We are going through a difficult time here at Team Fun HQ. We’re watching an old friend with whom we’ve travelled a long road slowly dying. In the past we have paid enormous sums of money to prolong her life, and more recently, just to keep her going. Over the years we’ve taken her to specialists, and have on more than one occasion, asked for second opinions. But now, Mrs L. and I have had to make the decision to let her go. It’s best for us and kindest for her.
That’s right, we need to replace our family car. So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been scouring the internet, reading reviews, checking prices and acquainting myself with local car dealers. We’ve been visiting car yards, test driving all manner of different models and gradually refining the shortlist until we’ve found the perfect car. We’ve even take the kids along with us, and I can tell you, the used car salesmen couldn’t have been happier to see us. Leave.
What has been really interesting has been seeing how the shortlist has changed, and what our expectations are of our next car. Jojo is happy so long as the sun doesn’t go in his eyes, so tinted rear windows are a must. Boy-Boy would like the springiest seats possible and plenty of roof clearance so that he doesn’t bang his head when he jumps up and down on them (as I said, those car salesmen were really pleased when we all turned up!), whilst Fraboo has her heart set on anything with a TV screen in the back. Unfortunately, for the kids our budget falls a long way short of a rock band’s tour bus, and when we do finally bring a car home, I imagine there will be at least one very disappointed little lady.
When I first started to look into getting a new car, I wasn’t sure whether we would need a station wagon (estate for those in the UK) or a people mover. I realise that we could get by without seven seats for the most part, but there are some occasions when they would be really useful, and so I decided we should go down the people carrier route. As Mrs L. is going to be driving the car most of the time, I thought it only polite to inform her of my decision, and she seemed to be quite happy with that. I tried to encourage her to take more of an interest in the selection, but she insisted that I ought to chose it as I knew a lot more about cars. I responded by saying that really she ought to select it as it would be her car, but I assumed that we both knew that it would be me making the decision.
Somewhat irritatingly however, she has taken me up on my suggestion. Just the other day we went to see a car, which to my eye, looked perfect. It drove beautifully, had all of the toys we (I) wanted and had a reasonably low mileage. Sadly the interior looked as though it had been designed by someone’s colour blind Granddad, and Mrs L., who is far more aware of aesthetics than me, was only too pleased to point this out. Oh well, I thought, there are plenty more cars out there and I’m sure we can get a similarly good car without the nursing home colour scheme. Whilst there are plenty of others out there with much more appealing seats and carpets, they have, it seems, been universally owned by people who enjoy stinking up their cars. Whether they are smokers, people with diabolical body odour, or those who must be suffering with continence issues, they seem to be the only folk who had decent coloured car seats (and enjoyed making a lasting impression in or on them) and so we went back to the drawing board.
A few days after viewing the car I had chosen for her, we decided to go to another dealer (this time with only one child in tow), who had all the models of cars we could conceivably be interested in. Mrs L and I were able to narrow our selection down to two models. There was a beautiful sports MPV (which I nicknamed Excaliber) which came with all the extras (including a magnifying glass tucked away in the glovebox, with which to admire my manhood), which I rather predictably fell in love with, whilst Mrs L. was swayed by the practicality of the most boring car in the world; (this one I christened the Beige).
Being the mature adult I am, when Mrs L. put her foot down and told me that she would not be seen dead in “That Thing!”, I stomped off to look at other cars designed for disappointingly endowed men.
There is however, light at the end of the tunnel. We have come to a compromise (a real one this time), where we have both agreed on a car. Whilst it is not either of our first choice, it is definitely a close second and is available in a palette of splendid colours. It does however appear that the visually impaired old boy who had a hand in the design of the hateful interior of the other car, has found a new job. And Mr Farty-pants has left a parting gift in those cars which haven’t had Grandpa’s poisoned touch!