Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Breaking Up Isn't Actually That Hard to Do

The photo that started it all.
This was the photo that made me think...maybe we do need a family vehicle.  But nightmares of mini vans danced in my head.

So I (actually, WE - because there is no way Jason is NOT taking some of the blame) placed the idea to the back of my mind.  Plus, we wanted a smaller car for Cairo.  So we justified our current sedan situation.  And forgot about it for a while.  Until it came time to install a different car seat for Kellen into our beloved Beemer.  The car seat I spent literally five hours of internet research on.  The top-of-the-line Sunshine Kids Car Seat.  The "narrow profile" car seat that [supposedly] can sit three car seats across in a standard sedan.  The car seat to end all car seats.  I even found it, brand new, on eBay for about half of its retail value.  Score!!

And then I put it in to the car.  Kellen's still rear-facing, so I installed it as such.  Or I should say attempted to install it.  It wouldn't snug down in the middle of the row, and Abby's booster seat wouldn't fit beside it even if it could.  So, I put it behind the passenger seat.  But the back of the car seat reached so far forward that you had to push the passenger seat forward to accommodate the car seat behind it.  Making for very uncomfortable ride in the passenger seat.  And this is a car that should feel like nothing BUT comfort.  To make matters worse, I couldn't get the [insert expletive] car seat to snug into place.  It moved far more than one inch side-to-side.  It moved more like two feet side-to-side no matter what I did.

Convinced that the car seat was incompatible with the car, I went to Target and bought a different (albeit not top-of-the-line) car seat.  It fit.  Score!!  But the passenger seat still had to be pushed up five inches or so.  Damn.  Insert children into car, fill trunk with stroller, add diaper bag, back packs, DS bags, and Starbucks mug. It's, at it's very BEST...cozy.  On most days you feel like you're smashed in like sardines.

It was Jason who caved first.  Ok, caved is the wrong term.  I am pretty sure I pushed him over the edge.  I was complaining, whining, really even meowing about driving the tiny car with the three kids and he said:  "It's time we [insert expletive] grow up.  Get rid of the BMW and get something to fit our family."  Yes, it was time to break up with our BMW.

I HATE buying vehicles.  But he was right.  And as he further pointed out, we needed to get rid of our second car, the Kia Rio, since we only needed one car overseas.  Again, he was right.  Grrrr.  We were (amazingly) able to reach an agreement on what type of vehicle:  an SUV/Crossover with a 3rd row seat.

The night of the break up.
Enter auto trader online.  I searched within a 50 mile radius and found a Kia Borrego in Canton.  Called and spoke with a salesman and set up an appointment for 9:45AM on Monday (I called him last Friday).  Explained our situation.  Called the in-laws and they said they'd pick up the big kids from school.  Called my Dad and he volunteered to take the day off to go with me.  I'd need someone to drive me back to Youngstown to get our second car in case the plan fell together.  Monday came and I dropped the kids at school, took Kellen to daycare, got a Venti Soy Latte at Starbucks and was on my way.  At 9:00, I got a call from the salesman.  He was very sorry, but the Borrego sold on Saturday.  But since I was on my way, wouldn't I like to come in and see what else they had?  Shark.

So I called another dealership and spoke with them about a Borrego I had seen on auto trader.  The salesman couldn't have been less enthusiastic.  In fact, he seemed bothered by my call.  Dude.  I demand someone who WANTS to sell me a car!  I have a specific vehicle in mind!  I might as well serve myself on a silver platter. I'm not dealing with someone who's not going to work to get me exactly what I want.

My new dream date.
I had one other option.  I had found a Suzuki XL7 at a dealership in Cuyahoga Falls.  I did a phone call, and BEHOLD!  A salesman who wants to sell a car!  He gave me the quick overview about the vehicle, asked me about my needs, asked my name, and offered directions.  I called my Dad, gave him the new plan, and we met up in Cuyahoga Falls.  I emailed the info to Jason with all the photos while he did a search for me and found some reviews on the vehicle.  The vehicle was perfect.  Drove better than I imagined it could. And only had 20K miles on it.  I called Jason.  Multiple times.  He was so patient with me.  But I had to talk to him.  I was trading in our favorite car.  Ever.  And it had to be perfect.  I didn't want to disappoint him, especially since he's in Iraq.

They took this sight unseen.
Like any other other car-shopping experience, it took all [insert expletive] day.  But I got to spend that day with my dad.  We had lunch, which we haven't done in forever.

Thankfully, my husband had the foresight years ago to sign a POA for me (and I did the same for him), because the Kia was in his name alone.  When all the paperwork was done, and they agreed to take our second vehicle - UNSEEN (although, I had brought detailed photos) - and all was agreed upon, my dad drove me back to my house.  I got the Kia, drove to pick up the baby, and grabbed a quick bite to eat at McD's (Oh, I do love a Happy Meal).  Drove back to Cuyahoga Falls (it's about an hour drive), and I signed the papers at 8:30PM.  Installed the car seat base (with absolute ease!), and popped Kellen in the new car.  And I loved the smooth quiet ride home.  Sure it doesn't have the purr of the BMW acceleration.  Or leather seats.  And my cupholder doesn't warm my Starbucks. And sadly, it doesn't have a sunroof. But boy, does it have legroom.  And a great stereo, and cupholders. Lots of them.  In fact, it's has everything we need.  Kellen blissfully slept the whole way home.

Today the kids got into the car.  Owen climbed into the 3rd row, Abby in the middle with Kellen.  All were happy, with their own space, and I had my sanity.  Maybe it's not so bad to grow up.
No longer sardines!  See Owen's head poking out in the back?  The FAR back!


  1. I hope you realize I'm taking notes for when this happens to me. It's nice when someone else does all the research for you. Thanks, Heather! I owe you.

  2. Dear Connie - for additional research, please see the previous "Kids Ruin Everything" posting. It has all the info you'll need to prepare for children. Run away while you still have time!