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We recently acquired a minivan. Half of my readers just mentally snorted at the wretched direction my life has taken. You pity me.

The other half of you have actually been inside a modern minivan. You know that a minivan is the mullet of automobiles, and by that I mean it is all business in the front, and a party in the back. It's a little slice of heaven on wheels. I love my minivan. Yeah, I said it.

We were forced to consider minivans because our Toyota Highlander had an annoying noise that wouldn't go away. It sounded roughly like "Mom, there isn't enough leg room! Make someone else sit in the back next time!" We tried turning up the volume on the radio to drown it out, but that was only partly successful. So we started looking at minivans.

After extensive shopping we narrowed our minivan choices to either a Honda or a Toyota. The Honda had an edge in back seat comfort, mileage, and console layout. But the Toyota salesman assured us that after a few years of use the Honda would rattle apart and spontaneously dissemble itself in our garage. He said we would one day come out to the garage and find nothing but a pile of parts, each one trying to crawl away from the others. The Toyota, by way of contrast, was built tight, our salesman explained. It would survive a nuclear attack without the tires getting out of alignment. This was all suspiciously difficult to verify, given that it involved the future. And Google was silent on this issue. So we went with the comfy back seats. It seemed the quieter option.  

Our minivan is packed with so many features that it changes the entire driving paradigm. In the old model you had a driver and several passengers. Now you have a pilot and a full-time manager of tech support in the front, with several disgruntled users in the back. From the moment the humans enter the minivan, the manager of tech support gets busy. My wife, who I call Spock during family drives, is responsible for the navigation unit, synching the BlackBerry to the speaker system, adjusting the XM satellite stations, loading the DVD, instructing occupants about how to move seats, locking and unlocking doors, and so on. Her job is never done because the users never stop submitting change orders.

As pilot, I try to tune out everything but the sultry and sometimes scolding voice of the navigation unit. If I allow myself to get invested in the tangle of tech support and political issues bubbling over in the rest of the vehicle I will lose concentration and drive into a ravine. Although I'd be lying if I said it isn't a tempting option after the fifteenth change order gets submitted, just before I fire up the rear bumper video camera, and the distance sonar, and start backing out of the garage.

The XM satellite radio is a wonderful invention. It has an endless variety of music. But for reasons I haven't yet discerned, all we ever hear is Daughtry and Lady Gaga. I would be fine with this arrangement if Daughtry didn't sound like two mules dragging a barn door over crushed stones. I need to talk to Spock about that, but she is always buried in work orders.

My point is that minivans are wonderful. If you like Daughtry.
 
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Nov 28, 2010
haha it's even worse needing two minivans.

Joseph
< href="http://flightsimreality.com/proflight-simulator"> flightsimreality.com</a>
 
 
Nov 28, 2010
haha it's even worse needing two minivans.

Joseph
http://flightsimreality.com/proflight-simulator
 
 
Apr 25, 2009
My father doesn't dish out a lot of parenting advice, but he did offer this nugget after my 3rd child was born:

"I can't tell you how important it is that each child have its own row."

Words to live by.
 
 
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Apr 16, 2009
I didn't get a minivan until I kept having to drive 12 hours to visit my relatives in a ford escort or a ford ranger with a camper shell, my wife a 2 kids (hey they loved to ride in the back of the camper.). Much easier now with a minivan
 
 
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Apr 9, 2009
Wow, m-i-l-e-s gets censored.
 
 
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Apr 9, 2009
!$%*!
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
Wow, marcg, you could be me! I have a 98 Grand, and I've had every one of those same thoughts. Well, except the tailgate, hadn't thought of that. But now I want it....
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
"It sounded roughly like "Mom, there isn't enough leg room! Make someone else sit in the back next time!"

"...sound like two mules dragging a barn door over crushed stones."

Go ahead and circle the bases Scott. You got all of that one. Good job today - very funny.
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
I can't agree more. I've had a minivan for 10 years now and I never want to give it up. There is just so much utility to these things... they're unbeatable. You've got WAY more space than an SUV, way better fuel economy, way more options to configure it and they are even good in the snow (I'm in Canada). Most people ignore the tow rating when buying something, but at 3500 lbs on most vans you can pull a pretty nice boat (done it, no problem even on a slippery ramp with FWD). On a long trip there's nothing that beats the comfort or the lack of planning, "we'll just take everything", needed with minivan. Knowing what kind of readers you attract I'm surprised by the number of comments that mock minvans purely on the basis of fashion. If I had to have only 1 car I would lose the Mazdaspeed and keep the van. I can use it's capability everyday... even without kids.
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
Minivan = Mullet...That is simply brilliant!
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
OK, can someone tell me why the common word for 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards is against the rules? Maybe I should spell it out like with little kids: m-i-l-e-s
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
is !$%*!$% a bad word? It got bleeped on my post. !$%*!$ I hate it when the bleeping computer does this !$%*!$%
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
This post is why I love reading your work!
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
I can still remember the 12 - 14 hour drives in our families 1974 Ford Country Squire, with fake wood paneling and moldy milk smell from when my mom spilled a half gallon of milk in the far back child unsafety seats. We were pleased when any podunk country radio station was partially in range. Those were the days...
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
You said "it changes the entire driving paradigm". PARADIGM! You are now officially a PHB!
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
I went from a full-size van to a Dodge Grand Caravan. I miss the mobile shed that was the van, but I drive 20 !$%*! each way to work, so needed the gas mileage. My kids are grown up and moved out, so why the soccer-mom transport? I like stuff. I get stuff, I move stuff, I store stuff, I take stuff to the dump. On occasion I need to go to the lumberyard and get big stuff. I scour FreeCycle and Craigslist for stuff. The rolling shed was great for that, but the minivan is fine. I can fit several sheets of 4X8 whatever in there. I recently bought a lawn tractor and pushed it right in.

But I bought a used 2002, which was before Stow-and-Go. I really, really, want Stow-and-Go. Taking the seats in and out is a pain, plus you have to store them somewhere. So I need to save up to get a 2009. They look more truck-like now. And the side windows roll down. My dogs would love that.

I think they could sell a lot more if they had a guy version. The new Caravan is a good step, but they need to Ram up the front some more. And have a tailgate. Even a little, 16-inch, one would be cool. I could hang lumber out the back and with one of those warning flags on it. Lose the carpet in the back and just have painted metal. That's a truck.
 
 
Apr 7, 2009
I'm supprised that your still capable of "piloting" the craft after calling your wife Spock. I would have thought that T'Pol would be a better comparison...
 
 
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Apr 7, 2009
I'm surprised you let your "navigation unit" speak... I muted mine LONG ago! :)
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 7, 2009
Minivan's are like mopeds: They're fun to drive/ride until someone sees you in/on one.

Ain't technology great? My 1-year old son recently reprogrammed our tv in about 5 minutes. It took 3 adults 60 minutes to figure what he did and how to fix it!

I like XM Radio! There's nothing quite like having 100 stations of absolutely nothing to listen to!

Anyone still have one of those old hand-held transistor radios from the '70s? I miss them so much.....
 
 
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Apr 6, 2009
This is the first blog I have actually laughed out loud at. Thanks. I needed that.
 
 
 
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