Saturday, February 10, 2007

Spending large sums of money in mere hours.

I FINALLY traded in the Altima of Bad Karma. I have owned it three years longer than I ever expected, or should have, but with all the kitchen remodeling and hurricanes and a new roof and new carpet and one damn thing after the other, buying a new car wasn't high on the to do list. The quick story behind the A of BK, for those who haven't heard it before: In 2001, life was good. Then the roof fell in - my husband collapsed at work with a pathologic fracture in his femur, and a diagnosis of Stage IV renal cancer. And I was driving a tall SUV and he was driving a Nissan Sentra, and he and his leg brace and wheelchair couldn't fit into either one of them, and I was ferrying him to chemo and radiation and doctors, doctors, doctors. Cut to a rush drive to Carmax to trade in my SUV and the VW Cabrio I had passed down to my daughter, she took her father's Sentra to college and I came home with a stunningly boring but roomy Altima. It could hold my husband and a wheelchair, so it served its purpose. And then he died, and I still had the damn car, because I had so many other ways to spend money the car went on hold.

I decided that this year the car had to go. It was four wheels of bad juju, nothing but unhappy memories and also not at all practical for my life - despite its size, the doors and trunk openings are actually rather shallow. Good for people, and I could heft a folded wheelchair into it, but a lot of things just wouldn't fit. So I've been casually shopping various dealer websites and Carmax, looking for the right vehicle for the last few months. I had my criteria - 4WD or AWD, because I work in a business of unpaved roads, small SUV, 1 year old so somebody else took the depreciation, and under 12K miles so it still had a lot of warranty left, and - here's where it gets tricky - I wanted to keep it under $20k. If you are willing to spend $24-26k and search on that profile, there are a ton of vehicles. But I am cheap and I wanted to finance this through my home equity line, because I have a ton of equity in my house and would rather pay myself back than a finance company, but that doesn't mean I would hock my house for a Lexus. I ain't stoopid.

So Thursday night I impulsively popped onto Carmax.com and of course there were no Hondas or Toyotas - if I wanted to spend $24k I could have had a black CRV with a black leather interior, in Florida. I can't imagine WHY someone traded in that rolling oven, can you? And then I saw the little Subaru. And I stared at it, and thought about it, and looked at the price (in my range, thanks to Subarus not being hip in this market) the age (check) the mileage (check) the equipment (check) and the color (RED! check check!) And I thought about it for a day. And then I emailed the Carmax sales guy and made an appt. to see it. And I saw it and petted it and brought it home.

I love Carmax, it's like going to the shelter to adopt a car. There is no bartering, no going to the little room in the back, the price is the price, they are totally upfront about everything you see, you test drive, if you love it you take it home. They gave me exactly what Kelly Blue Book said they should on my trade in. And I took a deep breath, wrote a big check and brought Baby home. The Altima of Bad Karma is history. Long live Baby.

10 comments:

Amie said...

Hoorrayyy!!! Welcome home, Baby!

Sue Woo said...

Red cars are great. I got a red Volvo S40 2 years ago and evertbody can eat my dust. Right on, you.

Catherine said...

I have had red cars in the past, and really, I would have gone with anything but black and white. As an old boyfriend said when seeing the neglected state of my then-Toyota, "You must never own a white car." And then I ended up with one, and he was right, it was not good for me. And black is too hot. But I do love the RED. My iPod is red, my laptop case is red, much of my living room decor is red, and my next phone (because this one is a goner soon) will be red. So the car was meant to be mine.

Paper Tiger said...

I love my Subie. They'll apparently run forever, and mine has been very reliable.

Catherine said...

That's why I wanted a Honda, Toyota or Subaru, I want 10 years out of this little Baby.

Anonymous said...

My mom has that same car and loves it. Good choice.

Jane said...

Love the car! My 2001 CRV is a dream car, but I would have gone for a Forester just as easily. Hooray! Good car karma should never be underestimated.

KnitNana said...

Forester or Outback? I LOVE my Forester! Ok...it's white, and I'd have rather had navy, but I had the same criteria and I found my lovely little AWD a couple of years ago...it's been an angel. I just love it and while you won't worry about snow and ice unless you move to Asheville, it's really nice to know it will go and go and go in bad weather...holds a lot of stuff, too...

(and while your kids may not be ready to "gift" you with grandkids, yet, since you're keeping it for 10 years...you will be pleased to know it's great for holding car seats, too!)

CursingMama said...

Some people would say this is a purse purchase that is way overdue. Can't wait to see pictures of the stash going for rides ;)

Catherine said...

Knitnana - we have very wicked "afternoon storms" here that scare the hell out of tourists, and I work in land development where the roads are not paved, so Baby will be useful and valuable here, even if it is a few years before we move to Asheville. I'm hoping it will only be a couple of years.