Friday, August 2, 2013

The Perfect Family Car

Kathie in the Picture
In the little village where I live in New York about 50 miles as the crow flies northwest of the George Washington Bridge, it’s difficult for folks to miss my ladyfriend Kathie Austin and me when we go out together with our kids. As regular readers of The Single Father’s Guide Blog know, I have three children, the two Beautiful Daughters and The Favorite Son. Kathie has her four “monkeys.”

For those of you keeping score at home, I have three and Kathie has four. If you add those numbers up, that’s .  .  . a lot.

My oldest, The First Beautiful Daughter (FBD), recently had her 16th birthday. She and I played hookey one day earlier this summer and went to the New York DMV and she got her learner’s permit to drive. Obviously, I’ll have two drivers in the house soon. Once FBD has her license, she’ll be able to drive herself to and from some of her school and social events. She may even be able to shoulder some of the shuttling her younger sister and brother to their activities. I’m looking forward to that.

Beautiful Daughters, Monkeys, Favorite Son,
and a few extra on the Delaware River in June
Considering the fact that this will soon be a two driver household, I thought it would be a good idea to have a second car to complement the conservative, four-door Saturn L300 sedan I’ve driven for the past several years. Keeping in mind that Kathie and I have seven children, I recently bought  .  .  .  a 1974 MG Roadster.

Okay, it’s not very practical for a couple like us who have that kind of brood. On the other hand, maybe it is. All right, I could just be rationalizing, but check this out.

First, on most days I walk to the places I need to go. So, if FBD takes the Saturn to school or to some other place with or without her one of her siblings, it’s likely I won’t have to drive far. On those days I have an appointment that is more than a five minute drive, I’ll just keep the sedan home and, grudgingly I’m sure, FBD will have to take the bus to school. Even if one of the kids has to be retrieved early from school, the MG does seat two.

The Previous Owners: Priscilla & Sam Rogers
Next, had I bought a new or a decent used car that is comparable to the Saturn, I’d probably have to spend $20,000, give or take a few grand. The basic Toyota Camry starts at $22,265; by the time I added a few options, it would be at least three or four thousand dollars more, not to mention almost $2,000 in sales tax. A used Ford Taurus that has 40,000 miles is almost twenty large. The MG cost less than a third of that and I don’t have a car payment. (I hate car payments.)

Finally, when Kathie's ten year old daughter asked, “Mom, why would you guys buy a car that only has two seats? You have seven kids!” Kathie answered with a smile, “Because it only has two seats.”

The fact is single parents, as I’ve chronicled here at some length, often work very hard to make sure their children have all the time, love, and opportunities they need to grow into happy and healthy young adults, often to the detriment of the parents' own needs. So, in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent (or a couple of parents) taking a little bit of time for himself (themselves), do something that doesn't involve kids. Sometimes, frankly, there really is only room for two, and that's okay.

Of course, it really is a fun little car.

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