Monday, March 29, 2010

The Little Silver Van

I used to talk bad about mini-vans. I feel bad about it. Not that there's anything wrong with mini-vans; some of my best friends are mini-vans. I just never thought I would own one.

After looking into the big white van and coming up with a big white no-go, I re-thought my choices and motives. The reason I liked the big white van was its pure utility. That made me question whether the Ford Flex was an option at all because it's a lot smaller than our Expedition EL and doesn't hold very much.

I did some more research and concluded that all the people who drive mini-vans can't be wrong, despite the things I've said about them. Mini-vans have walk-through access to the third row, which we need because we will have two carseats in the second row. They also have lots of cargo room to carry strollers and baby gear - not as much as the big white van, but still a pretty good bit. Other than it being a mini-van, there's not much to complain about with the functionality of a mini-van. On the inside, they are just like you and me.

I am a Honda/Acura fan. My last three cars have been Hondas and Acuras and, other than a battery cable or three on one of the Hondas, they were perfect. And Honda's van, the Odyssey, is made right here in Alabama. Naturally, I picked the Odyssey.

It's only 69 inches tall, so it fits in the garage. No measuring required, unlike the big white van.

My only problem with this purchase was negotiating with Heather on the optional features. Because this is "our" car as opposed to "my" car, I think I ran into more resistance and second guessing than I'm used to. Heather accepted my determination that: 1) a mini-van was the correct vehicle; and, 2) the Honda Odyssey was the best mini-van for us, but that was pretty much where her acceptance ended.

I researched the trim lines and optional features on the van and gave Heather my report on what we needed. She shot down every single one of the options. Not some. All. For each feature, Heather asked how much it costs. I told her how much and re-explained the benefits of said feature. She said no. Over and over. She told me I was to purchase this van with no optional features for the cheapest price possible.

Heather said it. Heather is pregnant. I don't argue with pregnant women. We will have a van with no features.

Although it went against every fiber of my leather seat loving, big stereo listening self, I bought a Honda Odyssey with no optional features. There is no Honda Odyssey one can purchase that has less stuff on it than ours. I bet even the one you rent from Budget Rent-A-Car has more stuff on it. I guess this makes sense because the Expedition, with all the kid friendly features and fancy things, is the primary kid hauler. Really, I don't need to know the reason. A pregnant woman told me to do it and I did it. Those are the rules as I understand them.

Even though both Heather and I still drive SUVs, we now own a mini-van. I don't know if that makes us mini-van people. I do know that Heather looked down at me from the Expedition when I got behind the wheel of the van at the dealership and laughed. Maybe she was laughing that we, as SUV people, bought a mini-van. Maybe she was just laughing at me. I know neither of us claim it yet. I've driven it a few times when I could have driven my SUV. I like it. I may have to take back most of the things I've said about mini-vans. I just had to take the time to get to know one.


  1. Someone once told me you slowly lose your sense of dignity after children... But that's totally not related to this post. Not one bit.

    Enjoy the minivan, sucka!!! Heh. (You know I'm kidding. I'd take a new minivan if someone GAVE one to me.)

  2. just OWN it! OWN the minivan! nothing wrong with them, just an image problem.

    tell me you at LEAST got the power sliding doors??

  3. I've always been a staunchly anti big car kind of person (SUV, minivan, excessively large trucks, etc.), but I find that I'm drooling over the new Sienna. Luckily (or, for the sake of our wallets, perhaps unluckily) she's on board with just as many options as I am. No matter how awesome the thing seems to be now, I'm pretty sure the fact that I can be excited over a minivan means that I lost whatever claim to cool I might have once had.

  4. No power sliding doors, Pam. Those were optional. Heather had me divide the price of the doors by how many times I would personally open and close the doors. It turned out to be around $5.00, I think. I'll open doors all day for $5.00 a pop. Stupid math.

  5. Welcome to the wonderful world of mini-van ownership!!!! The shame only lasts for a week or two, then you'll learn to love it.

  6. Here's hoping that once the pregnancy state passes, her feelings remain the same! Being once in a state of pregnancy (with multiples) myself, most things I said during that time seem to be a blur...

  7. I am Heather's Chateau Elan Spa friend from SC and I totally feel you on being "SUV people". My husband had a Pilot and I had a Pathfinder. It was time for new wheels and I got a sexy little Toyota Highlander and my husband got a...Honda Odyssey! By his own choice. And I must admit, it is sweet. He does have the bells and whistles (DVD, leather, etc), the best of which is the doors and trunk that open at the touch of a button. Awesome! Enjoy it, it kind of becomes addicting which makes you feel weird inside. Of course, I'm still hoping my Highlander doesn't go speeding down the highway by itself so who am I to cast stones?

    Aubrey Cartwright

  8. I love my mini-van for when I am without the tribe of kids, but I need to get a tribe of kids worth of groceries, or Christmas gifts, or Costco bulk worth of tribal kid juice.

    It allows more freedom than the Yukon for whipping in and out of parking lots and spaces.

    I live life in a hurry. There are some advantages to the "mini" in the term "mini-van". Enjoy :)

  9. We puffy heart (that's girl talk for love) our bottom of the line, no bells and whistles Odyssey..and my husband loves driving it, too!