Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Strandings and Strange Engine Noises

It is the end of an era. My husband and I bit the bullet, took the plunge and pulled out all the stops. Yep, we finally got a new car. It was not outside the realm of possibility to think that this may never happen. We are not what you call rapid decision makers. It took us 3 years to buy a house, 5 years to decide on a dining room set and 6 years to have a child. The cars, well at both 11 years old, they seemed a lot of like permanent fixtures. My husband is met-tic-u-lous when it comes to car care, so they still looked like new, even as engine parts fly off and hit traffic behind us. Aside from the obvious benefit of having forgotten what a car payment was, we weren’t really the type to worry too much about what we drove, despite constant jokes from our friends about our antique classics. My husband, an accountant, was very clear on the concept of "depreciating assets" so we just drove and drove and drove on some more.

However, for his car, we have found over the last year that it’s safest to keep it within a two mile radius of home, unless you are up for an "adventure" that you won’t easily be able to walk home from. His lemonmobile was a 95 Chevy Blazer with 170,000 miles, which was probably technically still considered a new car since every element had been replaced at least once. This car was a disaster from the start, yet my husband continued to insist that it "runs good, its smooth don’t you think"? At least we got great gas mileage since the car was usually in the shop.

Well somehow in the space of a week, we went from "keeping the car to at least 200,000 miles!" to my husband finding a great deal on a 2007 Tahoe LTZ at which point the Blazer "probably wont make it until the end of the month, baby". Although suspicious of this rapid change in attitude (I prefer attitudes to shift gradually over the course of a decade or so), I said, "sure, whatever" to the purchase of a new car. Because I’m hip and I can roll with the punches (other than my two hour lecture on the perils of buying another Chevy beginning with: "are you insane?")

So we have to head up North 6 hours to get the new car, because that’s where the super-duper deal is. Again, though the Blazer had previously been slated to go into the mileage hall of fame, my husband insisted now it was barely scotched taped together and wouldn’t go faster than 60mph. Our son kept yelling "Fast! Fast!" from the baby seat, since my husband usually drives in such a manner as to leave me digging my nails in the leather seats and reflexively punching my feet onto the floor in search of a passenger side brake. The kid didn’t know what we were doing in the right lane being passed by bicyclists.

So as not to entice me by this new safe driving, my husband also came up with a rule that I couldn’t turn on the air conditioning, despite it being literally 95 degrees out. I sat melting into the seat, the open windows created a vortex within so that anything not nailed down was sucked out of the vehicle. My son was draped listlessly in his car seat, hair plastered to his face, eyes squinting from the wind. I said, "what happened to this car being so smooth? Are you trying to ensure my support of this new car by making me as miserable as humanly possible?" Finally, my husband relented and turned on the air conditioning. On bilevel low. Whatever.

At the car dealership, we parked next to the new Tahoe and piled out of the Blazer feeling a little nostalgic. We walked around the Tahoe to inspect and admire, and by the time we got back around, the Blazer was gone. These dealers clearly are taking no chances that you may change your mind. I looked everywhere on the lot and it was nowhere to be found. It probably had already been crushed into a little green can.

In any event, the ride back, after a week of visiting family, was smooth and comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can get when your two year old refuses to nap and kicks the back of your seat the entire time. Still, it's strange not to see the old car leaking oil on the driveway anymore, I keep thinking my husband has gone to the store, until I step into my garage and have to turn sideways to slither by the behemoth that now occupies it. Ah well, onward and upward, as they say.

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