so friendly, and I’m so bitchy. I looked like my best friend had just died.

So this poor sales dude, is pitching it hard, but I remain unimpressed. “I’m throwing in the DVD player with wireless headphones.” He was excited. What he soon found out is that I’m not a fan of the DVD player in the car. My kids will learn to look out the window or eat their toes. I refuse to put it on. And we don’t ever use it, I told my son that it doesn’t work, and he doesn’t seem to mind. Salesman tried everything. I was a smidgen excited about OnStar, but that’s it. I was miserable, and I was crying and this sales guy was looking at me like I was this huge freaking idiot.

Nick actually took me aside and said, “hey, if this is really affecting you this much, we don’t have to buy it”…but my practical side kicked in, and visions of me squashed in the back seat of my beloved X-Trail between two car seats, so my mom could sit in the front take over. And I understand that for this price, we have to take it.

So we bought the minivan. It’s ours. It’s been a year and a half and I still hate it. I like that I can fit my whole family in it, plus a guest or three comfortably, but man that’s where it ends. I hate it. Nick is sympathetic, and we are going to park it up and only bring it out for special occasions (read: cottage trips) one day. We will one day buy a Mini Clubman…once our kids are older, and once we’ve paid off this monstrosity and sad excuse for a method of transportation.

So if you see someone driving a HUGE minivan and looking miserable, that’s me. And chances are there are goldfish, and cheese stuck to the mats, spilled milk and cheerios all over the place. Since I don’t use the DVD player, I distract my kids with snacks (that too is another story).

The day I bought my minivan I lost a little part of me, but my kids are happy, even though their windows don’t open (do you see why I hate them?!!!). I took one for the fam. And I think that even though they are bad for the environment (another BIG negative) it’s one of the safest vehicles around. So, I hear. Bah. I hate minivans. But I drive one. How about you?






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