We have a winner!

Dear friends,

After lengthy deliberation, scads of internet research, a slew of test drives, and no less than three family meetings, we have a winner.

It’s Kate, with a Ford Focus by a super-majority. (For the math challenged among us, that means Kate and I voted for the Focus, while Mr. Mom’s vote, sadly, went to a foreign automobile manufacturer. Feel free to shame him in the comments section.)

We found a fully loaded 2010 model with few enough miles that it’s still under a bumper-to-bumper warranty. We got a competitive price, and we were able to buy locally (which always makes us happy). Big shout out to readers D&H who encouraged us to take a look at the Focus. We went to test drive an ’05 Toyota Corolla and instead found a sleek black Focus with a spiffy leather interior. Bingo!

Both the 2010 Focus and the 2005 Corolla beat the 2012 Nissan Versa (a surprisingly affordable option). In the end, it was a combination of competitive price, low miles, interior features, fuel economy and ease of repairs that convinced us to go Ford. In Mr. Mom’s defense, he liked the Focus very much but, as always, voted for the most financially conservative option (the older Corolla). Since he has to repair anything that goes wrong for the life of the vehicle, he is always given veto power over every family automotive vote. But I guess he wanted his girls to be happy . . . so we’re all smiling.

We hope to pick up Kate’s car late Friday if all the paperwork, insurance details and miscellaneous falderal associated with car buying is complete. We’re headed to St. Louis on Saturday morning to spend Kate’s many graduation gift cards stocking up on college supplies, so it would be neato-bandito to take the Focus on its maiden voyage. Either way, it feels pretty real now — this whole college-adventure story.

Off we go!

With gratitude {for a Mr. Mom who keeps us all happy and a CupKate who’s picking up on her mother’s whole gratitude thing by Tweeting “My parents > yours”},

Joan, who completed Day Two of interval training this morning and fears she may never walk again