August 10, 2012

Just for Me

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. 


  1. Yeah!! You know I demand a pic. Better yet, a ride!!

  2. Yeah you!!! You so deserve this! Tho for sure didn't deserve to have to deal with the sleazy condescending salesman! Enjoy your new Honda!

  3. I am so excited for you!! What did you get? I want pictures!!!!

    And ummm uhhh...I'm the chick who does care about color :) Interior and exterior :)

    But rude salesmen? Hell no. Girlfriend...go to the manager next time and tell them you'll be moving on to a different dealership because so and so is an ASS. I bet they deliver your car next time (When I got my new car, my initial saleswoman infuriated me. And I rarely call 'bosses' to complain, but I was indignant. I called the manager and told him I had chosen a different dealership and why. He tried bending over backwards to get me back to his store. I almost went, but my salesguy at the other place met his price, so bam! Southwest Infiniti lost a customer!)

  4. I hear ya. And as a single mom with little free time as it is, car shopping means getting a babysitter. Car seats and toddlers are not really easy to lug around to test drives. :) I did a lot of shopping on my lunch hours and I took a few afternoons off, but eventually it just got to a point where I wanted it all behind me so I could get back to my normal routine. I looked at Sonata too, but I ended up with a Mazda CX-9. I figured the kids are going to just keep getting bigger and we're going to be carpooling and hauling gear, so I think we both did good by buying for the future. I love being able to through several extra kids in my car because if I take other people's kids once in a while, they return the favor. It takes a village... a village of mini-vans and SUVs. (And as an aside, buying a car alone as a female isn't nearly as bad if you tell them you're an engineer. Sales people generally don't condescend when they think you know more about cars than they do.... which I don't, but they don't need to know that.)

  5. Oops... I blew that. I was thining your NEW car was the sonata, and I was thinking about the Kia Sorento instead of the Sonata. Sorry. Can I blame this on 5 nights in a row of getting up with a teething 2-year-old? What DID you buy?

  6. What kind of car? I totally agree that the car is for you...although in my car the music/radio/sirius is not...even when I say "Mommy's turn". BTW, if you call Sirius after your expiry, you can keep getting great deals. I've had my Ford Focus (small but it totes me and the little one around...and hopefully another little one in the near future) for two years now and I continue to renew my Sirius radio on VERY CHEAP deals. I couldn't live without my Dr. Laura anymore (even though she HATES choice moms). Enjoy every second of your new "toy".

  7. What did you get? If it is a family car and has sliding doors, maybe your new car is a Honda Odyssey. Oh, I wish you posted some pictures of it. And, it is good that you are happy with your decision. Maybe, you should name your car, so that it would be more personalized.

    Leisa Dreps