Friday, June 11, 2010

Being a one-car family

I totaled my 1996 Civic two days ago. Everybody's fine.

Man, I wish I could trade car for bike:

When I was finishing my undergraduate degree at UNO, my wife and I gave her piece of awesome (thanks to Chris Wolff for THAT sobriquet; I've used it roughly 1,000 times in the last eight days.) to her brother. We lived as a one-car family of three for about 6 months. She drove herself and our infant daughter around in my then-new Civic, and I pedaled everywhere I went. Even in Omaha. During one stretch of days in January, I commuted from Field Club to UNO in 3-degree weather. For a week. 

We continued that lifestyle during my first two years of grad school, but living without a car in Davis was so much easier: no real cold, bike lanes everywhere, table-flat topography, a culture of bike commuting. We only bought another car after we had our second daughter and realized that hauling her around in the Burley trailer wasn't going to be safe for her spine.

So now we're ensconced in our house off Blondo and Country Club Blvd. in Omaha, and my workplace is a flight of stairs away. Jessica's school is 10 blocks away, and the girls' school is also very close. We could certainly live with only one car, but Jess won't ride to her job teaching Kindergarten, and as a stay-at-home dad / dissertation-writing academic, I have to haul kids across town for doctors appointments and the like. We still drive much, much less than the average suburban American family, but when only two of the four of us are willing to ride anywhere,  owning two cars becomes awfully close to necessary. Dammit.

So today, I shop for cars. Blech. 

1 comment:

  1. I tell myself that if/when I have kids, I'll be able to do something like this or this, but I also live in mid-town where biking a is pretty easy. Plus I really have no clue what being a parent is like, so there's that.

    I had a good experience with Superior Honda when our '94 Civic needed to be replaced this last winter. They didn't budge much on the price of the used CR-V I ended up buying, but they did a few after-the-sale fix ups that left me happy with the transaction.

    Good luck on your shopping trip!