Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Minivan Days

After the sonogram showed that there were two fetuses swimming like fish in my uterus, I promptly had a panic attack.  I sputtered and breathed in a shallow fashion while John calmly held my hand and whispered that it would be okay.  In many ways it was okay.  In other ways, not so much.  For example, we had to buy a minivan. 

We opted for the Dodge Grand Caravan, which had “stowaway seating” and extra space in the back for double strollers, diaper bags, groceries, and apparently, Ben who “stowed away” on more than one occasion.  Six years and nearly 80,000 miles later, the van has deteriorated considerably.  It is rusting and has a large and unsightly indentation on the side from an unfortunate collision with a light pole.  One of the side doors will not close unless the driver’s door is open.  Last week, the power locks stopped working. The CD player spits out everything I feed it.  A few months ago, Daniel ate raspberry jello and then threw up said raspberry jello in the backseat.  Now much of the upholstery is pink, despite my scrubbing.  There are other stains: dirt, coffee, ketchup, and soda stains. 

The brakes need replacing and the alignment is off.  Other things are on the verge of collapsing.  We are hoping the thing makes it to December 20, which is the day John gets his Christmas bonus and will be purchasing me a new minivan.  I’m hoping we get one with seat warmers.

The other day, John said the silliest thing:

“Maybe next time we don’t have to get a minivan.  Maybe we can get a car.”

“And just how would I transport your children about town in a car?”

“Caleb could sit in the front.”

“And what about when we all go somewhere together?  Weekend excursions?  Family vacations?  Merry jaunts across town to our favorite restaurant?”

“We could… rent,” he said.

John’s disdain for minivans has clouded his rationality. 

Minivans are not cool.  Not only that, but any time a friend or family member has to move a large item, they remember you have the next best thing to a truck.  We have hauled couches and dryers and lawnmowers and Christmas trees.  Mostly, I haul kids.

Lately, I have been hauling kids to Caleb’s baseball games.  He’s on a travel team this year, so we get to visit far-off places like Webster, Fairport, and (shudder) Pittsford.  On a tempestuous Friday, we drove an hour away to Newark only to be immediately sent home because of a thunder storm.  They rescheduled the game for last Saturday, which means I was stuck in an enclosed space with Caleb for four hours over the course of a week. 

Caleb is the most annoyingly curious child ever.  I had two choices:  engage Caleb in a never-ending question and answer session, or listen to the radio, which these days only plays song by Pink or Fun or Pink singing with the guy from Fun.  I succumbed to a litany of questions.

“What hits the ball farther: a metal bat or a wood bat?”

“Why didn’t you play sports when you were little?  Were you that bad?”

“How long would it take to die if you were sucked into a black hole?”

“How exactly would you die if you were sucked into a black hole?”

“Does our galaxy have a black hole?”

“Who do you think would win in a fight?  General Zod or Gandalf?”

I try to answer these questions to the best of my ability.

“A wooden bat?  Isn’t that what the pros use?”

“Yes.  I was that bad.”

“This question is ridiculous.  If you were far enough away to be sucked into a black hole, you’d already be dead.”

“I stand by my previous answer.  But, according to my limited knowledge of black holes, you’d be crushed.”

“I don’t know if our galaxy has a black hole.  I’m going to guess no.”  (I was wrong.)

“General Zod.”  (General Zod, of course, is Superman’s nemesis and fellow Kryptonian who has all of the same superpowers as Superman.  Gandolf is a Middle Earth wizard, friend of hobbits, and speaker of pithy quotes.  Caleb was horrified by my answer and insisted Gandolf would win.  To be fair, I don’t know if General Zod’s powers would be up to par on Middle Earth.  I would assume so, but it is a different planet.  However, I gave this question a lot of thought and I stand by my answer.)

In the minivan, there are debates.  There are burping contests and squabbles over whether we should keep the windows down or turn on the air conditioning.  There are gasps followed by, “Ella DOES NOT HAVE HER SEATBELT ON!”  There are rousing renditions of “This Land is Your Land” and Adele’s “Rumor Has It.”  There are constructive critiques regarding my driving.  (You shouldn’t speed up when you see a yellow light, mom.)  There are deer sightings and ice cream store sightings and educated guesses about what type of bugs are splattered against the windshield.  There is laughing and complaining and gasps followed by, “I FORGOT MY PIANO MUSIC!”  There are days when I choose Pink over the cacophony.  But overall, in ten years, as I am rambling about town around in my Jeep Wrangler, I think I might miss these days.

These minivan days.


Adams Fam: said...

That last paragraph almost made me want to buy a minivan. Welcome back, Holly. So good to see you in my inbox;)

MGBR said...

We have the same minivan, as you know, and I despise it. But I LOVE your blog!

AJ said...

Holly! You're back! :) A few thoughts...
-My husband has the exact same disdain for minivans, and thus, opted for a surprisingly cheap 7-seater Cadillac suv from a used car place, after the birth of our third child. Which was all good and well, until the first thing went wrong on it, and we discovered that Cadillacs aren't just expensive up front, but that their parts are all horrifically exorbitant. The most recent thing went bad on it in February. It has sat decorating our driveway ever since, since we can't afford to fix it. Fun times. Wish we'd gone for the minivan...

-"Pink or Fun or Pink singing with the guy from Fun." Wow, that is so true... :)

-I was always terrified of black holes when I was a child. It was my biggest fear there for awhile.

-As far as Zod vs. Gandalf, I'm going to have to side with Gandalf on this one. Simply because he is good, and Zod is bad. And good always triumphs or evil in the end, right?