Thursday, December 24, 2015

We have (another) van

We have been looking for a replacement vehicle for a while (since, you know, May of 2013 when the rear subframe of our van snapped on our way up to NY for graduation).

We said goodbye to Winnie (our '02 Ford Windstar) back then but while we were on our graduation trip in a rental we decided to have mechanic our tow driver recommended put a used piece put on her to fix her to sell her. She wasn't fixed exactly right but she got us from point A to point B (she mostly went from home to the hospital). We decided she should be a Metroplex only vehicle because we didn't trust her frame and rented a van for vacation though we have taken her to Louisiana twice to visit Glenn's parents.

God gave us Ghana ('97 Ford Taurus) when our friends moved to Ghana in the spring of '14. She has taken us to New York twice, Wyoming once, Louisiana once (?), up to Ohio in early November, and all over the metroplex. She's been a huge blessing because she sits 6 so we can all fit in her. She started making a funny noise last Thursday and I mentioned it to Glenn. When he mentioned it to his dad his dad recommended not driving it because it might be the rod. He drove it home from work anyway and had a friend who has mechanic training listen and he shouted, "Rod, rod, rod rod rod," so Glenn would turn her back off. I honestly have no idea what that means but, from what I've gathered, it's bad. Like don't drive her again bad. :(

We (really Glenn) had already been looking for vehicles more lately anyway because he wants us to have a reliable vehicle when he's gone next month and I wanted something with at least 8 seats so I can cart all 7 kids legally in a few weeks when the kids and I go up to watch my nephews and niece while my brother and sister-in-love head off to get the little girl they're adopting. The "rod" thing and the fact that Winnie seems to be having possible transmission issues and the fact that Winnie's frame is just bits of rust kind of stuck together made it more of a priority.

On Saturday Caleb had a birthday party up 199 and there are lots of used car lots up that way. While he was paint balling the rest of us used car lot hopped. We met several nice used car salesmen, figured out how to have the kind of conversation we wanted with used car salesmen (after a few mistakes), looked in several vehicles, and made Hannah get in the back of lots of vehicles to check leg room. It was helpful as we were able to cross several types of vehicles off of our possibilities list because there was not enough legroom or not enough storage space for us.

After looking at a minivan at one of the lots we noticed an old conversion van and asked about it. It had been a trade in and he didn't know much about it but let us check it out. The legroom was enormous and the seats were comfy. Hannah was in love.

After picking up Caleb, Winnie choked a bit and we kind of seriously joked about seeing if the guy would give us an even trade for her. Instead we continued to the mall and watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a special thanks to our dentist, Dr Tillman, for free tickets).

After church on Sunday, Glenn and I sat on our bed and compared craigslist ads for various vehicles we were considering, most of them being big vans (conversion or other passenger vans) and contacted a few owners.

After looking and talking for quite a while we decided to move to the urgent/ not important quadrant of our to do list and go to Six Flags to use Glenn's pass before it expired (the urgent part) and continue our conversation while in line for rides. It was so nice to just get out and have fun as a family and enjoy the pretty lights of Holiday in the Park.

While there we missed a return call from one of the owners but we got home too late to call him back so we called him on Monday afternoon. The van had 10 seats, which fit our "8 or more" desire so we decided to go check it out. The owners have 7 kids and replaced her with a newer van that seats 15 so they can bring friends along. We totally understand that since we can only fit one extra person in Winnie so if we have more than that someone has to sit illegally. Driving to the northeast corner of the metroplex during rush hour was NOT fun but we got there and checked her out. After checking her out and talking to the owner about the price we decided we would chat about it on the long drive home. Four and a half hours after leaving home we got back to Fort Worth and chatted with friends from our small group about whether we should buy her or not and decided to do so.

Tuesday afternoon we drove back out there and picked her up and, while the dads worked on paperwork and talked about more of the van's idiosyncrasies, I had a great conversation with the wife (another homeschool mom) and our kids had fun playing with each other. I think that our families would be great friends if they didn't live on "the other side of the world."

Welcome to the family, Black Beauty (her given name) or The Beast (what I think we should call her) or something else... we haven't come to an agreement on her name yet. She may not be our forever car but she has room for more than just us and we are grateful for her and I guess I will be getting used to driving a big van. We get to try her out for her first #wanderingmaases adventure today as we go to Lake Charles to visit Glenn's family for Christmas.
It has 4 captain's seats and a bench that sits 4 in the back (that also folds down into a bed). 
We could live in there or at least use it as a play house (which the girls did yesterday with a friend).
Now, to decide what to do with our other 2 vehicles...

Thanks, God, for providing a vehicle for us. Please help us to use it for Your glory.