Well, I did it. I bought a new car. Months of online research, envious glances at the lane next to me in traffic and window shopping in parking lots have finally ended. This last week was brutal--filled with appraisals, credit checks and negotiations with slick and worse yet, condescending salesmen. (No one, not even independent me, recommends car shopping alone--and yet, time after time, I enter the lion's den.)
Whatever brave front showed on the outside, anxiety filled my days and nights as I thought about the significant financial commitment that I would once again be taking on. But all that is behind me. I do not have buyer's remorse. All is right with the world; I own a Honda once again.
I purchased my first Honda early in the fall of 2001. I never should have traded it in December 2008. I don't know what I was thinking. I was a new mom. It was winter. I was looking for something with more safety features. That's what I was thinking. I guess. It's all kind of fuzzy. I went into the Hyundai dealership to get a Tuscon and came home with a navy blue, 4 cylinder base model Sonata. Although I remember enjoying the 3 month free trial of XM radio and was grateful for the safety features as I drove my infant to and from daycare during that icy winter, I never loved that car.
The Sonata aged very quickly, inside and out. Within 6 months, it was nothing special and I still had 54 months of payments left. (The only thing good about the car was that I had secured 0% financing.) I will confess to always purchasing new cars, fully aware of the ridiculous depreciation but even more fully aware of my dependence on reliable, no fail, transportation.
Typically I keep my cars for at least two years after I have finished paying for them. So why did I trade my Hyundai for a Honda after just 4 years, 8 months? Because I needed something just for me. I needed something that made me happy as I carried out all the "have to's" in my life right now. Some moms can go to the day spa, get massages, have a pedicure, go to a movie, join a book club, etc. All of that is out of reach for me. I don't have evening/weekend childcare. Basically, if I'm not at work, I'm with my children and they are with me. At the grocery store. In the bathroom. At the $8 haircut place. In my bed (mysteriously after I have placed them in their own). Next to the tomatoes as I water them. At the mailbox (even though they nod their little heads when I say, "stay right here, I'm just going to get the mail")...
I love my kids. I'll miss them when we all go back to school in one week. But being with them and only them 24/7 isn't a cakewalk. Circumstances that arose this summer showed me that things will probably get more difficult when it comes to being and doing everything for everyone in my family. I can avoid some extended family issues, but not all of them.
So I needed something just for me. Just for me as I drive from home to the town where Henry's kindergarten is located and then to another town for work. Just for me as I reverse that commute nine hours later. Just for me as I try to squeeze in all of Liam's preschool events in yet another town. Just for me as I run to Target for the third time in three days. Just for me as I drive, and drive, and drive.
I narrowed the field of fun family cars down to two. I went back and forth for months*. Six passengers, or five? Sliding doors or not? Dealer financing or credit union? Pre-driven late model or brand new? I practically pre-drove myself crazy with worry over making the wrong (or any) decision.
I'm very happy with the decision I made but mostly I'm relieved that I can stop thinking about all of this. I'm also glad I never have to see that wolf in sheep's clothing of a salesman. Every time I called him on a sales trick, he got nasty. Verbally and once, in an email. Did I mention that I work with his mother? Oh, my gosh, Henry and Liam can grow up to be anything they want, but please, please don't let them sell cars.
*but never about color. Newsflash, sleazy salesmen, women buyers don't care about color as much as you think they do. They care about a fair out the door price. Oh, and most of us are really good at math.