Well, we did it.  Or are doing it.  Kindof.  We’re trying.
That is, the last Saturday in March we took a looooonnnnggg drive (just ask the kids) to look at a couple Toyota Sienna vans.  The first one, from a dealer who said, “Always buy from a dealer.  We change the oil.  We inspect it.  It’s always the safest bet.”  
He didn’t know that all my growing-up years I’d point to some vehicle and my dad would say, “That’s overpriced!”  
“How do you know?” I would inquire, thinking he knew the current market value of every new or used vehicle available.  
“Because it’s on a car lot.”
The van might’ve been a winner, except for a couple issues… Either the former owner or the current salesman seated in the passenger seat was a smoker.  I was afraid to ask which.  The other issue was the bright silver screws along the inside of the front wheel wells.  The front bumper had been removed at some point and we weren’t sure why.
The second van we looked at made us a bit more comfortable.  I was happy to see that the dark photo online had tricked me – it wasn’t white, but silver!  Yay!  It was a year newer than the first, had half the miles, and had all the ‘necessaries’ without many of the ‘luxuries’ (which I’ll certainly miss in my Camry!)  We bought it… sorta.  That is, we wrote a check to the owner (or their credit union, more specifically) and drove it home.  Here it is:

No, not the torn-up greenhouse, or the old toyota pickup, or the nice Camry or the ancient tractor or the weary motorhome.  The other thing.  In front.

And it has been there, in front, since then.  And will continue to sit in front for a while yet.  We’re waiting on the ‘details’ – the owners owed more than we paid them, and since we couldn’t get a cashier’s check on a saturday, their credit union had to hold our check for a time to be certain of the funding before they released the title.  Supposedly that happened last Friday and I hope to see a title show up in the mail soon.
At which point the title will find a nice little spot in a cupboard or drawer and sit a while as well.  Why all the sitting and waiting, when there are groceries to be bought and kids to be hauled?  We paid a private seller, see, and they don’t exactly collect the sales tax.  The bill of sale, however, will have to be presented to my local Department of Motor Vehicles, at which point the Governor of the State will get excited and order extra-expensive cigars, because we will have to pay the sales tax.  And that’s near $1000.  *cough, gag, ack*  I’m unwilling to dip into the ’emergency fund’ – which the sale of Mary Jane (the Camry) will refill, so we’re eating lentils and pintos for a time. 🙂
Obviously we spent the very upper-end of our vehicle budget on this one, but we feel it was a good deal.  The van (she has no name yet, but I’m fairly certain of her gender) is an ’07 with less than 20,000 miles on it.  That should make it last quite a while for us.  Heck, we’ve never even test-driven a vehicle with that few miles, let alone owned one!  We bought Mary Jane at over 80,000; she’s pushing 130,000 and haven’t had a lick of trouble with any aspect of her.  I’ll miss her manual transmission.  And 6 cd-changer.  And JBL sound system.  And electric driver’s seat…
But really? The automatic transmission on this van is NOT wimpy at all.  Enough to give me carsickness when Hubby lays on the throttle, in fact.  And I rarely use the cd player, and then it’s usually 1 or 2 cds anyway.  And what good is a fancy sound system when you’re usually tuned to an am talk station?  Not much good.  *sniff sniff*  Not much good at all..

But here’s to looking forward!  More room to put kids and stuff (both of which we seem to be accumulating with gusto), easier to get into and out of (especially when gestationally inclined), and likely more travel-friendly for a family (and I won’t think about Mary Jane’s cornering in the mountains so nicely…).  Heck, we can put a potty chair in there and toilet-train on the go!  What’s not to love?
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