Monday, January 14, 2013

Life with one car

One of the things we changed when we moved was we ditched a car since we'd be in town and wouldn't need the second car. 

There's been a lot of adjustments as a result, although a good chunk of those are because we ditched the station wagon and kept the hatchback.

The big thing that's different is that our schedules either need to coordinate or I need to take the bus (and the bus stop is 3 blocks away, across a busy street, and kinda spendy, so I would rather drive the short distances around).  This means that I need to also be up and functional at 7am to drop the kid at daycare so I can then drop the spouse at work if I need the car during the day.

Otherwise, mostly having a small car limits how much we can buy on one trip or how many people can go with.  Example: we recently bought a double stroller, and in the box, it took up our entire hatch space (haven't tried it out of the box yet).  We also had 4 bags of groceries, so they got squished into the seat next to the kid.  This isn't going to work with carseat 2, so it means more frequent shopping trips or not everyone goes shopping.  Notable also is that we can't just buy stuff at i.kea and assume we can fit it in our car, no matter how few people we put in it.  It's pretty comical though to have me driving, the spouse behind me, and the passenger side of the car totally loaded with stuff along with the cargo space behind the rear seat. Clown car!

If I were working, would we need a second car? Probably not.  We have two bikes and town is only 4 miles or so across so at least one of us could bike (probably the cold-indestructible one so I could be lazy and drive. Who wears sandals in up to 3 inches of snow...). 

Life with one car is so much less of a headache.  It's nice to keep track of only one maintenance schedule, have lots of room for junk important stuff in the double garage (I adore the garage by the way, super luxurious), and to have a much lower insurance payment.  Since we sold the older car, we didn't change the car payment at all, but we aren't paying for all that extra fuel or oil.  I imagine that next year I'll make more of an effort to take the bus and be on top of its weird little schedule.

Currently, after 8ish months of practice at life with one car, we're thinking we'd like to stick with one car, maybe for the foreseeable future.  I'd never imagined that was possible, but here we are, making it work in a place with only nominal public transit.  The trick is having daycare within bike trailer distance of at least home and preferably one job (and a bike trailer big enough for offspring and stuff or at least copious bike bags for the stuff).  Right now we're close to this ideal but not quite close enough for it to work really well, but who knows what will happen.

I keep imagining next year and what will happen and I'm letting it go. Really. Mostly. I'm trying.  Somehow the job will work out (did I mention that the job we moved for won't last beyond August? Arg.), we'll be able to stay here at least until rotations, and I will either get amazing rotations magically all in one place or get to do my plethora (ok, so 5 that need to be in at least 3 places) of out of town rotations in cool places and somehow we can magically all go and it will just work out... hmm...

It is kind of funny though to watch the faces of the minivan owning, zero current offspring couples after our childbirth class admiring us and our tiny car (well, looking askance and astounded actually).  Oh suburbia, you are so wrong.  A minivan is not necessary.  It would be cool to have the space but we'd probably fill it with stuff or enlist the kid in hockey or playing the harp or something if we had one.


  1. I really admire you for being able to get by on one car. We have very little public transit in my area and commuting everywhere is a necessity. Maybe one day!

  2. I really wish we lived in an area with mass transportation so we could give the 1 vehicle thing a shot. My husband (in construction) has to have a vehicle for sure, and I could get by without one if I had to I guess, but it'd be a long, cold walk to daycare every day! I guess since it's -22 today, I'm against the whole walking thing right now. :)