That %&#! Minivan

We started this little blog to share the Real.  The Embarrassing, the Funny, and sometimes the Difficult. But despite my endless supply of just such moments, I haven’t actually shared any of them yet.  What?  So, here we go. This will be the first of many. So many.

I drove a used Honda Civic coupe for 8 years.  It wasn’t fancy (it was the “value model”), but it was the nicest car I’d ever owned.  Not only was it newer than the clunkers of my high school/college days, but NOTHING went wrong with it.  Ever.

When I was 6 months pregnant, my in-laws gifted us their old Dodge Caravan. And, we were happy to take it.  I was happy to not have a car payment for a little while longer, and while it was a MINIVAN (blah!), it was free.  Can’t argue with free, right?

But after driving it for a month, the AC broke. Then a door broke. Then the locks. Then a window stuck shut. All in the first 8 months of owning it.  Remember what a mess my morning routine used to be?  Well, I saved this part because it deserved its own post.

I’m not a morning person.  Actually, we’re not a morning FAMILY.  So in the beginning we were late for school a lot.  Which obviously isn’t a big deal for a 5 month old, but the source of my tardiness anxiety was this:  The school gates closed at 9am sharp.

Which wouldn’t be an issue…IF I had a car with functioning doors and windows.  My window didn’t open at all, and my car door only opened from the outside.

So picture this mortifying Chinese Fire Drill scenario:

  • Put the car in park.  Climb around to the back of the van.
  • See another late parent pulling up behind me.  Panic.  Don’t panic!!  Be cool.
  • Open the sliding door and attempt to step out casually.  Did I mention it’s pouring rain?  Crap crap crap.
  • Run around to the keypad.  Step in massive puddle.  Gate opens.  Success!
  • Open my car door. Feel bewildered gaze of waiting parent on the back of my head.
  • Hustle into school to avoid crossing paths with other parent, who surely thinks I’m a moron.


As you might guess, this was powerful motivation for me to drag myself out of bed just a little earlier.

We eventually fixed the door/window. But now the van makes a loud robot-fart noise when it locks. And the locks work, but never all at the same time.  It’s a finicky old van, but a gift that I’m grateful for despite its funny shortcomings.

BUT you can bet I’m saving up for my next used Honda.