I have nothing house-related to share today, but y’all don’t mind me sharing something that’s just life-related every now and then, right? I hope not. 🙂
This has felt like such a strange week to me, and it got even stranger yesterday when I woke up yesterday morning thinking to myself, “Today, I’m going to work on Roman shades all day and see how far I can get,” and by yesterday evening, I hadn’t gotten any sewing done, but what I had accomplished was purchasing a brand new car. Had I planned on buying a new car? Nope. Not at all. But that’s just how things happen sometimes. 😀
So here’s the story of my car. This is what I’ve been driving around in for the last 12 years.
Well, okay…this Chevy Cavalier didn’t look like THAT for the whole 12 years. When I got it, it was actually neat and clean and shiny, and had all of its hubcaps. I bought it used, but it was only a year old, and in almost-new condition. But at the time, we didn’t have much money to spend on a car, so I had to get the very base model, and wound up with a car that had manual windows and locks.
Okay, let me back up a bit…
In 2004, Matt and I were still living in Oregon, and he was still working at Hewlett-Packard. We knew at some point that we wanted to move to Waco (it’s my home, and where my family is), but we weren’t sure exactly when we could make that happen.
Well, then HP started a voluntary severance initiative to reduce the work force. This was in the wake of the disaster that Carly Fiorina had made of the company, and so nothing was certain. We figured that Matt could either take the severance, and at least we would have some money to live on for a few months while we transitioned to Texas, or he could stay and take a chance that he would still have a job two or three or five years later. But there were rumors that if there weren’t enough people who took the voluntary severance, then they were just going to start laying people off with no severance at all.
Matt had been there for 13 years, but we didn’t want to take the chance of him eventually being laid off with no severance, so we took the severance, and took that opportunity to come to Texas. But nothing was certain in Texas either. We had no jobs lined up, but we were certain we wanted to take this leap.
So after several days of thinking through the logistics of how to get us, our two cats, our dog, and all of our belongings to Texas, while spending the absolute least amount of money possible, we finally came up with a plan. We went through one of those companies that basically parks an 18-wheeler trailer in front of your house, and you pack up all of your belongings. Then they drive it for you to your destination, but you have to unpack it. And if you don’t use the whole trailer, they’ll load other people’s stuff in there as well. That way, you get the cheapest price possible.
With our stuff taken care of, we decided that the cheapest way to get us here would be to drive. We had two cars, but mine was an SUV, so we opted to sell mine and drive Matt’s since it got much better gas mileage. So we made the trip in Matt’s red 1990 Honda CRX. 😀 Now if you don’t know what a CRX is, it’s a tiny little hatchback.
It’s only a two-seater car, but behind the seats there this ledge that sticks out about 10 inches (at least that’s how I remember it), and then there’s the hatch back trunk area that’s covered. Oh, and it was a manual transmission, and I didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission at the time.
So I got a crash course in how to drive a manual transmission, and our friend Louie made some adjustments to the hatch back part by creating a cover with built-in fans (one blowing into the trunk area and one blowing out of the trunk area) for air circulation. And then when departure day came, we put our suitcase and our 70-pound dog on the part behind the seat (we padded it with lots of blankets and it was actually a perfect fit for him), and put our two cats in the covered hatchback area with a litter box, food, and water, with the fans circulating plenty of fresh air for them (we did NOT want them locked in pet carriers for the entire trip), and we made the 2700 mile journey from Albany, Oregon, to Waco, Texas. 😀
Ahhhhh…sweet memories. That’s one of those memories that we look back on and think, “Were we absolutely insane?!” It was crazy.
Anyway, when we got here, we had one car, no jobs, and a very set amount of money to our names. My step-father gave me a truck to use, but then when I started doing interior decorating work, I didn’t feel like an old truck was really the appropriate transportation to be driving up to client’s houses in. So that’s when Matt and I decided to buy the Cavalier. But again, with only a set amount of money to our names, no steady income at the time, and me just starting a job that didn’t pay much with a local interior designer, we went as cheap as we could. I think we paid $5000 for it, and financed it for 60 months to get our monthly payments as low as they could possibly be.
And I’ve been driving that car ever since. As far as the engine goes, it has been a fantastic car. But in recent years, everything else seemed to be falling apart slowly but surely.
First it was the sun visor on the driver’s side. It just fell off. Completely. And it wouldn’t go back on. Then the side mirrors (which had to be manually adjusted) just decided to stop cooperating. I tried to adjust the passenger side mirror, and it wouldn’t budge. One day I tried to adjust the driver’s side mirror, and it wouldn’t budge either. I pushed harder, and it shattered.
Then the rearview mirror fell off. I drove around without it for a few weeks, and then decided to fix it. I purchased the appropriate adhesive from the auto store, followed the directions to a “T”, and it lasted about a week before falling off again. So I gave up and haven’t had a rearview mirror in probably two years.
And then one day at Sonic, I got too close to the menu sign as I was backing out of the stall, and the plastic casing around the side mirror caught on the credit card reader and broke off part of the plastic mirror casing. Classy. (And no, it didn’t mess up their credit card reader at all.)
Then my dashboard started cracking all to heck because I started getting more and more into DIY projects, so I would carry lumber in my car, and put the 8- and 10-foot boards through the trunk and resting on the dashboard in the front. Evidently dashboards don’t like that so much, because after a few years of that, big pieces of the dashboard were breaking off and falling down behind the dashboard and into the air conditioner fans.
So my air conditioner stopped working. I went two summers without it, and then we paid several hundred dollars to get it fixed. Then last summer it stopped working again, so it currently has no air conditioner. I’ve driven a car with no air conditioner for three summers now…IN TEXAS.
At some point, my windshield wipers broke (one of those blower fans at a drive through car wash caught on my wiper and pulled it so hard it broke). I went for a while without them, just making sure I didn’t drive in the rain, but I finally did get them fixed. They were never the same, though, and only did about 80% of the job that they originally did.
Somewhere along the way, three of the hubcaps fell off while I was driving.
And finally, the few bells and whistles that my stripped-down basic model car actually did have stopped working. When everything actually worked like it was supposed to, and I left my lights on and tried to get out of the car, it would ding and let me know I had left the lights on. But about a year ago, it stopped dinging. If I left the radio on and turned the engine off, the radio used to go off as soon as I opened the door. It stopped doing that, too. So if I left my radio on, it would just play and play and play until it drained the battery. So over the last year, I’ve dealt with a dead battery at least six or seven times because I’ve accidentally left my lights on, or my radio on.
I’m sure that’s not all, but to say that I’ve driven that car into the ground would be an understatement.
I’ve never really given my car much thought, because those things breaking happened gradually over the years, and I just kind of got used to the broken parts as they happen. And I’m just really not a car person. If I have something with an engine and four wheels that can get me from point A to point B, I’m pretty satisfied. But this last Tuesday, it really hit me how dangerous my car had gotten.
I went to my sewing class at Joann Fabric, and I was there for about two-and-a-half hours. The only windows in that building are at the front, and we weren’t close to the front of the store, so I had no idea what was going on outside. So when I got out of my class and headed to my car, I realized that there was some pretty serious weather on the way. The wind was getting really strong, and I could see lightening in the distance.
I got in my car and headed home, but I didn’t get very far before the rain hit. And the wind! I learned later that the wind got up to 75 miles per hour! So there I was driving in the dark, in the pouring down rain, in a car with no rearview mirror and side mirrors that weren’t worth a darn, so I couldn’t see what was going on around me. The rain was so heavy that I could only drive about 20 miles per hour, and because it was so heavy, I obviously couldn’t roll my window down for any air circulation. My air conditoner doesn’t work, and because it was so hot and humid in the car, my windows were fogging up. So while I was driving 20 MPH at night in this pouring rain, holding the steering wheel as tightly as I could to steady my car against the 70+ MPH wind, I was also having to wipe down the inside of my windshield on the driver’s side every minute or so just so I could see out. And every time I’d pass under a street light, or pass oncoming traffic, the light would glare off of the fogged over windshield and completely obstruct my view. And of course, my sad windshield wipers were no match for that heavy rain.
I’m not gonna lie. I was a nervous wreck when I got home. And I said to Matt, “I NEED a new car! This thing is just a danger on the road!”
But then we turned our attention to dinner, and kind of forgot the whole car thing. 😀
And that brings me to yesterday. I headed out to my car yesterday morning to make my regular morning trip to Sonic for iced tea, and my car wouldn’t start. I had left my lights on. So I texted my family to see if anyone was out and about and could stop by with some jumper cables. My sister was running errands, so she came to my rescue. We got my car started, I got my iced tea, and I got my day started.
Then about 2:00 yesterday afternoon, I needed to go to Home Depot to get the dowel rods for my Roman shades. I got in my car, and it wouldn’t start AGAIN! I hadn’t left anything on that time, so that means that there was another problem with it. Possibly the alternator? I have no idea.
I went inside and discussed some options with Matt. Sure, we could have it towed and get the problem fixed, but we just put $150 into it last month. That’s not a lot of money, but just the idea of putting more money into that car didn’t set well with me.
So around 3:00, we finally starting discussing the possiblity of buying a new car. But how long would it take to look at cars, test drive cars, find exactly what I want, and make the purchase? And what would I do in the meantime? We decided to rent a car for a few days while I did some car shopping.
Well, I called every single car rental place in Waco, and there wasn’t one single rental car available in all of Waco! Not one. Zero. None. All of the car rental places in Waco had sent all of their inventory up to the Dallas area after the big storm this week, and they literally had none here.
I was so frustrated. And then it dawned on me. I didn’t need to test drive any cars. I knew exactly what I wanted! For several years now, I’ve wanted a Honda. They’re awesome cars — reliable, well-built, etc. And I like small cars, so I knew I wanted a Civic.
I got on the phone and called the local Honda dealer (Greg May Honda), and asked them about their current inventory. I had been online looking at the colors available, so I knew what color I wanted, and they had several on their lot! So I told them I wanted to come buy it, but I didn’t have any transportation.
They came and picked me up at 6:15 yesterday evening, and at 8:00 I drove my brand new 2016 Honda Civic in the Modern Steel Metallic color off of the dealership parking lot.
I love everything about this car!! It was funny, because when I got there, the sales person said, “Okay, now do you want to drive it?” And I said, “Ummm…sure.” To be honest, I didn’t need to drive it to know it was just what I wanted. My mom has a Civic, and I LOVE driving her car!
Oh my goodness…this car has been hard-earned. I’ve never in my life had a brand new car, so this is a new experience for me. And after driving my junker around for so long now, I feel like a queen driving around in this thing! With an ACTUAL rearview mirror! And power side windows! And power door locks! And power windows! And hubcaps! And bluetooth! 😀
What a crazy week it’s been. But what a fun way to close out this crazy week!
Now that I have reliable transportation again, I can actually make that trip to Home Depot and get back to working on my house. 🙂