Goodbye Trusty Honda. Hello minivan.

“Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.”    ~Keith Urban

Most people are only too happy to let go of their old cars…

I have never been like most people.

Last Friday, I sold my Trusty Honda Accord. And it was difficult. Still is.

Once I agreed to the deal, I spent several hours wiping tears from my cheeks. Even took the old car for a final drive to the beach to walk my dogs, just before its new owner arrived to pick it up.

My car was old—yet solid. If I was mechanically inclined, I would NOT have let it go. Could have kept it running for quite a few more years. But I am not.

So it needed to go.  And still, it took me months to take action. I really, really loved that car. Which is crazy. It was a 1999 with over 220,000 miles on it.

What tipped my hand? Why last Friday?

I HAD to get to Virginia on Sunday. Monday at the latest.

(That’s a story for another day…)

And it seemed a bad idea to take my Trusty Honda. I needed space for hauling. And I was taking BOTH dogs. The jig was up. There simply wasn’t a choice.

Prior to Friday, I had several offers on my old car. And I would have gotten a better price had I sold to one of them. But they were as mechanically inclined as I am. (Not very!)

I was determined to sell the car to a mechanic or somebody who could keep it running. It was the only way I could feel okay selling such an old vehicle. That person turned up on the exact day that I was ready (forced?) to move on.

Thought I didn’t get as much as I could have for the Honda, I got enough to purchase the minivan I found at auction on Thursday. I agreed to buy it Friday night, sight unseen.

Really, I wasn’t in the deal to make money, just to make my trip to Virginia happen. And I wanted the situation to be win/win for everybody.

Ironically, my new van is a Dark Green Dodge Grand Caravan. Nearly the EXACT van I drove when my children were younger. Even the same color.

Full circle.

On Saturday morning, I rose early to pick up the van. I handed over the cash. Found a notary. Changed over my auto insurance (using my cell phone) while picking up flowers and running Daughter to her hair appointment—she had prom later in the day. Then slid into the title bureau for temporary tags—with about 7 minutes to spare before it closed. Saturday was chaotic.

My new green van has half the miles on it that my Trusty Honda had. And a new transmission. It doesn’t make the funky grinding noises that my old green van made, or catch when it switches gears. It is a smooth riding vehicle. Mechanically sound. I knew it would get me where I needed to go. Or at least I hoped so…

The downside?

My van isn’t ‘pretty.’ The former owner was a contractor. Meaning it was a utility vehicle, used to haul tools and such to job sites.

The exterior has rust spots. The inside isn’t clean.There is a small tear in the dashboard. A missing armrest. And it smells–like dirt, dust and the like…

Yet it was my BEST option. When it comes to vehicles, I will always choose mechanically sound over ‘pretty.’

I sang its praises to my father and the family—Again, I was getting where I was going. Nobody was stepping in my path.

And on Monday morning, I loaded the van.

I got an E-Check (required on Ohio), then had my new set of wheels titled into my name. I was NOT making the trip without a clear title coming along with me. I might find a van I like better while in Virginia.

Aunt Kate: Where are you?

Me: Just leaving.

Aunt Kate: Just be careful. It’s pouring rain down here…

Me: Oh…then I’m going to get wet.

I ran back into the house for my raincoat.

Aunt Kate: Huh?

Me: I’ll be driving with the windows open.

Aunt Kate: Doesn’t the van have air conditioning?

Me: Yeah. But it smells…And putting the AC on blows those smells directly into my face.

Aunt Kate: Oh…

As I pulled out of the driveway, I noticed that along with the exhaust running a tad loud, there was another funny little sound.

My solution?

Music. I cranked up the volume. And rode the six hours to Virginia singing all the way. Motown, country, easy listening, hip hop…

There was no need to keep the music low, to hear the directions from my GPS. Either my cord wasn’t working or the van outlet doesn’t work. Not sure which.

Anyways, I know the way to my aunt and uncles house in Virginia. I just like to drive on autopilot, “up ahead…get in the right lane.”  Or “take the exit left.” The GPS keeps me on track, in case I lose focus.

Early in the trip, I remember feeling lucky that I am so happy. That I’m blessed with the resilience necessary to roll along with life.  Even when it is not at all easy. That my crazy weekend and stinky, old van didn’t faze me…

The one living being on the trip not keen on the van? Flippity-Gidget.

That’s my nickname for the Little Black, neurotic Dog. She won’t walk on the floor of the van. She enters by hopping directly onto a seat. Once inside, she leaps from seat to seat—even up over the middle bench to get to the far back seat.

It’s odd. But then, she is odd.

The Red Dog? He’s always content. And the new van gave him a choice of two ‘couches’ (bench seats) to snooze on. He counted sugar plums all the way to Virginia…

Probably, there is a 50/50 chance I will be driving the van back home.

It’s possible I’ll sell it while I’m down in Virginia.

Because my aunt and uncle have lots of cars—three, actually. For two drivers.

Which gives me an opportunity that I don’t have at home. I can be without a vehicle and take the time to look for something I like. And I haven’t yet formed an attachment to this van…

The lines are often quite blurry when it is time to move on. From people. Jobs. Relationships. Our living situations. Our homes. Even cars, clothing and smaller possessions.

Letting go can be excruciating. It is always easier to hang onto the known, even when it no longer fits our needs. We cannot find our future if we hold onto our past. The only way to get to the future, or the ‘good’ stuff is to let go.

The Trusty Honda was ONLY a car. I know that.

It was time to move on. I know that, too. What we know in our head doesn’t always line up with what is in our hearts.

And so I’m amusing (consoling?) myself wondering what I’ll be driving when I eventually turn up in Cleveland. With me, you never know…

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