There's a minivan parked in our garage. And our names are on the title.
No, another wheel didn't fall off the Lumina and the old lady didn't break down in any other way.
Glen jokingly said he's the one who broke down.
We've been talking about purchasing a bigger vehicle for quite some time now, but since it wasn't a necessity, the decision kept getting delayed. I even delayed the decision once.
Last July, when we were running cash flow projections to purchase our calf feeder and remodel our heifer yard, our farm business management instructor asked if we needed to plan for the purchase of a vehicle. I told him and Glen, "No, we don't. I'll ride my bike to town for a year if that's what it takes to buy a calf feeder."
Glen hasn't let me live those words down.
We talked about a vehicle again in January when we ran this year's projections. Our plan was to see how the crops turned out and then decide.
But, without completely thinking things through, I scheduled myself into a situation that requires a bigger vehicle sooner than after the corn harvest.
Dan will be going to a morning preschool program this summer with our neighbors' two boys. Their mom and I agreed to share rides so that we each only have to make one trip to town on school days.
While thinking about the arrangement afterwards, I realized that getting three boys to or from school wouldn't work with the Lumina. Add in the fact that some days Monika would need to ride along and that means I would need room for four child safety seats. The Lumina only has room for two carseats.
I presented the problem to Glen along with the information from a well-timed email from the credit union about a promotion on vehicle loan interest rates.
A couple phone calls, a test drive and a couple days later, we picked up our shiny, new-to-us minivan.
I really wanted one of those sexy, new crossover vehicles. But none of those - even used - come with a price tag that fits into an already tight budget.
So now I'm driving a mom-mobile. And I'm starting to like it.
After getting my driver's license, the vehicle assigned to me was my parents' minivan. And it became my job to haul my sisters, their friends, my friends and anyone else who could fit back and forth to school and wherever else we needed to be. (Maybe that was foreshadowing.) It wasn't very cool to drive a minivan in high school.
But our new van is a lot cooler than my parents' van was. For starters, it's a sleek silver color, not the two-tone magenta and gray color my parents' van was.
Sidebar: Dan really wanted a red car, because he thought red cars were the fastest. So we told him silver cars are actually the fastest. But then he wanted to know why other vehicles were passing us on the freeway. That led to a lesson about following the law. Next time, I'll think twice before appeasing him with a falsehood.
Our van also came with some pretty nifty accessories. The feature I'm most excited about is the remote keyless entry. I can even open the sliding doors with my remote. I taught Dan how to buckle Monika up, so now getting into the car and ready for departure requires significantly less parental involvement. I could really get used to the idea of pressing a button and watching the kids do jobs that used to be mine.
The feature the kids are most excited about is the DVD player. Before Glen and I had cows and kids, we used to spend a lot of time on the freeway scoffing at vehicles with video players. We're eating those words now. And they're really tasty. Because when you have a 5-year-old who can ask questions for five hours straight, the value of silence easily overrides principle.
Beyond features, though, our minivan is downright functional. Not only can it haul people, it can haul stuff. Our van has the presto-chango stowable seats that turn it from a bus into a cargo van in a matter of seconds.
On our maiden voyage to town for stuff, I was able to fit both kids, all of our groceries and supplies, and 10 bags of milk replacer and calf starter in the van with room to spare - and everything was under cover. Neither of our other vehicles can do that.
Needless to say, it's pretty exciting to have a newer vehicle, especially one that meets our needs and fills our fancies at the same time. I think Dan and Monika are even more excited than we are (possibly because they're not making the loan payments). They'd spend all afternoon in the van if I let them. The day we picked the van up, I let them watch a movie on the way home. When we got home, Dan said, "You can just leave us in here to finish the movie while you go do chores."
From that moment, I knew we'd be returning to a habit that we left behind when we moved out of the city: locking the doors at home. But this time it wouldn't be because of concern about theft - who'd want to steal a used minivan, anyway? - it would be to keep the kids and their dirty barn boots out.
We'll be in trouble when Dan and Monika figure out how to unlock the doors.