Baddy woke me up one morning when we were living in our condo, and told me that a Cottonwood Tree had fallen on our mini-van. My first question was, “Are the flames ok?”
When I was pregnant with our third child, Hootie-Hoo, I had to trade in my Toyota Fore-Runner for a mini-van to accommodate my impending larger family. It was a difficult decision for me to make. My father had a BMW fetish and that is what I grew up driving in. I tested all of the hybrid vehicles desperately trying to purchase a more environmental car but they were all to small for my needs. I envisioned the frustrations I would have to endure when I was trying to load up all the gear. As it was, I was constantly cursing at life as I loaded and than unloaded the cumbersome gear and I only had two boys.
I decided upon the mini-van because it had the most room and the best mileage over all the SUV’s. When we decided to go off the beaten track and needed higher clearance, we would have to cram in Wade’s Dodge pickup truck instead. Prior to leaving for our favorite summer spot, ready to pop, I made all the arrangements to pimp up my mini-van. If I was going to be like every other mom in America, I insisted that the van should have some style. Wade insisted that we play down the flames and have the decals be blue instead of orange. I begrudgingly agreed. Three days before Tucker was born an article came out in the New York Times that featured a mom pregnant with twins who also had flame decals placed on her mini-van.
I insisted that Baddy contact her for me. I imagined that we would become good friends. It never happened.
We drove our new baby home from the hospital in our new van with sparkling flames on the side. I am not one for chotzky nicknames but the van has a personality of it’s own and has thus been dubbed “Vini-Man”.
Vini-Man has lots of fans amongst the Latinos and younger drivers. I take advantage of it’s appeal when I am racing to pick up the boys and need to cut into the traffic lane. When the boys are in Vini-Man with me they love to drive slowly through town, windows open, blaring music and singing,”Life is a highway, and I’m going to drive it all day long”.
I was in Bikram’s yoga once and a friend whispered to me in the middle of Shavasanah. I thought she was complimenting me on my practice but when she repeated herself, so that I could hear, she was saying that her kids saw our van go by and yelled, “There goes that flaming van with the Livingston’s in it”. We love to drive around town at the height of the season when all the Aspen glitz is strutting around in their high heel shoes and fur coats. We feel that it is our duty to let them see a glimpse of what the down valley folk look like.
Vini-Man was beginning to stink recently and the fan was making a clicking noise, so I brought it in to the shop. The report was that a mouse had crawled in through the undercarriage and died in the fan. It’s poor little feet were hitting the fan’s motor and that was what was making the clicking noise. Who would have thought?
Occasionally, I will glance over to a car next to me and notice a group of adorable, rugged, young mountain boys smiling at me. I forget what I am driving for a moment and fantasize that they are checking me out. “I still got it”, I say to myself giving them my glamor smile. Than my bubble deflates as I realize that what they are admiring is not me but Vini-Man.
Vini-Man is beginning to fall apart on me. At this point we cannot afford to purchase another car and an environmental car to meet my needs has yet come out in the market . Luckily, I have become quite attached and would feel naked without the flames. We are going to milk every mile and hold on to Vini-Man for as long as we can, which hopefully is longer than I think.