Sunday, July 09, 2006

A very strange moment in time...

So here's the scene...

Chris and I are sitting in the car dealership in the late evening on a rainy Saturday. After much contemplation and sighing, we decide to just bite the bullet and officially buy the minivan we had just test driven. It's black, it's a year old, it only has 15,000 miles on it, it has a DVD player, it's comfortable, it is a great deal, I won't have to throw out my back hoisting 35 pound three year olds over to the 3rd row of an SUV anymore...what's not to love, right?

It's a MINIVAN, people!!!

I know, I know...they're great, they're practical, kids love them, moms love them, married couples who never plan to have children love them. I get it -- they are God's gift to the vehicle world -- but I never, EVER wanted one. I never, EVER thought I'd get one. That's why we got the Trailblazer with the 3rd row. Right there. In our garage. To love and cherish forever. The ANTI-minivan.

Yet, there we were, kissing it goodbye...two sad souls making a purchase we knew we *should* make, a good one for the family. We both like to call it taking one for the team. And by the way, I do recognize it's not like we were trading in our beloved Trailblazer for a horse-drawn carriage -- we get it, it's a great vehicle. We just both think that they're ugly. And very suburbia, mom jeans, white keds, carpooling (which I'm a part of now, too), soccer practice, terrycloth-visor-wearing ugly.

And now I own one. *gulp*

Okay, but back to my strange moment...

So, we're sitting at the table after telling our sales buddy that we would indeed like to purchase the van. Mini-van. (I think the word itself gives me heartburn.) Meanwhile my husband is in what appears to be ACTUAL pain because the little table where we're signing our lives away is right next to his dream car -- a Chrysler 300. He's sighing, he's oohing, he's ahhing, he's damn near crying at this point. He's drinking REALLY bad coffee (I tried it -- it was nasty) and I'm chomping on overly processed peanut butter crackers from the vending machine. I'm trying to console Chris and at the same time feeling the need to apologize. I did that all night--not sure why. Actually, I do. I told Chris that I felt like I was taking his puppy away. He assured me that it wasn't like that but that he LOVES our Trailblazer and I need to allow him to mourn appropriately. Sounds odd, but as I later discovered, I'd be grieving, too.

So anyway, our friend Cody has now pulled together all of the documents that we need to review and sign and joins us again at the little table. Asks us if we'd both like to be on the title. We say yes's OUR van, right? Well, he says "Who's first?" Chris says "It's her van...put her first." I say "Is there a difference financially with this?" He says "Whoever's credit is better should be first, I guess." ANNNND with that tidbit of info...I pass the pen. So Chris fills his part out and then it's my turn. I happily put in my name, driver's license, address, birthdate (which I put 2006, btw -- idiot) and I get down to the "Employment" section. I kind of look at it and think I ask my friend Cody what to do. I work private practice but so minimally it almost doesn't count, adding that I mostly stay home with the kids.

His answer? "Just put 'Housewife' and that will be fine. That's all the information we need."

HOUSEWIFE???? Just HOUSEWIFE???? That's ALL the info you need about me???? Ouch.

Okay -- so now I can be summed up in that one word? Let me tell you who I think of when I think "Housewife". I see Archie Bunker's wife. I see Mrs. Drabble from that stupid cartoon. I do not see me. I know I'm a stay at home mom, but for some reason I never considered myself a "housewife". Ick. No way.

Yet, there it is. In blue ink on a white page in my own handwriting staring up at me. All the 10 other boxes surrounding it left blank because that one word is all the information the need about me. They don't want to know anything else. That's enough. Just "housewife". On my minivan purchase application. How did this happen to me? How did I get here? Is this for real? I have a Master's Degree!! I have a BRAIN, for pete's sake! I live in a house, I am a wife -- but trust me, that is NOT all the information you need about me!! And for the record, even though I personally think it's the dumbest thing ever and I'd rather be a "housewife"...I do now officially understand what drove some poor, sad soul to coin the phrase "Domestic Engineer". As much as I think it's just a ridiculous term -- to the person who thought that little gem up, I feel yer pain sister.

For one minute, I thought "Screw that!" and actually considered putting "Speech-Language Pathologist" on there. Helllooo--don't I look so smart? I'm an SLP, not a "housewife"! I'm SOMEBODY. I'm useful. I'm ME!!!

Then I remembered how hungry I was and that I wanted to gnaw my own arm off at that point. Putting SLP meant taking time to list details of my measly income.

Okay..."Housewife" it is! *sigh and scribble*

Cody left to go process our information and I looked at Chris and was like "Oh my Lord, I'm a freakin' 33 year old HOUSEWIFE with a freakin' MINIVAN!!" He's like "Uhhhh, YEAH...that just now hit you?" Uhhhhh....YEAH, it did, as a matter of fact.

I don't know why it was so weird, but it definitely was. Worse than my ten year reunion. Worse than finding a few grey hairs this year. Worse than digging my fat pants out after having Georgia to find that even THOSE are tight. I think for the first time in a long time I felt old and sort of like...I don't know...helpless. Like my mission in life now is to be listed on my husband's credit so that I can commandeer the family around in my little minivan, dispensing juice boxes and baggies of goldfish crackers while listening to "This Old Man" for the 700th time in a week. Seriously -- that's how I felt. Kind of crushed by reality, but a double edged sword because it's the reality I wanted, chose and would NEVER take back in a million years or for all of the money in the world. It was just really a bizarre feeling. I think that in addition to understanding the Domestic Engineers of the world, I'm also beginning to understand what drives 50 year old men to buy red convertible sports cars. (But not the cheating or divorces that start and end with affairs with 20 year old blonde bombshells -- that's not on my "I get it now" list. Nuh uh. Still icky.)

Okay -- so back to the van. I like the van. It was my idea, I wanted it for convenience, it makes sense -- but it's giving me a complex.

I'll get over it, I will love it I'm sure (as I'm told by the minivan cult). I just today -- feel kind of old and like I'm 98% mom/housewife and 2% Tara. Does that make any sense?

Anyway -- I told Chris that it was sort of a key life moment for me right there. Like when people sit around talking about things they remember from their lives and different ages/stages, that will be one I will definitely remember. I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling.

I need to get my hair done -- that always makes me feel young and energetic again. I'll make an appointment tomorrow.

And drive my new minivan.

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