Sunday, May 10, 2015

naming rights

Change, change, change. It's all I seem to write about lately. I get a new job and, consequently, a whole new lifestyle (which precludes blogging, as you've probably noticed). My children grow taller and smellier and more interested in cell phones than Pokemon cards. My knee and exercise regimen evolved from running outside on a road to physical therapy with bands and running indoors on the elliptical (ellipt-ICK-le).

One change in particular has me reeling a bit still. Over Easter weekend we traded in the Momvan.

The Momvan, in all her dented, slightly rusted, taupe glory.
Ah, beloved, well-worn, dented and slightly rusted. She safely transported us 150,000 miles to church and school, grocery store and baseball diamond, grandmother's house and vacation destinations. I knew exactly how to lift heavy loads out of the back end, how to jerk the side door open when it stuck, how to accept her reluctance to fully unlock
ALL the doors when I pushed her buttons. Sure, the air conditioner died a couple years ago, but our favorite radio stations were programmed in and I could slap the rear view mirror into submission and make the rattling sounds stop when they became too persistent.

We bought the Momvan (used) when Mr. G joined our family almost eleven years ago. A woman leaves her ego at the door when she agrees to pack on 45 pounds of baby weight (stretch marks, sagging breasts, separated abdominal muscles, swollen feet and ankles free with purchase!). Pushing a stroller with a cup carrier, perpetually stained and strained and sleep-deprived, I understood I had no mojo left after my third son was born, so driving a minivan didn't seem like that big of a kick to my self-esteem.

Minivans are practical. The Momvan seated seven (enough room for each kid to bring a buddy!), provided plenty of cargo space (I've hauled lumber, bricks, trees, cattle troughs and furniture--no sweat) and got decent gas mileage for a bigger vehicle. Sure, she was an ugly tan and about as aesthetically pleasing as a leisure suit, but functionality trumps beauty. Especially after your kids have been trashing the interior with muddy shoes, food crumbs and grease, and karate weapons, you don't see much point in even trying to drive something nice.  Heck, for the past year I only vacuumed the front seats and ignored the back altogether.

However. We're planning a family vacation to Yellowstone this summer and driving there in the Momvan gave us pause. No air conditioning through South Dakota in summertime? Forget that. And Mr. D's hybrid car is way too small for the five of us to go further than 150 miles before fisticuffs break out in the back seat, so what to do?

We told our car-fixing guy Al we were ready to start looking.  Mid-March he called Mr. D and said he had the deal for us.  Well, it was a heckuva deal for a "bridge vehicle." We wanted something to get us through the next 5-7 years, until a few people move out and I can downsize to something smaller (like a bicycle or a Vespa). We didn't want to spend a lot, but we wanted something comfortable, with air conditioning, seating for seven and reasonable mileage.
Yes, this is how I plan to get around town after my kids move out. Because this is a totally realistic plan for someone living in northeast Wisconsin. Also notice how I will become effortlessly stylish and chic in this imagined future.
It was with considerable trepidation that I agreed to test-drive and ultimately purchase this:
That, kids, is a Toyota Sequoia Limited Edition.
It has air conditioning, all the door locks work with the press of a button, and it seats eight.  This baby boasts heated front seats (heaven!), a sunroof, leather interior, super fancy-schmancy radio thing-y (still don't fully understand how to work it), a zillion and sixty cup holders, fully rebuilt engine and four brand-new Goodyear tires.  It also gets poor gas mileage (compared to the Momvan), is a beast to park and requires me to use the running boards to get inside.

My muscle memory is challenged by the new dashboard arrangement.
It took me a couple weeks, but I'm more used to drive it now. The waist-high cargo space is easy on my lower back when I'm unloading groceries, all the windows can open and the kids have tons of space for their growing legs and feet. Cool rubber floor mats and leather interior will make it a cinch to keep clean. This vehicle even still smells new, despite the fact that it's used. (We actually know the former owner and let me tell you: girlfriend liked nice things. This vehicle is proof.)

The trouble is, we don't know what to call it. It's not really a truck. It's definitely not a van. "Car" refers to Mr. D's hybrid, so that's out (too confusing) and "SUV" doesn't roll off the tongue (too many syllables). (Plus pretentious.)

Sequoia?  Again, too long. Kids, get in the Sequoia! We're going to the park!  That's clunky. Ditto "Toyota."

I don't want to name it a person name because I think it's weird. Kids, I'll be in Jane/Pablo/Louisa/Wilfred waiting until we leave!  See what I mean? Sounds goofy.

It's amazing how frequently I have to refer to this vehicle on a daily basis, so I need to figure out what to call it but I'm stuck, so I'm putting the question to you, reader.  What should we call this thing?  I want to give it a short, snappy name.  If I pick your suggestion, you get to brag to your friends about how you had naming rights for my new vehicle and I'll think of you fondly each time I say Kids! Time to load up the _____________!

Spill it, reader. What shall we call this thing?


  1. Nice wheels! I'd probably just keep calling it a van, though by the looks of it, you could call it the tank.
    The scooter could be your summer vehicle. :) They are fun to drive. And in the photo, is that a spare tire on the back?? We never had one that cool.

  2. V lop the SU off of suV and shorten Vehicle so just the letter V
    yeah I know dorky. My mom's car was always called SusyBelleJane. mine never got further than Car - whether it was the 1972 Duster, the 1989 Van, the 1998 CrownVic or the 2009 Focus, it has always been Car

  3. You have a little car and a big car. You tell the kids to "load up the big car".

    That said we have named our cars for years and it helped when we had two blue Subaru Foresters.

  4. We call our cars by their main drivers. "Dad's car" and "Mom's car". The advantage to this taxonomy is that when your kids become drivers it will be very clear WHO OWNS THE CAR and who has first claim on use of it. Trust me, this will be important if/when your teens learn to drive.

    From the looks of it, you could go with "The big car".

    I like the basket on the front of that scooter.

  5. We have the same vehicle! We do call it a truck and we named ours Silver, as in Hi Ho Silver! Enjoy your new ride - we love ours! And we've been to Yellowstone a number of times. Let me know if you need travel tips!

  6. It is most definitely a truck! AND I'm totally jealous!
    It's fabulous - congratulations.
    Oh, and, btw, stay off the Vespa.


  7. You've got me stumped. We called ours the Van and the SUV. Now we say the Prius and the Sentra (work vehicle). Not where our creative sides shine, clearly!

  8. I think you could call it the "wagon". "Load up the wagon!" That's how I think of the kind of boxy SUVs, vs. the ones that are kind of oval shaped. It sounds wonderful, and makes total sense to go big if you're going to be chauffeuring multiple growing young men and their equally gangly friends :-)

  9. We have a hard to categorize car too--one of those boxy Scions that looks like a cross between a hearse and a pokemon. We call it "the marshmallow" because that's what it looks like. How about "the conveyance." Or carriage.

  10. Congratulations on your new rig! It is a proper beast for the rigors your family has planned for it.
    We name our vehicles, too, so I understand the quandary. A friend of mine has one of those and named it Shaq (as in Shaquoia) which is a good sports reference. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you used the name for your own T.S.; however, I think I would call it "Moose."

  11. Bus. This thing is a bus. "Hey, guys, get in the bus, and I mean NOW!"

  12. You want to call it something MANLY and impressive, like THOR or maybe just BEAST. "c'mon boys, into the Beast and away!"

  13. We have the same fantasy vehicle for when we no longer have to schlep kids.
    We have a similar issue with my current car, which I've had longer than I think I have. It's a beast to park (it's long and both the hood AND the trunk slope downward, offering blind spots BOTH ways), so we frequently just refer to it as 'the long car' or 'the car'. So original I know. Tank would be good for you.
    Have you discovered the joy of riding with the sunroof open on a sunny but chilly day while the seat warmer keeps your tush comfy? It's my favorite thing to do with seat warmers and a sunroof.

  14. Hey, it's Mom on the Run (I had to x out my google identity). Congratulations on the new tank, but you may want to disabuse yourself of the idea that it's going to be a bridge vehicle for a few years because you've just bought a Toyota Truck. That means you are now in a 30 year relationship with a car. Our Land Cruiser was purchased in 1999 when the youngest could finally climb into a vehicle by himself. DOTR is still driving that thing (I traded down for easier parking) with no end in sight. I realized we were never going to get rid of that car when I was watching the evening news a few years ago and I saw a caravan of trucks in Iraq--all identical to our Land Cruiser. There's a reason for that. And our neighbors still drive their 1982 version everyday. So....enjoy. It's very pretty--and if all else fails, you can pass it down to one of your boys. That was our plan with the LC, but when the time came, DOTR didn't want to give it up.

  15. Upvotes for Wagon and Beast.

    Now, I enjoy a good human name for a car. My current car (2005 Hyundai Sonata) is Jenny, but I generally go for out-of-fashion names like Ethel and Madge. Since your new vehicle is clearly quite masculine, I like Samson and Sherman for some reason.

  16. How about the Beast?
    We had a rough time getting rid of our old Suburban recently but it had to be done. We bought it when it had 90,000 miles on it and we got it to around 250,000 miles when it started to really get run down. However, the "new" (used) Suburban is amazing. We still haven't come up with a name for her yet either. ;)

  17. I'm going with Beast as well. And, as a veteran of mom driving trips from Texas to Green Bay to Minnesota to Denver and back home, only way to go with three boys. Adventures on your trip to Yellowstone will never be forgotten.

    However, might be a good idea that you purchased a new vehicle. Took 160,000 mile Big Blue up Trail Ridge Road in Colorado and it vapor locked 1/2 mile from the summit. Few anxious moments before it started up again. We figured if we could coax it to the summit, we could coast down to Grand Lake. Instead it recovered and make it all the way back to Texas. Fun trips.

    Enjoy the ride.

  18. Here's an idea: grab the middle syllable from Sequoia. Quoi. Spell it as is or as Koi, the fish.

  19. How about suv, as in rhymes with glove? I'm with you, it's gotta roll off the tongue.

  20. Congrats! My dad's fav vehicle he ever had was a Sequoia. Your trip this summer sure sounds fun!

  21. I dunno. If you'd had a fourth boy, what would you have named him?

    Surprisingly, I felt relief when we shed our van, and I'd loved it. But I loved the feeling of our family growing up, too.

  22. We call them by their makes, except for the truck. It's just The Truck. Or The Family Truckster if we are on vacation.

  23. Awwww! Getting rid of a long-term car IS hard.

  24. This will be a real work horse vehicle for you, and Sherman works as a name. My sister has a scooter which looks a bit like the one in the photo and she lives in northeast Wisconsin. She doesn't drive it in rain and snow, I am sure.


Spill it, reader.