Monday, May 08, 2006

Limber Children Can Be Frightening

The whole family decamped, once I got home from work today, to check out what we thought would be our new minivan. (A silver 2006 Honda Odyssey LX, with only a roof rack added -- we wanted the best, but we also wanted it cheap and without frills.) The Wife and I had gone to the dealer last week and decided definitively that the more common light tan interior fabric would not mix well with two young (and messy) boys. So Our Guy Joe at Mahwah Honda tracked down an Odyssey with the darker interior, and we all went out to see it.

Thing 1 was very impressed by the flip-out cup holder on his chair, by the second rear slider, and, most importantly, by the CD player. (Our current minivan, soon to be my minivan, is a 1998 Ford Windstar with a rather more plebian sound system.) Thing 2 was fond of the fold-flat rear seats. We didn't even demonstrate how the two chairs in the second row can either be stuck together or moved apart -- though I expect, with two boys, we'll be swapping between those two options pretty regularly.

We took a short test drive, without even a dealer plate. (Is this legal? I wondered but didn't say.) The Wife was happy. I was happy. Thing 2 tried to fit himself into the under-floor storage, he was so happy. Thing 1 burbled on and on about the car and the game he was playing on his Nintendo DS interchangeably, and without anyone being able to understand a word of it.

We came back to the dealership, ready to sign all of the many papers. To keep the boys out of our hair, we stuck them in the backseat of the full-size car sitting in the showroom (probably an Accord, I guess, unless Honda has a car bigger than that). Thing 1 continued to play the DS as we signed. I kept seeing Thing 2's feet out of the corner of my eye, but I thought he was just standing on his head, as he is wont to do.

But no. This car, as we discovered when we retrieved the boys a few minutes later, has a fold-down panel in the middle of the backseat, to allow skis to slide comfortably into the trunk. And Thing 2, as he told us with glee, could climb into the trunk through it. He proceeded to demonstrate to us, and we pretended to be happy. I won't say that the boy could fit absolutely anywhere, but my mental list of places in which he definitely would not fit is getting very slim.

So we left in our old car -- The Wife will get a cashier's check in the next day or two and, probably with her mother in tow, pick up the brand new Hornswoggler-mobile to bring it home. And we will then suddenly have become that most dreaded of things in suburbia: a two-minivan family.

So if you see a car that looks like this (with a roof rack, but with less-fancy wheels) on the streets of North Jersey in about a week, sporting temporary plates, give a wave -- it's probably my wife, late for some boyish appointment or other.

And if you need to buy a car in North Jersey anytime soon, our advice is to go to Mahwah. We bought our Windstar in 2000 at Mahwah Ford, and this Honda from a completely unrelated dealership just down the road. Both places were very pleasant and hassle-free. Must be something in the location, I guess.

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