A week ago Saturday was a big day in our house. After eight years and fourteen days, we cleaned out the minivan, drove it to a local car dealer and left it as we drove away in a new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

That’s right: our days as minivan owners are over!

I must admit, that minivan served us well. We drove it to Michigan, Florida, all over Indiana, and to Kansas City several times. We hauled lawn mowers and snow blowers and mulch and baby furniture and Christmas trees and tons of groceries in it. The girls had plenty of room for themselves along with a friend or an aunt or a grandparent to squeeze in with them. When the girls reached school-ages, the push button doors made it easy for them to hop in and out on their own.

It wasn’t sexy, but it was useful.

And it was also time for it to go. A couple of the doors were getting creaky and balked at working properly on cold mornings. New tires were in the future. The seats in the middle and back rows were forever stained by eight years of car seats and dirty shoes being rubbed across them. We managed to keep the miles fairly low for a vehicle its age and knew that any chance to get a decent return on it was beginning to tick away. Plus, there was the need for a vehicle with a trailer hitch so we can expand our toy collection down at the Local Vacation Spot.

Add all that up together and, after a month of research, we settled on a Grand Cherokee. I like it a lot. I’m not sure the girls love it as much. Instead of being spread across two rows of seating, they’re now forced to share a single row. M. was especially upset about the new arrangement, as she is in the middle and claims C. and L. are always touching her and elbowing her and otherwise bothering her. I keep telling her to think about the trade she’s making: less room in her seat for more fun in the water in the summertime. When that doesn’t work, I usually start yelling that we can’t take it back and she needs to get over it because we’re stuck with it for three years.

Solid parenting.

Anyway, the minivan era is over in our house. Pour a wine cooler or Zima or something out for Daddy’s Blue Van.