A Car Story

/ posted in: General

I am not a car person.  I can (and do) point out the pros and cons of horses in pastures 100 yards from the interstate while driving past at 70 miles per hour but I think that all cars look alike.  I am married to a car person.  He is prone to statements like, “Look at that 1978 Cadillac.  That’s the only year they had those headlights.”** He thinks horses are pretty but doesn’t know a Friesian from a Fjord.

Since we’ve met one of his favorite topics of conversation is “I think your next car is going to be…”  It has changed over the years.  I’ve been driving a 2005 Honda Civic since October 2006.  It is my favorite kind of car – amazing gas mileage and paid for.  The husband was shooting for over 200,000 miles on it.  I have 150,000 on it.  It has been trouble free.

It needed a check up 2 months ago and hoses replaced.  One month ago it wouldn’t start and once it did start it overheated.  It had to have the head replaced.  I questioned whether that was worth the investment in an old car.  We decided that it was cheaper than buying a car and all was well.

Wednesday it wouldn’t start all over again and I lost all confidence in it.  By Thursday he was texting me car ads he was finding.  I knew it was all over.  Friday I bought a car.

I’m not happy.

We worked really hard to get debt free except for the house and we are trying to pay that down.  I didn’t have enough saved up to pay for the car in cash because I wasn’t planning on that being an expense anytime soon.  I was able to put down 1/4 of the price and finance the rest.  I was able to finance it without anyone else on the loan like a real grownup though.  Previously, I had credit issues in my first marriage.  I got that all fixed and paid off which is momentarily good and then BOOM.  Your credit score drops like a rock if you don’t have debt. The only thing keeping me above a dismal rating is that I got two credit cards that I don’t carry a balance on.  They took that into consideration though and gave me the good interest rate for people with perfect scores.

I got a 2015 Suburu Impreza.  Yeah, new.  Horrible financial decision, right?  Guess what?  Used Suburus cost $2000 – $3000 more than new ones due to demand if you can even find them.

We test drove one Thursday night so I knew what it looked like.  I felt sorry for the saleswoman.  She tried to engage with me in the sanctioned way of How To Talk To A Female Car Shopper.  She told me all about the position of all the airbags like I care.  At the end of the drive the husband asked what I thought.  I shrugged and said, “It’s a car.”  I don’t even have the frame of reference to have a conversation.  The two colors they had were hideous though.  Being a quilter qualifies me to make that decision.

The next dealership had better options. I got a dark grey one because I’ve spent the last 8 years looking for a tiny black car in parking lots and it is hard.

I also had to clean out my car to trade it in.  I live out of my car.  I could survive the end of the world in my car. I was fairly sure that I hadn’t opened my trunk in at least 3 years.  Emptying the car was daunting.

Things in my car:

  • Needles – boxes of hypodermic needles and acupuncture needles.  Some were spilled.
  • Drugs – mostly bottles of allergy meds that I didn’t know I had.  Also spilled.
  • Change with sticky stuff on it.
  • 4 flashlights
  • 3 pool noodles
  • A girth and two shims for my saddle.  Remember that I got rid of my last horse in December 2011.
  • A duster to use when riding in bad weather
  • 3 empty purses
  • Clothes I bought at Goodwill
  • Books
  • New tupperware
  • Towels
  • Assorted cables and chargers for devices I don’t have any more
  • A key for my ex-husband’s truck that I last drove in 2008
  • A bunch of other stuff

Yeah, cleaning the car was fun.  Then, I couldn’t even trade it in because I don’t have a clean title.  My ex is on it and our divorce decree doesn’t have the car’s VIN number so it doesn’t count.  So, I have to find him and get him to sign it.  Joy.

But there are some good things besides having a car that I’m fairly sure will start on demand. Technology has advanced since 2005. I don’t listen to the radio. I use my iPod for music, podcasts, and books. I had a contraption that broadcast my iPod onto an unused radio station. In this car, it plugs in.

The NPR Books podcast list

You don’t have the full functionality of the iPod and forget about using the voice recognition commands. The computer can’t understand a word I say. But, I don’t have to have wires running all over for the best reception and I don’t have to keep finding radio stations when I go out of range.

The Bane Chronicles

That’s what the saleswoman should have been using to try to get me interested.

By Friday night it was all over and I was pretty sad about the whole thing still.  The insurance company people yelling, “Congratulations!!!  You got a new car!!!” didn’t help.  The husband went out and came back and tried to cheer me up.  “I know it is debt but we’ll pay it off quickly.”

“Yeah.”

“You can’t keep getting stranded places.”

Sigh.  “I know.”

“I noticed that you put your Doctor Who magnet on the back.  It looks really good there.”

Brightening – “Yeah, I took that into consideration when I chose which car color I wanted.”

He patted me on the head.  “Of course you did.”  I am the person who once decided what house to build based entirely on which floor plan had the best bathtub.  I don’t care about many of the details in life but I do have definite opinions on a few things.

I took the car to the mall the first night.  I memorized where I parked.  I still got lost.  I remembered it was grey.  I tried to get into a grey BMW that had a garage door opener like mine but my key fob didn’t work.  I finally found my car.  It has a temporary plate and a Doctor Who magnet but that doesn’t help if you see it from the front.  I really need a neon sign on top that says, “Heather’s Car” since all cars look alike.

 

** I totally made up that example.  I don’t care if it isn’t true.