The girls' beds....this is basically what they turned out looking like.
The first one is Emily's. She wanted hers to be lower than Sarah did, so this is what she and I designed. It's all just 3/4" plywood and there's a piece on the back (against the wall) to keep anything that is shoved into the cubbies from going out the other side - and to make the whole thing sturdier.
We are going to do the zebra duct tape on all of the edges - it's easier than sanding them all down and it looks cool. I think she's eventually going to paint the inside of the cubbies too, but that's up to her to decide.
Sarah wanted taller, so she designed hers to be taller - although it would drive me insane. I did put a second piece of plywood across the top of hers to further reinforce it to support the weight of her and her mattress. So far she has opted not to paint hers - we'll see if she changes her mind or not.
Both of the beds just take a standard twin-sized mattress. They are heavy and they are not going anywhere. Literally. They won't fit through the doors of the rooms.
Now on to the bigger question.....
I still don't know what to call it. It's not really a van, or a car, or an SUV. I think technically it's a crossover, whatever that means.
My minivan died a few months ago, shortly after I paid it off. So I had to get something different. But, I was in the middle of financing the house, so I couldn't run out and finance something else and risk screwing up my credit, right?
Enter the GrandpaCar - the Grand Marquis - I bought it from a friend's grandfather because I needed something that the kids and I could all fit into, but not have to be financed. It worked for us, but it was very crowded and uncomfortable.
I kept putting money aside into what I was calling the "house/van" fund - money to be used for both. I also got a very sizable tax refund which went straight into that fund. Once the house was settled and we closed and we had gotten done with the initial "big" expenses, I did some figuring and decided that I could start looking for another minivan. So I called a couple of the local dealerships and basically said "I need something used, inexpensive, mechanically sound, and can seat 7 - find it for me" and turned them loose.
One of them called me back the next day and said "I know you said minivan, but what about a Traverse? It seats 8....." The Dude and I went and looked at it with no intentions of buying it at all - I really just wanted to see how something that was NOT a minivan could seat 8 people. Long story short, I liked it. We went back home and I researched it and liked what I could find on the safety stuff and whatnot, and the price that they had on it was a couple of thousand below the blue book value. So we started talking money and I said that I was thinking about just scrapping my dead van - instead the dealership sent a couple of guys out to the house to look at it and they ended up offering me an insane (to me) amount of money in trade.
Between what they were asking for the Traverse, what I could afford to put down, and what they gave me for the dead van, I was able to get the payments under where I wanted them to be AND get a really good warranty on it. At that point, I would be stupid to not get it.....so I got it. I kept the GrandpaCar for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that I have a kid who will be driving in a few months - and whether she likes it or not, she can drive that. And since The Dude's truck is iffy at times, he can drive it when he needs to go out of town or whatever.
Any other questions? :)