Saturday, March 22, 2008

The great car debate

My guys are coming home tonight. Assuming their plane gets in as scheduled, they'll be home just past my bedtime. They're leaving the 80 degree weather and sunshine (although it's supposed to storm there today) to come home to the 8 inches of snow I refuse to shovel from my driveway since it will all melt by tomorrow.

I've pretty much recovered from the shock/humor of the Girls Gone Wild truck photo that Craig sent me. He has promised me that it was just a joke (although it really was on the beach where they were staying). Rumor has it he did a few quick jogs down near the pier just to see if there was any action. He's 16. I would expect that, although I absolutely don't approve.

When he gets back, we'll jump back into where we left off on the great car debate. This 3-way debate has been roiling for a year now, about the time that Craig started driver's ed. Some may say my kids are spoiled (but really, they're supposed to smell bad, they're teenage boys!). I prefer to think that I'm minimizing inconveniencing myself. Craig wants a car. I want Craig to have a car. I've wanted that for awhile. I thought if we got him one prior to him getting his license, he could get a good feel for driving it while one of his parents--ok his dad-- was in the car with him. Dad didn't see it the same way, and since Craig spent the fall in an especially surly state when it came to dealing with me, I chose not to fight that battle.

Now as summer approaches and he's going to need to be taken to football workouts, baseball practices and games, and potentially a job (someone other than me needs to pay the $3.50 a gallon for the gas), I think both parents are now in agreement that the time has come for him to have some wheels. It helps that his older brother sells cars--we can help out multiple family members. But the battle is now over what TYPE of car (and how old) to buy.

I'm a mom--a very paranoid mom. I want sheet metal, lots and lots of sheet metal, as well as the most advanced safety features that technology can provide. If he were driving my vehicle, that's what he'd have. Not that I'd buy him a brand spanking new car--I'm not that generous. I prefer one that is 2-3 years old, fairly low mileage, and that will get him through his college years reliably, especially since he wants to go to college in Georgia or Virginia. Dad has been leaning to something a bit older, but I think I have him convinced that in the long run, spending a bit more right now will cost us less than having to pay for a new water pump or engine or the various other things that we encountered when we bought a highly seasoned car for the oldest child a decade ago. I'm thinking a nice Ford 500 or something of that ilk. (we're a Ford family; my dad worked for Ford for over 30 years, and my son sells for a Ford dealership.)

Craig has other ideas. He's looking at pick-em-up trucks (uh, no, sorry), or boats. You know, the kind of cars we had to drive when we were teenagers cuz that's what our parents had--the Crown Vics, Grand Marquis's and Caddy's of the world. Old ones. Beat up ones. Sure they have lots of sheet metal, but I'm just not buying it. Of course in one of our latest text messaging exchanges, he informed me that he wants a motorcycle. Nice and fuel efficient. Not much sheet metal though, and not very practical for our Michigan winters. I asked him what his dad says. The reply "When you move out and you're on your own, and you have money you can buy whatever you want. But that's a long way away." Now I don't have a leg to stand on for this one. I didn't get a car until I was done with college, and I bought an Escort that my dad had been leasing. When I was 16, I drove my dad's 73 Maverick (3 on the tree baby!) or my mom's 76 LTD II station wagon. I also had a motorcycle. Well, my brother had a motorcycle, but he was in the Army and was stationed in Germany, so it was mine, all mine. So I'm going to leave this debate to Craig and his dad. What would YOU do?


Anonymous said...

Honestly, I wouldn't park an expensive car in the HS parking lot. Have you seen how some of those kids drive????
They say what you drive is a extension of your personality. Since you would like to stay with the ford line up......I'm thinking Craig would look good in a Mustang :)

Phyllis said...

They aren't any worse than some of my friends (or yours) were when we were kids. It's a matter of perspective I guess.

Mustang was on the wish list. Are you selling yours?? Do you still have yours?? We entered the contest from the new Knight Rider show, and Craig was really hoping we'd get the Roush Mustang from that. Do you know how much it costs to insure one of those for a 16 year old?? (Ha!)

Next fun car we get like that will be the Thunderbird for mom!

Anonymous said...

I'm for lots of sheet metal. Anything else requires too much thinking for me ;)

Anonymous said...

My first car was a brand-new Plymouth Colt. I used to swear that it was made out of aluminum foil. I had a full ride in academics so I took out a student loan to pay for it at a whopping $100 per month for three years.

I think I'm still paying it off.

Anonymous said...

I actually had to buy it to find out that the boys, backpacks, etc.
really wouldn't fit. Unfortunately I sold it with only 3,000 mi on it.

Phyllis said...

Craig read your comments CM--he spent the last 15 minutes pulling up the Mustangs that are on the Brondes lots. Convertibles. He informed me that I ruined his night by saying no to the Mustang. Maybe someday he'll forgive me, although it's not likely until he's dealing with his OWN 16 year old.

Anonymous said...

Phyllis, check out your email. I sent a pic of a GT67. Craig will like that one. But, tell him I agree with you also, safety first.

Phyllis said...

um. he can drive the edge. this car would be MOM's mid-life crisis car (although I REALLY, REALLY want a thunderbird)