Actually, I took two plunges. First I bought this:
It is perhaps the most uncool vehicle in the universe. Seriously. Because anything uglier would flip around to the funky underside where square is hip. But it's exactly what we need. Thanks to Joe for making it happen. Also awesome: we didn't have to take out a loan to buy it.
Second plunge: Despite the accounts now empty to pay for said van, I scraped the bottom of the barrel and bought myself plane tickets for a long weekend in New York City. This is Mark's thanks-for-running-my-household-while-I-wrote-my-dissertation present to me. I'm going to spend four days with my wonderful city cousins Mary and Annie.
There's something interesting to be said about this juxtaposition of the brutally practical van and the purely indulgent trip, but I'm having a hard time putting a finger on it. I guess I'm feeling that I like where my money is going. This van opens the door for us to welcome our sixth (and probably final) child. And the trip is an antidote for the times I feel like Cinderella, sending everyone else off to the ball while I toil at home. So much of what I do for fun is really enjoying someone else's idea of fun--like hiking with Mark or swimming with the kids. This trip will feed my flame with just exactly what I think is fun.