Cars and Balance

Today, being Friday, we must look away from the importance of breast-feeding in public, women's equality 'round the globe, the silent struggles of stay-at-home dads, and whether it is okay for Britney to walk around naked in front of her two as yet uncorrupted young sons.

Today's topic is one I have overlooked for far too long. A subject imperative to balance: your car.

So tell us: What do you drive? What does your spouse (if you have one) drive? What key possessions do you have in your car? What role does your automobile play in the balancing act you call your life? How has this changed over time? Does your car have a name? And if you don't have a car, do you feel liberated or burdened by it?

Here's my nitty gritty car history.

When my husband and I started dating, I drove a 1976 copper VW Beetle with a sunroof, cracked white leather interior and no heat (in Chicago). The first time he drove it he accidentally pulled out the emergency brake. I sadly sold the Bug when I moved to New York City to be with him.

For my first 10 years as a mom, I drove a black Ford Expedition. I felt as tough as a truck driver. My young kids, snug in their car seats, high above all oncoming vehicles, were safe. I had two McDonald's Bratz (one with pink hair, the other with orange) superglued onto the front bumper as hood ornaments. I only drove about five miles per day, so I didn't worry (too much) about destroying the environment. It seemed more prudent to keep my kids protected from lunatic drunk drivers in Dodge Rams and 18 wheelers. And our babysitter could handle driving an American car.

This past summer we bought the once-dreaded, now-revered minivan, a Honda Odyssey. It's the car that tries to eliminate everything hard about being a parent driving multiple kids around for hours every day. Automatic sliding doors. Seatbelts that are easy for a five-year-old to buckle. Lots of storage. A hatchback low enough to the ground that the dog can jump in without a footstool. And best of all, headphones so my kids can listen to High School Musical II while I tune into NPR.

Each car has brought its own brand of happiness into my life. What about you?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 28, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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I, of course, drive "the blue shark special". Complete with dorsal fin!

Posted by: nonamehere | September 28, 2007 7:44 AM

r we also discussing the leadfoot drivers :-)

I push a gas guzzling SUV during the week and a "play" car on the weekends

neither of which were made in this millenium

Posted by: bigdaddycpa | September 28, 2007 8:11 AM

I drive a 1992 Honda accord. This week, the AC broke, then the back window got stuck halfway down. So I'm praying for drought til tomorrow, when I'll be taking the door apart. (I'm suddenly thankful for my dad, who always made me work on the family cars with him, against my will.)

Overall, this has been an amazing car. I bought it four years ago, while I was still in college, and it has never had any engine problems. It's very fuel efficient and zippy in traffic.

Once DH finishes grad school, I'll probably shop for a newer car. Just knowing that I'm driving a 15 year old car makes me a little nervous.

Posted by: klynnwilder | September 28, 2007 8:13 AM

I drive a 7 year old Toyota 4-Runner to and from the metro. It was purchased to tow a sailboat (and later a powerboat) and haul 2 labrador retrievers. The boat and the dogs left the picture with the ex-BF and I was left with a paid off vehicle. When I want a "city" car -- I drive my mother's VW Jetta. No matter what size vehicle I drive it's always filled with stuff... currently there is sailing gear, running shoes,...

Posted by: tntkate | September 28, 2007 8:18 AM

I proposed to Frieda in the backseat of my 1967 Plymouth Valiant Signet. (No, get your mind out of the gutter, that is what beaches are for!)

It was first car that I actually owned and I bought it after returning from a certain place overseas. Drove it thru my college years and the first years of our marriage.

It had power NOTHING, 6-60 air conditioning, AM (only) radio and another unique feature: the doors would fly open if you went around a corner too fast.

Frieda drove it exactly once and remarked, "It doesn't drive like my daddy's Mercedes.)

(if you want that full story, just ask!)

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 8:21 AM

My husband and I share a RAV-4. When we met, we each had a car and it took a lot of convincing for me to let go of that arrangement. I insisted that we experiment for a month, parking one car and trying to live with just the other. It worked, so we took the plunge and sold our Civic.

Having one car is great, at least in our semi-urban neighborhood. It forces us to do things as a family more often, walk a lot, and slow down. Now I want to hold out for as long as possible as a one-car family.

The biggest downside is not being as able to offer rides to friends or other kids. Between us and our two kids (with their bulky car seats), a guest can be pretty squished.

Posted by: violinline | September 28, 2007 8:24 AM

I drive an 8 year old mazda protege and DH drives a 7 year old cavalier. His car sucks lemons. Mine is still trusting and running strong. But anything after 8 years is a bit questionable. I would love a Honda Odyssey but seems like too much car for a family with one kid. I am praying that the car lasts till DD is in kindergarten and full time day care stops. We will replace the stupid cavalier in 2008. I am hoping he goes with a sensible hybrid but I doubt he will choose that.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 28, 2007 8:25 AM

I drive a Chevy equinox and my husband drives a pontiac grand am. We only buy GM cars since we grew up near a plant and his dad gets a discount.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 8:29 AM

We are going to need to buy a car soon. Everybody I know who owns a minivan loves it, but I just can't do it (I will be the primary driver of this car).

My only real criteria are that (1) it is SAFE SAFE SAFE (as in top of the line safety); (2) it comfortably hauls two your children plus all their related junk; and (3) it has (or can have) a DVD system placed in the front headseats or some other place for the kids.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: londonmom | September 28, 2007 8:30 AM

Foamgnome -- It might even be worth having another kid just to get the Odyssey. I can't believe my worst nightmare (driving a minivan) has become my happy reality.

My 10 year old is really supportive of hybrid and electric cars and is always devising schemes to force people to buy them (his latest being that all cars made in 2010 be non-gas using). So I think our next car, whenever that is, will be a Prius.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 8:34 AM

I don't drive and I have never owned a car.

I don't feel burdened because I bought a house that is close to major bus lines and is walking distance from most places I need to go.

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 8:35 AM

I have a Saab station wagon. It was bought at a very different time in our lives, when I was working and DH got an employee discount on all GM cars. We're keeping it pretty much forever (since it's paid off), and I love it more than is probably reasonable, but it's definitely not a car I'd buy now. The service costs are astronomical.

If we can ever manage to have a second child, we'll consider a mini-van. For now, though the wagon has everything we need. Plus, ventilated front seats to keep us cooler during the NC summers. I wish all cars had them...

Posted by: newsahm | September 28, 2007 8:38 AM

I don't drive. for the past week my wife had the luxury of socializing with all the teachers and checking out the new renovations on the buildings at back to school week. I, like always, got stuck at home with the burdon of babysitting my kids.

Life really sucks if you can't drive.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 8:44 AM

When we moved to the DC area, we had 2 cars. I Metro-ed to work, he drove. My car stayed parked for about a year, so we sold it. We still have our Elantra hatchback. Now I drive, and he Metro-s, but he started a business that requires him to drive a few days a week, so we had to get a second car. Since we had a baby and want more, we got a hideous gold 2001 Honda Odessey. I love that beast, despite the fact that it's an eyesore and a tank. When we drive into the city, we take the Elantra. I did get an ovation for parallel parking the tank in DC once. Never again will that van see DC.

Posted by: atb2 | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

My husband and I (2 person family) have two cars, a '99 Jeep Cherokee and an '04 Honda Civic. Both we bought after we married. The Honda is for commuting (we carpool together), and the Jeep is for hauling the dogs and gear, for moving, and for back-up when the Honda is in the shop.

We'll have to buy a new SUV soon, and we're looking into hybrid ones.

Of all the cars I've owned, my favorite was my '89 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (complete with wood panelling). It had a carberator (sp?) (therefore no fuel injection), no AC, and no power steering. Yet it had power windows, which of course constantly broke. I sold the car on eBay and cried when the guy drove off. Isn't it funny how attached some of us get to cars?

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

I drove a Tahoe until I was pregnant with baby #2 and then I could not open the doors with my belly and the car carrier, so I bought the Odessey and it has been amazing. Fast forward a few years, and we just passed the minivan to the nanny for everyday driving and I got a 3 series BMW convertible. Now, I have the fun car. The kids love it and so do I.

Posted by: MomTo2Kids | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

I commute to work on a 1992 Honda Nighthawk 750 (motorcycle), but not as often as I should. What's not to like? 50 mpg, accelerates like a scalded egg, park it anywhere, durable as an anvil.

If you want to feel safe in a car (any car), learn to ride a motorcycle. Seriously. Nothing teaches you how to avoid lunatic drivers quite like being out in the wind. You learn very quickly how to identify and avoid those *other* maniacs on the road.

Nobody likes hearing that, but it's the truth.

Posted by: fsupik | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

Londonmom,

As much as you may hate the idea, your requirements are perfectly fulfilled by a mommyvan. I mean even the Kia mommy van has a very high crash rating (5 star, I think.) You will not believe the utility of one until you own one and want to haul the kids plus that new bathroom vanity back to the house!

AF dau survived a highspeed head on crash in one (sniff, it was the boobiemobile) with not much more than a cut lip.

Besides, Hula Girl is rather "attached" to one!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

Oh yeah, and the Wagoneer got 7 miles per gallon. SEVEN. What a POS it was.

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 8:49 AM

We have a 1998 Subaru wagon--the perfect family car for a two-children-and-a-dog family (with the added bonus of being powerful enough to haul a trailer up mountains for camping trips) and a 2006 Scion xB. I wasn't wild about getting the Scion, but it's been a great car--inexpensive, fabulous space inside, good gas mileage. Since DH works nights and I work days, we use the Scion for commuting and the Subaru for family trips or hauling stuff.

Before the Scion I was driving around a 1988 Oldsmobile 88. This really WAS my father's Oldsmobile--we bought it from him for $1 in 2003 and really got our money's worth. But it was a gas guzzler, needed a new transmission, and the seatbelts started getting stuck so, alas, it went the way of all things.

And before the Olds, we were a one-car family for many years, and this was at a time when my husband and I were both working normal office hours. I took public transportation (in Baltimore, hardly a great town for public transit) and was surprised to find that I loved taking the bus! It only added about 15 minutes to my commute, it gave me an hour and a half to myself each day to read or listen to music, it was dirt cheap compared to driving (no gas, no parking, no insurance, no maintenance--probably saved us a couple hundred dollars each month), and I felt morally superior to all the schmucks driving around downtown in their Hummers.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 28, 2007 8:57 AM

Fred, I'm asking about Daddy's Mercedes! Sounds like a story and a half!

I drive a passat wagon. We've successfully avoided ever possessing a minivan. While there are those who enjoy them, I personally loathe them. I want to feel the engine, which is the other car is a bmw convertible. And yes, those of you with young kids will get older and get able to afford one. We did the suburban thing when there were 4 at home, but things got better.

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 9:00 AM

Londonmom--check out Subarus. The Legacy or Outback wagons or the Forester are all super-safe, have plenty of space for two kids and lots of junk, should be able to have a DVD player installed (not sure on that--I've never quite understood the appeal so I've never looked into it), and aren't minivans!

Posted by: sarahfran | September 28, 2007 9:01 AM

londonmom, why do you want the dvd option? It costs a fortune to factory install and you can get a dvd player with screen for cheap. Jeez, we just put the xbox in the middle with a portable screen and the boys either play games or watch movies but only when doing long haul.

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 9:04 AM

Hmm, somewhere along the line I had a Mitsubishi Mighty Max. I loved that little truck, until it tragically met its demise on a wet, windy road two days before it was scheduled to get new tires. They weren't "racing slicks", but they were darned close!

Then it was a Saturn SL2. 10 years, 240K miles with the original engine and clutch. *sniff*

Now it's a Saturn L200. Pushing 170K. No way to know for certain since the odometer died a few years ago. So did my Hobbs meter! THAT upset me.

I also have a Ford 150 that a family member gave me when the drivers license was relenquished. Trust me, we ALL breathed easier when that happened. Too many accidents, someone was going to get hurt or killed.

My favourite cars that the family has owned were the Checker stationwagon (a civilian tank!) and the Aston Martin DB5. Yes, I had fantasies of installing the machine guns. No luck though.

Now I find myself wanting a station wagon. Diesel. Gotta haul around the kids, the dogs, the instruments and the feed and bedding for the BIG beasties. And while it's impossible, I would love to continue to get at least 30 mpg, or more.

Coffee time! Anyone want to join me in a cybercup?

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 9:06 AM

maryland_mother - I'll join you for a cybercup! I'm having a tough time waking up this morning myself.... iced with milk and fake sugar for me!

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 9:07 AM

Subaru's are the best! My first car was an Outback that I loved (and still do)and miss...we had to get rid of it when our 3rd and 4th kids were on the way. We traded it for Dodge Caravan that has been nothing but trouble ever since.

With 5 kids- I live in my car. The kids each have toys in the pockets of their car seats and my trunk is full of extra diapers, wipes, sweaters, towels and granola bars. We live in a n area where many things are within walking distance, but I still don't think I could manage without my car. We did get rid of my husband's car recently and have found having only one car to work just fine for us. I do refuse to have a DVD player installed b/c I don't think it is necessary to watch movies everytime we get in the car. We do have a portable one that we usually break out around hour 5 of the 12 hour drive to my Mom's.

Leslie- I think I will find a way to get headphones on my girls, because the idea of getting to listen to NPR (without complaint from the backseat) instead of High School Musical sounds like a dream!

Posted by: michelewilson | September 28, 2007 9:12 AM

maryland_mother, the Toyota Matrix (a stationwagon) gets 28-30 miles to the gallon, is not a hybrid, takes regular unleaded gas, and comes with that rubber/plastic coating in the trunk area (including over the wheel covers, all the way up to the windows) for hauling dogs and other messy things.

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 9:13 AM

My first car was a motorcycle. Gosh that was fun -- cold and wet sometimes given it was my only motorized transportation. I try to keep this a secret from my kids now :)
I then drove a series of rusty but funky pick-up trucks and became accustomed to breaking down on the side of the road. Finally bought a very small but new Subaru. When I was 8.5 months pregnant with DD #1, the front door ceased to open from the inside. I had to beg someone to open the door from the outside or crawl over the stickshift.
I just gave up on a 12-year-old Toyota wagon I loved but was costing me too much in repairs and replaced it with a tiny Honda Fit. Great gas mileage but you SUV drivers stay away from me! My car is like the size of a ladybug.

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 28, 2007 9:13 AM

Meesh -- One of the strange phenomena of modern life: our affection for our cars. I still wonder where that 76 Bug is now. And I can't let go of my old Ford Expedition with the troll dolls on front. I move it around the neighborhood every few days so it doesn't get towed. Cannot bear to think of someone else driving it!!!

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 9:16 AM

I drove a mommyvan for seven years. Got it when I moved 650 miles from my family, because my Corolla wagon was awful on long trips with 2 kids (no cruise control, no luggage space, no power anything). The van was OK -- it didn't look like a Dodge Caravan, it had supplemental A/C (we were in Savannah), and it got decent mileage, although nothing like the Corolla. STBX absolutely HATED it -- apparently, showing up in a Mazda MPV on vacation or at the ball field was just too emasculating.

Once the van was seven years old, we started talking about new cars, and I expressed interest in a Sienna. He wanted an SUV. I said that I wasn't interested, especially not in a Suburban or Expedition. Two kids and a Lab would fit just fine in another minivan. He usually drove a (still-new at the time) Avalon. Well, the day before Thanksgiving in 1999, he asked to drive the Mazda to work. And he came home with (you all see this coming, right) a burgundy Ford Expedition. I hate it, I have always hated it and I will always hate it. The three days a year it gets me through the snow are NOT offset by the other 362 days I have to lumber around in it, try to back it up, squeeze it into parking spaces and get, I don't know, 1/2 mile to the gallon. I only keep it becuase it's paid for and my commute is less than 10 miles round trip.

We could have moved the boys into dorm rooms with a minivan. We could have hauled a small trailer on vacations with a minivan. We could go to the warehouse store with a minivan, or the hardware store, or anywhere except off-road with a minivan. And we didn't exactly off-road frequently. Well, OK, if you go to Ocean City, and you want to take your dog on the beach, you can go to the fishing beach in Delaware, drive onto the beach, and your dog can be with you, and I suppose you can't do that in a minivan...but I haven't done that in a while now.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 28, 2007 9:17 AM

How do you figure out your car's actual MPG? Do you just write down the mileage when you fill up the tank and then divide when it's empty? Or do you all go by the manufacturer's info?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 9:17 AM

We have four cars. We grow our own used cars by always buying a new one and then passing them all down.

I "have" the 1996 Subaru Legacy wagon. It's not driven much, but we keep it for parking at airports and on the occasional snowy day. I do not advise it as a family car -- camping trips to New Hampshire were a bear in that car. The backseat is not very comfortable either. We had children mushed in the back seat, rear area full of stuff, roof rack stuffed. The car couldn't accelerate up the hills with the A/C on. We rent an SUV or minivan for that trip these days.

Older son drives a Camry, which is a great car and big enough for packing a dorm room. Younger son has a hand-me down Civic Hybrid. Good for commutes to Rockville.

Our newest is a Toyota Prius. Truthfully we like the Honda hybrid better. It's easier to see out the windows and it handles more like a real car.

Our next purchase to replace the Camry will be a Honda "Fit". They're going to put a hybrid engine into it in an upcoming year.

Don't even ask what our insurance runs!

Posted by: RedBird27 | September 28, 2007 9:18 AM

dotted,

As usual, you are my hero, LOL. I am mightily resisting the siren song of the dreaded minivan. Owning one would make me want to hurl, although I understand that engines aren't nearly as important to others as they are to us. If I can only get those adolescent friends of my son to shrink their legs and eat fewer snacks, we might make it through the next 6 years without succumbing.

Note to self: test-drive passat wagon. Imagine golden retriever and his friend sharing space with 4 kids and 2 adults. Stifle laughter.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 9:19 AM

I do the math. One trip I got 40 mpg in the Fit, better than maufacturer's mpg rating! (Of course, a stiff breeze can practically blow me off the road but I'm very proud of my gas mileage!)

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 28, 2007 9:22 AM

"How do you figure out your car's actual MPG? Do you just write down the mileage when you fill up the tank and then divide when it's empty? Or do you all go by the manufacturer's info?"

I reset the trip odometer each time I fill up with gas, so to figure out the actual MPG I divide the trip mileage by however much gas I just put in to figure out my MPG. With the Scion, so far, it's been almost exactly what the manufacturer said (about 33 mpg). I'm a bit obsessive about this, but I've also found that keeping track of my mileage is a good early warning system for needed repairs or maintenance--if you start getting slightly worse mileage, it usually means the tires need more air. If there's a sudden big drop, take it to the mechanic to see what's up.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 28, 2007 9:26 AM

With all due respect to good motorcycle drivers out there, I disagree with fsupik (go seminoles?).

Motorcycles are good for the environment and economical when they are a person's sole mode of transportation. However, most people who own them use them as extra "fun" vechicles, so that means "fun" driving instead of neccessary driving, which means burning more fuel than you normally would.

And I doubt that driving a bike would teach me anything about reckless drivers that I could translate into car driving. Bikes are much more manuverable, so the steps you take to avoid an accident on a bike are different from the ones you would execute in a car.

Also, you have to learn to avoid cars in a bike because nothing else on the road accelerates like that. If you're going faster than everything else on the road, you are a hazard and making the road unsafe for everyone. If you're going the same speed, you don't have to avoid any accidents that other drivers don't deal with everyday.

Okay, rant over.

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 9:27 AM

Since Fred no longer graces us with the cultural fact of the day, I have been inspired to contribute a Minnesota tidbit of the day.

Today's MTOTD:

The annual auction of bison from the resident herd at Blue Mounds State Park will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28 at the park. Blue Mounds State Park is located in southwestern Minnesota. From the town of Luverne, go north four miles on Minnesota Highway 75. Turn east on County Road 20 and go one mile to the park entrance.

Be there or be square, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 9:29 AM

Leslie, why couldn't your babysitter handle driving a foreign car?

And the lines between American and foreign cars are totally blurred anyway. Most foreign cars sold in the U.S. are made in factories in the U.S.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 28, 2007 9:31 AM

I drive a minivan and absolutely love it. I don't plan to be without one until the kids are in college. My dream car b.k. was a loaded black Passat with butter leather interior, which I paid for in cash thanks to a massive and well deserved bonus. It got flooded 18 months later, and by then I'd had my first, so it was minivan city for me. If dreams come true, I will get a BMW 3 series convertible when my kids are in college, because they are just so much fun to drive.

My first car (bought in high school) was a piece of junk, but I've got some great stories and it really made me appreciate having a new car when I was able to afford it. I don't understand parents who buy their kids new cars. Where's the fun in that? My stepdaughter drives a Toyota that's older than she is, but I'll tell you what: when she graduates college and can finally buy a Civic or a Jetta, she is going to really LOVE her car, and for the rest of her life, she can tell stories about the old piece of junk she drove in college.

One item to add: my husband is a genius with anything mechanical, so repairs on old(er) clunkers are no big deal to him. I can see that this could be a consideration for others who may not be so inclined.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 28, 2007 9:35 AM

Meesh: I took, but did not complete Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training class. My one take away was that riding a motorcycle teaches a hyperawareness of physical road conditions (crown of the road, unmilled pavement) and other drivers. While it is true that motorcycles are more manuverable, they are also more vulnerable. That said irresponsible motorcyclists (like those that predominate on 495 between the Wilson Bridge and College Park) drive me CRAZY!.

Posted by: tntkate | September 28, 2007 9:36 AM

We have a 2002 Honda Odyssey, and my spouse loves it. Drives like a car, hauls everything, comfortable entry / exit for older parents, takes both daughters to / from college dorms.

Our other car is a used 2002 Ford Taurus from a returned lease.

Both are 5-star rated.

We only drive each vehicle about 6,000 miles annually. We run our vehicles into the ground, and never lease. Previous vehicle a 13 year old car), and a 10 year old van.

Leslie, recommend you fill the gas tank, drive the vehicle, and fill the tank again. EPA estimates are just that under ideal lab conditions.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | September 28, 2007 9:37 AM

My main priority when buying a car before My son was born was safety -- something that could stand up to the SUVs on the road without getting one ourselves. We got a Mercedes (paid off this month!!). We bought it used (one year, 20k miles, like new), so it costs less than most SUVs. It also outweighs most SUVs, is built like a tank, and has lots of safety features, so it can hold its own in an accident. It drives like a dream AND it gets 30 mpg. Next time, we'll be back at the Mercedes dealer!

Previous car was a Saturn, which I loved when I was single but felt was too light for hauling kids around. First car: Dodge Dart. Merciless teasing for that in high school and college when everyone else drove "cool" cars, but then again, it was the one everyone piled into for group outings (and isn't everything in high school a group outing?) because it was the only one that would hold everybody. A 'character-building' car that I now remember fondly!

Posted by: topicaltimely | September 28, 2007 9:38 AM

How do you figure out your car's actual MPG? Do you just write down the mileage when you fill up the tank and then divide when it's empty? Or do you all go by the manufacturer's info?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 09:17 AM

Math--back when the odometer was working. I'll let you in on my weird little secret, I keep a little memorandum book in my car(s) and every time I buy gas I write down the date, mileage (when applicable), the price per gallon and the number of gallons. I also write down when it gets serviced, how much, what was going on, etc. If I were REALLY particular, I'd include the ongoing insurance cost for that particular vehicle. Fortunately, it's low, but it still adds up.

Engineers, why in the world won't the car companies install a hobbs meter? I had to go find an airplane mechanic to put one in for me. It was VERY frustrating. I think that hours per use in conjunction with miles driven would give us a lot of useful information.

Someday a child will want a car, and will inherit a beater. At least they'll know it was properly maintained!

Meesh, thanks for the tip on the Matrix. True confessions, I was looking at a Honda CR-V two weeks ago and feeling lustful. It was a beautiful dark blue, AWD, moonroof...I was also fantasizing about a Brenderup.

*sigh*

I'm just too cheap to get rid of a car before it's 10 years of age or better. I pretty much want them driven into the ground, first.

Dotted, I'm with you on the milk (skim, please), but you lost me on the fake sugar! Come on, it's CYBER coffee, you can enjoy the real thing!

Speaking of "the real thing", has anyone else here discovered the Reading Draft sodas? Ohmigod, they have wonderful sodas. White birch beer is my favourite, the kids prefer the orange cream and vanilla cream. The sarsparilla is wonderful too.

Hmm, I think it's time to get another case. And some amaretto and orange cream cordials too. (I hide those from the kids and bring them into work. You all are invited to have some.)

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 9:38 AM

MN, good call! Have you been watching "The War" on PBS this week? I assume so, since Luverne, MN., figures prominently in the depiction of the home front during WW II.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 9:38 AM

DH has a passat, which he loves. When I was due with DS #1, I told him we needed a new car. He had a miata (number 1 reason for selling one is your wife is pregnant - that's how he got it in the first place) and a chevy blazer, which I HATED. So we sold both and got the passat.
At some point, when we were thinking of a second, I told him I was going to need a new car. When we took DS with 2 dogs and all the gear to his parent's cabin for the weekend, he realized I was correct (I drove an acura integra at the time). SO I went shopping for something with a third row seat (so we could actually have a passenger in the car other than the family) and I liked smaller cars, so I didn't want a HUGE SUV. So I came home one day with the news to DH: there's a reason people drive minivans.

So I drive a Mazda MPV (the mini-est of minivans). I really like it. It's small, compared to other minivans, which I like. We use my car on weekends now - and even tho DH protests, I think he actually likes it.

AND, for the au pair, last spring we got a VW jetta (1997, I think). What a PAIN IN THE NECK it is to get a used car (it's manual). So we actually have three cars.

Yes, as mentioned yesterday, I feel burdened by the car. I SO HATE DRIVING> even though we never go too far (that's why we live in the city). I so want to move somewhere I could never have to drive again *sigh*.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 9:41 AM

The Mercedes Story

(Good thing Frieda is on vacation and will not see this!)

Her daddy owned a 1972 MB 280 SE. It was a beautiful car--such a engineering marvel for a mass produced car back then.

On to the story, my Valiant had manual brakes, manual steering, manual windows (but automatic opening door!) but it did have an auto transmission. Frieda decided she wanted to drive it for some reason in uptown N.O. So off we went up Oak street when we came to S. Carrolton. The street car runs in the middle of Carrolton so you have to cross one lane of traffic stop on the streetcar tracks and make a turn onto Carrolton when the other lane is clear. She made it onto the neutral ground (you know, the median) and then made a left turn onto Carrolton. Well, she only turned the wheel 1/2 turn when you needed about 16 turns of the wheel to go round a corner. We were headed straight towards a flower shop on the corner when I reached over and gave the wheel about 15 1/2 more cranks.

When we were finally going straight down Carrolton she looked at me and said, "This doesn't drive like my daddy's Mercedes!"


(She hates it when I tell this story!)

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 9:44 AM

Leslie, how about a discussion here one day on Mass Transit and Balance, too?

Since this blog is based in a major city, it might be appropriate for chatters to discuss how they handle riding public transportation, especially with children in tow -- either in lieu of motor vehicle ownership, or instead of owning so many. You could consider, e.g., issues like youth discounts, and whether employers subsidize free or reduced-fare benefits for employees (which DH and I enjoy here in our flyover-country urban area).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 9:46 AM

off balance update: Fo4's voicemail from a year ago just popped up on my cell phone as "about to expire" and for the 10th time i saved it for another 40 days. his voicemail is as good as his posts.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 9:52 AM

Good idea mehitabel,
I live far from public transport but when we go into Boston, my kids love the trains. They love to stand up and try to keep their balance as it moves and they love to watch all the different people who get on and off. Never mind the museums -- we'll just ride the subway for entertainment.

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 28, 2007 9:54 AM

we have a 97 Dodge Dakota long-bed pickup and a 98 Honda Civic. Bought both used and got good deals. It makes a HUGE difference in our lives that we don't have car payments! Think about all the extra trips and little luxuries we get to have because we insist on driving cheap, old cars.

We're incredibly fortunate now because DH has a government car, which means gas is paid for, and commuting time counts as time on the job! It means he's home more and our onld beater truck gets reserved for the real tasks we bought it for: renovating the house and frequent trips to the dump!

Posted by: newslinks1 | September 28, 2007 9:55 AM

Maryland Mother wrote: "I keep a little memorandum book in my car(s) and every time I buy gas I write down the date, mileage (when applicable), the price per gallon and the number of gallons. I also write down when it gets serviced, how much, what was going on, etc."

Oh, Maryland Mother, you bring back such fond memories of the only new vehicle our family ever owned. My father kept a pocket-sized logbook where he meticulously recorded all that info, too, although (back in the era before mandatory state inspections) he did all the basic maintenance/tuneups of the car himself.

After about 20 years my dad bought a newer (albeit gently-used) car, but since the old flivver still ran pretty well he sold it to a young man ISO a first car. The new owner repainted it a different color and fixed it up. For several more years, from time to time my dad would see the car moving in traffic or parked along a street, and it pleased him to know that the car still ran.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 9:56 AM

Oh, and funny story from this week:

We get in the mail a ticket from a red light camera. It was, apparently, for my au pair's car. So I was looking and looking at it - as my DH has a VW passat and the au pair drives a VW jetta, and they're both silver, to make sure I knew which car it was.

So she was REALLY upset about it. I felt almost bad - but at least she knows someone's watching (DS was not in the car at the time - he was in preschool).

We weren't upset, as it doesn't affect insurance (they can't prove who was driving), so she just needs to pay the fine. But she was so upset.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 9:59 AM

sniffle, sniffle. This subject bring a tear of joy to eye. I drive a pearl white 2007 g35 infiniti. My wife drives a black 2004 expedition. I love cars.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:01 AM

Speaking of Mercedes, does anyone want to buy Perry's old one?

I will autograph it.

It's is a lovely navy blue with tan leather interior. He's a fanatic about keeping cars neat so it hasn't been trashed like my Expedition. No funky hood ornaments.

Year 2000

ML 430

Around 35,000 miles

Blue book value ranges from $13-17,000 (wholesale vs. retail price).

Email me your best offer!

leslie@lesliemorgansteiner.com

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:02 AM

BTW a discussion on the coolness of cars is really wasted on women. Most women I know are fine if the thing is full of gas and gets them to their destination. Conversely a discussion about handbags with men is essentially pointless too.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:03 AM

When my 2-door hatchback developed major issues a few months after #1 kid was born, we bought a 2002 Civic 4 door. 2 door vehicles and infant seats are not a good combination. We kind of wanted a minivan but managed to restrain ourselves at the time when we only had one kid and also didn't want to commit to large car payments at the time. Even though we knew we would probably want/need a larger vehicle eventually, we figured that's what we'd get to replace my husband's 1996 Prizm when the time came. So we bought a 2002 Honda Odyssey (used) a few months before #3 arrived. We still have and use the Civic but we can't fit all three kids in it due to carseats. So we exchange vehicles a lot depending on who will have all three kids. I'd be tempted to buy another larger vehicle just for the convenience except I've noticed the huge difference in gas and car maintenance due to having the minivan. And rumor has it that the kids won't be in carseats forever.

Posted by: rockvillemom | September 28, 2007 10:08 AM

Atlmom: When I read "DS was not in the car at the time - he was in preschool," my immediate reaction was that that was how you figured out he wasn't the one driving (LOL!). Thanks for the smile. But it's also a sign that I must go get more caffeine -- NOW!!!

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:10 AM

Yes, driving my G-35 is the only way that I can balance out driving the Creepy Van (tm) on those Lowe's and Home Depot trips!

Speaking of which, it is time to go wash the G-35!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:11 AM

pATRICK,

Gee, you were not intrigued by AF Dau bullet proof Coach purse?

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:13 AM

Speaking of which, it is time to go wash the G-35

ME TOO! It is friday and nothing better than driving home in a clean shiny G35.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:16 AM

Fred,
I learned to drive on a Plymouth Fury land yacht - power nothing! I remember turning and turning the steering wheel to go around a corner and really standing on the brake.
Fast forward to my first vehicle with power steering and power brakes. I almost ran into myself the first time I drove it as I yanked the wheel as tho it were the Fury. Stopped pretty quick too as I remember.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 28, 2007 10:18 AM

Mehitabel: well, actually my other DS asked last night if he could DRAW a car on the road.

And I thought he asked if he could DRIVE a car on the road. So I told him no and he asked why and I said mommy and daddy would go to jail...etc...and he got a little upset and wondered what i was talking about. So then it was all cleared up, but pretty funny, at least to me.

but no, we don't let either kid (2 and 5) drive yet.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 10:19 AM

BTW a discussion on the coolness of cars is really wasted on women. Most women I know are fine if the thing is full of gas and gets them to their destination. Conversely a discussion about handbags with men is essentially pointless too.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:03 AM

Oh, I don't know about that. I married into a family of car nuts (male and female) and, while *my* idea of a cool car is "a (sort-of fast) red convertible" or "the car Tom Selleck drove in Magnum PI" my SIL can talk intelligently about things like the relative merits of a Shelby (a Mustang, right?) versus a Torino.

And I had a cool car once -- a Beetle with an clutchless manual (you shifted gears and eased up on the gas pedal when you shifted -- and I don't have any idea of the point of THAT for a 1/3 hp engine!) that didn't start if the outside temp was above 80, that had heat on the feet only and non-closeable vents on the 'dashboard' that blew cold air on your hands (so I had sweaty feet and frostbitten fingers in the winter) and all the other quirks of a Beetle.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 28, 2007 10:19 AM

We have an 8 year old Mazda protege, and a 4 year old MPV (minivan). I usually drive the Protege, but we switch off as necessary if we need more room or are carrying the kid around. It really is not that big of an issue with only one child now. I love the roominess of the minivan, but I prefer the Protege. I just find it easier to maneuver. The Protege has been great so far, and is still going strong (even if it looks a little worn and worse for the wear). I hope it lasts another couple of years at least (I think it easily will). It is nice not having a car payment. After that, we will probably replace it with something comparable. And when the minivan dies, we will get another one.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 10:22 AM

KLB, was the Plymoyuth Fury the car in "Christine"?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:24 AM

KLB, was the Plymouth Fury the car in "Christine"?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:24 AM

Awww pATRICK, that's not true for every woman...

I agree with the motorcycle driver, I think it's obvious if you drive a small car versus a large lifted truck or large hummer/SUV. When you are used to driving a small car you can really see how all these other cars on the road could easily destroy you and so therefore have to drive almost defensively, not letting your ego get in the way, and make sure to avoid accidents that would be the other person's fault.

My first car was an '87 Ford Tempo. I loved that car. It wasn't anythign special, but I was so sad when I heard the kid we sold it to totalled it about a month later. *sniff* I drive a '95 Chevy Camaro right now and love it. It is maybe a bit too big for me, but it's the smaller engine (3.4 liter) so gets ok mileage (22-24 in my city/highway combo driving) and is unique and fun for me. Unfortunately, it's in the shop right now! Sometimes I call it "Barbie's Dream Car" because it seems like it's largely made out of plastic and if it were pink reminds me of a barbie car I had as a child. Would love to get a civic hybrid, but new car is not on the menu right now.

As far as parents getting DVD players for their kids so they can listen to what they want, I think that's silly. My parents ALWAYS chose what was on the radio, no matter where we were going. I soon developed an appreciation for my Mom's jazz/soul music and my Father's classic rock. And my Mom introduced me to NPR as well, and I also remember a little gold casette tape that had many of Mozart's classics on it. It's not a bad thing to get your kid to broaden their horizons a little with what you choose to listen to, whether it is "cool" or not.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 10:25 AM

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 28, 2007 10:19 AM

True, you will find some women here and there. But from my experience and (horror) women tend to let the car get trashed and don't give a flip. See Leslie as example above.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:26 AM

In regards to an earlier comment about DVD players - please don't get one if it is mounted so that at night the car behind you can see it. They are a distraction. I find myself changing lanes to get away from them (I drive a Jetta so maybe another mini-van or SUV wouldn't have the same angle). You wouldn't want to be rear ended because the driver behind you was distracted by the DVD your kids were watching and took slightly longer to notice your brake lights.

Posted by: mom_of_1 | September 28, 2007 10:27 AM

pATRICK -- that is the nicest compliment you have ever paid to women on this blog! Imagine, we don't care about a material object except for its practical purpose. Thank you!

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:30 AM

BTW a discussion on the coolness of cars is really wasted on women. Most women I know are fine if the thing is full of gas and gets them to their destination. Conversely a discussion about handbags with men is essentially pointless too.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:03 AM

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 28, 2007 10:19 AM

True, you will find some women here and there. But from my experience and (horror) women tend to let the car get trashed and don't give a flip. See Leslie as example above.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:26 AM

Even by your standards, this is insulting tripe, LOL. You wouldn't consider Leslie an example of all womanhood in any other context. Don't start now. We've discussed before that you need to get out with a more interesting crowd of women - lord knows there are plenty who appreciate both design AND power.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 10:32 AM

Actually, when we went on a road trip to FL, my DH discussed it and we realized that it would make things much better if we had a DVD in the car. So we bought one - but it's portable. So we put it in the car when we're going far (in the car more than 2 hours, depending). The kids don't expect it on a daily basis, and they are occupied on a long haul - and really, when we were kids, there were no carseats, people didn't use seatbelts, technically you could just curl up in the back and take a nap - but you can't do that now.

But we don't often listen to the radio/music, but sometimes, but the only thing in my car is kid music.

Or i put on the spanish language station so the kids can learn spanish. hasn't happened yet, but i'm hoping that 10 minutes every few months will work!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 10:32 AM

I care! I want a late 60s model Camaro SS, or maybe an early 70s corvette. However, my husband is logical and knows that we don't need anything sucking money/time out of our lives. So *sigh* no classic car for me...

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 10:33 AM

Re those who "tend to let the car get trashed and don't give a flip":

I would gently suggest to pATRICK that some people, regardless of gender, tend to take good care of their possessions (not just vehicles) and keep them functioning well for as long as possible rather -- than running them into the ground, which is a wasteful trait, not a practical one (Leslie).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:34 AM

MN,

So, which model Ferrari can I interest you in?

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:36 AM

(bumper sticker on the Creepy Van (tm))

My daughter's car is a Humvee!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:37 AM

I don't know, pATRICK, I think some of us can be taught! I've learned to love my husband's 65 mustang, 57 chevy (in parts, home to many generations of squirrels, "to be restored") and 62 caddy convertible. I don't worry about environmental effects because none of them actually run, LOL. Looking forward to the Carlisle & Hershey car shows next week! BTW we bought an Explorer for the sole purpose of towing the above...

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 28, 2007 10:38 AM

"We've discussed before that you need to get out with a more interesting crowd of women "

I nominate for Quote of the Month!!!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 10:39 AM

mehitabel,

Functional doesn't have anything to do with permitting french fries to get ground into the carpet or permitting gum to be "stored" on an armrest. I'm sure Leslie gets her oil changed regularly and follows all of the maintenance recommendations to the letter. Hence, she's not running her car into the ground. But she's not exactly living, either, LOL.

Miles - you are speaking my language. What a vision!

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 10:39 AM

Chitty, agreed, I loved that quote too!!! Nice job MN.


I can feel my nemesis warming up, so here goes:

Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.

Ooooommmmmm.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:42 AM

True, you will find some women here and there. But from my experience and (horror) women tend to let the car get trashed and don't give a flip. See Leslie as example above.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:26 AM

Well, yes, and I'm not very neat with my truck. However, the biggest auto slob I have ever met is son #1 (he of the multiple speeding tickets). His Camry has so much stuff in it (clothes, books, empty soda cups and frappucino bottles, food wrappers, and more clothes) that, when it was broken into (I actually think one door was unlocked -- what car thief bothers to pick a lock on a 12-year-old car) the only way he realized it was that the papers and CDs in his console were on the driver's seat.

Son #2 (who didn't get a car until graduation -- a used Mustang that cost the same as the car we got son #1) keeps his car in pristine condition. He allows NO ONE to eat or drink in it. He throws out any accumulated trash (admittedly, not much) as soon as he parks. He WAXES it. He even takes it to Jiffy Lube himself

Oh yeah, son #1 didn't do ANY of that stuff the year he was away, and he put 10,000+ miles on the car, so his engine sort of 'seized up' in May. Thank goodness STBX has a cousin who is a Toyota mechanic, otherwise the boy would be walking because he could not have afforded to pay full price for that repair -- he could barely afford what he did pay. Talk about turning the key and waiting for the magic to happen!

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 28, 2007 10:46 AM

Yes, our first car pool car was also a Ford Expedition (1997; vehicle's very 1st year). We got it because it seated eight "with seat belts," both requirements to join the Mother of All Car Pools. It took a computer to schedule, but allowed kids to be picked up from right after school plus once an hour thereafter until 6:30pm to accommodate after school activities. Wonderful.

We still have that Expedition after 11 years and its still going strong with 224,000 miles ("just getting her broken in," says our mechanic).

After the car pool days (we still call our Expedition the Ark), it was both our children's first car - safe, slow, and big as a tank - and worked great as a backup vehicle when DW's or my car was in the shop. With our youngest just off to college, I now drive it most every day and its a great family truck for hauling and going to the lake.

Posted by: JustADad | September 28, 2007 10:46 AM

I have a 6-year old Subaru Forester and, while the gas mileage is not great, in my regularly snowbound northern region, I believe the ABS has saved me from smacking into other cars and immovable objects several times. I'd rather not have a car, but have to until I find a closer job.

Posted by: MaryL | September 28, 2007 10:48 AM

Oh, I forgot to mention the other beloved, quirky car we owned. A 1967 Range Rover station wagon. It had even seen action in Africa. Back in the days when the grills were metal and you could take them off in order to *gasp!* GRILL on them!

By the time "Jane" was too high-maintenance and my dad gave it to the mechanic as payment for other auto bills, it was driven to the shop on 2 cylinders. The mechanics were in awe of its powers. The shop owner fixed it up and kept it. I think "Jane" is still with him. I should ask.

I still think that the DB5 qualifies as our "coolest care--ever!"

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 10:50 AM

If Leslie is looking for love from chatters on this blog she is bound to be disappointed, because it's an inappropriate expectation. The best she can hope for is respect, but that must be earned. But when a B-schooler has to ask how to calculate MPG -- which the average elementary-schooler who's had long-division and decimals can computer -- and then is so tacky as to use her own blog as a free classified ad for a family car, well, there's still work to be done on the respect-earning front.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:50 AM

Wish I had my own photo to post, but this'll do:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aston_Martin_DB5

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 10:51 AM

Should read "can compute" (never took typing in school).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:51 AM

Mehitabel loves me.
I love Mehitabel.
Mehitable loves me.
I love Mehitabel...

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:52 AM

pATRICK,

I rise to your defense (partially). I can unequivocally state that Frieda and sainted mom are/were certainly much more interested in their purses than their vehicles.

"I don't care as long as it has gas in it and it runs!" Frieda

"All cars are ugly." Sainted Mom

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:53 AM

Leslie,
I love you, even if others don't. My car is pretty much trashed too. Mechanically, I keep it up, and it runs fine. But the inside is kind of like an extension of my purse, just bigger.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 10:53 AM

And I DO know how to divide! I was looking for practical tips on how to get the real MPG. You put me on a pedestal, Mehitabel! (Wow, that kind of rhymes.) I don't know EVERYTHING...

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:54 AM

Thank you, Emily.

I wonder if there is a parallel between how women treat their purses and their cars. You are right that we think of cars as a really large purse...good psychological insight for all those car manufacturers studying the blog today.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:55 AM

No, Leslie, words only mean what they mean. Reread what I wrote and take it literally -- do not infer what's not there.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 10:57 AM

Leslie,

I'm still good on that offer of a double-scoop. Life is short, dessert first!

MdM

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 10:58 AM

I LOVE YOU MEHITABEL!

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 10:59 AM

Leslie,
I am crushed that you don't like flan. How about chocoate flan? Have you ever had it?

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 11:01 AM

MN,

So, which model Ferrari can I interest you in?

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 10:36 AM

Fred, since I would never insult your Sainted Mother, I can't respond to your last post although it richly deserves a response. ahem.

The answer to your question above, though, is easy, LOL. Any model you are driving!!


"Imagine, we don't care about a material object except for its practical purpose." Yeah. Right. I'm betting that when Leslie was dressing for that Obama fundraiser, her mantra was, "I don't care what outfit makes me look the hottest, prettiest, most professional AND thinnest. Clothes are merely objects to cover me sufficiently so that I am not arrested for indecent exposure. Any old thing will do. Why, I think I'll don this 7-year old marigold wool skirt, that 10-year old lime green sweater, and my handy tan Birkenstocks. Who really cares about appearances, anyway?"

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 11:02 AM

Leslie,

Here's a two-fer.

This mantra always works for me AND is on topic:

Chitty chitty, chitty chitty, chitty chitty, chitty chitty,
chitty chitty,
(Bang - Bang)
Bang Bang!
chitty chitty
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Chitty Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we'll do.
Near, far, in our motor car Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we'll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Your sleek as a thoroughbred.
Your seats are a feather bed.
You'll turn everybody's head today.
We'll glide on our motor trip
With pride in our ownership
The envy of all we survey.
Oh Chitty You Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And Chitty, in Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang what we'll do.
Near Chitty, far Chitty, in our motor car Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.....(hold)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Fine four fendered Chitty Chitty friend.


________________________________




Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 11:03 AM

Leslie,
I love you, even if others don't.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 10:53 AM

Teachers Pet. Suck-Up.

(Give me time; I'll think of some more, LOL.)

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 11:04 AM

"Fred, since I would never insult your Sainted Mother, I can't respond to your last post although it richly deserves a response. ahem."

Since AF dau was named after sainted mother and AF dau has "certain skills" and access to "certain items", good idea not to respond to sainted mother's quote.

whispering

(hey, mom, you were wrong about cars!)

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 11:05 AM

I drive a mauve '92 Honda Civic. My grandmother handed it down to me when I got my driver's license in 11th grade (she upgraded to an Accord). I have driven that thing into the ground - back and forth to HS internships/jobs, college 2 hours from home, and now to and from work in Arlington. Of all the 'adventures', Arlington parking garages have wrecked the most havoc - the passenger side doors are a *bit* scraped. This spring, I spent more than $900 to get "The Raisin" running again (it needed a new fuel relay switch, as well as an essentially re-built rear suspension) - probably about what the car is worth, but I just wasn't ready to commit to a car payment yet. I know it'll be due for even more expensive repairs by next summer (tires, CV joints), so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a good deal on the 2008 Escape Hybrid - my ideal vehicle for hauling a rapidly-growing lab puppy to and from the 'grandparents' in Fairfax, as well as facilitating winter snowboarding trips and future furniture moving.

Posted by: KS8284 | September 28, 2007 11:09 AM

Emily, I knew it was just a matter of time before the nerds went after you, posing as the holders of the high moral ground. They are just sucking up to me in disguise. Life is just like high school all over again. Oh well.

I might like chocolate flan if we could put some homemade whipped cream and chocolate chips on top. Trying to keep an open mind.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:09 AM

Emily -- Thought of you the other day when I found this recipe for Pumpkin Flan:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/233017

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 28, 2007 11:10 AM

"Why, I think I'll don this 7-year old marigold wool skirt, that 10-year old lime green sweater, and my handy tan Birkenstocks. Who really cares about appearances, anyway?"

Oh, MN, I think I know exactly which outfit of Leslie's you mean! The sweater with the moth-holes and the skirt where part of the stitching has ripped at the top of the kick-pleat, right? No point in mending, it's so impractical to try to make things last. Just wear 'em out as quickly as possible, then add to the landfill.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 11:11 AM

MN, here are some more:

Brown noser
A$$ kisser

and my personal favorite which I used to call my sister:

Goody f-ing shoe (I guess I thought she only had one foot or something)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 28, 2007 11:12 AM

I might like chocolate flan if we could put some homemade whipped cream and chocolate chips on top. Trying to keep an open mind.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:09 AM

Yeah, than add some ice cream, some chocolate syrup, get rid of the flan...pretty good!

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 11:13 AM

Of course whipped cream and chocolate chips. In Barcelona, they normally eat regular flan with whipped cream anyway, so whipped cream would not even be an innovation. I am going to have to experiment in the kitchen.

And hey, nothing wrong with being the teacher's pet. I had that honor since I was a tiny little kid, and it always worked in my favor.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 11:14 AM

My first care was a 1991 Cougar, a special edition that had a half rag top, brass trim, little side lights on the outside with brass hearts on it - a granny-mobile, according to my friends. I loved it - two door, so when my friends rode with me I could just pile them three or four at a time in the back, no seatbelts, and they'd all stay fairly safe (or so I told myself). I was the designated driver when we went the 1.5 hours each way to our favorite bar, and my 'Endora' was just fine (named so because she looked like a dowager, and my birthday is the same as the lady that played Endora on Bewitched).

I got my Camry when Endora died a few years ago (blown head gasket). I've replaced the engine and radiator in the Camry (named 'Tabitha' because she looks like the granddaughter of my old car) and has been great.

Partner had a lavender Dodge Caravan when we got married - it died last year and we replaced it with a 2006 Kia Sedona. I didn't like minivans before I was married - but now that I'm going on 14-20 hour car trips two or three times a year with church, and getting no sleep at night trying to keep up with everything at home, I'm in love with them - I drive the minivan to work on days I'm REALLY tired, and sneak out to a shady spot and take a nap in the back at lunch time!

The Kia has been really good - noisier on the road than the Caravan, but drives well, has lots of 'get-up-and-go' and all the frills we need (didn't get the leather and power doors, though).

Posted by: RebeccainAR | September 28, 2007 11:14 AM

Oh I get it mehitabel, this is "How to get kicked off On Balance in 10 days" styled after the Kate Hudson movie of a similar name. I suggest you up the profanity, and go for more threats than just personal insults ... just kidding ... it's been mildly amusing.

Posted by: MaryL | September 28, 2007 11:17 AM

I drive a 1989 Pontiac Trans Am with manual transmission. Needless to say, I try to avoid being anywhere NEAR the Wilson Bridge after 2pm. My knee just can't take the abuse anymore. :-)

Posted by: oldbam | September 28, 2007 11:19 AM

Re: RebeccainAR's last post.
Do men ever name their cars or is that just a female thing?

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 28, 2007 11:20 AM

Oh, MaryL, you wag!

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 11:21 AM

I would be proof that you tend to treat your car like your purse.

As I mentioned yesterday, I clean my purse out every week. The Honda is also pristine (on the inside). We vaccuum it and clean the windows. We don't wash the outside as frequently because it's such a waste of water and we're on water restrictions here in NC. The dog car (Jeep) is hairy but clutter free.

pATRICK, to add to the chorus, I have loved and cared for and named each one of my cars. "Georgia," "Indiana," "Big Red," and "Blue Streak." My brother, on the other hand, has probably never changed the oil in his hand-me-down Cherokee, and it's always full of stuff.

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 11:22 AM

WorkingmomX - Thanks for the recipe. That sounds really good. Maybe for Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 11:22 AM

Spouse and daughter #1 keep their vehicles immaculately. Daughter #2 has a car that looks like an extension of her room.
I wrote with maintenance schedules for offspings' vehicles, but it up to them to follow it.

For spouse, I take care of the maintenance. In her words, "I just want to turn the key, and keep it filled with gas".

Posted by: chemguy1157 | September 28, 2007 11:23 AM

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 10:26 AM

Even by your standards, this is insulting tripe, LOL. You wouldn't consider Leslie an example of all womanhood in any other context. Don't start now. We've discussed before that you need to get out with a more interesting crowd of women - lord knows there are plenty who appreciate both design AND power.


OK, wink wink MN, women love cars, they keep them pristine and talk about them and buy car magazines left and right. Men want to talk about handbags every chance they get. Feel better now? You need to get off your high horse, i would bet twenty bucks that I could pull 10 women and men at random and prove my point.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 11:24 AM

Motorcycles and the DC area do not go together. You can be the greatest motorcycle driver on the planet, but it won't mean squat if another driver doesn't see you and slams into you going 60 mph.

I have lost two friends to motorcyle accidents in DC - in both cases the other driver just didn't see them.

Posted by: londonmom | September 28, 2007 11:25 AM

Ok, Miles, you are my new official dessert soulmate.

*****

This is actually what I wore to Obama, you morons:

Black silk pajama pants
Black Ann Taylor sleeveless shell
Green and gold silk jacket (butterfly design) with matching belt
Flat silver sandals with fake jewels

For the environmentally sensitive, I did not purchase any new items for this event. All were existing in my closet and at least three years old. Not sackcloth but close!

It was actually quite a challenge dressing for this event. I wanted to ask everyone's advice here but the washpost editors would not let me because it was a paid fundraising event (journalistic ethics, you know).

The challenges were multiple: outdoor event. hot sun at 3 pm, cool by 7 pm. picnic. no high heels allowed because of the weird thick grass in Oprah's "meadow." critical not to overdress (gauche). also critical to signal my keen fashion sense. further complicated by california location (totally different fashion vibe v. dc). Holly Peete Robinson told me she loved my jacket so I believe I accomplished my goals.

On the Today Show at 3:30 am the next morning I wore a solid blue silk jacket and the same black pants and sandals. I had only gotten three hours sleep which actually helped because I was too tired to be nervous. I nearly fell asleep between questions.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:25 AM

Well, the kids named the Creepy Van (tm) the Creepy Van (tm). Kids named the Boobiemobile (RIP). Brother named the replacement for the Boobiemobile (Ford Escape) the Quad B--Bright Blue Boobie Buggy. I named AF dau car the Boobie Twin as it is exactly the same vehicle as her mother has. But the newest Infiniti (my car) does not have a name as well as the other Infiniti (my old car) (stolen)

POS is probably the most common name given by guys to their cars!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 11:27 AM

MaryL, please do not encourage her. She needs love, not further temptation.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:28 AM

Dad called the rambler station wagon Ole Bessie.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 28, 2007 11:30 AM

Fred,
I love the boobiemobile. Did Frieda use it for her lactation visits?

When my son was nursing, he would always ask for boobie. It was so cute. It was his first word.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 11:31 AM

MEESH was it you defending motorcycles? No way would I get on a motorcycle in traffic.Get a motorcycle get ready, you have just signed up for a painful accident in your future.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 11:31 AM

DH keeps talking about getting a motorcycle. I can't tell if he just wants to get on my nerves, or is really serious. I really wouldn't want him to get one.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 11:34 AM

Emily

"When my son was nursing, he would always ask for boobie. It was so cute. It was his first word"

And will probably be his last word...

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 11:34 AM

LOL Fred. The Boobiemobile. My god.

I had a car stolen too. A Mitsubishi Mirage. In Boston, the capital of car thievery. A very cute mobile. I still miss it.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:34 AM

When my husband lived in Europe, I noticed that a lot of people use motor scooters as transportation in the cities. He had one too, and we always used it instead of his Passat when we wanted to get around in the city (parking was a big problem with cars). It did not feel particular unsafe, but I wonder what the stats are for accidents on them in Europe. I get the sense that in the US, motorcycles are more of a speed and danger thing, and that in Europe, scooters are more like motorized bikes. So they may not be comparable at all.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 11:35 AM

Firefighters call motorcycle riders "organ donors".

I have occasionally given names to my cars. I've had a Noah, a Stella (the one that broke down all the time, it was great so I could do my best Marlon Brand scream), and a Barney (it was the same color as the purple dinosaur).

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 28, 2007 11:35 AM

Leslie: did you just really call us morons? I find that offensive.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 11:37 AM

At least Emily is raising her son to value the right things in life. I can think of a lot worse last words.

Has anyone here ever gotten through to NPR's CarTalk with a question? I have tried but never succeeded.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 28, 2007 11:37 AM

OK, wink wink MN, women love cars, they keep them pristine and talk about them and buy car magazines left and right. Men want to talk about handbags every chance they get. Feel better now? You need to get off your high horse, i would bet twenty bucks that I could pull 10 women and men at random and prove my point.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 11:24 AM


pATRICK, I didn't feel bad to begin with and don't feel the need to take your admittedly easy money. I didn't realized you'd not only woken up on the wrong side of the bed, but had fallen into a compost pile on your way to work. I have no comment on men and handbags and am not sure why you want to discuss a topic about which you profess no interest.

My comment was in response to your silly assertion (not based on any objective fact so, we must conclude, based on your anecdotal experiences, e.g., your choice of women as friends and more) that women don't care about cars, e.g., design, engineering and power. The absurdity of your assertion was only exceeded by that fact that your proposed to support it by holding up Leslie as Ye Olde Model of Average Womanhood. My ride is considerably more powerful than an equine, whether or not height disadvantaged, but feel free to turn on me if you haven't anything better to do today, LOL. Better that than kicking a dog.

Leslie - is there some higher journalistic purpose in accusing unnamed posters of being nerds and morons today? Perhaps you need some chocolate to take the edge off.

Now, back to that '68 Camaro, Miles . . .

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 11:40 AM

pATRICK, A young relative died in a motorcycle accident (leaving behind a small child). And one of DH's colleagues was killed when his chopper (evidently part of a mid-life crisis) was struck at a busy intersection by a car turning improperly. Helmets certainly help reduce mortality and severity of head injuries but, like car safety-belts and air-bags, nothing can work 100% of the time, depending on the nature of the crash.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 11:42 AM

Awww, I don't drive. Everyone said, "you have to have a car in California." But I don't, and I do okay. It makes it a little tough to carry groceries, but as a student, it guarantees that I will spend less of my very small student loan stipend on travel. There are upsides (more exercise, less pollution, less wasted cash) and downsides (there is very little public transportation here, have to rely on boyfriend to go more than a few miles, and I'm not looking forward to the rainy season). Next year, I will probably get a car, but right now I'm enjoying my minimalist lifestyle.

But I used to drive. My first car was an ugly green 1993 Dodge Dynasty. That one kept stalling out (still don't know why), so I traded it in for a new 1998 Plymouth Neon that I loved dearly. It got stolen a month before I paid it off. I used the insurance money to buy a clunky old white Oldsmobile Achieva. The cooling system was crap, but the car was sturdy, powerful, and usually reliable. It was ugly as can be, but I loved that piece of crap. I sold it before I moved out here.

My car stories are boring--but I'm enjoying reading yours! :-)

Posted by: Monagatuna | September 28, 2007 11:43 AM

"I, like always, got stuck at home with the burdon of babysitting my kids."

Does your mommy at least give you an allowance for baby-sitting?

Posted by: Monagatuna | September 28, 2007 11:48 AM

My favorite car was a Fiat X-19. I would take the roof off (hard top) and store it in the trunk (in the front - rear engine) and take off! We would drive from Fort Jackson SC to Fort Bragg NC for the weekend at least once a month.
The downside is that Fiat stands for Fix It Again Tony for a good reason.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 28, 2007 11:49 AM

i would bet twenty bucks that I could pull 10 women and men at random and prove my point.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 11:24 AM

Yep, I'm one...sorry MN, but I think pATRICK might be right on this one.

Now, no more sniping. It's Friday, the sun is out and it's Friday (need I remind you it's Friday?)!

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 28, 2007 11:53 AM

Alright, I'll try to stay on topic with this - the cars I/we have owned are:

1. 1975 Ford Pinto (the kind with the gas tank that exploded when rear-ended) - bought in 1980 as an undergrad; sold after getting out of grad school. It had 83K miles when I got rid of it. For added effect, the gas filler pipe ridge had been knocked out before I bought it, so you could put regular leaded gas in it instead of having to pay for the more expensive unleaded kind. Just don't ask about the catalytic converter!

2a. 1983 Datsun 280Z. Bought it when I got my first job after grad school. Why yes, it was a p***s-mobile - I was young, single, and had money for the first time in my life. Sold it in 1990 with 123K miles on it - had one kid and the second one on the way.

2b. 1984 Camaro - DW's car when we got married. Is there a female equivalent to a p***s-mobile? If so, this was hers. She bought it after she got her first real job after graduation from college. We sold it in 1991 with 98K miles on it - had two kids and the third on the way.

3. 1990 Ford Explorer. Loved that car; drove it in Colorado and really used the 4WD! It rolled over on I-70 in western Kansas (lost a battle with an 18-wheeler over who had the lane), and we all walked away.

4. 1991 Ford Explorer. Replaced the one that rolled over. Sold it in 1999 with 118K miles on it.

5. 1991 Ford Escort. It became daughter #1's car. It finally died in June 2007 - 16 years old, 268K miles on the odometer.

6. 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan. The first minivan. Piece of excrement. Nearly bankrupted us with maintenance costs. Sold it in 2003 with 108K miles.

7. 2004 Toyota Sienna. Love it. Much better than the Honda Odyssey in our comparison. Has 87K miles on it; running great. 8-passenger van; very reliable.

8. 2006 Toyota Corolla. My "new" vehicle - it was tough to find one with a stickshift. Like it a lot.

9. 2000 VW Passat wagon. Bought it this summer to replace the Escort as the kids' car; DW has now claimed it and made the minivan into the kids' car. A friend who's in the AF got orders for England; had to sell this car because the steering wheel's on the wrong side for use over there. 85K miles when we got it; so far, it's pretty good.

All cars except the two minivans had/have manual transmissions - can you tell we hate automatics?

Wow - looking at this list would probably tell some shrink a lot about my life!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 11:59 AM

The current car is a four door Saturn, that's absolutely beautiful in gas mileage, but couldn't outrun a brick. Still, it gets me where I need to go, and has enough space for the dog in the backseat. I'm going to drive it until it dies.

The old car was a 1979 Chevette. I'm not even sure what color to call it, between the spray paint, home done paint jobs, and duct tape. That car made driving an adventure in itself. It refused to go over 55, maybe 60 if it was in a good mood, and it lacked power anything. I'd get an upper body workout trying to back it out in the parking lot. It was, however, nice and small for parallel parking. I've got fond memories of my old junker car, and still miss it, even with my Saturn.

Posted by: Sitka1 | September 28, 2007 12:01 PM

KLB:
"The downside is that Fiat stands for Fix It Again Tony for a good reason."

BWAAH! I can say a few things about the "Found On Road Dead; Pain In Neck To Owner" that was my first car.

(An alternative being "Fix Or Repair Daily.")

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 12:01 PM

I am going to stick up for pATRICK (again!) today. Women may love their individual cars but in general, I do not see a passion for all things automotive.

I will note that there are a lot of women who do work in the automotive industry with that keen passion. My brother works with them everyday.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:03 PM

First on Race Day!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:05 PM

My first car was a Mazda RX-7. It is still running, though oldest is driving it. Early on we put the baby seat in the passenger seat and it kept on going.

Driving is considered to be a pleasure.

This weekend calls for a car trip with the top down, imho. I love the M3 (and pATRICK...I know more specs about that car than my husband does...if your group of women includes female engineers, your bet is l o s t).

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 12:05 PM

No Volvo stories yet???
I drive a REAL Volvo (A 1990--well before Ford bought Volvo and turned them to crap). The thing is a tank! I was rear-ended in January, not a bad accident, but definitely a firm smack. The car that hit me (a Chevy something or other) had major damage: smashed headlights, crumpled hood, dangling front bumper. My car: nothing! Not even a dent. It only has 129,000 miles on it. I predict "Esther" and I will still be cruising for many years to come.

Posted by: blkgb | September 28, 2007 12:08 PM

Why MN is LESLIE a bad example but your oddball mechanic friend or whatever is somehow a good representation? I actually am in a good mood, you seem like the cranky one today.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 12:10 PM

I drive a REAL Volvo (A 1990--well before Ford bought Volvo and turned them to crap).


No kidding! They buy these great car companies and then turn the cars into a bin o parts car. As if no one would notice.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 12:12 PM

MN, my wife could care less abouty cars, my sister, my mom, my wife's three friend s whose cars look like a trash can and haven't been washed but once in 2007,my coworker whose eyes glaze over when we talk cars at work, let's see what is that 7 just I can think of now?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 12:14 PM

Londonmom - have you looked at the Highlander? They also have a hybrid version that seems pretty cool.

Historically, we've been a Saab family! I LOVE their cars! We currently have the Saab wagon and a '99 Mercedes wagon that was a hand me down from my mom. I love this wagon so very much! It is wider than the newer version so I can fit three in boosters across the back AND it has groovy jump seats (backward facing, old school) in the way back so I can take 5 kids at a time if I need to. It drives like a dream and I adore the heavy clunky sounds the door makes! I will drive this car until it dies! Don't diss the minivan too hard folks. I flirted with one recently! They sure are roomy and functional. I can see why people buy them. If Saab would make one, I'd buy it the next day! Dont' know why they haven't rolled out the hybrid minivans yet?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 28, 2007 12:15 PM

Cracked Heads Every Valve Rattles Oil Leaks Every Time

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:15 PM


No kidding! They buy these great car companies and then turn the cars into a bin o parts car. As if no one would notice.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 12:12 PM

Seriously!! People buy European cars for a REASON. If I wanted a Ford POS, I'd just buy one to begin with and pay a lot less upfront (and for repairs). Too bad I'm only 24 years old--eventually I'll have to buy a post-1998 Volvo, since I have committed myself to a lifetime of Volvo ownership. SO sad.

Posted by: blkgb | September 28, 2007 12:15 PM

I did not mean everyone was a moron. Just the ones who insluted my clothes. I was kidding Atlmom!!! (Maybe you are kidding too. Let me know.)

This is an equal opportunity blog. Totally socialist. If posters insult me (or my wardrobe) I am free to inslut them.

That was a typo but I think I invented a new verb: INSLUT.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 12:16 PM

Ford is selling Land Rover and Volvo as part of its reorganization strategy.

Posted by: tntkate | September 28, 2007 12:19 PM

One of our top considerations for a car is if they have a free loaner service. My Infiniti does, the expedition does not. It is a dela breaker next time around.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 12:20 PM

Leslie,

I know that you have been pummeled a bit in the last few days--some of it quite unfair in my opinion. But to call your readers "morons" is disgusting. I KNOW that you owe all of us an apology.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:21 PM

pATRICK: yeah, the guy who sold me my acura SAID they had a loaner service, when they actually DID NOT and I liked the acura a little more than the infiniti, so I bought it.
The infiniti used that as a selling point, and I know it was true. So I wish I had gone with the infiniti - live and learn...

Definite HUGE selling point.

The mazda and VW dealer (same dealer) have loaner programs, and they're pretty good....

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 12:25 PM

(Leslie just sent me this email. She is not able to post so she asked me to do it for her.)

I did not mean everyone was a moron. Just the ones who insluted my clothes. I was kidding Atlmom!!! (Maybe you are kidding too. Let me know.)

This is an equal opportunity blog. Totally socialist. If posters insult me (or my wardrobe) I am free to inslut them.

That was a typo but I think I invented a new verb: INSLUT.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:32 PM

(Leslie is not able to post due to technical difficulty, she asked me to post this for her.)

I did not mean everyone was a moron. Just the ones who insluted my clothes. I was kidding Atlmom!!! (Maybe you are kidding too. Let me know.)

This is an equal opportunity blog. Totally socialist. If posters insult me (or my wardrobe) I am free to inslut them.

That was a typo but I think I invented a new verb: INSLUT.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 12:35 PM

Posted by Leslie's husband on behalf of Leslie (who is having computer problems):

I did not mean everyone was a moron. Just the ones who insluted my clothes. I was kidding Atlmom!!! (Maybe you are kidding too. Let me know.)

This is an equal opportunity blog. Totally socialist. If posters insult me (or my wardrobe) I am free to inslut them.

That was a typo but I think I invented a new verb: INSLUT.



Posted by: psteiner | September 28, 2007 12:36 PM

Awe Leslie, You had Fo4 smiling in his grave with your 09:52 post. Perhaps what God planted as weakness in his eyes, he replaced with strength in his voice.

So here's a little tidbit on Fo4 and his most fond car

Though fo4's first vehicle was a motorcycle which he rode through No Va traffic over 60,000 miles, the first car he owned was a blue 72 VW van.
it was 15 years old when he drove it home. Holes showed through the floorboards, there was no heat, and the rustbucket didn't even start with a key. Fo4 had to park it on a hill so he could let it roll and "pop-start" it. Looking in the back engine compartment, there were no filters for the duel carbs, and a sparkplug was jammed in a vacuum hose that fed the advance for the distributer. What a primer spotted, duct-taped piece of junk! In its defense though, it never, ever had to be towed, and the airconditioning worked great... just open the windwing.

Yeah, it was a party van! The first thing Fo4 did to it was paint a smilie face on the front, where the eyes were the headlights and the nose was the VW emblem. A bottle opener hung from the rearview mirror, and The "recycle bin" was the box directly behind the driver's seat.

On one particularly hot, nasty, humid day after stuck in DC beltway traffic with engine acting up, no cigarette in 3 days, Fo4
pulled in to his townhouse neighborhood. As he saw a neighbor emerge from his car, once again, parked in fo4's personal parking space, Fo4 was determined to rush to the scene and deliver his neighbor a piece of mind, so Fo4 lifted up his foot and STOMPED on it.

The accelerator went right through the floorboard, hit the pavement, and got dragged behind the van by its cable stuck in full throttle.

Fo4 found himself headed right for the dumpster at the end of the parking lot full speed ahead. Fo4 stepped on the clutch and brake immediately. The engine wound up so high, Fo4 thought it would blow for sure, but for one of the first times in his life, he thought fast and cut the ignition. Shew! That could have been disasterous.

The party van was fixed that evening. Fo4 suspended the accelerator from the handbrake by a large rubberband.

The last time the party van was spotted was 2 years after Fo4 sold it for $100 to a mechanic. The bottle opener still hung from the mirror.


Posted by: SpiritOfFo4 | September 28, 2007 12:40 PM

hi everyone. this is leslie's husband perry. she asked me to post this comment because she has been trying to apologize for the last 45 minutes, but her internet connection is down. she did not mean you are morons. she will explain as soon as she is able to get back on the internet.

Posted by: psteiner | September 28, 2007 12:49 PM

pATRICK - *maybe* when statistics come out you are right. But I think it's societal perceptions that are forced on us. Same as women often being told that they are good "people-persons" and not as good at math and science. I think that's why fewer women pursue math/science careers. It's not b/c they are dumber than men (ok don't go there) it's b/c they were told their whole lives they are GOOD at working with people. Same could be said about cars. Many girls parents' never expected them to take an interest in cars, and didn't teach them to. I know many women my age who rely on brothers and fathers to do everything car related.

Now I'm no car freak (though I'd love to be, and am working my way in that direction, and working on mechanical engineering degree) I appreciate good design. I know most cars on the road by sight, I generally know the mpg of cars I'm interested in, and know new designs coming out. I've done *some* work on my own cars, with my father's supervision. Replaced the fender on my tempo, and have replaced the spark plugs/spark wires on my camaro, and have no problems keeping my fluids up to date or taking my car in for maintenance/repairs when necessary. I've discovered unfortunately this curiosity towards knowing your own vehicle, and knowing how to do some work on it, is not commonly shared by women my age. That doesn't mean it's nonexistent, but I think society stamps it out, it's not women being lazy or ignorant, just the way they were raised or taught how to be proper ladies. (my husband, though car savvy, is totally against doing any of the "work" on a car)

And MN that '68 Camaro is still for sale only a few blocks from my house. Husband wants me to get a new more reliable car, don't think I could talk him into letting me buy the thing. I don't even know if it runs! (though it's moved, so I *think* it does) but it's a hot car!

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 12:50 PM

My favourite car: a 1988 Honda CRX. It used to sip gas, a "bad' tank would still get 40 + mpg. It unfortunately had to go; no room for a car seat.

We currently have a 2002 Saturn L-series, and a 2005 Town & Country minivan. With 2 kids and a penchant for road trips, we love the roominess of the T&C, though I think it feels a bit like a truck. No matter, DH is 6'8", so it's not easy to find anything smaller, and I'd rather drive the Saturn anyway.

While I'm not exactly car-ignorant, I will admit that there's something about guys and their cars. DS will be permit-eligible in a few weeks and won't be driving solo for several more months, but he's already talking up what kind of car he wants. It appears that the very well maintained, no body damage, good gas mileage, with 6 airbags and anti-lock brakes car that is currently parked in our driveway isn't 'dope' enough for him. I'm sure it will be though, as he weighs his options: the "Mom Mobile", or the "Loser Cruiser", aka "Dad Van", or no ride at all....

Posted by: kate07 | September 28, 2007 12:50 PM

I have to say I love my Chevy and have never had a problem with any of the cars we bought from GM. Well, I take that back, I had a transmission that was either made in Brazil or Mexico go out the day after I brought my new car home and they had to replace it with a new one. After that, I never had a problem again.

I think that US auto makers have more of a bad reputation than actual bad cars. The car I have now wasn't even made here, it was made in Canada. It's two years old and I haven't had a problem, knock on wood.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 12:56 PM

As part of my newfound commitment to understanding the washpost obscenity policy (so that my posts will actually get published) I have just gone into the Obscenity comments section (my first time without my editor's help).

Oh my God! You would not BELIEVE what's in there. Some really good stuff. I could sell tickets.

Not surprisngly, there are hundreds of comments from BabaBooey. HUNDREDS!

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:00 PM

hahah, Leslie I am sure there are more than a few directed at say me, father of 4, and pATRICK.

Oh, and you of course.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 1:02 PM

I drive an '06 Acura TL. Good sized backseat for rearward or forward facing baby seats. Can still fit 2 adults in the back (hopefully one is petite) with a forward facing tot. As an aside, I love the technology in it, but I hate the drive itself. It's not agressive enough. No road feel.

Proud Mama drives an '06 Nissan Murano, which is what it is. Got it after a bad accident in a '05 Mazda 6 Station wagon. The Mazda Wagon was a much better drive than the Murano, other than the AWD. More pep, better on gas, more comfortable etc. Pretty safe too. Got thru a bad accident with no injuries.

Downside of the Mazda6 wagon is that I can't see around Leslie's SUV when she insists on driving 54 MPH in the left lane. Oh, and I'll be injured or killed when she lends the SUV to her daughter who plows into me while she's text messaging.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 1:03 PM

As part of my newfound commitment to understanding the washpost obscenity policy (so that my posts will actually get published) I have just gone into the Obscenity comments section (my first time without my editor's help).

Oh my God! You would not BELIEVE what's in there. Some really good stuff. I could sell tickets.

Not surprisngly, there are hundreds of comments from BabaBooey. HUNDREDS!

I don't even know where to start with this post, it has so many angles that could be pursued.............

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:04 PM

Okay, this is what happened everyone.

I DID NOT MEAN TO CALL ALL OF YOU MORONS! Just the people who were so terribly mean about my wardrobe choices. Sometimes, I do need to fight back.

By accident I mistyped the word insult. I made it look like an obscenity. But I did not realize that.

I tried to post my apology approximately, well, 300 times. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't post. So I emailed my husband and Fred for help (frightening, I know, that I called on these two particular men for help). They tried to post my post but it got put into obscenity purgatory too.

I finally figured out what happened.

I AM VERY SORRY.

If it is any consolation I have spent the last hour jumping up and down in my kitchen screaming about how frustrating technology is.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:04 PM

I just went into the junk filter and posted my, Fred and Perry's attempts to explain the sitchy. Start at 12:32 pm if you don't believe me about what happened.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:06 PM

Well, I accept your apology Leslie.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:08 PM

Downside of the Mazda6 wagon is that I can't see around Leslie's SUV when she insists on driving 54 MPH in the left lane. Oh, and I'll be injured or killed when she lends the SUV to her daughter who plows into me while she's text messaging.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 01:03 PM

Goes back to my theory that if we ALL drove small cars (or at least if everyone drove a similarly sized vehicle) we'd drive safer. The SUV drivers would have fewer feelings of "road superiority" or egotism, b/c they'd know if they got in an accident the effects would be equal. As is now, the larger your vehicle the more "protected" you feel and the more risky driving moves you are willing to make.

Btw in California starting July 2008 they are supposed to outlaw cell phone use while driving. I have no idea how/if this will be enforced or have any affect on the driving population, but I hope so. I'd say a good 70% of the bad drivers I see are actually on their cell phones.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 1:08 PM

i am breathing normally again now.

spirit of Fo4 came down from heaven to help us all out. this is clearly proof that Fo4 is indeed God.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:08 PM

Hey pATRICK, I had a roomate who got almost 300k miles out of his Volvo 240 DL before it finally went kaput.

I think it started going downhill when the back window exploded out of it on DC's Key Bridge. We were trying to get a keg home from that liquor store just over the bridge on the DC side. The drivers behind us were not amused. After that the Volvo was never the same.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 1:08 PM

Maybe I've become prudish in my old age, but really, I wasn't kidding - I don't think the world ever should be using the word moron.
There are probably other ways to express your disgust/annoyance/whatever.

Just my two cents, Leslie.


Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 1:09 PM

Posted by: leslie | September 28, 2007 01:04 PM

Leslie go have some chocolate, sounds like you deserve it/need it.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 1:10 PM

thank you, pATRICK.

it means a lot. and i'm not being sarcastic.

so, like a kid who is penitent for five minutes and then starts thinking devilish thoughts again, here are mine: i've discovered that i can unjunk the obscene comments and post them retroactively. you know, the ones i personally like. isn't that so cool? tempting...

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:10 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 01:08 PM

Spoke like a true SUV hating tree lover-Barf

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:11 PM

Anybody know any good stories about Saturn Vue? The new 2008 GreenLine looks appealing for many reasons. I have doubts over its vroom-vroom factor, but I'm willing to test drive. With the number of kids going down, our needs are changing yet again.

We're already one foot in the no-kid zone. Hey, that sounds like that song 'you put your left foot in, you put your left foot out...'

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 1:12 PM

"I DID NOT MEAN TO CALL ALL OF YOU MORONS! Just the people who were so terribly mean about my wardrobe choices."

Well, actually, Leslie, since this is a selective apology and I am one of the people you intended to insult, I recommend you re-read the wardrobe postings. My 11:02 post had nothing to do with your (I'm sure wonderful) wardrobe, except for the purpose of pointing up the absurdity of your statement that: "Imagine, we don't care about a material object except for its practical purpose."

Sorry - I'm not a moron, there was nothing mean about my response, and my comment didn't merit your response.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 1:13 PM

"I have just gone into the Obscenity comments section (my first time without my editor's help).

Oh my God! You would not BELIEVE what's in there. Some really good stuff. I could sell tickets."

My eyes! My EYES!!

Be careful what you are looking for on ebay too, I got quite a shock several years ago when I was looking for a particular kind of saddle. Kinda scary.

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 1:13 PM

you are right, i am banning that word from my vocab. i don't even use it much. just today and just as a joke but i am really sorry.

and irishgirl, you have no idea what's in there! i wish you and i could go take a look together. it's a dark, dark place and i need company there, nancy drew.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:13 PM

maryland_mother does this mean you have horses? if so i am coming to visit RIGHT AWAY. forget about the ice cream...

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:14 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 01:08 PM

Spoke like a true SUV hating tree lover-Barf

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 01:11 PM


Miles, I'm with you. And I'm sure the ghost of pittypat is smiling down on us on this particular topic as well.

pATRICK, I don't want to hurt anybody with my car. I just don't want to have to drive a big, slow, sluggish POS out of self-defense.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 1:15 PM

Leslie: another thing about offensive language is you don't have to rise to the bait. It says more about *you* as to what you say than it does about the people you are talking about.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 1:15 PM

The obscenity file has got to be more interesting than the plethora of messages he posted saying that the blog should be shut down. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

how much time did this guy have on his hands? and coincidentally, Matt, abu, and hillary have been MIA for the most part this week since baba's seeming departure.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 1:15 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 01:08 PM

Spoke like a true SUV hating tree lover-Barf

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 01:11 PM

Aww you feel so big and strong behind the wheel of your SUV don't you. Well don't let me stop you from feeling superior, call me any name you want. I said similarly-sized vehicles, I didn't knock SUVs in particular, but not all of us can afford giant SUVs to feel safe. But anything that hints of liberal (oh I mentioned California didn't I) just gets your ire doesn't it, you take the bait every time.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 1:16 PM

Sorry - I'm not a moron, there was nothing mean about my response, and my comment didn't merit your response.

You are better than that MN......

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:16 PM

Leslie,

No intern today?

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 1:17 PM

how about talking about balancing babies and heels?

he he he...MN, I know what you're thinking. Balancing heels is easy to do in Valhalla.

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 1:18 PM

Miles I agree totally. The solution is no SUVs, no DOdge Rams, no tractor trailer trucks, and probably, no teenage drivers. But as long as these evils exist, little children in vehicles need to be protected. Most automotive deaths occur from head injuries. Because children's heads are lower down than adults, if you put them in a lowslung car and they get smashed by a Dodge Ram, they're history. Sometimes I think that children under 10 should wear helmets in cars. Can you imagine how much fun that would be for us parents? "Come on, kids, buckle up your seatbelt and put on that gross heavy sweaty helmet too..."

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:18 PM

And I'm glad you're breathing better and your connection is working now.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 1:19 PM

But I LOVE rising to the bait!

Gotta go back to my mantras...

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 1:20 PM

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 01:16 PM

No, I don't and I find your politically charged statements about a car laughable. Keep assigning your axes to grind to cars and I will keep laughing. I drive an suv to haul kids around, lug groceries, luggagge, pull things, use for home projects etc. All which cannot be done by your oh so PC,so environmetally friendly look at me, PRIUS that you probably so smugly drive for brownie points from your other PC friends.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:22 PM

pATRICK, you'll never catch me defending motorcycles. I'm with you on that one.

blkgb, my mom had a '94 Volvo 240 white stationwagon. That thing was the best. She put 140,000 before she had to sell it when she moved overseas. I sold that on eBay, and the guy picking it up said he was buying it for his son who just got his leaner's permit. There's one more person who will probably drive Volvos forever. She just bought a new Volvo S60. She likes it but is afraid that it won't live as long.

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 1:22 PM

Sorry - I'm not a moron, there was nothing mean about my response, and my comment didn't merit your response.

You are better than that MN......

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 01:16 PM

pATRICK - what the he** does that mean? My comment DIDN't merit that insult. It's a simple statement. Geez you need to find someone else to pick on, because it's exhausting to see you turning from one to another to another like this. Bring back the guy we've been bantering with the last several months.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 1:22 PM

to dotted_1: I test drove the VUE green line this spring - it accelerated cleanly enough to merge onto interstate - however its AWD which drags down gas mileage even with the hybrid engine. (Especially relative to the Prius and Hybrid Civic) It's comparable in size to Toyota Highlander and feels more spacious and has better sight lines.

See Patrick women do consider more than just the color when we pick out new cars. ;-)

Posted by: tntkate | September 28, 2007 1:24 PM

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 01:22 PM
MN, YOU are the one out of sorts today and I don't know why. I thought you should accept her apology which seemed sincere.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:28 PM

I thought you should accept her apology which seemed sincere.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 01:28 PM

She didn't apologize to me, pATRICK. In fact, she went out of her way to selectively apologize. Have fun. Life is too short for this.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 1:31 PM

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 01:22 PM
MN, YOU are the one out of sorts today and I don't know why. I thought you should accept her apology which seemed sincere.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 01:28 PM

Uh, pATRICK, I don't think Leslie actually apologized to MN. Just to those who she didn't mean to call morons. Those who were targeted, well, I think they're still waiting.

"I DID NOT MEAN TO CALL ALL OF YOU MORONS! Just the people who were so terribly mean about my wardrobe choices."

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 1:34 PM

Fred:
"Cracked Heads Every Valve Rattles Oil Leaks Every Time"

True that! DW's '84 Camaro (she named it "Baby" FWIW) used to blow a valve cover gasket about every six months. Apparently, that was quite a problem with that model. The friend who did all our major repair work said that it was apparently a metallurgical defect - the alloy that they made the valve covers out of got rough with heat and just chewed through the gaskets. Since it wasn't a direct safety issue, there was no recall.

We learned to replace valve cover gaskets every six months as part of the preventive maintenance program.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 1:36 PM

FWIW, I drive a boring 2004 Honda Accord. I used to keep the outside scrupulously clean, but the inside (mostly the back seat) was a nightmare. Then, a massive construction project started on my work route, so the outside became trashed as well.

But I'm happy to report that DD and I turned over a new leaf about a month ago. I'm taking a new route to work and treated myself to a car wash. DD and I cleaned out the interior. We are enjoying our shiny "new" ride. Fingers crossed that our resolution holds.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 1:37 PM

I LOVED my chevy cavalier. Okay, well, it was my sister's first. But I had about 100,000 miles on it at about 10/11 years old when I finally got my first new car ever (acura integra - late 20s). It ran awesome!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 1:40 PM

I wunder if cock, dildo, and prick will make it through the obsenity filter.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 1:40 PM

Damn! How embarrasing though.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 1:41 PM

pATRICK - you'd lose your bet around my wife. The girl may have been an English major, but she's also the daughter of an MIT-trained Aeronautical Engineer who inherited some of her father's genes. Her first car was a Karmann Ghia, and the two of them used to prowl junkyards looking for parts when repairs were needed.

The knowledge does come in handy. We have a highly reliable, honest mechanic who does our major work, but once in a while the cars need to go to the dealer. Funny - they always call her, not me. But she knows when they're trying to BS her, and it's hilarious when she calls them on it.

(Bummer I couldn't participate in yesterday's discussion. I think I win "top geek" honors. Nobody else mentioned having:
- three different Ethernet cables
- wireless router
- power converter (plugs into car cigarette lighter or airplane seat and provides a 110v, 60hz outlet out the other end)
- Leatherman supertool
- Swiss Army key - gets past TSA every time
- 38 pens from various hotels, including the Excelsior in Hong Kong, the Sheraton Four Points in Darling Harbour, Sydney, and a bunch of others I don't remember visiting
- and more other stuff than I can catalogue.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 1:42 PM

DandyLion

"I wunder if cock, dildo, and prick will make it through the obsenity filter."

Yes and Pure Pussy did!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 1:43 PM

I love cars but I agree with pATRICK that many women do not take care of their cars and keep them clean. It drives me crazy. The cars in my life have been an 81 Toyota Celica- 1st car, it was free from a relative, a 1996 Jeep Cherokee- that was new and a gift from my parents and two 325 BMWs. The first one was bought used and was 10 years old, it died a sad death and the current one was purchased certified pre-owned and has been awesome, it's only 3 years old. I name my cars but only after I talk to them a bit and get a feel for their personality :-)

Posted by: sthrngrl1 | September 28, 2007 1:43 PM

_Miles, you can join the PC posse with me, ProudPapa, pittypat, Mona... am I forgetting anyone?

It's hard, though, because I lean more center on fiscal stuff, so atb and I agree on the fair tax.

And ProudPapa wants to take away smoking, but I see that as an infringement on constitutional rights... (no hard feelings, PP)

And pATRICK and altmom and I might agree on immigration...

Songster, we need a melody about politics on On Balance!

Posted by: Meesh | September 28, 2007 1:43 PM

sl*t will not make it thru!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 1:47 PM

Leslie: "But as long as these evils exist, little children in vehicles need to be protected. Most automotive deaths occur from head injuries."

Leslie, please provide evidence/proof that there is a correlation between "lowslung" vehicles (your term) and head injuries. A good start would be comparing US auto deaths vs. a market where they are equally car-crazy but not necessarily dependent on big/heavy/ridiculous vehicles. Say, Germany, for example.

I believe your strawman to be invalid, and is precisely the kind of thinking that keeps Americans buying bigger and bigger crap of all types, which leads to ridiculous dependencies on foreign economies of all sorts. Not to mention our dependence on "Super Size" food.

Folks of a certain political bent (ahem) would like one to believe that buying any consumer good that has the label of an American company is good for the country, or for workers or for your kids or whatever. These oversimplifications get us in trouble in the long run.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 1:47 PM

Meesh: I'm a HUGE supporter of the FairTax as well. Just so ya know.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 1:49 PM

"Does your mommy at least give you an allowance for baby-sitting?"

Mona, No allowance for me. But, If I've been a good boy, which is exceptionally rare, I'll get a field trip to Home Depot so I can replace the leaky faucet in the bathroom... or something equivalent.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 1:49 PM

"DandyLion

"I wunder if cock, dildo, and prick will make it through the obsenity filter."

Yes and Pure Pussy did!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 01:43 PM "

WELL MN, you were right after all, the bar is veeeeerrrrrryyyyyy llllloooooooowwww here...............

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 1:51 PM

Hey Meesh, I don't want to outlaw smoking.

I just want to tax you very heavily on it ;-)

And I'd kind of prefer to have you sit somewhere else in the casino while I'm playing 3/6 hold-em at the Trop.

Oh and we need a "butt law" like the pooper scooper law.

But other than that I'm neutral on smoking :-)

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 1:51 PM

thanks Fred, now I know how Leslie mispelled insult.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 1:54 PM

FWIW, I don't really drive an SUV out of self-defense (except on long trips on the interstates) and I didn't drive a minivan out of self-defense, and I don't have a feeling of superiority from being bigger. Actually, in some ways I feel less safe.

I'll never forget almost crashing into a wall because someone in a compact car cut me off on the Beltway, and in braking and swerving to not hit this person, I started fishtailing. I thought I was going to roll! Heavier vehicles need more stopping distance -- that's why I leave extra space when I'm driving, and please don't jump into it, Civic drivers!

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 28, 2007 1:57 PM

To those objecting to "big" cars, the first thing I want to point out is that some of us need good-sized vehicles. Try finding a vehicle big enough for a family of six (Mom, Dad and four kids) that isn't an SUV or minivan. Having only smaller vehicles means you'd have to take two cars every time you all went some where - like a trip out of state to visit family.

Another point is that people tend to be influenced by things that personally impact them. As I noted above, we bought our first Ford Explorer in 1990 in Colorado, where the 4WD feature came in VERY handy. Driving back to the East Coast, we had a disagreement with an 18-wheeler over who had the right to a lane, and we lost - to the tune of the car rolling over and ending up on its roof on the side of the rode. We all - DW driving, me in the front passenger seat, and two kids in car seats in the back - walked away. It was an absolute certainty after that incident that the replacement vehicle would be another Explorer. And I've had a strong bias towards big vehicles ever since (even though I drove the Escort for 16 years and now drive a Corolla).

Lastly, since the laws of physics haven't been repealed yet, the damages that occur in accidents depend on the relative sizes and weights of the vehicles involved, as well as the speed being traveled; and how well the cars are constructed. I lost a good friend a few weeks ago - his family was heading to the beach in an Expedition. They were rear-ended by a dump truck carrying a 45,000 pound load, that never bothered to slow down. Those darned laws of physics - the dump truck driver was uninjured. The father and 13-year old in the Expedition died. The mother was seriously injured.

Size does matter.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 2:00 PM

You folks KILL me.
I drive an '03 Honda CRV. I live in a place where I NEED all wheel drive (for real), but I refused to go with the rest of the family and buy a GM b/c I wanted to get more than 16 mpg (I usually get 22 in the CRV). That said, I MISS my minivan. The CRV will be paid off in less than a year and we'll keep it at least another 2-3 although I'm already feeling the need to accommodate more kids for car pools etc. Sadly I live on a dirt road that gets NASTY in the Winter and Spring, so a low riding minivan is out of the question. I need something that can seat 7 (2 little buts), has at least AWD and gets at least 22 MPG. If I had to buy today, that would be a Toyota Highlander.
Hubby drives a Chevy Silverado to and from the bus station and to tow MIL's boat and haul stuff.

Posted by: Laughlin | September 28, 2007 2:00 PM

"As part of my newfound commitment to understanding the washpost obscenity policy (so that my posts will actually get published) I have just gone into the Obscenity comments section (my first time without my editor's help).

Oh my God! You would not BELIEVE what's in there. Some really good stuff. I could sell tickets.

Not surprisngly, there are hundreds of comments from BabaBooey. HUNDREDS!"

LESLIE, you must feel terribly foolish in your support and encouragement of BB, and your admission that you do not understand your own obscenity policy is disturbing too.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 2:02 PM

"LESLIE, you must feel terribly foolish in your support and encouragement of BB, and your admission that you do not understand your own obscenity policy is disturbing too."

OH, NO! Leslie was inconsistent! It's the end of the world!!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 2:09 PM

pATRICK, I think Leslie has figured out how to push your buttons and pull your chain.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 28, 2007 2:14 PM

Alright, can we please agree for the rest of the day to just let things slide, rather than insisting on extracting our pound of flesh?

Among other things, I'd like to believe that Leslie's use of the term "moron" was as a term of endearment rather than an insult.

You may think I'm crazy, but I've been known to use things that can be generally regarded as insults as terms of endearment to people who know me well enough to understand. Just the other night, I was driving DS to his high school for band rehearsal. It's about a 25 minute drive on some very busy roads. As we pulled into the parking lot, I asked "Did you put your trombone in the trunk or the back seat? Or did you just leave it in the band room?" He looked at me blankly and said "Trombone? Do you think I'll need it? I left it in the living room at home."

My response: "You NITWIT! You knucklehead! Yes, I think you'll need your trombone for band practice! Where has your head been?"

Now, my son knows that I love him, and that I know he's very intelligent, and he knows that I'll do anything I can for him. But he also knew that he'd messed up. And my use of those terms was to tell him that he'd messed up and I was aggravated with him.

So when I saw Leslie's posting, I took it the same way. She was aggravated; she feels that she knows some bloggers well enough that she could get away with using an "insult" as a term of endearment to convey her aggravation. The one she chose was maybe a little strong, but I don't think it was intended in the way that some people are taking it.

You're free to disagree, of course, but since it's Friday afternoon I'll again propose that we just leave it as is and move on with discussing other topics more relevant to work/life balance, like whether the presence of a "purse hook" makes the Lexus RX too much of a "girly car." My boss believes very strongly that it does.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 2:15 PM

dotted I saw the new VUE at a car show and thought it looked good. The guy did tell me that after about seven years you have to replace the cell. I try to buy a new car every five to seven years, so it would be okay in my siutation, but if you are going to drive it for longer than that you may want to consider something else. Do some research, after all I only talked to one guy.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 2:17 PM

Once Again, Army Brat hits a home run...I totally concur with everything you wrote.

except...the purse hook doesn't make the Lexus a girly car. Call it a crackberry hook or something, if the word purse gets you tied up in knots.

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 2:19 PM

what the hell is a purse hook?

(can you say hell here?)

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:20 PM

oh and was I the only one on here who wasn't offended by Leslie's use of the word moron. I have been called much worse and since I didn't make fun of her clothes before didn't think it was directed at me.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 2:22 PM

Scarry and tntkate: there was a write up in the local paper about the 2008 Greenline being different from previous years (in many many ways). The hybrid Vue doesn't have so much of a markup like the highlander (10K for the hybrid version buys a lot of gas...even at 3$/gallon)

It also now looks like the Lexus

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 2:22 PM

"except...the purse hook doesn't make the Lexus a girly car. Call it a crackberry hook or something, if the word purse gets you tied up in knots."

Is that what that thing is supposed to be called? I only use it for hanging the dry-cleaning (twice in five years for this car).

I simply referred to it as a hook and left it at that.

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 2:24 PM

Frieda taught the educationally disadvantaged for quite a few years. Moron is very offensive in any context in her book.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:25 PM

Fred

My boss bought his wife a Lexus RX (after he forgot their 20th wedding anniversary, lied about forgetting it, and then got caught lying about it - long story). He hosted a party at his house one day and was showing it to everyone in the driveway.

There's a hook on the lower part of the dashboard, on the right side of the console - sort of near where the passenger's left knee would be. It's a large, strong hook and it's a little bit high off the floor. It's a place where a woman - in particular a woman driver - can hang her purse. It will stay there securely; she can reach over and get something out of it if she wants; it won't roll around the car and it's out of her way. The boss' wife loves it.

The boss, on the other hand, swears that the presence of the "purse hook" makes the RX a "girly car" and he won't be caught dead in it.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 2:26 PM

Here's a topic, what is your dream car that you could actually buy? And what is the one you would like but can't afford.
My first is a Corvette, i love japanese cars but have loved the corvette since i was a kid. The second is sl55 amg mercedes.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 2:26 PM

Well, I get a discount on all GM cars so I will be looking into the VUE when it is time to replace the equinox, which I really like, it's been a nice little car/SUV depending on where you live in the country.

Everyone here drives huge trucks, which I feel are worse than SUVs. They scare me, I don't know if it is because of how reckless people are or that I have kids now, but my dad and brothers have always had trucks and their driving didn't bother me. The people here are crazy, they run stop signs, red lights, go left of center, it's like you have to go through an obstacle course to get a taco or shop

Okay, rants over!

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 2:26 PM

My dad would hang his suit jacket from that hook and I use it for dry cleaning. Everybody knows the purse goes on the passenger seat so you can reach your lipstick, cell phone and blackberry :-)

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 28, 2007 2:27 PM

Irishgirl, aka Scarry,
How's it going with the baby? Are you still dilating? How are you feeling? Can we expect good news on Monday?

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 2:28 PM

Oh, like those flower vases in the new VW bugs!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:28 PM

The Lexus has something called a "purse hook"? Say it ain't so!

By the way. I would like to clarify that I do believe that if you have a family of the size that needs 6-7 seats then of course having an SUV makes sense. However I would like to point out that several station wagons and crossovers have 7 seats as well. Society survived just fine with station wagons and pickup trucks for ages before SUVs came along. And people with super big families at least kept their conversion vans in the right lane!

As a proud Audi owner for over a decade, I would just like to point out that the original Audi A4 variant ('96-'99) had more underbody clearance than a Ford Explorer of similar vintage. Also, because Audi Quattro AWD is can direct up to 85% of power to a single wheel and it has a lower center of gravity it is also more capable in bad weather than an Explorer of similar vintage. I used to have a driveway that sloped upward and I rarely had to shovel it unless the snowdrifts at the bottom of the hill were deep enough to get two or more wheels up off ground.

I think Subaru owners are just as devoted as Audi owners for similar reasons, though I've never owned a Subie. I think their ground clearance is even higher.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 2:32 PM

Emily I am still having cramps off and on and go back to the doctor on Monday. My nepwhew gets here tommorrow, so as long as he doesn't come tonight, we are good to go. My husband set up the crip last night and I have everything else that I need.

How it going with you?

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 2:32 PM

(I always suspected that a Lexus RX was a girlie car!)

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:32 PM

(I always suspected that a Lexus RX was a girlie car!)

Was it because you have NEVER seen a man driving one?;)

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 2:34 PM

pATRICK my husband says he is getting a vet when this baby hits kindergarten. He has always wanted on. We do not, however, get a discount on the Corvette, so he may lease it for a year just to get it out of his system.

I have always liked the Chevy Impalas myself.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 2:35 PM

Until you've worked on a vehicle, your relationship with it is as shallow as that of Stacy London (What Not to Wear)and her thousand dollar purse.

Until you've been on your back on a cold, dirty garage floor, trying to align a transmission, you haven't had a serious relationship with your car.

Until you've spent 3 hours bent over the engine bay on a 90 degree day trying to blind thread a starter bolt, you haven't had a serious relationship with your car.


Until you have scratches all over your hands and arms from trying to wrestle an alternator in and out of an engine bay, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

If you haven't requested a copy of the shop manual as a purchase option, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Until you become known as a "Been There, Done That" mentor on Swedishbricks, SAABnet, AudiWorld, MB World or any of the other automotive message boards, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Until you are on a first name basis with a local parts shop, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Until you can bequeath a car you've owned for 20 years to a college bound person you've known for 18 years, you haven't had a serious relationship with a car.

Unless you are so angry with your POS vehicle that you want to donate it to alQaeda for use as a car bomb, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Until you've sent the 14th defective part to the Honda Zone manager and told him where to stick it, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Until you've cried when the old POS finally dies, you haven't had a serious relationship with your vehicle.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 28, 2007 2:36 PM

I'm always amazed at the number of engineers I know who own Subarus. I sometimes wonder if they buy them because Subarus need their tinkering (seriously, I don't know), or they are that reliable, or what.

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 2:37 PM

SOunds like you're ready. I'm doing really well. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes a week ago, but I have been watching what I eat, and monitoring my glucose levels, and right now, the levels are well within the normal range. So it feels like much ado about nothing. And I don't really feel like I have changed my diet that much -- I just don't do my afternoon ice cream anymore (sob). Still I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 2:38 PM

Well said Peter! (I think the problem with the Creepy Van (tm) is the O2 sensor.

Now for the AutoZone Rule.

If it takes more than a screwdriver to put it it, don't buy that part from AutoZone.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:40 PM

IRISHGIRL, why no discount?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 2:40 PM

MN -- I extend my apology to you too. Very sorry.

But gosh, Atlmom, Fred, MN, etc, please develop a tad thicker skin. It is much more fun here when you do! I know from experience.

And please, stop with the crude stuff. It drives me crazy and you will force me to go back to that filter place and start pulling down your comments. Which you know I hate to do since I A) love free speech and B) am intolerably lazy.

Posted by: leslie4 | September 28, 2007 2:43 PM

Ahhhhh, AutoZone...and AutoAdvantage....the successors to the parts store that we all hated, but patronized anyway for their oil prices: TRASH....errr...TrakAuto.

Another observation: You know you have a serious relationship with your vehicle when it's so old that the dealer no longer catalogs the parts, and you have to find the parts at specialty shops online.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 28, 2007 2:43 PM

Patrick: "Here's a topic, what is your dream car that you could actually buy? And what is the one you would like but can't afford."

Okay in the first category I have two, and they are probably hard to believe:
1) 1987-1994 Lotus Esprit - It's a legitimate supercar -- the body is glorious. It is a V6 two seater light enough to run like a deer and turns lots of heads. Has the famous Lotus handling. Can be had for UNDER $20,000! No lie, check cars.com. The problem is then you have to fix it.

2) Mid 1980s Ferrari 308 GTS - This is the Magnum PI car someone already mentioned. Everyone knows what they look like. They are still $35-$45,000 because everyone gets all nostalgic over Tom Selleck's moustache. And many of them have heavily worn interiors: T-tops = sun damage. Oh yeah, then you have to fix it.

And neither of them looks good with a baby seat.

For your other question (current cars) either the BMW M5 or the Mercedes CL63 AMG. I can't begin to afford them because I'm not making ArmyBrat or ArlingtonDad-type money. :-)

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 2:49 PM

Leslie: After reading ArmyBrat's so eloquent post, I definitely agree with him.

BUT it's very difficult to figure out tone from a blog, as you are well aware.

AND, really, some words don't need to be included in our everyday speech. We never use the word stupid in our house anymore - due partially to the kids. It's not easy to erase words from your vocabulary (believe me!), but I've definitely been trying cause I want my kids to not learn to use them.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 2:51 PM

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 02:49 PM

Funny you mention this car(cl 63amg), i walked past a parked one at lunch. I agree that is a sweet ride.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 2:52 PM

If I could afford anything? I'd hire a driver to drive me around. Seriously. I hate driving.

That's why when I see these celebrities who actually DUI! I'm amazed. If I had that money - no way I'd go for the big house with all that pain of maintenance! I'd go for the driver. Much better use of the money.

(big dig at Leslie!?): Obviously, Leslie disagrees ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 2:53 PM

OK Leslie,

I called for your apology and for my part, I will accept it.

But I do not think that you, as the host of the column, should ever call any of your customers (us) any name that can be construed as ugly, mean, vulgar etc. Just say, you silly rabbits next time.

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 2:54 PM

ProudPapa15

"They are still $35-$45,000 because everyone gets all nostalgic over Tom Selleck's moustache"

Noo, it's not the moustache....

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 28, 2007 2:54 PM

Methinks I'm not being clear; those of you talking about hanging dry cleaning on the purse hook probably aren't thinking about the same hook. (Maybe you are and I don't understand, but whatever.) I usually hang dry cleaning from the hook attached to the strap above one of rear doors.

(My boss' 19 year old son nearly got killed - he told a few of us that he liked driving his mother's Lexus because the purse hook was the perfect place to hang his girlfriend's bra after he got it off her - low, out of sight, but not where it could be lost or forgotten. His mother overheard him - I really thought she was going to kill the kid there and then.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 2:55 PM

MN -- I extend my apology to you too. Very sorry.

But gosh, Atlmom, Fred, MN, etc, please develop a tad thicker skin. It is much more fun here when you do! I know from experience.

Posted by: leslie | September 28, 2007 02:43 PM

leslie, Thanks. For the record, I've never criticized your clothes or your appearance and believe those are off-limits (to me), personal comments that are capable of hurting every bit as much as those comments every woman remembers from second or third grade. My skin is dinosaur-thick for disagreements about opinions, but like everyone else, I also have the freedom to select a new playground if bullies start hogging the basketball court.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 2:56 PM

(My boss' 19 year old son nearly got killed - he told a few of us that he liked driving his mother's Lexus because the purse hook was the perfect place to hang his girlfriend's bra after he got it off her - low, out of sight, but not where it could be lost or forgotten. His mother overheard him - I really thought she was going to kill the kid there and then.)


Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 02:55 PM

Oh. My. God.

and ArmyBrat, I am very sorry about your friend and his family. Size does, indeed, matter.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 2:59 PM

275 GTB

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 3:01 PM

IRISHGIRL, why no discount?

I'm not sure, I think it is because they don't make that many of them. We only get discounts on new cars. I'll tell ya, I love the discount because most GM cars are expensive.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 3:01 PM

MN, it *is* almost that time, isn't it? Are you counting the days until first practice?

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 3:03 PM

Jeezuz H Keerist!!! After all the abuse that comes Leslie's way, some folks demand an apology after she writes "Morons" once?????

Loosen up, you f^(k3rs!!! And since all -- or nearly all -- of you are parents, you qualify for that title.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 28, 2007 3:03 PM

Yay Army Brat! I am all for some lovin' kindness on a Friday afternoon, and I have to say I have never considered moron to be such a problematic or insulting word! Live and learn.

I am completely in the treat my car like a giant purse/suitcase camp. I believe there is an air mattress taking up most of my backseat at the moment, and an unknown number of coffee cups and other food containers rolling around, along with several items of clothing and some hangars. And probably the Yeti, for all I know.

And I regularly forget to get the oil changes on time and generally am lazy about taking care of these things, so I fall into the terrible category of people who are wasteful and apparently deserve all the insults originally intended for Leslie on that score. But, my cars do get excellent mileage, which is important to me.

As for what I would get if money were no object, I really can't say. Maybe a Karman Ghia - those are beautiful. And someone who would clean it out for me, LOL!

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 3:03 PM

"the purse hook was the perfect place to hang his girlfriend's bra after he got it off her - low, out of sight, but not where it could be lost or forgotten."

Wow. I don't think I've ever had a guy HANG UP my bra anywhere, let alone on a purse hook in a Lexus. Let alone a 19-year-old. It just went in a heap, with the rest, and I'd find it later. Which brings me to, how does one "forget" a bra?

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 3:05 PM

Hey Irishgirl/Scarry- Usually the corporate discounts don't apply to the top of the line stuff.

For example, the Dodge employees can't get a discount on a Viper either.

I used to date a girl whose dad was VP of EMEA Operations for Volvo. The family got whatever they wanted for free. Pretty sweet.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 3:07 PM


In the spirit of the recent topics, the following is a repost of one of my favorite songs composed by Chris:

At first I was afraid I was petrified About Fred's van and then I stepped inside But then he turned off all the lights And he burst out into song And it was wrong But I had to sing along! Then I reached back and grabbed my mace He just started screaming there as sprayed it in his face.

I should have stayed out of the blog I should have not taken the candy If I had known for just one second how creepy the van would be.

Go anonymous now, go, throw the keyboard on the floor! Just turn off the screen now, cause we've hit a brand new low. Weren't you the one who tried to leave so many times?

Did you go yet? Was it just another lie?

Oh yeah, Freds van! Is creepy! He'll drive up to your sidewalk and offer you candy. He's got lots of types to give, if you'll step inside a bit... Just step inside! Don't go inside! Hey, hey kids!

It's a rusty off white color about to fall apart You'll hear it coming down the road; exhaust sounds like a fart! And he's got those white wall tires just worn of all the tread. They used to shine! But now they're blackened by road-grime!

I'm not that anonymous little poster throwing panties at you But you feel like drivin' by And just expect me to chip in Now I'm saving all my money because the gas it isn't free!

Posted by: BlogStats | September 28, 2007 3:07 PM

ArmyBrat, if you don't mind (and I'll understand if you do, this being a public forum), can I ask how the mother/wife is doing? I didn't know the family personally, but I attend their church and was so shocked and saddened to hear of that accident, and particularly felt for the mother/wife and what she is facing. I guess I'd just like to know if she is recovering well, or as well as could be expected.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 28, 2007 3:08 PM

You folks wanna know the BEST car? Okay, I'll tell you. The BEST car is the luxury-sports car you rent for the week on your Diners Club Card. Diners Club provides primary collision insurance coverage on the rental. Soooo, rent the sportscar and drive the pi$$ out of it. Run into a ditch? No prob. It's a rental. And no need to report it to your insurance. Let Diners handle it.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 28, 2007 3:09 PM

Why, yes, dotted, LOL, I am :>)

but, in the interim, I am imagining myself behind the wheel of an Indianapolis Red M6, having removed the electronic limiter. I hear that 355 is the top-end possibility. Can't wait to find out, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:10 PM

sarahfran - don't know; about as well as can be expected, is what I hear. There were over 900 people at the funeral last Saturday; physically she's recovering but has a long way to go. But emotionally - gotta be rough, having been the driver of a car in which your husband and 13 year old son died (even though there was nothing she could do; they were stopped and hit from behind).

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 3:13 PM

Which brings me to, how does one "forget" a bra?

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 03:05 PM

. . . when one is dressing quickly after either being interrupted, or because a curfew is looming and one lost track of time. I hear. From friends. Not that I know.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:16 PM

so Blog Stats, how many times has Creepy Van been mentioned?

I try to mention it once a day!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 3:16 PM

vegasmom - the story was that he wasn't getting ALL of her clothes off; he was just "convincing" her to go bra-less. (Presumably after her parents had said something to the effect of "you're not leaving this house without the proper undergarments, young lady.") Apparently, when returning close to curfew from wherever they had been, she couldn't take too long to get re-dressed or it raised questions of "and just what were you doing out there that took so long?"

Now, bear in mind that I am the father of two teenaged daughters and a pre-teen daughter; they got a fatherly talking-to when I got home from the party about keeping their clothes on the entire evening!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 3:18 PM

I used to date a girl whose dad was VP of EMEA Operations for Volvo. The family got whatever they wanted for free. Pretty sweet.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 03:07 PM

A good friend of mine's dad is a bailbondsman. He gets some mighty fine rides in lieu of cash payment. "Sweet" doesn't begin to describe them, LOL. Plus, there's a new one every 6 weeks or so.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:18 PM

"when one is dressing quickly after either being interrupted, or because a curfew is looming and one lost track of time. I hear. From friends. Not that I know."

LOL - I've heard also. I know someone who put her underwear on backwards and lost a sock once, for the very same reasons. She had a wedgie that lasted a whole afternoon.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 3:19 PM

"when one is dressing quickly after either being interrupted, or because a curfew is looming and one lost track of time. I hear. From friends. Not that I know."

LOL - I've heard also. I know someone who put her underwear on backwards and lost a sock once, for the very same reasons. She had a wedgie that lasted a whole afternoon.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 3:19 PM

OT but very funny -

First Date

If you didn't see this on the Tonight show, I hope you're sitting
down when you read it. This is probably the funniest date
story ever, first date or not!!! We have all had bad dates but this
takes the cake. Jay Leno went into the audience to find
the most embarrassing first date that a woman ever had. The winner
described her worst first date experience. There was
absolutely no question as to why her tale took the prize!

She said it was midwinter... Snowing and quite cold...and the guy had
taken her skiing in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah.
It was a day trip (no overnight). They were strangers,
after all, and truly had never met before. The outing was
fun but relatively uneventful until they were headed home late that
afternoon.

They were driving back down the mountain, when she gradually began to
realize that she should not have had that extra latte. They were about an hour away from anywhere with a rest room and in the middle of nowhere! Her companion suggested
she try to hold it, which she did for a while. Unfortunately,
because of the heavy snow and slow going, there came a point
where she told him that he had better stop and let her go beside the
road, or it would be the front seat of his car. They stopped
and she quickly crawled out beside the car, yanked her pants down and
started.
In the deep snow she didn't have good footing, so she let her butt
rest against the rear fender to steady herself.

Her companion stood on the side of the car watching for traffic and
indeed was a real gentleman and refrained from peeking. All she could think
about was the relief she felt despite the rather embarrassing nature of the
situation. Upon finishing however, she soon became aware of another
sensation.

As she bent to pull up her pants, the young lady discovered her
buttocks were firmly glued against the car's fender.

Thoughts of tongues frozen to poles immediately came to mind as she
attempted to disengage her flesh from the icy metal. It was quickly apparent
that she had a brand new problem due to the extreme cold.

Horrified by her plight and yet aware of the humor of the moment, she
answered her date's concerns about "what is taking so long" with a reply
that indeed, she was "freezing her butt off" and in need of some assistance!

He came around the car as she tried to cover herself with her sweater
and then, as she looked imploringly into his eyes, he burst out laughing.

She too, got the giggles and when they finally managed to compose
themselves, they assessed her dilemma. Obviously, as hysterical as
the situation was, they also were faced with a real problem. Both agreed
it would take something hot to free her chilly cheeks from the grip of the icy metal!

Thinking about what had gotten her into the predicament in the first
place, both quickly realized that there was only one way to get her free.

So, as she looked the other way, her first-time date proceeded to
unzip his pants and pee her butt off the fender. As the audience screamed
in laughter, she took the Tonight Show prize hands down. Or perhaps that
should be "pants down." And you thought your first date was embarrassing.


Jay Leno's comment... "This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed
off.

Oh, and how did the first date turn out? He became her husband and
was sitting next to her on the Leno show.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 3:21 PM

sarahfran: not that I've been involved in any tragedy such as that, but if you even know this person, even peripherally - it would be a good thing to send a card, make a phone call, something.
Too many times when people go thru rough times, others just aren't there. Many times it's because they don't know what to say or do, but in the end, it leaves the person who went through the tragedy alone with their thoughts. So, my advice (not that you asked) is to make some sort of gesture (even, as I mentioned, a card - but more than that, offering to bring over dinner, if you'd be comfortable doing that, is usually taken very kindly) makes people feel as if they are not alone.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 3:22 PM

proudpapa my husband always wanted to work at GM and rise up through the ranks to VP level so we could get free cars. Every time he thinks to apply though, I remind him that he would have to work with the union as management and he reconsiders.

I am pro-union to a point, but it is hard to work with them and they don't care about the engineers at all. Case in point, a bunch of engineers were laid off at the lordstown plant and there was hardly any coverage of it in the local news. Some of my husband's friends were actually happy that the engineers were laid off! Where he works now, we don't get a discount on anything, but the work is stable and they have good relations with the workers.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 3:26 PM

LOL - I've heard also. I know someone who put her underwear on backwards and lost a sock once, for the very same reasons. She had a wedgie that lasted a whole afternoon.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 03:19 PM

Oh, Emily - that must have been very uncomfortable - tell your friend she has my sympathies, LOL.

VegasMom - I think these things are much more likely to occur in winter because of all the extra layers, garments, and all. One is unlikely to "forget" one's bra under a tank top. Backwards underwear, of course, has no seasonal limitations, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:30 PM

Armybrat -- he needs to start dating girls who know to take care of wardrobe adjustments BEFORE parking in front of the parents' house, LOL. He can start by telling her to put the bra in her purse, so the adjustment doesn't have to take place in the car. Forget the cute little hook.

I've heard that getting things turned right-side-out can be an issue, or lining up the bottons properly. Not that I'd know. I've heard. From friends.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 3:31 PM

I never understood why these car companies have their high ups these sweet deal new cars. I once knew a Ford engineer who could lease a new car every year and pay like $50 a month. It was quite a while ago, but it still seemed like a really good deal.


As far as I'm concerned, they should require that the engineers and execs drive cars that are at least 5 years old. That way, there would be some incentive to make the cars durable and reliable.

Posted by: Emily | September 28, 2007 3:33 PM

My first car was a ford pinto and the engine was in the back of the car. Does anyone remember the ugly pinto's?

Posted by: sharonw | September 28, 2007 3:34 PM

"As far as I'm concerned, they should require that the engineers and execs drive cars that are at least 5 years old. That way, there would be some incentive to make the cars durable and reliable."

Brilliant idea, Emily! They should also have to drive them in backwards underwear, so they have an incentive to include conveniently located panty hooks, LOL!

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 3:35 PM

Huh, Emily I've never heard of a plain old engineer getting that sweet a deal, but I know the execs do.

That would be a perfect idea to make them drive it for five years though. That's about how long I drive mine for.

Oh, and my younger BIL is going to get a Prius when he graduates, I can't wait to see the look on my FIL's face when he does. I just hope it doesn't kill him because then I lose my GM discount. :)

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 3:35 PM

Fred, you first mentioned the creepy van on Feb 1, 2007. Although the creepy van didn't show up until over 1 month later, it has been mentioned slightly over 115 times since.

Posted by: BlogStats | September 28, 2007 3:38 PM

sharonw, Yes, and the ugly AMC Gremlins, and the ugly Ford Maverick, and the ugly Corvair (another engine in the back vehicle), the Renault Fuego (UGGH - Triple UGHHH), and, best of all: the ugly PACER!!


"I've heard that getting things turned right-side-out can be an issue, or lining up the bottons properly. Not that I'd know. I've heard. From friends."

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 28, 2007 03:31 PM

vegasmom, I'll bet the girls wearing burkas don't have any of these pesky problems, LOL. Rule 1: Avoid buttons on dates. Rule 2: Always wear a front-hook bra if you don't want to be surprised, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:38 PM

"Which brings me to, how does one "forget" a bra? "


The hard part is when you suddenly discover it with your mom while driving her to the grocery store and acrobatically trying to keep it out of sight!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 3:44 PM

Sharonw, see my comments about the Pinto, at 11:59 am.

Emily, Irishgirl - a number of my friends from Purdue went to work for the automakers. All engineers past a certain rank at that point in time were entitled to the use of a new car every year for a nominal fee. The higher up you got, the better car you could get, and/or the more often you could exchange them. (Managers got even better deals.)

The reason for that benefit was that the engineering center got immediate feedback. The engineers could tell how the car drove, and would report back "hey, the brakes are crap," "the pickup's lousy," or "sweet interior." Making them drive 5-year old cars defeated the purpose; you didn't get the feedback until it was years too late to make any adjustments.

(That was the story, at any rate. Whether they actually listened to the feedback was a different story.)

And while the company could control the cars that the employees drove into the company lot, they couldn't control the cars that the employees drove in the rest of their personal lives. So if, say, GM told its engineers "you're not allowed to drive any GM car newer than 5 years old", the engineers would simply visit the neighborhood Ford dealer. Or Chrysler. Or Toyota.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 3:44 PM

I didn't get a chance to respond as I had to run off to vector calculus so...

pATRICK - I drive a chevy Camaro (not a prius) which you'd know if you read any of my posts that didn't include the key words you like to jump at (SUV, California).

And I can do all of the things you do ("haul kids around, lug groceries, luggagge, pull things, use for home projects etc") in my car. Saying we'd all be better drivers if we all drove the same sized car is not a politically charged statement. You want everyone to drive an SUV? Fine let's all drive SUVs. Please stop hating me for driving a fun, sporty car I like. I don't car what you drive and only hate the lifted trucks that occasionally try to run me off the road or the guy on his cell phone who isn't watching the road. I don't hate SUVs.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 3:47 PM

"Which brings me to, how does one "forget" a bra? "


The hard part is when you suddenly discover it with your mom while driving her to the grocery store and acrobatically trying to keep it out of sight!

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 03:44 PM

One half of a couple I know well had a similar horrified squishy feeling when her 5 year old found their condoms. You are never too old to be embarrassed either by your parents or your children. I hear. From friends.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:48 PM

The DH and I both got new cars this year and became a hybrid family. We usually buy cars (vs lease) and drive them to between 100k and 200k miles, 5-10 years.

DH got a Toyota Prius and loves it so far. He is obssessed with the gas mileage, reading tips from user groups, and has stayed over 50 mpg so far. He traded in a 2000 Camry. He likes smaller cars.

I need/want something bigger, so I got the Toyota Highlander hybrid. Still breaking it in, but so far I am getting 27-28 mpg per tank (it will never get Prius levels).

I sold my beloved Odyssey mini-van, which served me well for many years (named "Space", for multiple reasons).DH used to call it my backpack on wheels.

Posted by: cjbriggs | September 28, 2007 3:49 PM

Army brat driving any other car except a big three car is a cardinal sin where I come from.

As for the engineers, that makes a lot of sense, but you would figure that they would get feed back from the customers too. They got an earful when my transmission went out.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 3:50 PM

I hear. From friends.

That's funny, MEGAN'S RANDY NEIGHBOR......

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 3:51 PM

Army brat driving any other car except a big three car is a cardinal sin where I come from.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 03:50 PM

Still? I would think they'd like the jobs Nissan has in Smyrna, Tennessee, or the ones BMW offers in Greenville, South Carolina. We will probably purchase a Toyota made in Tupelo, Mississipi in the first year they roll off the line to thank Toyota for putting that plant there and offering jobs to so many laid-off former furniture manufacturing employees. I won't buy a car unless it's assembled on US soil. Others are free to disagree.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 3:54 PM

Whoops, Sharonw, just re-read your Pinto post carefully. It was NOT a rear-engine car. The engine was up front under the hood. It was rear-wheel drive car.

Does anybody remember the ads that Ford ran when the Pinto's explosion problems first became public: they would have "four Pinto families" or "Six Pinto families" - families that owned lots of Pintos. We were a four Pinto family - Mom had a '72 sedan; I had a '75 hatchback; Dad had a '75 wagon; and my brother had a '77 hatchback after he totaled his '67 Mustang. Yep, genetics do hold!

The car was plug-ugly, but mine ran pretty well. I used to brag that it was a "foreign car" - it had been made in the Ford plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Unlike the Chevy Vega, you could actually overheat the engine and survive. The Vegas were made with aluminum blocks; radical for that time. But if, say, a radiator hose blew and you lost coolant, the engine would overheat and the block would deform. It was time for a new engine block!

The Pinto, by contrast, was easy to fix and stood up to a lot. You could take that engine apart and put it back together with spit and baling wire and it would work.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 3:55 PM

I have a friend who works for Toyota and they give their employee's incredible discounts. At first you get a percentage off the car and then as you stay with the company for a while you begin to get a car allowance which for many covers the full cost of the lease. Everyone gets the option for a 1, 2, or 3 year lease and the car is build to your specs. The only thing you are responsible for is the gas - everything down to windshield wipers is covered by their mainteance department. The higher up you rise the larger your car allowance and you can also get Lexus'.

Posted by: blueskies2 | September 28, 2007 3:59 PM

MN there are none of those plants around where I grew up, I agree that Toyota and some of the other cars are built here, but as my FIL says "the money goes overseas."

But, lots of people here are making a living making the cars, so really what's the difference?

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 28, 2007 4:00 PM

"Army brat driving any other car except a big three car is a cardinal sin where I come from."

Irishgirl, I know a lot of people like that. And there are other issues; I have a friend who is Orthodox Jewish and retired from Chrysler when Daimler first bought them out because he'd never take a penny from Daimler.

However, as MN and others have pointed out, it's really difficult to tell whether something is an "American car" now or not.

If you care about union jobs, it is easy to tell which are UAW-built cars: Fords, GMs, and Chryslers that are built in the US (they're CAW-built cars if they're made in Canada). Everybody else is non-union.

But, off the top of my head, Nissan's are made in Tennessee; Subarus and Toyotas in Lafayette, IN (just across the Wabash from Purdue); Hondas are made in Ohio; Mercedes has a huge plant in Tuscaloosa, AL. MN mentioned the new Toyota plant in Mississippi; BMW has a huge facility in South Carolina.

By contrast, significant numbers of Fords are made in Canada and Mexico; others are made in Europe. GM and Chrysler have similar arrangements; just because it has a "big three" logo doesn't mean it's made in the US.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 4:05 PM

The Pinto, by contrast, was easy to fix and stood up to a lot. You could take that engine apart and put it back together with spit and baling wire and it would work.


That was exactly what went wrong. It was arrogance, churn it out and screw the customer, we're the only game in town...until the japanese whipped their butts. When you buy a small japanese car, you are buying a well built car, when you buy an american small car, you are buying a cheap car-big difference

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 4:07 PM

and following the money trail isn't so easy, either. The investors are from all over the world, so the money isn't necessarily going where you think it is.
Think of the advertising they all do. That money stays here.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 4:08 PM

Again, pATRICK, I thought my chevy cavalier was awesome.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 4:16 PM

New car topic: How many of you out there can drive a stick shift? (manual transmission). It seems to be a dying art, lots of young people I know have no clue how to drive one. In fact, when I am feeling too old, it makes me feel good to know I can drive a stick and lots of young people can't. (okay, maybe that's pathetic, but it is a skill I am proud of).

Posted by: cjbriggs | September 28, 2007 4:17 PM

ArmyBrat, my parents would never buy a Ford product because they remembered Henry Ford's virulent anti-Semitism.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:18 PM

And, along the same lines, my parents told me they were horrified when the VW was introduced into the US, since they knew of its origins. So we never had a German car, either.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:20 PM

New car topic: How many of you out there can drive a stick shift? (manual transmission). It seems to be a dying art, lots of young people I know have no clue how to drive one.

CJBriggs,

I do! I think it's why Saturn #1 and Saturn #2 have lasted so long. Hubby drives a manual vehicle too.

The F150 is an automatic, it's easier when hauling.

*hangs head in shame*

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 28, 2007 4:21 PM

And, along the same lines, my parents told me they were horrified when the VW was introduced into the US, since they knew of its origins. So we never had a German car, either.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 04:20 PM

Sounds like shopping was an interesting affair.........

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 4:21 PM

mehitabel: yes, it pained us to buy the mazda (a ford product). I pretty much closed my eyes.
Can drive a stick shift. Enjoy it.
The miata was SO much fun!
As i said we got the au pair a manual - and it's fun to drive every once in a while!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 4:22 PM

cjbriggs: I do too! Learned to drive stick on my Dad's 240Z (when it was still a Datsun!). Don't have one now, but will again as soon as I trade in/give to my son the Mom Mobile.

The skill came in very handy when we were in England this summer; it's near impossible to rent an automatic.

Posted by: kate07 | September 28, 2007 4:25 PM

pATRICK, Every fall my dad (a real car-maven) went down to our city's auto-row and checked out all the new cars. Except for one new car, all our family vehicles were gently-used American makes (back when they really were made in the USA), purchased from co-workers of hs auto-mechanic brother. Can you say "cream-puff," pATRICK?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:26 PM

It really freaked my dad out when he came for my son's birth and we were tooling around in our VW.
I don't know why buying the VW wasn't a big deal to me, but the Ford (Mazda) was.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 4:27 PM

Really, the first major car company to make a high-performance hybrid is going to make an sh-ton of money from people who sports cars but feel guilty about buying them.

So far Toyota/Lexus is way out front. The problem is that Toy/Lex has made clear that they will be charging through the nose for these cars. It won't be like when you could get a kinda sporty CRX or Celica.

It's gonna be more like this: http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/future/index.html?s_van=GM_TN_FUTURE

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 4:27 PM

Question for the chatters: How high would gas prices have to rise before you'd choose a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:31 PM

"New car topic: How many of you out there can drive a stick shift?"

I can, and I so miss having a stick shift! And I LOOOOVE my Toyota, I am so with you patrick about japanese vs american made small cars. Can't speak much to large cars, except that my husband's Dodge Dakota was a total lemon, even though most people say that model is great. Maybe we just got a bad one, but I say we will never know for sure because I will NEVER buy a Dodge again.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 4:31 PM

I agree with you ProudPapa. I like the civic hybrid for the mere fact that it's the only hybrid that you can get with manual transmission. I don't think I'll ever own an automatic, just not as much fun/control to drive.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 4:31 PM

Wow, I don't read this every day (not a mom, I lurk), but had noticed that Fof4 was MIA and just figured he was using another name with the new sign-in rules -- can someone let me know what happened? Or send me back to the discussion? Thanks.

Posted by: AnneArundel | September 28, 2007 4:31 PM

. Can you say "cream-puff," pATRICK?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 04:26 PM

Those cars probably lasted 10 years at least I bet.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 4:32 PM

IRISHGIRL, I think all those messages from IT would be a good insight into a troubled mind. This is after all a blog of random names that post essentially anonymously, how can anyone get that upset?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 4:34 PM

Question for the chatters: How high would gas prices have to rise before you'd choose a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 04:31 PM

They're already high enough. I'd choose one now if I could afford it. There aren't enough used hybrids available, and new ones are 20k and on up. Just not feasible for a mostly entry-level worker these days. Not sure when I'll buy my next car (probably 4+ years) but mileage will be a big factor. Even non-hybrids can get GOOD mileage (30-40) so I'd go for that.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 4:34 PM

More like 20 years, pATRICK. My dad took superb care of his cars.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:34 PM

FWIW, I love driving the stick shift. It gives so much better control of the vehicle.

Problem is 1/2 my commute is on the DC beltway and the other 1/2 is on I66. I'd love to have it on weekends, but clutching in the stop-and-go traffic is annoying.

On the other hand, clutchless paddle shifters (Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, etc) rock. AutoSticks (just about every automaker nowadays) are so-so.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 4:37 PM

Does anyone here care for Volvos? I just bought my second xc70 in 8 years. Next time though we're buying something from Toyota. Right now We're also a one car family.

Posted by: lourd | September 28, 2007 4:39 PM

cjbriggs: I strongly prefer manual transmissions; I feel like I'm driving the car. With an automatic I sometimes feel like a passenger on the wrong side, which is bad when you're supposed to be in control. When I bought the Corolla it was tough to find one with a stick, but I eventually did.

mehitabel, gas mileage has ALWAYS been a major factor in the cars we buy. So the general answer to your question is that it really doesn't matter what happens to the price of gas. We can't effectively shift to a different type of car.

The Corolla already gets 35-40 mpg; it's hard to top that with a car that meets my needs (has to carry 4 adults or 2 adults + 3 teenagers, plus a full trunk of softball stuff). The Sienna gets about 27 mpg; it's hard to top that with a minivan and we need the minivan for a few more years. And the Passat is okay; I think it's around 30 mpg which isn't bad for a wagon. I could ditch the Passat wagon for a mid-size sedan, but the difference in gas mileage isn't going to be significant enough to be the deciding factor from what I can tell.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 4:40 PM

Question for the chatters: How high would gas prices have to rise before you'd choose a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 04:31 PM

I already get 26 - 30 mpgs. I'm not willing to shift to a lighter-weight or smaller vehicle, e.g., those that achieve even better mileage, for safety reasons. See Army Brat's story above about size mattering. Safety is more important than money. We'll scrimp elsewhere in the budget.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 4:43 PM

Miles and ArmyBrat, One reason I asked about gas prices is because I see middle-class friends in Europe opting for much smaller family cars than many of their American peers would ever countenance, owing to "petrol" costing about twice as much there as what we pay here.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:46 PM

MN, you make an excellent point about the need to (*cough*) balance safety with economy. Perhaps if not so many people drove quasi-tanks it would feel safer on the road for more of us to scale down a bit on car size.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 4:50 PM

New car topic: How many of you out there can drive a stick shift?

I can! I prefer it--I feel much more in control than I do driving an automatic. Having that preference saves you money when getting a new car, but it makes your used car selections more limited.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 28, 2007 4:53 PM

mehitabel, try driving from Ft. Jackson, South Carolina (Columbia) to Denver, CO in a Renault Dauphine. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Dauphine) With two adults and three children under the age of 5. That's what my parents did. The whole family was scarred for life. :-)

Quotable quotes about the Dauphine:

- the engine displaced 845 cc and generated 32 hp
- Road & Track magazine measured the Dauphine's 0-60 mph acceleration time as 32 seconds
- The Dauphine's legacy is largely dominated by both its infamously poor performance and bad handling, as well as its poor reliability: in many markets (particularly the United States and the United Kingdom) the car became notorious for mechanical problems and rust issues.
- In 2002, the auto enthusiasts' website Car Talk voted the Dauphine the 9th Worst Car Of The Millennium, calling it "truly unencumbered by the engineering process".

Compared to that foul, vile piece of cow dung, the Pinto was a Maserati. So, no, I'm not cramming the whole family into a smaller car to save a few bucks (or even a few tens of bucks) on gas.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 4:56 PM

I would prefer to get a Mini Cooper, but I worry about safety too. Plus I haven't research their quality. Cost of
gas is another issue for me as well, that is why the next car will be from Toyota.

Posted by: lourd | September 28, 2007 5:00 PM

"Road & Track magazine measured the Dauphine's 0-60 mph acceleration time as 32 seconds"

I just couldn't read any further for the tears streaming down my face, Army Brat - tears of laughter that is. I will thank my parents, before the weekend is out, for permitting us the grandeur of one 10 year old station wagon after another, none -- thank God - sporting fake wood paneling but all of which probably accomplishe 0 - 60 in approximately 15 - 20 seconds, LOL. Rarin' by Dauphine standards.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 5:02 PM

Okay, so this is slightly offensive, but I'm going to say it anyway.

Just stop equating Big SUVs with safety.

What you really mean is that even if the accident it your fault, you would rather kill the other driver than risk yourself being hurt.

Just admit it. It's not about safety. It's about whether you get to kill or be killed. Be honest.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 5:03 PM

We had one of those! The station wagon with "wood" paneling. Back in the day, I used to cart around as many as 12 of my friends at one time. What a beast...

Posted by: kate07 | September 28, 2007 5:06 PM

MN - oh yeah, we kids were thrilled when the folks upgraded - they replaced the Renault with an AMC Rambler station wagon. That one died on the highway in Texas, traveling between one set of Grandparents in Colorado and the other set in Louisiana.

And when I say "died on the highway in Texas", you have to remember how big a place Texas is, and how far apart the towns are once you're out of the Metroplex. We were 25 miles from Memphis, TX, which was the closest town when it happened.

The Rambler was replaced by a Chevy II Nova wagon, which was the finest piece of automotive machinery ever made to this youngster's eyes.

We finally had a car that you didn't time in the quarter mile using a sundial! Or even a calendar!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 28, 2007 5:08 PM

Since I only commute 2 miles each way to work, and DH maybe 10, gas prices haven't affected us much. The only reason DH's commute is so long is he got a new job at same company, and even though they told him he could keep his office in the one building, they eventually took it away.

Anyway, otherwise, we don't drive much - except for an occasional road trip and even my minivan gets great mileage on the highway.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 5:11 PM

Motorcyclists survive only 20% of collisions with motor vehicles. Drivers and passengers and all automobiles and trucks have a significantly better survival rate than do motorcyclists. That doesn't mean that consumers purchasing vehicles because they analyze the statistics and conclude that vehicles produce a higher survival rate than do motorcycles are being mean or want to kill motorcyclists. It means that they have determined that the vehicle is the safer purchase for them.

You can spin it as you like, but when an engineer discusses vehicle safety, the question is whether a consumer is more, or less, likely to survive a collision from any number of contact points if operating or riding in Vehicle A or Vehicle B.

If the answer is that a driver and/or passenger are more likely to survive a crash if they are riding in Vehicle A, whether because of side airbags or a straight steel frame, the answer is what the answer is. I can honestly say that engineering and facts are neither emotionally nor politically charged. They simply are.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 5:13 PM

Just stop equating Big SUVs with safety.

What you really mean is that even if the accident it your fault, you would rather kill the other driver than risk yourself being hurt.

Just admit it. It's not about safety. It's about whether you get to kill or be killed. Be honest."


Only you would have that cynical view........be honest

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 5:13 PM

And remember, this is for posterity, so....be honest.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 5:18 PM

I recall seeing news reports a few months ago that SUVs are actually not as safe in traffic accidents as their drivers may believe they are. Did anyone else read or see that, too?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 5:19 PM

For most of the years our boys were growing up we had station wagons. Two favorites were the 1982 diesel Olds Custom Cruiser and the 1985 gas Custom Cruiser.

The '82 was named The Beast and was well-known for belching out black smoke. We still joke about its being able to go from 0-60 mph in 90 seconds.

The '85 was a treasure--it went across the country with us one summer (literally--from the beach in NC to the California coast) and went on countless boy scout outings. I drove that behemoth down Lombard Street and am still proud of that! We got over 300,000 miles on it before it gave up the ghost.

Now we drive small cars--two Ford Focuses (Foci?). DH's mom worked for Ford and gets the discount.... Me, I'd love a Bentley, complete with driver. :) I think we'll stick with small cars from here on out, though--gas is just to costly and we are nearing retirement.

Posted by: lsturt | September 28, 2007 5:24 PM

mehitabel - I'm not sure how you could measure driver belief, LOL, but if you could you'd have to look very, very closely at exactly which vehicle makes and models are being labeled SUVs. Hybrids make people feel more comfortable because they avoid the perjorative (to some) label, but if you park one of the hybrids next to a smaller-model SUV and ask any consumer to give you a principled answer of how they differ and you'll hear a long silence.

Weight, structure, ABS systems, side airbags, more steel, less fiberglass. Center of gravity goes to the tendency of certain SUV models, but not others, and certain "regular" cars, but not others, to flip over. Car category labels are most useful for discussing in the context of the CAFE, but not very useful in a safety discussion.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 5:25 PM

Just stop equating Big SUVs with safety.

What you really mean is that even if the accident it your fault, you would rather kill the other driver than risk yourself being hurt.

Just admit it. It's not about safety. It's about whether you get to kill or be killed. Be honest."


Only you would have that cynical view........be honest

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 05:13 PM

Well what other reason is there? By safety you mean ability to "win" a car accident. I am with you ProudPapa.

I also wonder at the people who buy large SUVs for their children on account of safety, citing bad teenage driving. If you're afraid your teenager doesn't have the discipline to take driving seriously enough, maybe you shouldn't let them drive. Otherwise you're just allowing your teenager to kill anyone they hit who maybe didn't have the money to buy an oversized vehicle.

Posted by: _Miles | September 28, 2007 5:25 PM

Mehitabel, I do recall seeing that as well, and then there being a whole spate of different analyses that I didn't really follow. I thought the gist of it ended up being that while size matters, so does design, and a lot of SUVs are not so well designed, so some of the regular cars that are not as big as an SUV are still safer. But my memory for this type of thing is spotty.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 5:25 PM

lsturt, your post last night was lovely. Just thinking about it again, I seem to have a speck of dust in my eye right now...

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 5:27 PM

LizaBean, that's kind of what I recalled, too.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 28, 2007 5:28 PM

"Car category labels are most useful for discussing in the context of the CAFE, but not very useful in a safety discussion."

Well put. Although I do wonder sometimes about how our perception of safety affects safety itself. I've several times heard people say, "Well, I have an SUV so I will be able to drive through that blizzard" or "I have all wheel drive so I'll be fine." It makes me wonder if people rely on those features so much that they exercise less caution than they otherwise would, and how that all balances out. Not that I think that can be measured, LOL, but I wonder.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 5:30 PM

Thanks, mehitabel. I felt it from my heart and wanted to offer what little comfort I could. It's a tough road to walk.

Posted by: lsturt | September 28, 2007 5:34 PM

My mom, my whole life, always said she wanted to be in the biggest car in the accident. Back then, of course, she just drove a large sedan, or station wagon...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 28, 2007 5:39 PM

I think hybrids will really catch on when they do a couple of things. Hide the hybrid stuff, just put it in and be done with it, don't make the car look like a space pod or something weird. 2. provide adequate power 3. get 30 percent better mileage for the average car. The american consumer wants to get in and drive basically, make it easy to do so.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 28, 2007 5:41 PM

One other favorite memory--One evening we were watching a show that had a segment regarding car thefts. Perhaps it was 60 Minutes. Anyway, they showed the car that was least likely to be stolen, and it was our '88 Olds! Right down to the white paint job, fake wood paneling, and roof rack! All four of us burst out laughing. At least the boys (young teenagers at the time) could laugh about it. :)

Posted by: lsturt | September 28, 2007 5:45 PM

Lizabean,
Inconceivable!

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 28, 2007 5:46 PM

"The reason for that benefit was that the engineering center got immediate feedback. The engineers could tell how the car drove, and would report back "hey, the brakes are crap," "the pickup's lousy," or "sweet interior." Making them drive 5-year old cars defeated the purpose; you didn't get the feedback until it was years too late to make any adjustments."

This is very true. My brother works at an auto maker in QA/QC. He told me a funny story today about how the DIRECTOR's car battery was always dead. He, being the electrical guy was called immediately. The verdict: DIRECTOR's kids left the dvd player on!

Posted by: Fred | September 28, 2007 5:46 PM

Dotted,

You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Ha! Now I am earning the nerd label mentioned earlier too, LOL.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 28, 2007 5:58 PM

MN, there's no "spin" to it at all. In fact, I'm just trying to get people to be honest about what they mean about safety here.

Here's a thought. With regards to car size, is "safety" in a colision a measure of "Force" in your opinion? Just as part of the size discussion. Not airbags and other features.

Force = Mass x Acceleration? That "force"?
Because therefore, in order to reduce "force" of each car (to make them "safer"), the answer would then be either to make each car travel more slowly, or give them LESS mass. Not more. LESS.

To quote you: "I can honestly say that engineering and facts are neither emotionally nor politically charged. They simply are."

Which of us is being more true to that statement?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 9:03 PM

Because therefore, in order to reduce "force" of each car (to make them "safer"), the answer would then be either to make each car travel more slowly, or give them LESS mass. Not more. LESS.

To quote you: "I can honestly say that engineering and facts are neither emotionally nor politically charged. They simply are."

Which of us is being more true to that statement?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 28, 2007 09:03 PM

ProudPapa, I don't know how a person can be true to a statement such as, "a rock is a rock". It is what it is.

I also don't know how we can discuss "the answer" without identifying the question. What question are you answering?

Safety of individual vehicles, that consumer testing information which many of us evaluate and heavily (no pun intended) weigh before purchasing a vehicle, is reported in terms of how THIS vehicle will stand up to X or Y amount of force coming from A or B directions and assuming K weather. Some crashes are one car plus a telephone pole. Others are two cars encountering each other head-on. Still others are as Army Brat describes above: one vehicle at a stand-still and another hits it from behind. All of those variables impact ultimate survivability. But guess what we still know? We know that we are safer in a vehicle than in a motorcycle. Should all US car-owning consumers be labeled killers for engaging in that simple mathematical calculus and purchasing a car instead of a bike? (See above comments for that analysis.) If not, why would you stop short of labeling car-purchasers, generally, as killers, because when a car hits a bike, the bike owner dies 80% of the time, but you feel it's appropriate to label purchasers only of certain vehicles for which you don't care "killers" because when their vehicles hit smaller vehicles, e.g., a Civic, the outcome might be less good for the Civic driver? Gee, could there be a political agenda?

You can always opt to purchase the least safe vehicle, the one that will collapse like an accordion in a two-vehicle head-on collision, if that suits your politics. Go ahead, purchase a motorcycle. Maybe that will get you into Heaven.

MN, owner of a sedan and not planning to purchase a minivan, an SUV or a hybrid, LOL

Posted by: MN | September 29, 2007 10:42 AM

MN,
Do you use snow tires or chains in the winter or is front wheel drive enough for you?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 29, 2007 12:51 PM

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