Monday, January 30, 2006

Your Mileage May Vary, part 2

Well...I think I've found my car.
Ok, I can see y'all sitting there saying : "Whadja get? Whadja get?"
Hush! I'm tellin' the story here...I'll get to it. Be patient with me, I'm fighting a montrous cold/viral thing right now-no doubt picked up from shaking so many used car salesmen's hands- so I'm just a wee bit loopy and fuzzy headed.

Now, when I left off last I was bemoaning the lack of selection in this region due to natural disasters and subsequent gas hikes. I also mentioned my stubborn stance on just what I would accept.
As in all aspects of life one must compromise. But it's being comfortable in that compromise that counts. I'm comfortable.

Shortly before the weekend I thought I had found "it".
At a lot in what passes for a big city around here,this rig caught my eye- a 2000 Chevy Tracker. The minute I saw it I went "Oh!" in a happy sort of way, my gut instinct was feeling good. OK, so it's a dinky SUV, a tin box on wheels, but it looked cool-not that that's a big factor-and had the room I was looking for (I have 2 kids and possibly at times, 3 big doggies to lug about.) Plus it wasn't too beastly on gas, it was just a good as my Taurus wagon had been in that area.
But...it was about a thousand bucks more than my budget. OY!
My mind began to spin on just how I could cobble up the extra dough. I wanted that thing!
Took it for a test drive. Zippy enough, even with a 4 banger in it. Took the hills ok. Alittle shaky in the straightaway at highway speed, but I figured that was normal for these smaller SUV's. I could also see where one might have trouble in a stiff wind.
Anyway, long story short, I left the lot with some creative financing options and the promise that I would be back to get the thing on Monday...providing something else too good to pass up didn't just fall in my lap between then and now.

(Oh! Look up! What's that? THUD! Ooomph!)
Something did fall.

Call it happy coinsidence, call it divine intervention or just dumb luck but another thing came along. Actually, it was my sudden peculiar obsession about this Tracker that led to it.
As I came home from that test drive, there was another Tracker in my town, alongside the road, for sale. Newer but same color and everything, but higher priced. It was from a dealer lot, so I knew they might not budge on the price, but I called them anyway-what the heck, right? Yep, no sale...but just what are you looking for anyway? the guy asked. So I told him:
Something within my budget-
That ain't a piece of crap-
Ain't beat to death-
Something a bit newer-
And big enough to haul around kids and dogs-
And can handle the dirt roads within reason.

Heck, not a big order at all, eh?

The sales guy said he'd take a look around the lot and call me back. I didn't hold my breath.
30 minutes later he called back with 3 choices. 2 of them minivans-which I said no dice to (I just ain't minivan material, sorry) and the one was a sedan. Hmmmm.
The sedan was a trade-in, that day actually, hadn't even been gone over and detailed yet, but if I was interested he could bring it to town so I could take a look. OK, what the heck?
I just knew it would be a dog. But I remained optimistic, since this dealer lot had been just about the only one I hadn't gone to in the past few days of looking.

So Saturday morning after the kid's basketball games we swung by and took a look.
A teal green Taurus with tan interior, 4 door. Clean enough on the outside. It was a '97. Ugh...that made it almost 10 years old. My stubborn streak kicked in. NO! No way. Not another 'ancient' car. But, the kids wanted to take it for a spin, so what the hey,eh?
By now it was pouring rain...actually a good idea to test it under those conditions.
I could see if the wipers needed changing, if the headlights worked right and how it handled in wet conditions-important crap you don't sometimes think about.
This thing performed beautifully. My kids were excited-'Let's get it Mom! We like it!'
But what cinched the deal was the mileage. I was dumbfounded.
57,000!!!
A car that old from around here would have close to 100,000 or more!
I had found the Holy Grail of cars around here. Newer car mileage at an older car price! No doubt this had belonged to an elderly couple who just drove it to church and Walmart. Sounds like a line, but in this case, probably true. There was no other explanation for the low miles.
I compromised.
It met with the approval of my in-laws (I spun over there during the test drive.)
but they were hinky about the price. We ran a blue book check on it and found that they were asking way more than the blue book. No doubt because of the awesome mileage.

So now we haggle.

Played phone tag with the guy for most of the day and threatened to walk a few times but by late afternoon it was a done deal...at a price I could live with. Just a wee bit above blue book, so everyone was happy.

I pick it up (all cleaned up and detailed) this afternoon.

It's funny in a way. If you connect the dots to this whole thing,it was my wanting something I couldn't have that led me to this deal. Once again, who sez God doesn't have a sense of humor?
It may not be what I want...but it's what I need. And that's what counts.
This car will do for now.

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