Our family van is not old by any stretch of the imagination, and although it has that lived-in look (read: every single child has puked in it more than once. Wanna ride?) and over 100,000 miles on the odometer, I feel pretty certain that we have at least a few more years with the old gal. All that being said, I do have a weakness for new things. Especially new shiny things. When I see all the new makes and models out on the road, I will admit to a certain amount of wishing that ours was newer or shinier. The problem is that my wishing can easily turn to coveting if I don't watch out. And we all know what the Big Man says about coveting: Thou shalt not.
I am happy to say that I have discovered an easy cure for my slippery slide into covetousness: Just have someone smash into the front of the van, making sure that the van sustains enough damage for a mandatory three week stay at the body shop on the insurance company's dime. It seems to work like a charm!
While the van was "getting surgery," we were given a rental car through the insurance company. It was a big van-truck hybrid kind of thing, and it was a 2008 model. When we drove it off the lot it had 200 miles on it. 200. Our van hasn't seen that few miles since the first week we owned it. This rental truck was gleaming; it was as brand-spanking new as you can get, and I climbed in with a little thrill of excitement at the prospect of driving something shiny around for a few weeks. The Boy and I drank in the new car smell, and reveled in the radio that got more than one station. We bounced on the plush seats, we discovered all the cup holders and other hidden nooks and crannies. The newness was so fun, so attractive.
But the honeymoon was short-lived, and it was the first trip to the gas pump that killed it. So used to pumping gas into our van, I held the hose, watched the numbers whizz by, and prepared to feel the thunk of the handle right around the usual cut-off amount. Except that thunk didn't come until the numbers whizzed by the fifty-five dollar mark. Fifty-five dollars! When it cost me more than half of a hundred dollars to fill a car that does not get better mileage than my aged van, I knew that I had some breaking up to do. Unfortunately, that was almost three weeks ago. In those three weeks, we discovered that although we had a new car, it was the bare-bones model. There were none of the worn little comforts of our old van, and there was the added pressure of not doing anything to mar its glossy coat.
When we went to pick up our van today, it was a scene straight out of some kind of Walton family reunion. The Boy skipped up to the desk and happily announced that we were here to pick up Silver Van! Because you fixed it! And the hood is not smashed anymore! And we missed it! And it will live in our garage! And where is it, please?! I don't know that Tom, our "Body Shop Guy", has ever seen a more joyful customer. The Boy was panting. Even Baby Girl, who had no idea what was happening, was shouting Wanna! Wanna! Wanna! as I secured her car seat in the van. She clapped when I strapped her into the van and closed the door. The Boy, who had been holding both sets of keys for me while I rearranged all the car seats, practically threw the rental car keys onto the desk as we were leaving. Here you go! We don't need that truck anymore!
We are happy to be back in old Silver Van, stains and chips and all. They even washed and waxed it, so it will be shiny for a little while, and that's perfect for us.