Our minivan had seen better days. It's seen us through 6.5 years and some hard lovin'. Things were starting to wear out. The sliding doors weren't sliding as nicely as they used to, the check engine light was always on, and sometimes I would push on the accelerator and we would... not go... lurch... then go... lurch... go again, for reals this time. And let's not forget my favorite thing- the button release thingy on the shifter (the one that goes from park to reverse to drive) would get stuck, and I could be stuck in park and not be able to leave the house, or I would be unable to shift back into park. One time the shifter was in park, but the button was stuck "in" and so we could not turn off the car. The key refused to turn. That was awesome. Ryan ended up disconnecting the battery. We have a mechanic friend from church, and after taking it for a spin himself and doing a quick (and free) check under the hood, he estimated we could sink anywhere from $3-4,000+ and he wasn't sure that would even get us another year out of it before something else would go.
Then he asked if we had considered buying again.
Well, as a matter of fact, yes we had. We were just hoping for that other year first. Oh well.
So last Monday afternoon we took some test drives. Unexpectedly, the Toyota was the favorite. We were originally thinking another Kia, for price reasons. Another unexpected wrench in our plans was the fact that gently used minivans were not as cheap as they were last time around. It was only going to save us maybe 4-ish grand, and the mileage was a bit higher than we preferred. The car salesman pointed out the Labor Day sale, model year end clearance, 0% financing deal that was going on. After their version of a "quick" check of what they could do for us, we thanked him and said we wanted to go home and look over our budget before buying. He was not excited for this idea. Getting us into the showroom is almost a guaranteed sale, and we were not fitting into his plans. The natives were getting restless and wanted dinner at that point. The girls had been quite good. We thanked him and said we would likely be back.
Yesterday, we cleaned a bunch of crap (yes, that's totally what it was- paper scraps, pencils, pens, used kleenex, coins, dolls, earrings, stale bread crusts, baggies, fruit snack wrappers, receipts, old parking permits for state land, books, and more crumbs than you can possibly imagine) out of the minivan. We made the kids help, all the while getting more and more upset at what filthy pack rats our children are. Then Ryan and I told the kids to say goodbye to our car.
We came home with this pretty, brand spankin' new Toyota Sienna.
We left the kids to babysit themselves at home, which worked out well. When we bought the Kia Emma was 5 and Elizabeth was barely 3. This time was easier. Although it was probably faster last time, since the car was not new and they weren't trying to convince us to buy every extra feature possible. (Thanks, but no, we don't need the special Rain-X coating on our windshield...)
When the last paper was signed, and it was time to go home, I felt a little sentimental leaving our Kia sitting there surrounded by a sea of shiny cars. I'd swear that poor, 9 year old, dirty, chipped piece of our memories was looking at me reproachfully as we left in our new set of wheels. Ryan asked if I was going to cry before we left to go buy the Sienna. Seeing how I was pregnant BOTH times we've traded in our cars, and cried over diaper and Hallmark card commercials, yes I did cry last time. (We brought our baby/s home from the hospital, gone on trips, and I've spent countless hours in the car and it's been a big part of our life.... I can't help being a little sentimental. So sue me.) I would like to state for the record I shed no tears leaving the Kia behind, just felt a little sad.
That lasted about 10 minutes.
Our new minivan is so cool. I haven't been actually excited to drive since I was a teenager. I have to remind myself to actually pay attention to the road. I have a rear back-up camera (Best. Feature. Ever.), bluetooth calling/audio from my phone, gas consumption, power open and close doors (second best feature), power adjust seat (forward, back, up, down, lumbar support), automatic night adjusting rear-view mirror, and a host of other nifty features. I had my pick between grey and tan minivans, and I chose the grey. I think the only thing I miss about the old car is the red color- it was easier to spot in a parking lot. I'm still getting used to how this one looks. Oh, and this car also has driver and passenger temperature controls, with a 3rd zone for the back seats. This is a marriage-saving feature for us. I'm so glad the Kia had that too. Don't get me wrong- we bought the base model for the Sienna, it just happens to be as fancy as a more expensive version of the Kia. (Our mechanic friend thinks we will be pleased with how this one lasts. It should do better than the Kia.)
Update a week later- the dealership called and said they found more stuff in the car (broken necklace chain and .38 cents in change, a magnet, etc.) and did we want to pick the stuff up? Ryan said to give the change to the guy who had to clean out our old car. He deserves it. And to just throw away the rest. It was nice of them to call though.