DIY diva

That Big Parking Lot in the Sky

July 18, 2013 | 40 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

Last week I had to say my final goodbyes to this big yellow beast, which at different times has been referred to as “the beast” “the bus” and the “Thunder Crusher.” (I particularly liked that last one.)


It’s unsurprising that the insurance company called this one a loss.


And even though between my 100 mile commute every day, and the treacherous roads around the farm in winter, it was time for a new vehicle situation, I still felt a little nostalgic about a car that has hauled my shit through the last decade of life.

That’s longer than I’ve been writing this website.

And while I actively tried to avoid getting it in pictures of the houses (a big yellow SUV tends to steal the show), the Xterra was a bit like Waldo–if you look hard enough at the last ten years, it was usually somewhere in the background.

It’s the car that moved me into my first house…


That I’ve camped out in more times than I can count…

Camp site

It’s the car that moved me into the second house (or at least its garage):

And hauled all of the tools and materials to help build this addition:


It’s the vehicle that has done a lot of tailgating…


And that has spent many-a Thanksgiving at the Lion’s games…


I literally filled it to the brim dozens of times when moving out of Memorial and into my temporary farmhouse rental.

It was the escape vehicle when my mom and I (allegedly) broke into the Liberty House before I owned it to fix some problems with the house so that my loan would get approved. (There may have been paint on the rear bumper that perfectly lined up with paint on the driveway from a little incident during that adventure.)

This car moved me AND ALL OF MY TOOLS into Liberty House…

It has hauled enough lumber to frame a small house and enough cedar boards to build an entire garden…

Not to mention the dirt.

Trees have been tied to the roof…

And it has been a fixture on this property since the very beginning…

Carrying the tools for more projects than I can count.

It supported the farm by carrying both a little hay…

And a lot of straw…

It taught me how to change a tire. Three times.

And let’s be honest… the gas mileage on this thing sucked. The air conditioning didn’t work. The CD player has had a Sublime album stuck in it for five years. I couldn’t fit a full sheet of drywall or plywood in it (and sure as hell couldn’t leverage one up on to the roof), which often resulted in this nonsense outside of Lowe’s…

It was scratched up. Full of hay, wood chips, and miscellaneous tools. There were paint stains on the seats and it smelled vaguely of sawdust and old socks.

I bought this car when I was twenty-two, living with my grandparents, just starting out in the world with no idea where the next decade would take me.

Holy shit, did we go places.


And in the end, this car literally saved my ass, when I rolled it over on my dirt road while I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. (Something I might have neglected to mention before to spare myself the lectures… if this didn’t teach me my lesson, nothing will.)


I walked away without a scratch. So even though it wasn’t the right vehicle for the farm, I still feel a little nostalgic about saying goodbye.


Thanks for all the adventures, old car.

And hey, new car?


I hope you’re ready… because I don’t know what the next decade holds, but I can tell you for sure that it’s going to be a wild ride.

DIY diva


  • GreenCanary

    I love that your new car is the same color as my kitchen walls.

  • Martha

    What a great post! I cried when I traded in my last car. My mom and the car salesman were looking at me like I had lost my mind. It had so many memories attached to it. Glad I’m not the only one that has a place in their heart for a car :)

  • Kimberly

    Ah the list of things wrong with your vehicle sounds similar to the ones with my old car when it gave up the will to live. I was looking for a newer car when mine got a death rattle, which spurred me on. But before that my twenty one year old car, with 200k+ miles on it, had a nonworking AC, the tape deck ate tapes, the trunk had to be help open, one door had no working electronics, some major hail damage, and a glove box permanently locked with a super magnet. I think my old car thought I no longer loved it. The Saturday I bought a newer car, after the bank was closed, so I couldn’t get it until the check cleared on Monday, my old car died one mile from home. It did so safely in a parking lot, but I still had to get it towed someplace else, which was a bit of an ordeal, but was funny none the less.

    On a more serious note (lecture ensuing) you should always wear a seatbelt, otherwise you can become a human projectile, which will not be good for your health or possibly the heath of other beings in your vicinity. And I would rather read about how you didn’t cut off your fingers with saws, and not how you are seriously injured in a car accident. You are lucky to not be hurt (lecture ending).

    • Kit

      Lecture noted. 😉 Honestly, it’s not that I’m like, “wow, I’d really like to be a human projectile today”, but my brain doesn’t work in such a way that I will ever be a person who remembers to buckle up until I’m half-way through my trip. If ever. (And if flipping over in a vehicle didn’t change that, no amount of logic or reason will. Luckily the new car beeps at me if I don’t buckle up.)

      • Kimberly

        Huh my old car had a beeper, but those are probably optional. They might be handy, though my dad unwired his on at least one of his cars that I know of, I scolded him, but always ignored me. And I’ll admit I might be a bit too logical at times. It never occurs to me not to wear mine. When I heard the beeper on mine I was more like, “yes car I know, just be more patient I’m getting to that, I haven’t even put you into gear yet”, while I’m likely reaching to put it on, clearly the car didn’t like multi tasking. Though thinking such thoughts at an imamate object is not very logical, but I do it at times anyways. I hope the beeper helps you more than annoys you.

  • Roger

    What? It didn’t come in fluorescent orange? That’s too bad. LOL – you seriously don’t like to have to hunt for your car in a crowded parking lot! Great chronicle of the XT’s life. Very well written (as usual) with just the right mixture of humor, nostalgia and grit that I have come to expect and enjoy from your posts. I guess one thing is for sure given the new ride….. the farm truck will come sooner rather than later!

    • Kit

      This weekend, I hope!

  • meryl rose

    Don’t forget, it also pulled a bathtub behind it :)

    • Kit

      I almost included that picture!

  • Sarah In Illinois

    The chickens look like they are having a meeting to decide whether or not to accept the new car into the family!

  • Gabrielle

    Ooo, shiny new car. Can you fit full sheets of plywood in it now??

    • Kit

      Hell no. lol. But I’m buying an old beater work-truck soon.

  • Emily

    Cute new car! So this one is the fuel efficient one and you’re getting a separate work truck?

    • Kit

      Yep. The truck is coming soon…

  • Sunshine and Paint Pots

    Goodbye Thunder Crusher, hello new beast. Quick question – how many bales of hay does the new beast hold? Or are bales of hay now relegated to the trailer?! Is there a seat for Nugget?

    Cheers, Col

    • Kit

      I bet I can fit at least three in this thing. The back seats fold flat and it’s all hard plastic on the back of them.

  • el katz

    To go one even further in the “seat belt guest lecturer series”….

    You should be very happy the airbag did not explode while unbelted in the car. An airbag can do nasty things such as burn your face, break an arm, or worse… cause a cervical spine injury. In addition, the seat belt keeps you from “submarining” under the dashboard. If you carefully look at your new car, you will see a “knee bar” that – if your vehicle stops and you don’t – will do quite the number on your knees while the airbag takes it’s toll on anything that gets in it’s way. Airbags are not feathery soft down pillows… they’re explosive devices that inflate with a “bang”, very quickly, with heat escaping through the holes in it, and will hit you with quite an impact.

    And don’t start me on those uniformed people who allows their passengers to ride with their feet up on the dashboard at highway speeds…. in a collision, if they don’t go out through the windshield (seat belt or not), the airbag will break them in half as it explodes up and back towards the occupant… as designed.

    You are safer in a vehicle with no airbag and wearing a seat belt than you are in a vehicle with airbags and not wearing a seat belt.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled program….

    • Kit

      I’ve gone the airbag with my leg on the dash route once too. Luckily the window was open and I’m super flexible, so other than a little bruise, no harm done! I’m kind of resilient to car crashes which makes up for the fact that I’m a really shitty driver. 😉

  • Jo @ Let's Face the Music

    Your people love you or they wouldn’t so seriously lecture you. I have had a red car for the past 18 years, hope you enjoy yours. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    • Kit

      True story. And I seriously love y’all for caring. Doesn’t mean I’ll remember my seatbelt, but it’s nice.

  • Vanessa

    Kit, I’m not going to go on about seat belts, but FOR GODS SAKE DONT UNWIRE THE DAMN BEEPER. Maybe it’ll annoy you into safety. (Yeah, I know you’re thinking about it, so please don’t.) You’re my favorite blogger diva and I’d be super sad if you had to stop writing. For real, nugget.

    I can’t wait to hear the breakdown on the shiny new dumpling and why you went that route. I assume an old reliable farm truck is on the way, too.

    • Kit

      I have no plans to unwire the beeper. I don’t deliberately not wear my seatbelt… I just don’t remember some times. I don’t mind the beep to remind me!

      • Kimberly

        I never really thought you would. As for my comment above about my dad doing it, I had nearly forgotten he had done it. I hear mine so rarely that I forget it is there, but for the few times I get one step ahead of myself, which is why I’m sure it is there, or it is there to annoy people into making their car be quite. And I now promise to not say another word about it in this post.

  • Nikki Kelly

    I always felt a little nostalgic when your Xterra would show up on the blog. My bf and I have a 2012 in Sierra, but the shape and everything else is the same. We nicknamed ours The seXterra. It looks like we’ve done a lot of the same stuff with ours; camping, bringing home baseboards that have to stick out through the passenger window, carry a giant log home, and the best is being able to drive around in a foot and a half of snow like its NBD. Oh seXterra, you are a beast and I love you.

  • Krista

    I traded in my gas hog for the same car a few months ago. Can’t haul as much, but it’s been an awesome car so far! Hope you have wonderful new adventures with your Subaru!

  • Alli

    I can’t believe you didn’t get a pick up! Or does this vehicle deceptively fit drywall?

    • Kit

      The pickup is on it’s way…

  • Kerrie

    Has the new car got a name yet?

  • Shaina

    I am still driving my 2002 (purchase in Nov. 01) xterra. I wanted yellow, but settled for silver. I freaking love that car, but the time has come to start the hunt for a new one. That car has been amazeballs in durability and minimal maintenance. I hope you love your new car just as much.

  • Dani

    I was about to mention the bathtub hauling incident as well, but Meryl beat me to it. 😀 Sorry you’re saying goodbye to your old friend, but hopefully the new two vehicle situation will work better for you and the farm!

  • Kit's Mom

    Awwww. I remember when you got it and you told me it was “caution yellow” and we laughed. Ten years is a good amount of time to have a car. I will miss it, too, but I really love your new car. I’m so glad you got another crazy color!

  • Mandy

    Love your new car (esp. the color)! So sad to see your XTerra go. Brings back memories of my first car. I ended up donating it to an organization that fixes up cars and gives them to people in need. I saw it a few years later at a local restaurant…still had all the same scratches, dings, and dents. ::tear::

  • chris miller

    i feel a special kinship with you as a fellow yellow vehicle owner. my yellow ford ranger has also been through its fair share of home-related adventures (17 sheets of drywall awkwardly crammed inside and atop it, for example). i love being able to spot it from a mile away or across a crowded parking lot. aw, yellow cars – gotta love em.
    i won’t lecture, but i will offer a tip about changing your tire. when you jack it up, technically you should have jack stands under the car, but for just a tire change no one ever does that and you probably don’t have them with you when you need them anyway. so, what i do is put the tire underneath the vehicle so that if it were to come down, it wouldn’t crush you completely.

  • Chaucea

    *chuckles* Well, you certainly do like bright colors for your cars. x-D

  • Courtney

    I literally just bought that same Orange crosstrek like two weeks ago! Excellent choice. Great minds 😉

  • Kathleen

    This totally brought tears to my eyes. I’m so attached to my orange Vue, which is at 140,000 miles that I know I will cry when the time comes to let her go. I love that you got an orange car!!! I can’t seem to find an orange SUV that I like. You will have many new memories with this new car. I look forward to all the adventures.

  • yobo

    *sniiiifff* bye Beast! we’ll miss you!

    i do like the orange of the new one, though. brighter than tomato soup, but not quite flourescent.

    also, i kind of can’t wait to see the truck you get. if it’s not some funky color, i for one, will be mightily disappointed.

  • Melissa

    My dad bought me an Xterra for my first car when I was 16. I finished high school driving it, started college with it.. so many good memories in that car :)

  • Jacob

    I love the new car. Welcome to the Subaru family. We have a newer Outback and it has been great, especially since we moved out onto some rough land. I’m really considering getting the XV in the future to replace my Mazda. Let us know what you think about it and give us some mpg’s while you’re at it.

  • Amy Ferguson

    I bet the old yellow car is already tired… Anyway, sometimes it’s hard to let go but it’s easier if we got a nicer replacement hehe. Good luck for the new car! I love it! Drive safely.

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