As our daughter’s friends turned 16 last year they typically received new cars on, or sometime before, their birthdays. Being among the youngest in her class we made sure she didn’t reach any false expectations — since I’ve been around too long to succumb to peer pressure.

But after several months, my wife rightly noted how helpful it would be to have another car in the stable since mine (with me) is often out of town. Getting her work done as a home-health physical therapist and getting two girls to play practice, piano and guitar lessons, and other activities could be challenging.

So we took a slow, conservative approach and finally landed a 2000 Volvo station wagon with 175,000 miles. A mechanic we trust had worked it over real well, however.

We considered the numbers when making our decision: It has a good safety rating. The price was very low. Insurance rates were less than simply adding a 16-year-old as a driver on my wife’s car.

And we didn’t have to worry about our daughter trying to be cool when driving a 10-year-old boxy station wagon with a faded bumper. But she was just grateful for a little independence in any form.

The wagon found a resting place at the end of our driveway under the basketball goal when not in use. It became a good addition to the family.

Since buying our first humble abode in Kennesaw, Ga., in 1983, we have always had homes with a garage. Scraping ice off windshields through my youth and young adulthood was an unpleasant memory.

Unlike neighbors we’ve known through the years who filled their garages with all kinds of stuff, we have always kept our two-car garages clear for both cars.

But here is where my failure to consider all numbers came into play. Returning from an out-of-town business trip recently, I pushed the button on the garage door opener to discover an aging Volvo station wagon in my spot. It had found a new home.

So as my fingers tingled with each scrape of ice from the windshield of my car on this predawn morning, I was reminded that math has never been my strong suit. I should have reworked the problem.

You can’t put three into two without having one left over. And there is no debate about who gets left out in the cold.

Share This