Part of the reason for making the 35-hour-trek-by-car to our beloved Indiana is to sell our too-small-station wagon. When we moved to Calgary we chose not to ‘import’ our vehicle, in order to avoid paying taxes on it. Which allowed us to keep the Indiana plates and effectively prevented us from ever being able to sell the car in Canada.
Thus, in order to upsize our vehicle, we’d have to come to A-mur-ica. But first we needed to figure out vehicular possibilities – that could contain three Johnson boys and their parents. And all the extra outfits and shoes the men need when traveling anywhere. The obvious choice was a minivan, but, of course, a minivan was out of the question. For reasons undoubtedly documented in various public forums (i.e. on my Facebook wall.)
Suffice it to say Mr. Johnson has a serious bee in his bonnet about driving a minivan. And I, not exactly dying to get into one, have been content to oblige him. After some online research and informal polling, we settled on the tentative plan of selling our station wagon and finding a used Honda Pilot of similar value. A plan that seemed perfectly reasonable, except our ‘car guy’ seemed fairly certain that he could not find a Pilot for the price we wanted to pay. Problem number one.
Problem number two was something called the ‘troubled world economy’ which, in our case, has translated into making two house payments each month. As I contemplated buying a car within the context of our current financial situation, it seemed to make more sense for us to find the cheapest vehicle out there to drive until such time as our ‘vacation home’ in Indiana could be sold.
I came to this conclusion in mid-May. Mr. Johnson came to the conclusion several weeks later. He finally saw the writing on the wall during a late-night conversation at his parents’ house last week. The writing effectively said: ‘we need to find a cheap minivan.’ But, oh, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
‘I just want to drive a car that is FUN to drive,’ he remarked sadly last Wednesday night. As if he was excited to get in the car whenever I asked him to go to the grocery store – because the station wagon is so much fun to drive. He even suggested that if we drove a minivan back to Calgary, it would take substantially more time than it did coming here…because he wouldn’t be able to pass other vehicles on the road. ‘We’ll be driving along and you’ll get all mad at me, saying, why don’t you pass that car….and I’ll have to say because I can’t.’
And then, as is his habit, he had to move the discussion into the realm of the ridiculous. ‘I mean, marital vows were made…you pretty much promised me that we would never get a minivan.’ Granted, our wedding day – nearly 13 years ago – is something of a blur, but I’m pretty sure I’d remember it if I’d made any promises about the kinds of vehicles we would drive. ‘I mean..I’d rather you have an affair than drive a minivan,’ he disclosed. I may not have stifled the urge to snort loudly when he said that. ‘Did you really just say that – out loud?’ I questioned him. ‘Well, you know what I mean,’ he muttered.
Having somewhat settled the matter of what KIND of car to get, we had to work on actually finding the car.
We emailed our ‘car guy’ that we’d reluctantly concluded we needed to find a very cheap minivan. Did he have any options for us? Actually, a woman had just brought in a 1995 Pontiac minivan with fairly low miles for about $3000. Were we interested? While I was certainly enamored with the price, there was no denying that this particular model was the ugliest of minivans. In addition to the fact that it only had a sliding door on one side. Jason, seeing a chance to injure my own pride as much as his, wanted to pounce on it. Gleefully and right away.
I’d had visions of captain seats and sliding doors that opened with the push of a button. A fourteen year old dinosaur with one door just didn’t fit the bill. Luckily my brothers and sisters-in-law came to my aid. ‘You can’t drive a minivan with just one door,’ they cautioned, having dabbled in minivan land for the last several years. ‘Don’t do it – it’s not worth it.’
So we decided to go on a recognizance mission in Muncie. We spent over an hour driving around the parking lots of car dealerships, in an effort to see if there was anything out there that was cheap and not hideously ugly. Getting out of the car and talking to a sales person was simply not on our agenda – we were in drive-by mode, only. Though Jason took it a little seriously.
While at one of the dealerships a young man dressed in a tell-tale polo shirt walked towards our moving car, with his hand held out like a traffic cop. Basically, he ordered Jason to stop. We paused and Jason reluctantly rolled down his window, explaining we were ‘just looking’. The enthusiastic gentleman was still speaking to us when Jason released the brake and the car started moving forwards.
A move that would be described as ‘rude’ in most countries. ‘You didn’t have to be rude about it,’ I chastised once the salesman was out of earshot. ‘Well, what does he think – that his polo shirt gives him some kind of authority to order me to stop?’ came the indignant reply.
And so, the search continues, and time is running out. Will the Johnsons find a suitable vehicle before they have to leave for Canada..(i.e. within the next 4 or 5 days)?
Only time will tell.