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Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: Baby, you can drive my car
Surrendering to Motherhood

Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: Baby, you can drive my car


Great news: Grandma Sue got a new car.

Which meant her 10-year-old Toyota Venza was suddenly available. Was I interested? she asked.

Heck yeah!

My car, the used Volvo I bought about 10 years ago to replace our family minivan, has been a great vehicle for Girl Reporter.

I’ve driven it all around Napa, trailing bad guys, investigating corruption and shadowing suspects. OK, not exactly. But I have made many, many trips to Target and Raley’s in it, as well as in and out of the Napa Register parking lot.

But Grandma Sue’s Venza is newer than the Volvo. It has some fancy features, like a backup camera, voice activated phone calls, leather seats and a nifty automatic trunk open/close. Stuff that my Volvo didn’t have.

So it was a no-brainer to trade up.

That also meant it was time to sell my 12-year-old Volvo.

Let me put in a few good words for my tweenager Volvo here.

First, I barely drove it 10,000 miles a year. It rarely left Napa city limits.

I babied my Volvo. It was vacuumed and washed regularly. Inside was like a reporter cockpit, stocked with all journalist needs within reach: notebooks, pens, pencils, binoculars, hand sanitizer and extra masks.

Because our girls were older when I got the Volvo, there was never any excessive kid messes made in her. There were no car seats. No ground up goldfish crackers. It was not used as a pet taxi either.

The Huffman daughters always gave me a hard time for parking in what they called “the farthest parking space” in any lot.

I don’t want anyone dinging my doors, I’d say.

Luckily, we had a potential buyer for the Volvo almost immediately.

One of Grandma Sue’s friends was the first one to kick the tires.

Oooh, I love it already, the friend said, sitting behind the wheel.

Great, I said. Take it for a drive and then let’s make a deal.

But after talking to her mechanic, Grandma’s friend had second thoughts.

Volvo parts are expensive, a mechanic reportedly told her. Repairs will be costly.

Whoa, I thought. Let’s not stereotype a car just because it comes from another country.

MY Volvo has cost me next to nothing to maintain. A daily commute of a total of 6 miles means the car rarely traveled speeds over 60 mph. An affordable Napa mechanic who works on European cars keeps it running just fine.

Yet, the neighbor passed.

After placing an ad in the Napa Register, I got another call.

A very nice lady named June came to see the Volvo.

Oh, I have such great memories of the Volvo I used to have, June said.

Great, we said. How about making some new Volvo memories with this “new to you” Volvo?

June did not make an offer.


I’ll put it on Craigslist, said my husband.

And then something odd happened.

Another white Volvo, the same exact model as mine, showed up in the neighborhood. My Volvo, a smaller version of the ubiquitous Volvo station wagon, was not that common. In fact, it was so “rare” that when I did see another, it was worth noticing.

And yet, after 10 years of driving my Volvo, on the very week we decided to sell it, another Volvo, the same make, model, year and color, suddenly appears on our block, like some kind of Swedish doppelgänger?

Walking over, I inspected the rival Volvo. Hmmmmm, not in as great as condition, I sniffed. Some dings on the doors. Needs a wash. Probably has way more miles on it. And my rims are nicer. Still, it does have leather seats (yes, mine are cloth but in exceptionally good condition, IMHO).

It’s been a week now, and the Other Volvo is still parked nearby. Just watching or waiting. Kind of like a Stephen King novel, only no murder yet.

Is this what MY Volvo would look like after I let it go? Would the next owner of MY Volvo keep it up as nicely as I did? Or would it be just a car to the next owner? Would it be subjected to—god forbid—highway miles? A lengthy daily commute? Children? Pet hair?

Wait, maybe this was an opportunity. Maybe I need to introduce MY Volvo to the OTHER Volvo’s owner. Maybe he/she is looking to upgrade.

In that case, I’ve got just the car.

(Editor’s note: Jennifer reports that her 2009 Volvo V50 has a new owner!)

Heat stroke can occur when an animal’s temperature rises to a critical level. Normal body temperatures for dogs and cats range from 100 to 102.5 degrees. When a dog’s temperature rises to 108 degrees, or a cat’s to 106 degrees, they can suffer irreparable organ damage and even die. Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

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Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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