We got a new van!
We went with the Honda Odyssey because it was the only vehicle with a half-decent eighth seat. We picked it up last Friday, loading it to bursting, then hit the road. Road test!
Every year at the end of summer we head about six hours south to visit our parents, both of which live in Southern Ontario. We also go at Christmas and March Break, and often at Thanksgiving and Easter as well. It’s a lot of road trip time, which is why we need a car that’s up for the long haul. The Honda did pretty well. It’s a brand new 2018 – we were looking for used, but turns out a brand new base model is about the same as the three year old upper end models that were generally available, so we went for the new one. It has all kinds of crazy safety features, including adaptive cruise control, which matches the speed of the car in front of you, and some kind of lane-correcting software that literally turns the wheel to keep you in your highway lane. Plus, it has auto headlights that just come on – and flip to high beams – as needed. So all in all, it basically drives itself, and on the highway at least I don’t think I touched the brake or the gas once the whole time.
I have, in the past, complained at how much we feel obligated to go down for these family visits multiple times a year, and how it eats up all of Sir Monkeypants’ vacation time, making it difficult for us to do other family trips. But this time, I was feeling more positive about the whole thing. Our kids are so used to hours spent in the car that they’re pretty good at amusing themselves and don’t complain, which I am grateful for. And while we’re spending hours and hours together in cramped quarters, funny things sometimes happen, things that bind us together. We talk about things, discuss issues and joke around, and it pulls us together.
For example, this trip the kids spent some time watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, a show we adore and have watched several times. One character, Zuko, was introducing himself awkwardly to the show’s heroes by saying, “Hi! Zuko here!” which for some reason, always cracks all five of us up. That led to a discussion of Zuko-as-a-YouTuber, and also a suggestion that he sounded a bit like Kermit The Frog when he was doing his newscasts on Sesame Street, and soon we were all imagining Zuko YouTube reports about tracking down the Avatar only performed in a Kermit the Frog voice.
I think it’s safe to say that from now on, whenever someone in this family says, “Zuko here!” in a Kermit the Frog voice, we are all going to lose it, and everyone else is going to look at the five of us like we are nuts. And that’s the kind of thing, I think, that makes a family.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things to Google – we just got back last night and while driving home, questions were raised about how the Supreme Court judges are selected (it’s WAY shadier than you think), whatever happened to the band Wheatus (screwed by Sony, now putting out music independently), and whether or not, in the Desert Island Game, compilation/best of albums are allowed as you select your three albums to listen to forever (jury is still out – taking your opinions below). Who knows what we’ll bond over on the next road trip?