If you entertained thoughts that I had put up my typing fingers, I hate to disappoint you. I’m baacck! I wish I could say I’ve been off having fun, but nah! … I’ve just been busy. Overwhelmed, you could say. Life is what happens while you are making other plans, as they say.
As I was planning to do my Christmas shopping in mid-December, I found I had to make an unexpected trip to Pittsburgh. My older sister, who was in frail health was admitted to ICU. My brother and I knew this would be the last time we would be able to say our “goodbyes”, so we didn’t waste any time getting up there. And we are glad we did. She passed earlier this week.
After spending a couple of days at her bedside, we returned back to Raleigh. I hurriedly got my shopping done in time for Santa to arrive. I planned to head back to the beach just before New Years Eve. But, on the 26th of December while out shopping with my Granddaughter Lila, my car starting acting up. By the time I got back to my house, it was overheating. Now the fun begins. Bring in the clowns!
I had to wait until December 30 to have my mechanic look at my car. He is a 30 minute drive away, so it was with sweaty hands that I got my car there without breaking down along the way. I made it! Oh happy day. Maybe it wasn’t so serious after all.
On first inspection, they decided it was just a thermostat and that it wouldn’t be too expensive. But, as they proceeded to repair it, I got that call. Bad news. It was the head gasket. And since my cars was 11 years old and had 172,000 miles on it, he didn’t think it was worth getting that costly of a repair done. Now I had to get my car back home. By then it was late afternoon and traffic was getting heavy. Not to mention raining rather heavily, and it was dark besides. Why me??
Another sweaty drive back home, but I made it. The gauge went to “H” just as I pulled in front of my house. So much for heading back to the beach for the New Years Eve party. Jim, being the sweetheart that he is, drove up the next day and rescued me. First stop — the ABC store to lay in a supply of scotch. And it was a good thing. We made a dent in it. I was feeling very sorry for myself, mind you.
The next day, I began my research in earnest. I was married for 35 years to a man who taught me that you don’t buy a car without researching. My Internet was buzzing, let me tell you. I began shooting off all those “request quotes” to the dealers. And more research. You know I once had a Ford Explorer that I leased, then released, then released again, then purchased. All in all, I paid for that car for 10 years. All because I didn’t want to research and make a decision on a new car. That’s my history of car buying.
I decided on a Honda Civic, Mazda3, Ford Focus or a Nissan Altima. I got the best price on the Altima, but my daughter, who drives one, insisted I not buy the same kind of car as she had. The salesman laughed when I told him. So now I had three to decide on. You know what? It’s almost like collusion. They were all basically the same price. So it came down to who gave me the best quote on a car that had what I wanted on it and not much more. And I had to consider the distance. I had a car that overheated! Is this devious? I didn’t want to pull up in a car with steam pouring out of it.
On Saturday I made my list of dealers we would visit. We took Jim’s car because mine wouldn’t make it. First stop the Honda dealer. The salesman had sent me a quote on a car that was reasonable in a color I liked — grey — it doesn’t show the dirt. I wash my car yearly whether it needs it or not.
That’s as far as we got. I liked the car and it was what I had been driving for the past 11 years. Why put myself through anymore agony? As we prepared for me to do a test drive, I couldn’t find my license. It wasn’t anywhere to be found! Where in heaven’s name did I leave it? I had a little trouble concentrating after that. Well, the salesman took it for a test drive with me as a passenger. Is that uncommon? Isn’t it necessary to determine how it feels as a passenger? Okay, I guess not.
I told him I was going to make a few more stops before I’d make my decision, so off we went back home. I wasn’t interested in anymore stops. I wanted to be done. Upon arriving home, we decided it would be best to drive my car most of the way there and leave it to cool down. The salesman had told me that they would check it over, do a test drive, etc. to determine it’s value. As we left to take my car to however far it would go, it began to rain — really rain. I put my wipers on but the one in front of the driver wasn’t cleaning it off very well. Then I noticed the rubber part was tearing loose. About halfway, actually. And it was getting to be rush hour. Oh happy day.
Now, I was having to drive in heavy rain, with lots of traffic and I couldn’t see through my windshield. Talk about stressful! And I wasn’t sure of the streets I needed to take. I couldn’t see the road, couldn’t see the street signs and my hands were cramping from holding the steering wheel so tightly. I got it almost there. It hadn’t started to overheat yet, but I wanted it parked among other cars so it wouldn’t be conspicuous. Why didn’t I decide t get a new car last year?
Once back home, I called and set up an appointment to go to the dealership in a few hours to do the paperwork. I went looking for my license and found it in a travel tote I had used when I flew to Pittsburgh –two weeks before. I had been driving all over the world without my license! Maybe it’s time for my children to get me a keeper. Obviously, I was beginning to lose it.
There have been times in my life when I thought I had a Guardian Angel helping me. We picked up my car and drove to the dealership. After going over some of the paperwork, the salesman announced that he and I were going to take my car out for a drive. What? I was going to have to be in the car when he would call me out on being deceptive? He backed the car out and began to head down the road, mashing on the gas pedal going up the hill. I was sitting there praying — please don’t overheat — please don’t overheat. Luckily, because he couldn’t see out of the windshield any better that I had, it was a short drive and he determined it was in good shape!
After signing yet more paperwork, I got in my new car and drove home. Yep, I’d have rather had a root canal. If I drive this car as long as I drove my last one, this should be the last time I go through this agony and stress. My children will be taking my license away from me along about then. I mean, after all this, would you want to be on the road with me?