Today was kindergarten graduation. The last few weeks the boy child has been saying he likes school and today he said “school is fun.” I count this year as a win. Both kids had the same kindergarten teacher, and she was good with both of them, different as they are.
It was also the last day of second grade. After a tiny bit of a rocky* start, the girl child had a great year. She received the perfect attendance trophy to which she aspired. (Last year the only days she missed were when we went to Vermont and Montreal. She blamed us for her lack of trophy. We thought the trip was more important. I think she has finally forgiven us. 🙂 )
So another year draws to a close.
In the middle of all the end-of-year hoopla, my Dodge Durango died. It was my youth group car, one of the last vestiges of a former life. It was the year 2000. I had a sporty little Saturn that I loved, but I had grown-up friends who had to crawl into the back and I was doing youth ministry where we always needed more seats. I looked at the brand new compact SUVs, but realized they seated only 1person more than my sports coupe. I discovered the Durango that could seat up to 8, and that’s what I got because I figured if I was upgrading for passenger space I should get as much as possible. I used that car to drive youth group members to Fresno. I used it to drive a car full of friends to Shakespeare by the Sea. We used it to drive to family reunions. I might not have bought the car if I had anticipated quitting my life and going to graduate school, but I used it to drive to Indiana and back twice. And most recently I have used it to drive a car full of kids home from school, every once in awhile even filling in the eighth seat. I came into the marriage with a cat and a car, and they both gave up the ghost this year. It’s the end of an era, and I’m glad to move on (the air conditioning hasn’t worked well for years and the ride has been both rough and sluggish), but I am a little wistful at the same time.
Computer guy started doing research and decided he wanted a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. I had been thinking minivan (and so had he been until he started researching), but when he showed me the specs and the gas mileage, I was sold. He found a 2006 model on Craig’s List that had a fair price and surprisingly low mileage (70,000 miles compared to most others of the same year with 110,000 or 120,000). We made the connections and bought the car. I drove it home today. It’s a little smaller and a little smoother than the Durango, built on a car chassis rather than the truck, but not so different. We did have to give up the 3rd seat in the front row. It seats 7 total, so I can do the regular carpool next year, but no extras. That hurts a little. I like being able to say “yes” to the occasional sudden need or spontaneous playdate. We also gave up the auxiliary iPod jack CG had installed in the Durango. Our Prius is a 2005 and it does not have one, but we had understood the 2006s do. Not so on the Highlander. And we discovered with the Prius that Toyotas are really difficult to install aftermarket. Now we have cassette adapters in both cars. (#FirstWorldProblem)
After I got home, I started cleaning the detritus of 15 years of good use out of the Durango. There were maps of Indiana and Illinois, a poncho, various toys, 3 first aid kits, an axe (???), other tools, etc. Underneath everything else in the back floor storage space (something else the highlander lacks, contained storage in the hatch area) was my original license plate from when I bought the car in California in 2000, before Indiana plates, before returning and getting new CA plates. I took a photo, and then I removed my soccer Mickey (an old gift from a friend: soccer for me; baseball for our other friend) from the antenna.
So we have a summer vacation and a new car and a promise to the girl child of a pet Gecko as soon as we have a few minutes to breathe, but that’s another story.
*Wordgirl had a longterm sub who was excited and kind and really liked the girl, but who also did the classic thing where she called on the boys noticeably more often and thus they got more participation points. It was a tough one for both of us. Because it was a longterm sub who was basically okay, I did not fuss, but let it be a learning experience that we could talk about at home, and we emphasized how much the regular teachers at the school work very hard to be fair and not allow accidental (or otherwise) bias to slip in, mostly by way of randomly drawing popsicle sticks. This was the first time in her three years there that this gender bias had been noticeably present. That’s not bad. And the situation allowed us to realize how good she has it.