Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dude, Where's My Car?

A little history - or a lot as it turns out:

When I met Jeff (in 1997, mind you) he was proudly driving a 1982 Toyota Supra. He took great care of that car (as all Rocks do; it's in their blood or something) and drove it until 2003. That's right. He drove it from California to Kansas to Arkansas to Florida to Oklahoma before choosing to move on. When he made that grand leap of faith into a new vehicle, he (we, I guess, but mostly he) did a ton of research to figure out exactly what he wanted and then haggled and bargained and walked out of negotiations on more than one occasion before coming to own a brand new 4Runner. He loves that truck. And I enjoy it, too, of course.

In all those pre-truck years we relied heavily on my then-new 1997 Camry, which was largely a graduation gift from my parents. We drove the Camry all over creation: Kansas to Arkansas to Florida to Oklahoma to Texas to Oklahoma then back and forth to Kansas so many times in 4 years that we wore ruts into I-70 and then finally to Florida (again) before accepting an assignment to Japan which meant selling and/or storing vehicles. The government pays for the storage of only one car per household (which, in hindsight, makes no sense but it's the gov'nment so what should I expect?) so our choice was easy. After 7 action-packed years, it was time to bid the Camry farewell and hold onto the 4Runner.

Only we didn't, courtesy of Jeff's parents who purchased our Camry from us before we left Florida (and incidentally they spent our three years overseas taking care of our 4Runner which we stored near them. They drove it, washed and waxed it approximately every 30 days. See previous mention of how Rocks take care of cars). So that was easy. And then we spent three years in Okinawa driving the Crapina (if you don't know about that beast of a car, check the archives) and an old 4Runner, aka Surf. Life was good. We spent those years wondering what kind of car we'd buy for me upon return. I visited the military Volvo sales on more than one occasion; my suggestions fell on deaf ears.

Then we moved home and Jeff's parents returned the Camry to us. Is that awesome or what? It was seriously awesome. So I drove the Camry and Jeff drove his 4Runner and all was well.

Until we had another kid and it turned out the Camry was annoyingly small for two carseats, a double stroller and Costco runs. Seriously, it was the Costco runs (oh, and the extra piece of furniture in our garage making it impossible to get an infant seat into the car) that made me lose my mind with that car. So somehow (uh, maybe it was my incessant griping and general crankiness on the matter) Jeff and I switched cars. That was about 8 months ago and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Yet I've also feel a tad bit guilty. For eight months.

So today, as I was leaving Costco with two kids and small items which have now become our standards and no stroller because we're past that stage, what with Natalie sitting in the cart and Wyatt walking or sitting next to her, I realized that my needs have changed again and I could be driving the Camry. I could give Jeff's car back to him. So I mentioned to Wyatt that we could trade cars with Daddy and he agreed. I told Wyatt he could surprise Jeff with that news at dinner. And then I forgot about that conversation.

Fast forward to dinner tonight with my elephant-minded son when he announced, "Daddy, we're going to start driving the Camry. You can have the truck again." Jeff looked baffled, but I quickly backed him up and said, "yeah, we talked about it and we're ready to trade back so you can have your car." Jeff was kind enough to suggest that we should keep things the way they are since the 4Runner is probably a safer car, so after a little back and forth between me and Jeff, it was settled. Wyatt was confused. So Jeff started explaining to Wyatt and it went a little like this:

J: Well I really appreciate the offer and that you guys would think of me, but I think you're safer in the 4Runner so I want you guys to stay in it. I mean, you'll probably drive the truck someday, Wyatt, if we can hold onto it that long. So I want you guys to be in it and...(cut off by Wyatt)

W: (interrupting) no, no, no, excuse me...excuse me....excuse me, Daddy?

J: What?

W: Um, Daddy? I'm going to drive the Camry.

And then I cracked up. And Jeff cracked up. And Wyatt cracked up because he's a social laugher if there ever was one, though he had no idea why we were laughing.

So in 13 years, when you cross paths with us and Wyatt is driving a 1997 Camry, don't feel sorry for him. It's what he wanted. And Wyatt, if you're sixteen and reading this, you did it to yourself, sweetie. We love you.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I love it. Remember when we bought super-reliable, super-practical cars like Camrys, mom always knew that there would someday be carseats in the back. She just didn't anticipate that it would still be happening generations from now!

p.s. i thought this post was headed toward, "and now I finally got my Volvo..."