Monday, May 16, 2011

Spontaneity at its Best

We planned it on Monday.  Or maybe it was Tuesday.  Regardless, we planned this trip earlier in the week and somehow managed to keep it a secret from most of our family and friends.  We lined up a babysitter.  We lined up a flight.  We finally found what we've been slowly searching for and made the decision to pursue.

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 3:30am.  Considering the fact that the prior night was a night of interrupted sleep for me (due to my sweet baby deciding that the middle of the night was a good time to want to eat and play!), I was not too thrilled with the timing of my waking.

I dragged my tired butt out of bed and got ready for the day.  At 4:30am, completely ready to go, I went and woke baby (since he had already been "complaining" a little bit for the past hour).  Changed his diaper.  Fed him a bottle.  Cuddled him back to sleep.  I was still holding him when Holly (our babysitter) arrived at our house at 4:50am (what a wonderfully sweet thing for her to agree to arrive at our home that early!).  I put Ethan back in his crib and kissed him goodnight.

I gave Holly instructions for the day, made myself a cup of coffee and followed hubby out the door.  We drove to the airport, making really great time (but I suppose I should have expected that at 5:00 on a Saturday morning!).  We parked, checked in and made it through security in a relatively short amount of time.  We decided earlier that week, when purchasing our tickets, that we were going to fly first-class, as I had never been a first-class passenger, and the up-charge was only $15 per ticket.  Ironically enough, we discovered upon check-in that first-class passengers don't get charged for checking bags (though we had no bags to check, the screens on the check-in kiosk informed us that there is no charge for the first two bags); if this is the case for all flights then we may just be flying first-class more frequently!

Flying first-class also gave us the option to budge in the head of the line at the security check point.  Who knew?!  So, we got through the checkpoint and then headed to the first bakery that I sighted to get some breakfast.  It was yummy!

After breakfast, we found our gate and eventually boarded our plane.  The flight was bumpy, as predicted, but efficient.  Upon arrival in Chicago, we called the gentleman who was picking us up, met up with him and began our half-hour drive to the dealership.

Dealership?  What are they dealing that we would fly all the way to Chicago to purchase?  Why, cars of course!  You see, with the continual rise of gas prices, Monte and I have been discussing for awhile that it would be a good idea for us to purchase a commuter car. We both drive SUVs (as it is required in order to fit all five of our kiddos inside and still not be a mini-van driver).  They both get really awful gas mileage (I'm talking 14-16 MPG on the highway).  NOT conducive to saving money.  Since both of our SUVs are paid off, we decided that it doesn't make sense to trade either of them (as we wouldn't get anything near what they are worth, and, if one of us happens to take an SUV and leave the other one at home with the five kids, then the other one doesn't get to leave the home EVER, as you can't legally travel with six people in a five passenger car).  So, we set a price limit that we would spend with some of the money we had saved, and we set out to find a car.

We test drove some in our local area and we really weren't finding what we were looking for.  So Monte expanded his search and sent me a link to this vehicle at the beginning of last week.  It was a bit above our price range, but had a LOT less miles than anything that we had been looking at (as it had only 46,XXX miles!).  Upon contacting the dealer and finding that the car really was the thing that Monte had been dreaming of, we made the decision to go ahead with purchasing.

Back to the long-winded story.

Upon arrival at the dealership Monte examined the car and I waited inside (it was COLD outside!).  He came in, signed a bunch of paperwork and we were off!

Our road trip home was amazing.  We left Chicago around 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning and didn't arrive back home in Minnesota until 7:30 in the evening.  We made many stops for restroom breaks, snacks and lunch.  We made a few stops just to stretch our legs and make me a little less stir-crazy (it was a long trip!).  We hit an awful construction zone in Wisconsin that delayed us by almost two hours.  However, among all of that, we thoroughly enjoyed our road trip ... and we averaged 29 MPG on the way home - which made both of us absolutely elated!  We had to stop and fill with gas twice - once in Chicago and once in Wisconsin, so very close to the Minnesota border.  It was so wonderfully amazing to drive a vehicle that didn't cost over $100 to fill the tank.  Who would've thought, in this economy, that THAT was possible (I tease, I tease)?!?!

So, after a very long trip, we have our commuter car.  I'm going to clean it out later today, scrub the carpeting and such.  We're going to enjoy the car, just as we enjoy our SUVs.

For us, this trip was entirely spontaneity at its best!

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