Thursday, July 9, 2015

Miles of Memories

In the kitchen of our house is a dry erase board. It almost always has something written on it....lists of things needed from the store, count downs to important events like prom or camp, messages & phone numbers scrawled on it, funny notes and pictures. 

This list was left on the board by the girls as they were getting ready for a week at girls camp. 

This wasn't the first time "a new car" has appeared on a list of things needed or a to-do list. It was showing up with more frequency over the past few months.

Abigail made us laugh one day when she told us that the van was so loud (okay, so the exhaust system needed replacing!) that when she left work with it she would coast out of the drive way before accelerating so she wouldn't be embarrassed! BWHAHAHA!  

As much as we hated to admit it, we knew the time was coming that we might have to look into getting a different vehicle but we wanted to put it off as long as we possible. Both of our vehicles are old (and loved) and we drive them till they won't drive anymore! 

When the girls left for girls camp one of the last things they kidded about was, "Don't get a new car while we're gone! But if you do make sure it's not ugly!" 

So just how did they know that days later that is what would happen?  We totally expected that it would be Tim's truck that gave up the ghost first but it was actually our beloved van. :(  

Our van was OLD and had a LOT of miles and it needed repairs that would cost more than what made sense to put into in. The brake lines all needed replacing (found that out when my brakes began failing on a long drive back from Morehead, KY with Jacob!), the exhaust needed to be replaced, the struts were shot and dangerously close to breaking through and the head gasket was bad. Not to mention the weekend before all this happened we had just sunk $200 into replacing the fan unit because it had stopped working and the van was overheating. When our mechanic called Tim he said, "Before I tell you what's wrong let me suggest you just get rid of it." That is not what you want to hear your mechanic say!

The time had come. I won't lie, I felt a little sad to think about giving up my van. It's a 2000 Town & Country and we bought it used in 2006. 

This was the van when it was new to us.

There have been miles of memories with our van over the past 9 years. It has been to New York and Minnesota (and all places in between) countless times and as recently as last December we took it on its last cross country run to Arizona then to San Diego, California for Jordan and McKenna's wedding. (Okay, so it needed $700 in repairs to get it to the point of trusting it for the trip!)

When we parted ways the van had nearly 212,000 miles on it, the area by the gas cap was rusted through and the rear passengers side was sporting a hefty dent from a rogue shopping cart at Sam's Club on a windy day. The inside resembled a circus tent as the fabric on the ceiling had come loose and was sagging down and was attached only at the outer edges and the middle where the ceiling light was. The humidity affected the tightness of the fabric -- some days it would tighten up and look great and some days it was hanging so low that the fabric nearly rested on my head as I drove.   

It went a lot of miles taking us to see loved ones in different states, transporting sick kids to doctor appointments, endless trips to school, track meets, volleyball games, birthday parties, church dances, proms, and even radiation and chemo treatments. It was even home to a rock collection the kids had from the many places we have been. 

They have been in there for years and yes, I took them out before we sent it to the van cemetery. :) 

The van's last ride.... Tim did the honors because the brakes were totally gone so it was a very careful drive.  

What can't be seen in this picture is the tailpipe bobbing up and down like one of those bobble head dogs nodding on a car dashboard. :)  

This is the van's replacement, a 2014 Hyundai Elantra. This is a BIG change for me since I have been driving a van for the past 20 years!! 

There are things that I will miss about not having a "mommy van" 
(as drawn by Jacob in 1999) 

But, it is just a matter of time before we will have miles of new memories taking shape in this car and the best part is that we don't have to coast to avoid being embarrassed. :)  

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