Thursday, May 26, 2011

let's take the car and save the fare

As of this afternoon, we are back to being a two-car family. We made it work with one car for just shy of eleven months, and could have gone a bit longer if our lives weren't about to hit a speed bump in the next few weeks. We'll need a second car for the upcoming drives in & out (and in & out, and in & out) of Boston next month. More on that another day.

After looking at and driving both the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Elantra, we went with an Elantra. At this point, we just can't argue with the attractiveness of coming in nicely equipped but under 20K. Still, I really liked the Prius and we will be looking at the hybrid Highlander (or whatever it is by then) when it's time to replace the CX-9, even if it's just to drool on one for a little while.

One thing I have to explain is that we could not have made one car work nearly as easily if Dan had to commute every day; it was annoying enough with one car when he just worked in Burlington and didn't need to be in the office every single day.

This past fall, we arranged our schedule so that the girls' activities were mostly clustered around two days each week -- Thursdays and Saturdays. On Thursdays, karate ended at 5:45 (but in reality more like 5:55) and dance began at 6:00; on Saturdays, dance ran from 10:30 until noon, but Penelope's soccer game times varied from week to week. The Activities Dance got complicated a few times, but we never needed to call in a friend for a ride anywhere; usually, one parent-child team would simply sit around and wait.

The fact that we are relatively unscheduled homeschooling freaks was helpful, too: the additional stress of shlepping the girls to and from school every day (or fuming over that one carpool member who is never ready on time!) simply wasn't there. The girls still made it to most of their Fun Fridays, most of their rollerskating evenings, and a bunch of other stuff, as well. Plus, we had all of those speech and physical therapy appointments thrown in there this fall.

Would we do it again if we needed to? Without a doubt. Nobody ever complained (including me and Dan). We paid the CX-9 off two years early. Penelope and Emma got to observe (and sometimes help) Dan and I grapple with some pretty complex scheduling issues. We always managed to find a solution that got everyone where they needed to go.

Would we *want* to do it again? Honestly? I enjoyed it most of the time. We made a responsible decision that was difficult to live with at times, but we had a little extra time together several times a week and we came out of the whole adventure a little more confident in our ability to think outside the box.

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