The Adventures of the Impossible Sisters and the SUV

jenny read book, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

this week our illogically-still-beloved honda civic hybrid was in for service. again. this is about the 8th or 9th time in the 13 months we've owned it. it was legally a lemon under texas law, but then they fixed that problem (having to do with the integrated motor assist). anyway, it was in for a random set of things, transmissiony-type lurching, soft breaks, a recall quick fix, and to replace the seat cover scratched during the previous work.

i made an enterprise reservation (on my dollar since my hinting on the phone about our single car status got me nowhere). after i turned over my keys, i stood waiting outside, clutching a less-than-pleased toddler with a carseat and her potty on the curb at my feet. along comes the manager of the service department, a guy who has heard enough from me over the past several months, so i presumed he'd remember me and, i suppose, my general tenaciousness (my positive characterization of my behavior, don't know if he'd say the same). i went for a slightly pathetic tinge on my "hello", and he asked if i was waiting for enterprise. i concurred, he went inside, and within 30 seconds he came back out and asked "will you fit in a pilot?" (the honda SUV). again, i concurred, and he said, "we're going to put you in one of our loaners, we've already cancelled enterprise for you." nice! free car! (ha, will we fit in a pilot? recall that we drive the second smallest vehicle you sell...)

well, it's a good thing we had a gratis loaner, because they kept my car for four days. in that time, i floated 160 miles around austin in my boat of car, and confirmed that i am *not* an SUV person. yikes. i guess people get used to whatever they have, but i was so annoyed that i couldn't see my blind spots, that i couldn't easily hand things to my child (who was about 10 feet away from me, i swear), that i could barely park (and i am a kick ass parallel parker, even of our old minivan, ask anyone). what i could do was drive like an asshole. (hey, i can't *see* you, and i'm pretty sure i'll win if we tangle, so why not cut of a hyundai or two? this explained a lot.) and i felt so at home in line at the schlotzsky's drive through, surrounded by three trucks and two larger SUVs. oh, i finally belong!

what i could also do in my SUV was a) haul lots of stuff, or b) take 6 friends with me, plus eva. the thing is, i still don't get why you'd buy an SUV for those reasons (granted, there are other valid reasons, but these are not so logical to me) -- for a fraction of the price of buying, insuring, and putting entire artic reserves of gas into this vehicle year after year, i could easily a) rent a van or truck for the day when i need to haul stuff twice a year, and b) rent a second fuel-efficient vehicle and caravan for the once a year i need to take more than three other people somewhere. my car may be small (especially with that damned hybrid battery taking up half the trunk, haha), but it's still a cost savings this way. last week i got overall 52 mpg in my hybrid; this week i got 21 mpg in my behemoth (which, by the way, is the same size as the *smallest* of ford's explorer/expedition/excursion trio!). that merits repeating: my car gets TWO AND A HALF TIMES the mileage of this car! i am flabbergasted. well, and the more i really think about it, disgusted. but don't worry, america, we can just get some more regime change going if we run out of fuel. no big deal. (now, the irreversible climate change, that's another story, but as larry says, lucky for us we have family in the geographical center of the continent. lora, have room for three more?)

(i hesitate to post this screed lest the 90% of people i know who drive a bigger car than i -- after my only recent move to a fuel efficient vehicle -- take it personally. everyone weighs the pros and cons and makes the decision that's right for them. in no way do i mean to judge anyone's choices. it's in a more general sense that i'm pissy today about our national attitude toward fuel economy. etc. and of course i do plenty of other stuff that's less than ideal politically and environmentally, so by no means to i hold myself up as an example for others.)

so, today i took my giant SUV and more fully masqueraded as a suburban stay-at-home-mom of two (getting crappy mileage as i drive 34.8 miles round trip for playgroup). we hung out all day today with cassia (almost 14 mo, 7 mo to the day younger than eva) because jenny was out of town for a conference. she said i'll learn why it's a biological impossibility to have kids 7 mo apart. what i actually learned was that if you're going to be responsible for two little kids, whatever the age difference, it's best if one of the kids is totally chill and laid back, and more specifically, if possible that kid should be cassia. my goodness is she a joy to be around...

i picked her up around 9, then headed to playgroup at meredith's. cassia was, of course, unphased by all the new kids and joined right in despite being a year younger than most. she enjoyed looking at the neighbor's chickens and sharing snacks, and people were impressed with her overall calm in a strange setting. eva was the one more affected, i think -- when carrying cassia back from the chicken viewing, eva reached up and insisted "mama hold a you" (and after i picked her up, pointed to herself and cassia in turn and said "one two girls, mama!" too cute.)

it took a bit of juggling getting one two girls to and from the car, but given their general cooperativeness (neither is prone to sprint off into traffic), it took only minor trickery to get it done. i was moderately concerned about nap (but not really, since i had larry to fall back on as needed), and even that was not a problem. i tried getting both of them to sleep at once (rookie optimism), but they were too busy distracting each other. i took eva downstairs, and after 10 or 15 minutes of quiet upstairs (cassia quiet; eva, not so much, yikes), i went upstairs to find cassia happily but sleepily looking out the window. i laid down with her and she was out after one and a half lullabies. i got eva to sleep later and laid her down on the chair in the front room (lest one wake the other prematurely if both in the bedroom together). they were so cute playing the rest of the afternoon (cassia really walking since i saw her three weeks ago and also talking away). we ate lots of snacks (cassia was a good influence on eva), and danced and eva offered cassia "coffee" from her teaset. gregory arrived just after 5, and after they left, eva cried so much. full tears dripping off her chin, crying "cassia! play cassia!" so sad, but very sweet that she had such fun with her friend (and one of her few younger friends, too). it's nice we'll be seeing cassia again in two days.

i was thinking of them as the "impossible sisters" all day, due to the biological impossibility (although i guess i could have adopted one, or theoretically if i had two uteri, but even then i don't think they can be more than a few months apart? anyway...). i have much respect for twin moms or moms (like my own) with two kids close in age -- my *one* day hardly compairs to doing this -- and much more -- every day. but, i guess it's all in what you get used to... i don't know how you consistantly meet the disparate needs of two kids, nor do i know how you drive a top-heavy SUV over the 183 flyover at more than 48 m.p.h., but in either case, you figure it out. and soon enough (i assume?) you get used to it and it becomes part of your normal routine. i had fun, but i also like my one kid small car regular life, too.

(don't know why all my recent blog entries are so damn long. i guess i suddenly have a lot to say... i'll try to reign it in next time. the photo is over a month old, but is the most recent one of eva and cassia, since i neglected to take any still shots today.)

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