My husband J and I have lived with one car for the last nine years. When we lived in Somerville and then Cambridge, it was no problem; we were on easily-accessible bus routes, short 10-15 minute walks from the Red Line. For six years I walked to work and J biked, and our car was mostly for running errands and traveling out of state to visit family. When we had K and moved, we started commuting together in the car: J would drive us in to my school, where K’s daycare is, and then continue to his school. The commute home was the reverse.
In September, however, we bought a house and moved about 10 miles north of the city. Even in the ‘burbs, the one-car-life has been okay for us; our commute is basically the same as it was before, except five times as far (and three times as long). We make do with conflicting schedules. We’ve managed these last six months.
However, baseball season starts on Monday, and J is one of the coaches.
For the last six years, this wasn’t a problem; J would take the car to practice and away games, often lugging equipment, and I would walk/take public transit home, even with K. This year, that’s not really an option. I *could* take the Red Line to South Station to the commuter rail and then walk a mile home with K… but we both agreed that’s a less than ideal commute five days/week for the next ten weeks, especially in inclement weather. (I was willing to do it, but not eager.) So we decided it was time to give in to our still-new identities as suburbanites and buy another vehicle.
Car shopping? Hell on wheels. J has been doing endless amounts of research online for weeks, trying to decide what kind of vehicle to get. Commuter car? Not for my husband – he wanted a truck. “I’m going to be doing so much work on the house, I need to haul stuff!” (Insert eye roll here.)
But of course we need a full backseat and four doors because toddler… And not a huge truck (“But I need enough room to haul stuff!”) and within our budget and not too many miles and it needs to get decent gas mileage (f0r a truck) and be a good deal for a used vehicle and…
Anyway, we finally identified a handful of vehicles that we agreed upon. We piled into our small SUV and headed down 93 to a dealership south of the city. We test drove. We liked. We got back in the car to drive to another dealership. We looked. We disliked. We started driving to yet another dealership. We discussed. We questioned. We perseverated. We remembered other cars we’ve owned that turned out to be moneypits. We stressed. We turned around and went back to the first dealership. We haggled. We put down a deposit. On Monday, we’ll be the proud owners of a 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
It wasn’t the vehicle J expected he’d purchase, but he likes it and I like it, and as with every other choice in marriage, compromise is key. And, as with most of the decision-making processes in a marriage, it was damn stressful: you never question if you’re making the right decision as much as you do during large acquisitions like a house, or a car, or a kid.
Still, there’s no one I’d rather rattle around in a high-speed tin can of death with.