Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Circus Is In Town

When I look back over my life up to this point, there is a non-short list of moments when I realize, “Oh. I’m that guy.”

Completely snubbing the salad bar at a buffet so I can put those calories to better use by enjoying a third dessert? Yes. I’m that guy.

Staying up late watching a movie on TV that I already own on DVD and could watch at a reasonable hour? Yep. I’m that guy.

Waxing my face so I don’t have to shave so often? Yes. Unfortunately, I am that guy. (Well, I was that guy on one, single occasion.)

And finally…owning a 12-passenger van just so my family can legally fit in the same car? Somehow…I am now that guy.

It’s true. The Craig family has been relegated to driving what is essentially a bus. Apparently we as a civilization agreed to let the automobile industry define "an acceptable family size" in this here country of ours. And evidently, that number is less than 9.

“Oh,” Normal Car Designers say, “You’ve decided on having seven children? Well, guess what. You no longer fit in a standard minivan, you hippy freaks. Congratulations on being a spectacle. Please select a vehicle from our Nonconformist Line of Automobiles.”

So, yeah, we are now that family. You know the one. You tell stories about them from when you were young. “Oh, man. There was this one family in our ward/neighborhood/trailer park/compound that was so big; they had to travel in a bus!”

But you know what? I fully embrace it. There are far more pros than cons in owning a vehicle that may or may not require a commercial license to drive.

* The fact that our family needs a vehicle this big means I have at least 8 best friends and we now can go everywhere together.
* I will never again have to set up a tent when "camping."
* There is actually so much room on the benches that I have yet to hear "Will you stop touching me?!"
* I will never lose it in a packed parking lot.
* Soon I will be able to teach the kids "van surfing," as seen in the 1985 Michael J. Fox blockbuster, Teen Wolf
* At Halloween Trunk or Treats, we have enough room to make a spook alley right in our van!
* For youth activities at church, the teenagers actually think it’s cool to get to ride in a vehicle so big! Popularity! (Winning!)
* You feel taller, and a little more regal, than everyone else on the road.
* I think this summer I will try driving it around the neighborhood to sell ice cream from it. 
* There is enough space between the front and back that Katie and I can have private conversations!
* On “date night,” Katie and I can take the van out, find a nice quiet spot, lie down on the bench, and ... take a nap!

* When Katie wants to read to the kids (which she generally does on road trips), she has to use a megaphone for the kids in the back to hear.
* Each time I fill the gas tank I think, "And now one less child gets to go to college."

P.S. Did I really just have a family photo shoot in front of our van? Yep. I'm that guy.

P.S.S. What other pros and cons am I missing?


Amelia Merritt said...

My father the track coach had an obscenely large van to transport his runners and only two kids. Like a 28 passenger van. Where your van ends, add some rows. Driving in the empty van was super weird, like maneuvering an office building on a Sunday. And while the front of the van would be close to our destination the rear would just be pulling out of the driveway. I used to steal the van and go pick up my friends for group dates before I had a license. But the pro is that now I can drive any vehicle. Anything. I kill at backing up moving vans. You can pass that skill on to your children.

Hailey said...

I'm pretty sure I drove that EXACT van around over Christmas in AZ. Did you buy it form some Mormons in AZ, by chance? It was a little daunting at first, but I loved the fact that I could throw 10 kids in there if I wanted to. And I very often did...

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Another pro: If you ever lose your home, you still have a place to live.

Camille said...

"THAT guy" used to be a total weirdo, but somehow you have made THAT GUY so cool and one of the best people I know! That guy is you and YOU ROCK! But yeah, I don't know that I could embrass a bus for myself, so good for you! ;)

P.S. I am in esthetics school now and am learning waxing- sooooo, if you are ever up to give it another shot, I'll wax that face right up! LOL

jds said...

Another con - although you can find it in a parking lot, you can't actually park it in a parking lot...Congrats on the cool bus! (David Squires)

merathon said...

some more pros-- you can run book sales and blood drives from it! when you drive out to CO to visit us, you will be all the more comfortable!

Anonymous said...

Everyone will want to be friends with your kids because they know they can always get a ride.

Mitch said...

Pros: You can talk like Shaggy whenever you're driving the "Mystery Machine."

Cons: You're children will be able to play cruel tricks on you like "hide the neighbor-kid in the back and wait until you're all the way home before you scream 'we left Mitch at Wet 'n Wild!'" Not that my friend and I ever did that to his mom who may have also driven a huge van like

Laura Howe said...

I grew up with a similar van but it was white with pretty red stripes and looked like a big tylenol. no joke! And we did camp in it. On road trips we took the front/back seat out and put down a twin mattress and watched movies from a tube tv, an d it fit. Memories. all pros!