Minivan Mama

Major happenings over at casa de Mitchell lately.  We took a great big leap further into the parenting end of the pool and sold Kermit (my trusty Kia car) in order to make room for a :::MINIVAN:::

Even though this is my life, I still can’t believe that soon I’ll be the proud new owner of a minivan.  Grown-ups drive minivans, y’know?

I mean, I’ve been married since I was 20, I’ve got one heck of a mortgage, and I graduated college and got myself a career and everything.  Even with all that going for me, I still felt like a kid.  A kid in a candy store definitely, but still a kid.

I always thought becoming a mother would make me feel like a grown-up, but no dice.  I suppose spending a large chunk of my time playing peekaboo certainly doesn’t help, but I still feel like a big kid who plays with a little kid all day.

And now I’m going to be tooling around town driving a minivan.  So I’ll have the house, the marriage, the career, the minivan, and the adorable baby gurgling in the backseat.  Will I feel like a grown-up then?

We won’t get the minivan until later this month (my super-cool aunt is selling hers to us and she’s driving it up from California at the end of the month) but I know it’s white.  And pretty.  And fully loaded with awesome accessories (this will seriously be the nicest car I’ve ever driven).

So, now we just have to wait for Gandalf the White to join our family (yes, we’re naming the minivan Gandalf.  What better car to ferry my baby around than one named after a fierce, indestructible wizard?).  We’ll see if he brings my sense of adulthood with him…

Frayed in Full

Whilst driving to work today, I was struck by an interesting phenomenon I had heretofore been ignorant to: the allure of the paid-off car. Last month, Wes and I mailed in our last payment for our trusty Kia car who goes by the name of Kermit. Wes bought the car in 2003, we paid it off five years later, and we ended up paying roughly twice as much as the original price of the car (curse you, interest!) but it’s done. Finito. We have the title, and the car is officially ours.

Before we owned the car outright, he (the car) bore the brunt of many snippy asides, jabs, and jokes at his expense. After all, he is a Kia, and Kia makes their cars with the intention that none of them should make it to 100,000 miles.

Kermit has trouble climbing hills, his doors won’t stay open and love to slam on you when your arms are full of stuff, and he won’t go over 70 mph without his side mirrors making a strange whistling sound that you can hear inside the car. The windows no longer seal the way they should, the little plastic doohickies in the trunk have all fallen off and been lost, and the backseat is not so much a backseat as it is a miniature impersonation of what a Korean car manufacturer thinks a backseat could be like for midgets.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that, when I crashed my car going a whopping 3 mph, my car was very nearly totalled (though in the interest of fairness to my completely uncaring {due to being inanimate and all} car, he did drive all the way home from Seattle with a cracked radiator after that accident, which I appreciate, because Seattle is not a good place to wait around for a tow truck).

In short, Kermit is very mockable. What doesn’t help it that his windshield is cracked clear from one side to the other because someone (not me) decided scraping ice was for the weak and turned the defroster up to high heat after the windshield had been sitting in freezing conditions for over a week.

All this to say, his storied history with us notwithstanding, he’s paid for in full and, as such, we don’t mind him as much. Knowing that we have to pay exactly $0 every month for the pleasure of driving him around makes both of us feel downright rosy toward our little Korean combustible.

Isn’t that an interesting phenomenon? It’s like that couch that you love desperately even though it’s stained, frayed, uncomfortable, and has given you a bad back but you adore it anyway because it’s free and the story of how you got it is mildly amusing.

This is not to say that we won’t be sad to see Kermit go, though. No, in the future when we buy our next car with cold, hard cash we probably won’t even shed a tear for poor old Kermit. Really, at over 70,000 miles, he’s like that old Eskimo that you put on an iceberg and float off into the sunset. He’s served his purpose, and well, but it’s time for him to go float to Russia so that he can find his true calling as a docent at the Kremlin.

Kermit’s Mullet

Guess who’s back from his reconstructive surgery stay! Kermit, my trusty Kia car, is back from the autobody shop and he looks spiffing. His front end is shiny, black, and decidedly un-smashed. It’s funny, though, because now the rest of him looks a lot less shiny by comparison and he’s kinda the automotive equivalent of the mullet: he’s polished up front but a party in the back.

Wes and I returned the rental car together (we have both come to the decision that we’re not Dodge fans. Also, I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t wreck the rental) and I had a terrific shock when I recognized the sales manager helping us out at the rental place.

His face looked really familiar but I couldn’t quite come up with his name. I mentioned this to Wes while the guy was on the phone and Wes recommended that I look at the business cards to see if I recognized a name. I did.

The moment my eyes flicked over his name I knew exactly who he was: I’d interviewed him for a job when I was a recruiter. We didn’t hire him based on the results of his interview with me. It was weird, the moment I read his name I remembered where he went to school, what his GPA was, and every impression I had of him from his interview.

It was…odd. He didn’t seem like he recognized me, and I wasn’t about to remind him that I’d interviewed him a year ago and decided not to hire him, so we escaped the situation without any awkwardness. Regardless, it was a very strange position to be in.

When you interview someone, it’s a whole different ball of wax from when you’re the one getting interviewed. I always tried to establish rapport with the people I interviewed, and not be a total jerk about the situation, but you can’t escape the fact that your opinion decides whether or not this person gets the job. This fact permeates the whole interview, and your conversation can never seem to escape that reality.

For my part, I’m just glad the guy either doesn’t have a freak memory like I do or doesn’t hold a grudge. Besides, if he had gotten the job he would have had to work with one of the worst bosses of all time. Believe me, he lucked out.

My Well-Calibrated Blow-Back

Surprisingly, a lot of good things have come about in the aftermath of what I’m calling The Great Crash of Yesterday. I’m reading and hearing about a ton of other people’s car accident stories, which makes me feel infinitely better, and I’m coming to terms with the idea that crashing my car does not make me stupid, it just makes me human.

One of my favorite phone calls was from my Dad, who called last night to make sure I was OK (it occurred to me that a good daughter would probably have called her parents to tell them about what happened and not just blogged about and assumed they’d read, but I digress.) To be honest, once he ascertained that I was OK he did spend an inordinate amount of time laughing with me. That was really the turn-around moment for me. It’s hard to beat yourself up for crashing your car when your Dad is laughing about it with you.

The rental company has supplied me with a 2008 Dodge Caliber to drive around for awhile and I’m doing my best not to get confused by all the features (there are buttons on my steering wheel that I’m hoping won’t eject me the moment I press them.) The car is fine but it’s huge compared to Kermit and I’m having a really hard time pulling it into the garage. Wes had to re-park it for me because I can’t quite figure out where I am in the car and I’m terrified of running the brand-new rental car into the side of my garage.

Other than rental-car paranoia and the suspicious lack of Kia in our garage, life is dandy. I’m feeling no ill effects from my 2mph collision and am optimistic that the future will be less smash-y. I do worry that I haven’t heard an estimate from the auto-body place. I wonder if they took a look at my car, totalled up how much it would cost to repair it, and decided the repairs would cost more than the car is worth and just decided to push it into a lake and claim it was stolen.

I promise I won’t blog about The Great Crash of Yesterday tomorrow, mainly because the name of the crash will be different and I’m pretty sure I’ve milked this life event to the last drops. If you’re unfulfilled and aching for hilarity, I highly encourage you to watch this video and join me in cruel, delightful laughter.

Lemonade From Idiocy

In what is the ultimate turning lemons into blog lemonade, I now present to you my newest work: A Tale of Two Bumpers…

It was a cloudy Seattle day. I was stopped at a red light. I thought the traffic was moving (but was distracted because I was putting my hands-free headset on. According to state law, it’s safer to drive with this stupid thing in my ear. They fail to mention that in order to abide by this law and inhabit the 21st century you either need to drive with it in your ear constantly, which makes my ear hurt, or learn how to put it in while driving, which as you can see, is neither safe nor possible. In so many words, this law sucks) but it actually wasn’t and I drove right into a stopped pick-up truck.

The end.

Today I was involved in my very first it-was-my-fault car accident. Somewhere, my mother is pulling out her baby album and writing all these details down under the section, “Baby’s very first moving vehicle violation.”

I am so fortunate because not only was the guy whose truck I hit an absolute nice guy, his truck was not damaged. As for my car, it’s not pretty. Here’s the money shot:

Kermit, my trusty Kia car, will not be winning any beauty contests any time soon.

I was able to safely drive him home only to discover, upon asking Wes why our garage smelled like celery, that the radiator is cracked and is leaking antifreeze like it’s going out of style.
Can you believe that damage? I was going less than 5mph (because I only had 2feet to travel between me and the other car) and my car looks like it was rammed into the side of a tractor by The Hulk.

Of all the accidents to have, though, this was a good one to have. No one is injured (thank goodness!), the other guy’s car is fine, and we have excellent car insurance coverage thanks to my brother in law so we’re only going to have to pay our deductible out of pocket in order to get this whole mess cleaned up.

I only wish I weren’t such a moron. That’s the thing I keep coming back to. I mean, seriously, who in the blue blazes drives straight into the back of an unmoving vehicle because they thought traffic was moving and it wasn’t and they weren’t paying attention because they were trying to put in a headset?!

Of course, Wes has been amazing throughout this whole ordeal, as has my brother in law. Honestly, everyone in this whole situation has been angelic. The only person who hasn’t been very nice to me is me. I’m mad as heck at myself. In fact, I’m not even speaking to myself.

Oh, and you know what the almost worst part of it was? Right after the accident, when we were all pulled over and I reached into my purse to grab a pen, do you know what happened? This:

My purse decided it absolutely had had enough with this nonsense and broke. The strap just flopped right off. It couldn’t have given me one moment of peace in that situation, it just needed to bust the heck out.

So, while Wes is off at the autobody place to get Kermit some reconstructive surgery, I’m going to bust out some thread and a needle. After my expensive little foray into real-life bumper car-ing I don’t think Wes will be down with the idea of letting me go shopping for a new purse anytime soon.

If you, or someone you know, has ever been involved in a car accident, injury-causing or otherwise, please share your horror story in the comments section. It’ll make me feel like a lot less of an absolute imbecile and anything that helps in that endeavor is greatly appreciated at this time.