Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Driving in the Rain

Illustration by Andrew DeWitt found here

Instead of staying indoors while it rained last week--all week--I went shopping. Not window shopping or clothes shopping or grocery shopping. This was more like a search and destroy mission: it was "Operation Family Car."

the goal: save money--reduce monthly payments, reduce fuel costs, reduce overall travel expenses.
the parameters: something smaller, something safe, something comfortable, something simple.
the troops: a sassy three-year-old, an energetic one-year-old, a patient and intelligent accountant, and me, the determined mother and budget enforcer
the battle grounds: rainy, greater Seattle car dealerships
the enemy: unnecessary expenses

I was determined to find what I was looking for and at the price I wanted--even if it destroyed my sanity.

There was one moment, as our long day was approaching the girls' bedtime, we were transferring car seats from one car to the next and standing under a steady rainfall,  when the sassy three-year-old first choked on a hard candy and then repeatedly threw up. The kind car salesman stood holding an umbrella over us, and remarkably still let us drive away in his leather interior hybrid car without any indication of concern for the possible replacement of  new car scent for the stench of fresh vomit. Yeah, that could have been the end of our search. But we persevered and came out conquerors.  

It only took two more days of searching, test driving, bargaining, debating, and number crunching to complete our mission and bring home a new family car. It meets the goal, it meets all the parameters, it gains the approval of all my comrades, and the enemy was destroyed, humanely and honorably.

I am happy. My budget is happy. And my sanity is in tact.
Rain or shine, car shopping is not easy. But it's worth it.

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