Seabolt: Driving Miss crazy

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OK, so let’s just say I’m not in denial about my mini-van needs. My potential “soccer mom” status. My desire to not have to shoehorn my neighbor’s daughter into my backseat when it’s my day to do the preschool pick-up.

But I am. In denial I mean. Yet like many parents before me, I sense that resistance is futile. I have seen my future, and it seats seven.

Mom mobile. My reluctance to replace my car is strange. It isn’t as if I’m giving up a Porsche for a shuttle bus. I currently squire around in a four door mom-mobile sedan. It’s burgundy. Suffice to say there is no less “hip” color than burgundy. It is the high-water pants and tape on the bridge of your eyeglasses of the automotive palette.

The tape player is jammed and we lost a rear floor mat in an unfortunate car sickness incident. It has also been hit a few times – just last month by a garbage truck – and I haven’t yet gotten around to having it repaired.

It’s clear I am not a person who has “issues” about what she drives. So what is the problem? It’s not that I’m against mini-vans. Who wouldn’t love a vehicle that offers 11 cup holders for seven passengers?

What’s not to like? I know I often find myself in cross-town traffic lamenting my lack of an easily-accessible spot to park my third Slurpee. Add in the heated seats, lighted cosmetic mirror, dinner trays, mini-fridge, and DVD player and who wouldn’t admire this home away from home?

Or question whether or not you need a home at all? Which would be a good question, since the monthly payments on some vehicles could easily exceed a mortgage. Call me old-fashioned, but for that kind of cash, I expect a guest room and full bath. The latter certainly coming in mighty handy when all those beverages on board kick in.

Old faithful. I’m loyal toward keeping our car because it has been very reliable (knock wood). Of course, I do my part by following a rigorous schedule of maintenance centered around turning up the radio to drown out any unfamiliar engine noises.

And if anything lights up that shouldn’t, I call my husband from my cell phone and demand that he diagnose the trouble on the spot. You know they don’t call them idiot lights for nothing. At least that’s what he mutters when I call.

Granted, I can’t haul a Scout troop in it (which, come to think of it, is a plus). Nonetheless, our beloved family chariot handles like a dream. If your dreams consist of having your ankles bruised by kiddie meal toys lurking under your seats.

When braking quickly, a wave of petrified french fries slides out across the floor mats, accompanied by the aforementioned toys and any one of the hundreds of pacifiers my son misplaced in 1998. I’m supposed to give all this up?

Identity crisis. Clearly, I am too old for a sport car and too young for a mid-life-crisis vehicle. But let’s be frank, a mini-van is just so … married with children.

The demise of those last vestiges of my pretense, if only for a moment at secluded stoplights, that I’m still the girl who used cruise around in a car that was candy apple red with tee-tops.

Now, easily lured by abundant cup holders and the siren song of cargo space, I feel like a cheat when I visit the vans on local car lots. I am an automotive adulterer – disloyal to my true blue little four-seater friend.

All of which begs the question: If I drive a mini-van, will I still respect me in the morning? Or will finding myself piloting a parental RV be a bitter pill to swallow?

More importantly, do you think having 11 beverages at hand make that easier to choke that down?

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt thinks vacuuming out the old fries might give her better gas mileage. She welcomes comments c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or kseabolt@epohi.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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