This week we said goodbye to a very loyal friend – our van.
The kids’ dad and I bought the 2001 Dodge Caravan 9 years ago. In those 9 years the van has traveled to North Bay umpteen times (over 1000 km or 600 miles return), to Nova Scotia and home again (almost 4000 km or 2400 miles return) and various trips to Collingwood, Toronto and day-to-day driving around the area.
Now, I have never been gentle with my van. Mike describes me as an “aggressive” driver, but what can you expect when I was taught to drive by farmers and truckers? Also, I didn’t really have the money to invest in the van so fixing it was always more of a lick and promise. But it’s held it’s own, despite being poorly maintained and there is no shame for my little van.
So here’s a little good-bye to our van.
You carted around my babies when they were both still in booster seats. You brought all our fluffy friends to their forever home (Mittie, Louis, Cliff, Jake and DJ). You took us to countless doctor and therapist appointments. We filled you to the brim with junk to take to the dump more times than I can count. You tolerated my lack of proper care and still got me from point A to point B never once leaving me stranded on the side of the road (except the tires this year, but that wasn’t really your fault). You took me and my friends, loaded to the gills with kids and coolers, on several adventures to the beach, the bush and wherever I pointed you. So we say goodbye.
Goodbye to the soft glow of your check engine light that’s been my constant driving companion these last 8 years.
This is the last thing (besides the house) that I co-owned with the kids’ dad (last year I swept through the house replacing or moving everything that we had co-owned, see Let the Changes Begin). The van was always in my name but he was the primary driver. I kept driving it all these years because it’s what I had and it worked.
We talked to the salesman and he pulled up the online forms for financing. Turns out I’m ineligible for financing because I’m currently on disability. This came as a surprise to me, but apparently legislature was passed a couple of years ago preventing people on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) from accessing loans.
I was terribly disappointed and more than a little frustrated. My credit is good. My bills are paid. I have an income, just not an acceptable one I guess. I didn’t know what I was going to do about a new vehicle. The van was no longer safe to drive (truthfully, it hasn’t been for a while, but shhhhh, we don’t talk about those things).
As luck would have it my mechanic (a really great guy) had a van that he was willing to let go of for a price I could manage, without financing. So yesterday we welcomed our new-to-us 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan (it seems I’m a van gal). Although it’s the same year as our old van the body is in much better shape. It had a brand new transmission put in last year and some body work done this year. My mechanic also put new front brakes on for me. I feel very spoiled.