Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mom-mobile wish list

We currently drive a 2003 Subaru Forester. I know I'm fortunate to have such a nice vehicle, but I still find myself pining for my Laguna Gold 1989 Honda Civic, which had to be ditched because of rust and the expectation of child #2. While shopping for the Forester we really couldn't find the ideal family car. I don't know why more family-practical things are not built into cars built obviously for families. Such as:

  • Rubber floors like on the Honda Element.
  • Pop-up rear seats in the cargo area so we can fit 4 adults & 2 children. Or 2 adults and 4 children.
  • High gasoline efficiency.
  • Absolute ability to see in the back of the car. Why not cameras or a better mirror set up or a better shape to the vehicle?
  • How many children or people in wheelchairs have to be backed into before car-makers will get serious about this?
  • Easily cleanable seats.
  • Built-in vacuum cleaning.
  • Easily changeable (snap-in, snap out) inexpensive wiper blades. With clearly marked sizes.
  • Driver seat with clear instructions for adjusting the lumbar support & other doohickeys to make it actually comfortable for driving. And easily re-adjustable after Dad has fiddled with the seat.
  • Efficient built-ins for child-seats.
  • --Under $20K.
  • --Good on crash tests & other safety features.
  • --Utterly reliable--i.e. great repair record.
  • --Aerodynamic.
  • --Cheerful.
  • Not a minivan. Ability to not feel big. I miss my Civic.

  • Pop-up cargo holder box that retracts to aerodynamic lump under roof-racks when not in use. It's a real pain now to put on and take off our Yakima box. In the meantime, the Yakima type boxes should have retractable handles for carrying them to and from the storage area.
  • Window cleaners built into the car doors--opening a window should clean off the mud, salt, fingerprints, kid-applied stickers.

and for the child car-seat manufacturers:
  • Child car-seats where the buckle lenghts adjust quickly for when you have the child in or out of the bulky jacket on alternate days. (New England weather!)
  • Buckle straps that don't twist hopelessy around.
Maybe the buckle straps should be made out of something other than standard seat-belt fabric. Perhaps something more rubber-like, that retracts or comes out of their housing via easy push-button.

Things that would contribute to Energy Efficiency

  1. Individual monitors on our appliances, e.g. dryers, so that we know how much electricity each one is using when we run them.
  2. Glass doors sealing individual shelves of the refrigerator, so even when the 'fridge is open & we're looking inside, taking one thing out, or putting one thing away, all the cold air doesn't rush out.
  3. Dishwashers that are smaller, take up less room, don't hold as many dishes, run through faster, and no dry cycle. So you can just put one small meal's worth in and clean them, thus freeing them up for the next time. Also, especially in apartments, full-sized dishwashers take up too much storage space.
  4. State or local laws such that any new house built over $100K should have geothermal heating&a.c. or so much electricty generated from on-site solar or wind-power. A rule like that as a local ordinance could help small towns cut down on sprawl.
  5. Clothesline initiative: Outlaw rules against people having clothesline. It's OK to say they must be in the back of the house or apartment, but you have to let them have them someplace outside. Insist that apartment buildings have clotheslines designed into them, as they are in Italy. We'd all save on electric bills, and our clothes would smell better too. People would still buy dryers for when the weather wasn't good for drying clothes outside, but we'd use them less.
  6. Incentives to buy a second, energy-efficient, car. Lots of people commute daily in large vehicles that they've purchased because they need them for weekend camping, snowstorm driving, soccer carpooling, or other occasional activities. Give them a break on registration or insurance or both if the second vehicle has really good EPA mileage.

Cheap Parenting

I think we're mainly adherents of Cheap Parenting. Cheap Parenting is when you get the parenting books out of the library and then skim them before the due date and then go by what you remember or sounded good or doable for you. We also read all the free parenting magazines that come our way. This means one year of BabyTalk that came with each kid, and now we get Nick Jr magazine free from Zoe's preschool.

Cheap Parenting also involves relishing all hand-me-downs as a means of sharing the joy of childhood across time. It means putting the girls into the boys' hand-me-downs. Girls look fine in blue.

Cheap Parents find it easy to say "no" when their children ask for items while shopping. We always say no. The kids expect no. So no tantrums.

"unjam" because

"margery" was taken, so the URL of the blog is "unjam" because I thought it would be useful to unjam my thoughts.
Thoughts that get jammed in my head.
Letters to the editor that I never mail.
I also thought of "sleepymom.blogspot" but thought there are too many sleepy moms, and besides, I don't solely want to talk about mothers' sleep problems.
This is margie's egotistical stream of consciousness blog.

I agreed not to be "tortious" under the terms of service, but first had to check its definition. The full promise was not to "upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable".
I'm not sure how one can have a proper tirade without being any of those things. Particularly "otherwise objectionable." I bet that gets broken a lot.