Not only can our family not fit in our Pajero, but the old girl is on her last legs. Every morning when she kicks over and starts Tracey and I high five each other and the kids scream out, "YAY!".
We have a plan to replace the Pajero with a Toyota Hi Ace Commuter (12 seats - enough for friends), but it won't be until we sell our block of land up the road. I realize it's not something you hear many blokes say, but I get excited when I see a good looking van. The girls at work are tired of me excitedly pointing out when a nice Commuter drives past our branch. I think it's a desire borne out of necessity.
Long and short of it is, we don't want to spend a lot of money on keeping our car going. Rather hypocritically, we're hoping the old girl will hang in there long enough to see me up front and ecstatic in a dreamy white van.
When we bought the Pajero eight and a half years ago we planned to hang onto it for ten years, but she won't quite get there. Plus we only had two kids then, with a third one nearing completion. No way did I think we'd be looking at another four kids after that.
For the past couple of months our the old girl has been very sick. We've recently hit the point where we need to refill the radiator after every trip to town. Now I'm not a mechanic but I suspected we might have a problem. Yesterday we finally took her to someone who is a mechanic, but we weren't hopeful our bank account was up to the challenge.
As it was he took one look at the engine and said, "Gaskets. $2000 minimum. We could be talking the head as well and that's the big money." I nearly fell over: since when has $2000 not been the big money! "But leave it with me and we'll have a proper look."
While we waited, Tracey started looking for a temporary replacement rolling lump of junk on that great web car yard, eBay.
"We can pick up a Tarago for under $4000!" she told me.
"Do we have $4000?" I asked hopefully.
"Maybe if we sell shares."
"Do we have shares?" I asked hopefully.
Fortunately it turned out what our old girl really needed was a new radiator cap. With a tune and some odds and ends the total came to a far more reasonable $380.
And it seems we're off and running for another six months. Hopefully.
I can't wait until we can buy ourselves a van. I think I'll take my laptop to bed and Google some photos.