From Mini to minivan

I bought my first Mini Cooper in January of 2003. It was bright blue with white racing stripes. It was also the first new car I had ever owned. I was relatively newly divorced, it was just me and the dog and the cat, and I wanted a car that was very "me". I loved that car. I also but an obscene amount of miles on it driving all over Virginia.

another long trip in the Mini

By the summer of 2004, I was feeling a little crowded in that car. And I got a good deal on an X5, so I traded it in. As much as I was looking forward to more space, I mourned that little go cart that I had picked out all by myself. I made my Dad take pictures of it with me and my pets.

one last photo with Magic Lamp Sarah, Isis, Mini

I went through a few leases at BMW and when the most recent one was expiring, I wasn't sure what I wanted to replace it. So I decided to go back to the car I'd originally loved and just add a little space. In May of 2008, I got a Mini Cooper Clubman.

And by the end of that year, we decided to have a kid. By the end of 2009 we were completely outgrowing the Mini.

It became either a two-seater or a driver and baby carrier kind of car. The suspension was not so friendly to my recovering body. And we could no longer drive it with the three of us. By April of 2010, I was done.

So I bought a Toyota Sienna minivan. I still was stuck with the Mini until November, but we weren't going to survive in that car until then. In the 7 months since I bought the Sienna, we've put almost 10,000 miles on it. It is officially my favorite car ever.

I loaned the Mini to my mother over the summer because the air conditioning was broken on her car. She got lots of comments as the white-haired lady downtown in this sporty little car. When I went to borrow it back for a rare road trip without baby, I found I couldn't put the seat back because she had stuffed so much junk in the back seat. But that little car did well for her all the same and I was happy it was getting some use since I had to keep paying lease payments on it.

I'm pleased to say we're back to being a two car family now. I returned the Mini Clubman on Monday (after a panic of thinking we'd lost one of the comfort access keys and would have to pay $300 to replace it). As I drove it that last little bit back to the dealership, I didn't have any regrets. The first time I gave up my Mini I was sad. But this time, I was just happy to be rid of the payment and insurance costs.

I have a new love. My Sienna is the best! The suspension is smooth, the turning radius is amazing, the doors open with a push button. I can crawl in the back to nurse Ian, we can nap in the way back at SCA events. We can put all our camping equipment in it for the weekend. We can put two families in it to drive to Williamsburg.

It doesn't have leather seats or GPS built in but I don't miss those. I do sort of miss the rain sensing wipers on the Mini but that was about it. The Mini salesman wanted to talk to me about the new four door Countryman that's coming out soon. I was curious about it, but really, I'm happy with my new "me".