Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The experiment

Can my family comfortably exist with only one car? That is the question of the week. Passat is spending the week in the garage. I am already taking the train to work every day, so it is mostly a question of getting dropped off at the train station rather than parking my vehicle in the parking lot every day, costing me depreciation, a car payment, and insurance. About 2.5 miles from the house to the train station. Should be pretty easy, right?

When we unveiled this plan to our parents, their first reactions were "do you need money?" Now I'd be lying if I didn't say this plan was prompted by financial concerns. But it isn't just that. It's about being a good steward of our resources, doing what's right for our family, and making do with less.

And I might just replace the heavy German 6-cylinder sedan with a fuel sipping 2-wheeler. There is an active campaign underway (by my kids' grandparents) to convince me that a scooter is terribly dangerous. But I can assure one and all that I would wear a helmet and drive almost the entire harrowing 2.5 miles on residential streets. This is only feasible if I feel relatively confident that I could secure such a vehicle at the park and ride against thievery, so the jury's still out.

But this week is the one car, no scooter experiment.

Day 1 was Monday. We ran into this. DART rail was running massive delays due to weekend construction that took a tad too long. After we figured out what was going on, my wonderful wife and kids drove me downtown. Crisis averted and only about 45 minutes late for work. But were the commuting gods trying to tell us something? (They'll have to do better than that; we're stubborn.)

Day 2. Tuesday. French toast (and a smoke alarm to let us know it was ready) this morning - wife is taking the experiment very seriously if she's cooking breakfast. (She's a fantastic cook, but we eat cold cereal in the mornings around here.) Got to the station early and downtown at the normal time. Wife and kids not yet bitter that they have to leave the house at the same time I do. I did have a bit of a wait in the afternoon as my ride was late. No big deal. It wasn't that hot out and I had my iPod and the Week in Review section from the Sunday Times.

So far so good. I really think the 1 car family idea will not be too bad since we have such good public transportation to downtown. It's going to bite us in the ass though when we both need to go somewhere that the trains don't go. Stay tuned for further results of experiment week.

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