Say It Ain’t So! When a Minivan Happens to a Volkswagen Girl…

I could not decide on a name for this blog post. So, since this topic is so incredibly painful for poor little me (First World Problems!), I’m not going to write an actual post about it. While I drown in my tears, I will just give you a bunch of alternate versions of the title of this non-blog-post post. Here are the Top 5 Alternate Titles:

1)     “How a Lifelong VW Girl Ended up in a Minivan”

On the day I was born, I came home from the hospital in a 1977 VW Rabbit. I mean, I would have, except that my mom was in labor long enough to get the Rabbit towed. Therefore, I actually came home in my Granddad’s car. (The first thing my new dad had to do was get that Rabbit out of the impound lot.) With the exception of that day, I have been in a VW for my entire life.

1977 VW Rabbit 1981 me asleep in VW

Throughout my childhood, my VW-loving parents drove me around in:
-a blue 1977 VW Rabbit,
-a black 1984 VW Rabbit (which my dad only sold this year), and
-a maroon 1994 VW Jetta (which my brother crashed).

As an adult, I have purchased:
-a blue 1987 VW Jetta (my first car, which my brother also crashed)
-a silver 2001 VW Golf,
-a red 2002 VW GTI (which my brother now owns and better not crash),
-a blue 2002 VW TDI (which we still own and Mr. Okayest drives every day. This diesel has 265,000 miles on it), and
-my silver 2003 VW Passat W8 (which kind of fit all 3 kids in the back, but not really, and also held our 100 pound dog in the back)

I never thought I would not own a VW.

2)     “From VW to… Beige.Chrysler.Minivan (to be read in the voice of the singer from the band Cake: A.White.Chrysler.LeBaron)”

Is there anything more bland than those three words put together: “Beige.Chrysler.Minivan”? I feel like I need to sprinkle some Sriracha sauce on those words to spice them up.

We, of course, started out by looking at the VW minivan, the Routan. Don’t even get me started on that. VW stuck a dagger in my heart. The Routan is actually just rebadged Chrysler Town & Country minivan with a more expensive price tag. WTHeck, VW?! That is not acting like “The People’s Car”, now is it?! How could you do that to a lifelong VW girl?

However, since the Routan debuted in 2008, it is not old enough to be affordable for the Okayest Family, so my whole rant is meaningless anyway. We don’t do car payments. Mr. Okayest is a former mechanic, and, thus, we rotate through old vehicles. He can keep them running. We have owned a dozen cars since we were married, many of which we flipped like real estate. Not a single one of them has ever been to a shop. (This hobby/skill keeps Mr. Okayest very busy. I used to call myself a “Garage Widow”.) Therefore, when we look at vehicles to buy, we usually look at vehicles that are about a decade old. This limits the choices somewhat.

3)     “ ‘I Will Never Drive a Minivan’ Said Everyone, Ever.”

I am so not reinventing the wheel here. Like most minivan owners, we tried everything to avoid this thing. We smashed all 3 in the back of the VW Passat until we could smash no more. We did spreadsheet after spreadsheet to try to fudge the numbers and make an SUV come out on top. Mr. Okayest is the best practical thinker you have ever seen, and made jaw-dropping “Decision Matrixes” (matrices?) that gave every pro and con a numerical value. It was so easy to make fun of him and his Excel skillz, but, dang, I was in awe. We simply could not argue with the numbers. No matter how we skewed the values, we could not make the SUVs or full-size vans come out as the winner.

How The Okayest  Family Buys a Car

How The Okayest Family Buys a Car (Make fun all you want. And, um, this is only a snippet of ONE of the Decision Matrices.)

I will make it up to myself by putting this sticker on the back:


4)     “It’s Not the Number of Kids You Have… It’s the Number of Carseats You Have”

Anyone who makes fun of Americans for driving increasingly-larger vehicles does not have three babies in three carseats. (And I’m talking to myself here. I am the girl who once owned a Mini and a VW Golf at the same time.) We got the narrowest carseats we could find (which also happened to be the cheapest, woot woot!), and we just could not make them fit properly in the back of the VW Passat. There are only 2 LATCH anchors, so car manufacturers think it’s only necessary to save the lives of 2 of our 3 children.

all 3 asleep in vw

Our three carseats across the back row didn’t quite fit properly. They were a little wonky and crooked, because they had to overlap a little bit. Plus, when we shut the doors, the seats would jostle around. I kept picturing being in a t-bone crash with the twins’ seats smashed against the doors, and I felt like I should apologize to everyone who ever owned an SUV “for safety” that I had previously teased.

We have children closer together in age than most parents. I think that most parents who have three children have an oldest child who can buckle his own carseat buckle- or is old enough to not need a carseat. That is the natural child-spacing order. We, however, have three very small and closely-spaced children who must be buckled in by my hands. Why does this matter? BECAUSE I HAVE TO CLIMB IN THE WAY WAY BACK TO BUCKLE WHICHEVER KID ENDS UP BACK THERE. Therefore, I petitioned for a full-size van (which was sadly the major loser of the Decision Matrix) or a minivan with stow-n-go seats. I reasoned that if I could fold one seat into the floor, then I have far more room with which to maneuver. That plan was foiled when my 2-year-old niece moved in with us. We now have FOUR carseats in there and no stowing-and-going happening. (But that’s ok!)

all 4 in minivan

5)     “‘Anything But Beige,’ I Said”

Guess what? We looked at six minivans that weekend, and the last one happened to be beige. I knew as soon as I saw it. I said to him in a defeated voice, “This is the one, isn’t it?”

I’m never going to be able to find it in a parking lot. As a girl who is used to driving around in rare cars (Passat W8), race cars (my husband’s 626 hp racer), or handmade cars (an old Mitsubishi Galant sedan with race components), I now feel like I am wearing an invisibility cloak. Good thing I never leave the house, huh?


Postscript: Okay, okay, it’s been kinda awesome to fit all four kids in one vehicle. We have freedom to leave the house all together now. And, yes, its “utility can’t be beat”, as Mr. Okayest has said. And, okay, okay, it’s pretty cool to put regular gas in something for once, instead of premium. And, yeah, those automatic doors are really something when I have my hands full of twins. But, seriously, beige?!!


7 thoughts on “Say It Ain’t So! When a Minivan Happens to a Volkswagen Girl…

  1. Laughing my ARSS off at this!! Seriously! Also love the blankets under the car seats to protect the regular seats. We do the same thing in my “dreaded” mini-van. But it is true…they are just so much nicer to fit 3 carseats in than even an SUV. We tried the SUV for 2 months and traded it in.


  2. Pingback: I’ve Got to Pop That White Bubble (or, The Rap Incident) | Okayest Mom

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