Friday, May 12, 2017

Farewell, Old Van

Three years ago almost exactly, I was agitating for a minivan.

There are words that several years ago I never thought I would string together. Such is the mindset induced by the imminent arrival of a third child, however.

This was shortly after Big Red left us and A. wanted to get another pick-up truck. I wanted a minivan. He thought I could manage all three kids in the Subaru. I told him the Subaru is technically mine, and if he wanted to get a pick-up, that was fine with me, but I would trade in my Subaru for a minivan.

About two days after that conversation, A. called me from work to tell me he had bought a minivan.

Oh. Surprising, but YAY!

It was only eight years old, but he bought it for just over $2,000 (from a private seller) because it was rusty.

Kind of a lot rusty, as it turned out. But it also turned out to be an exceptionally good vehicle for us. We've had to do very few repairs on it in the last three years, and it never once actually broke down to the point that it was undrivable.

But still. Rusty. And that is a problem that is not improved by all the salt used on roads in upstate New York in the winter.

Finally this spring, we decided it was really time to look for another vehicle. A. has been looking around online, but the selection is pretty limited in our vicinity. Especially because the coming fourth child is going to mean that even a minivan won't be very big with all the seats in use. The cargo area in the back isn't big enough to hold the dog.

(Actually, the selection is mostly limited because we won't go to a dealer and pay many thousands of dollars for a new vehicle. That's not our style. Our style, apparently, is to buy a rusty van for $2,000 and drive it for three years as it slowly disintegrates. Works for us.)

So A. has been trying to decide if we should get a Suburban (which doesn't really seem that much bigger than a minivan, frankly), or a full-size, no-messing-around, 12-passenger van. With the van, we can remove the back row of seats and have a big cargo area.

I think we should get the big van, if only because I can't see our need for space in a vehicle decreasing in the coming years as the children grow ever larger. I mean, I don't particularly want to drive a small bus, but these are the results of choosing to have a family of six people and a dog.

Anyway, this debate will shortly be closed, because we need to buy another vehicle right now. Last night as I was driving Charlie and Jack to a T-ball game, I felt something go wrong with a wheel when I turned and then could hear (and smell) some serious friction thereafter. Luckily, I managed to make it home. This morning A. diagnosed a fatal suspension failure due to rust. It could be fixed, but when the undercarriage is as rusty as this one was, what can you attach a new part to that won't fail pretty soon itself?

So we called the local mechanic to come haul it away for us (both Randy and Andy showed up, which amused me to no end), leaving us with $120 in cash and only the Subaru as the family car* for the moment.

Guess A. got his wish of three kids in the Subaru after all. For the moment, anyway. And now the hunt is on for the next family bus. Should be exciting. Stay tuned to see what we end up with . . .

* But only after some serious cleaning out. A. does not maintain a car in a fit state for family use, as you may recall. In fact, when I remarked during my cleaning that there has been some irrevocable damage to the hatchback carpet, he admitted, "Well, there's been a few carcasses back there over the years." Indeed.


mil said...

Sounds like your van died exactly the same sort of death that mine did years ago.

Roger A. Post said...

Two large families in our neighborhood have the big 4-wheel drive vans and regularly fill them up with kids. Seems to work for them. I believe their vans are Fords.