Today we’re going van shopping.

For years I swore I’d never drive a minivan. I mean, everyone knows they’re just not… cool. I love my little two-door sporty car (if a Saturn can really be called “sporty”) and don’t really enjoy driving big vehicles. Heck, even Laralee’s Eagle Vision is too big. So a minivan? Come on, it’s big, clunky, gets poor gas mileage, and makes me look like a soccer mom or something.

Unfortunately my argument of “it’s not cool” didn’t hold much weight versus Laralee’s much more logical “it’s practical” counterpunch. It’s true: as our kids get bigger they’re squeezing a bit in the back seat. Long trips– which we take several times a year for vacation and family visits– get more challenging as we figure out how to pack the trunk. And any time we want to go to dinner or the pool or the store with family or friends (or kids’ friends) we end up either taking two cars or packing about five kids into the back seat and hoping we don’t get pulled over for something vaguely unsafe.

So yes, I finally came around to the “practical” viewpoint and I’ve been doing all kinds of research to find a van that’ll be not only practical, but somewhat cool (as cool as these things can be, anyway) and also get good gas mileage and consumer reviews. In the end it looks like it’s going to be the Honda Odyssey.

Of course everyone has an Odyssey. It seems like every other minivan is an Odyssey– and half of those are gold. My friend Megan just bought a gold one and said it’s impossible to find in the parking lot if you don’t remember exactly where you parked, because there are always at least half a dozen others out there.

I figure if Laralee gets a new vehicle, it’s only fair that I get one too. My choice: the Honda S2000.

A sweet, sweet little ride. But on the practicality scale it makes my Saturn look good. This thing is tiny and has only two seats (at least the Saturn pretends to have a back seat) and a trunk the size of a bread box. Still, loads of fun.

In the end, that nagging sense of practicality will probably win out and I’ll end up with an Accord or something. They get about twice the gas mileage of the S2000 and actually have a back seat.