Friday, April 06, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

Melanie and I are now officially a two-car family. Want to see a picture of our newest automobile? Here it is:

Sorry, what’s that? The car looks familiar? A little too familiar, even? Well, yes, it does. As it should. It’s the black ’99 Toyota Corolla we drove prior to buying a minivan approximately 18 months ago. Yes, it’s the exact same vehicle, with the same VIN and everything. You see, we never got rid of the Corolla. We planned on selling it. But, as you may recall, life got incredibly hectic about the same time we purchased the minivan as a replacement for the beloved car. Emergency surgeries, etc. When we transferred the tag from the Corolla to our newly acquired van, we purchased a temporary tag for the former. That gave us a 30-day window in which to sell the car. It didn’t happen, and with everything else going on, it became all too easy to stop thinking about it. And so, the Corolla sat. And sat. And sat. And sat.

Four weeks ago, we bought another temporary tag for the Corolla, thinking it about time to sell the thing. We actually had a couple of prospective buyers, but nothing panned out. As time went on, we started toying with the idea of keeping the car. We’ve never been a two-car family, and although that has set us apart from most other families of a similar size and socioeconomic status, having two cars has always seemed largely pointless to us.

Well, we’ve changed our mind. This morning, we drove to the tax collector’s office and registered the Corolla with a new permanent tag. Here are some of the reasons why:

First, the Corolla is actually a much, much better car than the van. Anyone who’s been a regular reader of my blog knows that the van has been a continual source of frustration for us. Not only is the Corolla simply a better quality vehicle, it is one year newer and a whole 30,000 miles younger. It is unlikely that the Corolla will poop out on us as soon as the van will.

Second, the Corolla is much cheaper to run. Even if we use the van frequently, I figure we’ll save a decent amount on gas simply by utilizing the much more fuel-efficient Corolla whenever and wherever possible.

Third, it will be greatly psychologically comforting to have the Corolla readily available to us should the van ever fail us or need one of its oft-demanded repairs. I understand that public transit could come in handy in situations like these, but who are we kidding? Another car of your own is much preferable to choreographing your life around public transit—especially since last summer when the bus system in Tallahassee became much less efficient for someone like me due to a restructuring of routes.

Fourth, having two vehicles makes it much easier to sell one, which means that reclaiming the Corolla poses little to no risk to us. If we decide to turn around and sell it 30 days from now, we’ll be out eleven months’ worth of car registration costs. But that’s really not a big deal to us, especially since we’ve learned that the Corolla is worth several hundred dollars more than we had supposed when we first planned to sell it. Additionally, we won’t have to worry about lining up a replacement vehicle before we can sell off one of our cars. We can simply go back to being a one-car family, and we can stay that way for as long we like.

Fifth and finally, we secretly hope to sell the van rather than the Corolla. The three car seats we currently use can all fit into the backseat of the Corolla, but only barely. We tried it, and the boys look so cramped and crowded that I’m sure Melanie and I would regret stuffing them all back there, for our own sanity’s sake if not for the boys’. The tight fit also makes the buckling of seatbelts incredibly difficult, and the boys wouldn’t likely be able to do it on their own. I could barely manage to get them buckled in myself. That’s something Melanie and I would tire of right quick. Thus, we don’t feel prepared to abandon the van just yet. But someday, we will. The larger the children get, the smaller the car seats they require, so it may be that upgrading even one child will make the Corolla much more feasible as a family car. We’ll definitely reevaluate things when that time comes.

One perk that donned on me only after we’d committed to keeping the Corolla is that it will come in incredibly handy this summer, when I teach five days a week at a fairly early time. With the Tallahassee bus system as it currently is, relying on public transit would make it rather difficult for me to get to school in time to teach my morning classes. But asking Melanie, and thus Eddie, Peter, and Creegan, to drive me to school every morning would be not only grossly unfair to them, but undoubtedly highly stressful for me. One thing I don’t handle very well is feeling rushed. Having to get the whole family out the door every morning is not going to help matters. For the good of the entire family, it is better that I drive myself. If we only had the van, this would leave Melanie stranded at home every morning, incapable of participating in playgroups or planning her own morning-time activities. Having both the Corolla and the minivan absolves us of such a predicament.

And that’s how and why we’ve ended up with a second vehicle. It’s a new second vehicle, but an old first vehicle. So, perhaps that just means that the minivan is now officially our first second vehicle, while the Corolla has become our first vehicle for the second time. But would the Corolla have been a first vehicle back when it was our only vehicle? Hmm, maybe not. So, maybe we’ve just now ended up with both our first second vehicle and our first first vehicle, assuming two vehicles are required in order to have a first vehicle at all. I’m not sure which option makes the most sense. I’ll have to think about it for a second first.

1 comment:

  1. Love the ending!
    Sounds like a good and smart purchase. I hope it serves you well.