Car Saga

Can I tell you about my car saga? This all happened yesterday, starting before the crack of dawn and ending well after dark, and in the midst of a combination monsoon storm and haboob. (That’s a new word I learned yesterday from the storm warning center. It means a massive dust storm in Arizona.)

Here’s the deal. I grew up believing that driving an old car builds character. I’m not sure where I got this mindset. My parents taught me to get a reliable car, and not spend too much money. I think I only heard the second part. We have three cars (for five drivers), with a total combined age of 63 years.

I mean, yeah. My Suburban I have had for three years has worked for my family—seats eight, plenty of cargo space, cassette tape player so we can listen to old audiobooks of Harry Potter while we go on road trips. Its odometer just passed 220K miles. That’s 354,000 kilometers, for you metric peeps. 

But it’s been giving me some trouble. Okay, to the tune of about $1,000 a month, since August. (No gasps required. I had those fully covered.) In fact, last week, I actually started crying on one of my several trips to the repair shop. Not full on donkey-snort crying, but my eyes did mist up, and I had to leave quickly and go out into the hot sun. That was the last straw.

Since that moment, I’ve been obsessed with finding something to replace it as a daily driver. Last Tuesday I sold one of my 1998s, the Blazer —to a mechanic! So there’s no guilt!—which put the pressure on for getting something else. 

With a touch of shame I admit I became addicted to the online for-sale-by-owner listings, and then the dealership listings, and made close personal friends with every sales-guy in our little town. I learned a lot of weird tidbits about the car business. (If you want to hear about that, email me back. I’ll tell you some of the wackier ones.)

Then yesterday, it all came to fruition. It took all day, and I had to drive 500 miles (800 km) round trip, as well as brave a horrific storm that knocked down trees and flooded whole neighborhoods–the monsoon-haboob! People! But I ultimately made it home with both a throbbing headache… and a car.

At last, I have a car built in this millennium!Granted, it’s a 2001, and it still has a cassette tape player, so I’m not taking giant leaps into the 21st century, merely dipping my toes in the foam on the edge of the sand of the 2000s. I may be jinxing myself by expressing this, but my dream for this car is that it’s as reliable as the ratings say it is, and that I can save $1,000 a month by buying it. >fingers crossed< #toestoo

Normally I probably wouldn’t be posting a picture of a car, but the relief is making me exuberant. So here you go.

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