Archive for the 'Cars' Category

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

I am trying to think of a useful reason to keep talking about my misfortunate series of events this summer.  And, perhaps at the end of today’s blog, I will feel as if I have provided information that is relevent and helpful.  But for now - I am only capable of ranting and telling you that I now believe that I am one cursed mo’fo.  Yes, I said mo’fo.

Here we go:

Yesterday, we were bopping down Gallatin Road here in Nashville - on a sponteanous milkshake run to shake some of the summer heat off.  Gallatin Road is a four lane road famous for lousy drivers and desperately misplaced parking lots that only allow you to pull out into oncoming traffic.  Anyhoo, one of Nashville’s finer citizens, with a lovely gaze of someone who had been hittin’ the juice a little earlier than he shoulda’ been, was pulling out of one of these parking lots - strangly enough, right in front of a car going forty miles an hour (that would be us). As much as I tried, I couldn’t stop in time to prevent us from ramming him nearly head on.  He was less than concerned with the fact that this was our brand new car and only mildly concerned that there were two children involved - he was more concerned that his rusted out 1970 Buick whose bumper was, literally, dangling by a piece of rope was “damaged”. 

Our brand new car is now undrivable and in the shop.  Not sure if its totaled yet - the wheel and axle are pretty bent - so we just have to wait to get the word from the mechanic.  But it looks pretty awful.

Ahhhh, here’s an educational twist:  Get the gap insurance when you buy a new or used car.  We didn’t.  We knew, when we bought the car that we should, but couldn’t afford it - it was a pretty high premium that they were quoting us.  So now we are incredibly nervous about the fact that we may be paying for a car that is damaged beyond repair.

Aside from that, I am just wondering what the deal is.  It seems like, since things have been looking up for us as a family that we have had the worst occurances around us - things that seem completely out of our control.  When we were poor and could barely eat and not making art and working too hard at things we didn’t love and not able to spend time with our kids or each other, it seemed that everything else was great - no accidents, no death, no illness, no tragedy.  Now, we are happy and making it and getting closer to our goals and everyday we feel lucky - and it seems that the more of this we have the more we are faced with completely uncontrollable ickyness.  Do you have to always give something up to be happy?  Is this some way of making sure we don’t get too comfortable or at ease with our lives?  Is there always going to be some big disaster or heartbreak that we are going to have to deal with if we keep living a comfortable life?  I am starting to think yes.  I am starting to think that this is how things keep its balance.  I am starting to wonder if being financially unstable and overworked wasn’t a better gig than this.  How crazy is that?

Better go get back on the phone with the insurance company.  Wish me luck.

Posted in Stress and Trauma, Insurance, Cars | 1 Comment »

Ain’t No Ride Like The Ride I Got….

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

So, I have crossed over a thresh-hold that I never thought I would cross.  We were successful in the haggling game of buying a car and we are now the proud owners of a mid-size SUV.  To go from a Toyota Echo, which is about the size of a two seater bicycle, to this (a lovely, wonderful, comfortable, reliable, stylish Pontiac Torrent -sigh) is a euphoria unlike anything I have ever known.  We drove home from our vacation feeling happier, and roomier, than we ever have before. You never know how cramped you are until you are un-cramped. 

The old “selling out” question has come into play, I’ll be honest.  I’m just uptight enough to have worried about my prior disgust with our biggie size culture and whether or not I am becoming all that I find detrimental to our society.. Blah Blah blabity blah.. You know what?  My kids are safer, happier and much (much!) more comfortable - and so am I.  The AWD and airbags to spare make me feel much more secure.  And, you know what, in my little bug of a car I was never noticed in the midst of all the 18-wheelers and oversized trucks and uber-sized SUVs.  I like feeling heartier and more noticable on the road.  The XM radio doesn’t hurt either. 

It is just one of those “nevers” of mine that has put me in check.  Never say never.  And leave your judgement at the door - because, one day, you might just be all that you say you hate and you might love every minute of it.

Posted in Cars, Smart Buying | 1 Comment »

This World is Going to the Dogs it is….

SO, we are desperetley trying to figure out how to get our dogs home, to Nashville, from my parents house in Florida.  They have been living here for a year now - we had a very small, third floor apartment that our eldest dog (12 years old) Jackson couldn’t take anymore.. It was too small for his big Catahoula Hound Dog body AND the stairs were more than he could take.  So, they have been vacationing in Florida for awhile and, now it is time to take them home.  I’ll admit, having two less creatures to care for has been less stressful, but seeing them this week has reminded all of us - kids included - that they are just as much a part of the family as we are.  We miss them. 

We miss them so much that we are moving up our plans to buy a car sooner - sooner being today or tomorrow.  So now, part of our no-hassle, stress free vacation (our first one ever) is being usurped by the ickiness of car lots and car salesmen.  We just can’t fit into our little Toyota Echo anymore as it is - there is physically no possible way to fit two dogs into that equation.  I have never been a fan of haggling and playing the whole “deal-making” game.. That doesn’t mean I am not good at it, I actually pride myself in not being a pushover for these types of business deals.. But, I still don’t find any joy or excitement in it… It makes me wonder why people can’t just cut to the chase and make you an offer that is genuine and good for both parties.. I completely understand that people have to make money - I wouldn’t begrudge someone for that.. But, come on, spare me the schpeal about how you are going to treat me as if I was your own daughter while you are simulteanously sticking it to me with hidden fees and enormously high interests rates..  It should be interesting, if anything.  Swindlers, here I come!

Posted in Cars | No Comments »

That New Car Smell

Our big goal this summer is to buy a new car.  We have always loved our little econo-sized cars - both for the ecoresponsibility factor as well as for the affordabilty of them.  But, now, as a family of four with an old dog that likes to go for rides with us, we are in desperate need of a larger, more family friendly auto.  But, we can’t affford to put gas in an SUV or minivan, nor do we feel good about how unfriendly they are to our environment. 

Here’s what I have found that is helping me to make my decision a bit easier:

With cars becoming more efficient, you might think oil companies are hurting for profits. Ha, yeah, right! Companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron have never been stronger, thanks in part to chumps (like us) paying record prices and continuing to drive inefficient vehicles.

The good news is you don’t have to be a chump. These days, plenty of cars minimize fuel usage as well as pollution. According to this site on fuel economy from the U.S. Department of Energy, of all the cars available, the Honda Insight gets the most miles per gallon. The two-seater (with manual transmission) achieves 66 mpg on the highway and 60 in the city.

Of course, two-seaters aren’t for everyone. The Toyota Prius is the most fuel-efficient mid-sized car, with mileage well above the national average. We recommend checking out the EPA’s official site. It lists the fuel economy, pollution rating, and vehicle specs of just about every car available. If you’re thirsty for even more choices, this page on renewable energy explains the benefits of various alternative fuels like ethanol and natural gas.

Posted in Cars | No Comments »

The Good Deed Fellow

It’s remarkable when you feel more down on your luck than ever before and there is a simple stranger who, with a small thoughtful gesture, can make you realize that things are pretty great.

We (my family) have been through what is usually referred to as the ringer these last few years. Typical young-married-couple-with-two-kids stuff — money, job changes, money, job losses, trying to prove to our families that we aren’t crazy for sticking to our passions, money, our daughter having half of her lung taken out. Alright, mostly typical stuff — we have had some things that I’m not quite sure we will ever emotionally recover from (my husband and I can’t really talk about our daughter, two weeks old at the time, almost dying in his arms simply because it was so stressful that I am certain we have blocked most of it out).  But back to my point: by all accounts of the stress of the last two years, we could be really angry and mean people.  I think anyone that has struggled can relate — you tend to start to lose the better qualities of yourself when things get lower than you ever thought possible.  And today I was reminded why we came out of it happy and with an even more stellar outlook on everything.

I’m going to sound like the cheesiest feel-good motivational speaker in the world but, here goes. This man, a mechanic, who could have taken all my money and been an opportunist about the fact that I had to have some work done on my car to pass my emissions test to renew my registration. Instead, I explained to him the situation and made a note that we really didn’t have the billions of dollars to fix the part and so, he looked at the car and pushed a simple button and said “there ya go — you should pass your test now”. There is something that needs to be fixed but it would have cost me lots and lots of money that knew I didn’t have.  He could have just told me to go away but, no, he bought me some time. He saved me from a week’s worth of being pulled over by every bored cop who notices that I have expired tags. A simple thing that made my life easier and gave me a chance to get things taken care of. He referred me to a local mechanic who is cheap and respectable and made me promise to go see him soon. As I drove away I realized (here comes the cheese) that this exact type of thing was why my husband and I aren’t angry and miserable people. Because we have been cared about, on a very human level, by others who have been, or still are, there. We’ll always look back on those years with great wonder at how we survived — and then we will have to remind ourselves that we survived because of the strangers who wouldn’t let us fall.

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Health, Cars, Home Budget | No Comments »