The little green truck

I took a break from everything to spend time with family and just sort of rejuvenate in these last few weeks.

I needed a rest of mind, body and soul.


I mean, sort of, this break happened. It didn’t, but mostly, yes, it did, I guess.

Parents of little itty bitties don’t get much in the way of breaks. We mitigate tot tantrums and toy disputes. We don’t get a lot of sleep. We do get cuddles.

I took a week off of work and concocted a long to-do list. I instead used this time to nap and hang out with little buddies. My to-dos can take a number.

We boarded our living room on wheels and traveled to St. Louis. En route, we saw a motorcycle gang, the Bandidos. They were headed to Mo., too, for a rally. The gang’s motto is: “We are the people your parents warned you about.”

From that moment forth we became the Vandidos. The Vandidos were meeting up in St. Louis with the Chicago outfit. Nothing to see here, OK, it’s just a rally, OK? Vandidos lack shady black market dealings and matching leather vests but carry Goldfish crackers and juice boxes. No, a Vandido probably won’t punch you in the face and steal your wife, but a Vandido just might park on your front lawn. IN SUBURBIA.

A Vandido’s motto is “Red means go.” Vandidos roll in gray Honda Odysseys, peeling out of cul de sacs and children’s museum parking lots.

We are the people you feared at 15 you’d one day become. AND WE DRIVE MINIVANS.


Point, point, had a point. Our break was so nice. I avoided CF-mom-ish panic by and large. I took Eli to his first public pool, a nice little water park built into the hills on the banks of the Mississippi. Nice, but while you see cute babies in the kiddie area, I see e.Coli. You see a neat wave pool, I see a whole buncha butts in the water. Yeah, that’s right, I’m visualizing butt germs as my son splashes at the shore. I couldn’t fully relax. Not even on the lazy river, for Pete’s sake! I finally managed to quit my role as North Korean-esque government minder and leave him in the capable hands of our relatives. I went down a water slide that ends in a weird, giant enclosed toilet bowl funnel with my sister-in-laws (except Amy, wimp!).

Then we all came home and me and Eli buddy got sinus infections.

So things got hectic. Eli started coughing. We returned to the family/work/school shuffle. About 1.5 hours a day on the vest machine.

Our 2nd car, a little blue Chevy Aveo I usually refer to as “the tin can,” finally broke down for good. Mark sat in gum a student strategically placed in a chair. As you can imagine, it was really fun for him to walk around with a gum bum at a middle school all day.

Everyone felt quite grumpy.

This is where the little green truck comes into play.

I always wanted a pickup, ya know, a peppy little number that hauls stuff and just looks cuuuuuuuuuute.

On Saturday, we took out a stack of cash and bought a lil green Ranger from a gentleman selling the truck on Craigslist. He seemed like a straight shooter. Mechanic. Navy. Rebuilt the transmission, etc.

Yes, it is the type of car the men of Top Gear would drive 900 miles overnight to Croatia and run into the Mediterranean for fun. Yes, it is a 1996 with a whopping 250,000 miles. Mark consulted with his two mechanic uncles and got the all-clear. He haggled $500 off the price.

The truck needs to get Mark about 1.5 miles to school and back every day and take the occasional trip to the store. It’s a two-seater. Our children won’t be riding in it.

What did it cost? $1,400.

I like old things with character that just need a little TLC. I like trucks. I like the fact we made a choice to pass on thousands of dollars debt for a car. I’m glad we have changed our habits and make choices every day to direct our money into a savings account for emergencies like this one.

The plan is to ramp up our savings and in 10 months or a year sell lil green and get a better pickup.

Poor Mark with the unfortunate gum pants experience had such a big, wide smile on his face after he bought the Ranger.

I think it was the feeling that, while we may not have much, what we do own is ours. Not the man’s, ours. It’s also possible that he just likes buying cars with a fistful of cash.

The Bears won. Eli’s cough went away. All was right with the world again.

I try to write about our effort to save, survive and thrive each Monday in the category Money Madness. Bookmark it bay-bay. Thanks for reading!

Have you ever paid cash for a car or boat or motorcycle? When/what kind/what’d ya throw down (totally rude question). Do you remember that euphoric “it’s mine” feeling that followed? If you could have any vintage car or truck, what would it be? I fantasize about vintage Broncos and Scouts, how ’bout you? Leave a comment or send me a note!


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