My husband married a planner. I don’t know if he realized it at the time (though he might have caught wind of the fact when we were building our house – and I insisted on a space for the baby before we were even engaged, let alone expecting), but he married a planner, researcher, and just all-around nerd. This is just how I am.
So, earlier in the week, I broached the topic of getting a new car to replace his existing one, and told him, based on the car he chooses, I think we would be able to afford it with $X downpayment, which would probably result in a $Z monthly payment. He said he would have to look at his finances but didn’t want to make any rash decisions. (Keep in mind, it doesn’t sound rash to me because I’ve already crunched the numbers, but I know when it’s best to let him decide on his own.)
Yesterday, he went to the Magic Kingdom for a haircut and to get a better look at “It’s a Small World”, the theme for our nursery. I elected not to accompany him (it’s hard enough to walk around Target, let alone a theme park) and stayed at home designing my son’s birth announcement, instead. At some point, while trying to decide which of these two very similar shades of blue matched the adorable plaid (I love plaid) paper I selected, I dozed off. He came home, around one o’clock, with the news I had been dreading.
“My car died,” he said, “coming up the hill.” (Note: We live in the flat plains of Central Florida, but I did manage to find the one community where we actually drive up a hill-like incline to get to our gate. It’s not much of a hill when you consider that I’m from California and he’s from Kentucky, but it’s a hill nonetheless.)
After asking a few questions (Were you able to restart it? Where is the car now?), I pushed myself out of bed and announced, “Okay, we need to go car shopping, then.”
“But I need to paint the nursery,” he protested.
“And you need a reliable means of getting to and from work this week,” I said, wondering if this was a secret attempt to get out of going to our 3rd Prepared Childbirth class on Tuesday. He relented, and I went online to check inventory levels at various dealerships.
I love the internet, by the way. I don’t know how people managed without it.
Since I knew exactly what make and model he wanted, it was just a matter of finding a nearby dealer who had one in stock. Earlier in the week, I found two dealers with the ’07 model and one with the ’08 model – one of the ’07 dealers is in Polk County, though, which has a slightly higher sales tax than Orange County, so I was determined to go to one in Orange County. I needed to check, before we left the house, that they were still in stock – which they were. The caveat? Neither of us really know Orlando all that well, besides those destinations common for us (i.e., amusement parks, work, friends’ houses and some downtown restaurants). So, we spent a good hour, I would say, looking for the dealership that had two ’07 models in stock and from whence we made our purchase.
But first, we stopped at the dealership that had the ’08 model, where we searched with the salesman (Joe – really nice guy) for about a half hour, looking for the car that someone from the Internet Department apparently hid. [sigh] Then we got a little turned around (or, rather, I got a little turned around) and made our way to the other dealership. That’s really why it took so long.
Long story short (too late!), we were both home around 8 o’clock with a brand new car for my husband (and my old car for me… for now). The monthly payments ended up being more than I anticipated, but the car cost more than I anticipated, too (he got one with the navigation system). The most important things, though, are that he has a reliable car (that he really likes), and I’m comfortable knowing that Baby C will be safe driving around with his daddy.
And now, since my car is still in good running condition, I’ve got time to research cars and find one for me. This notion of buying a car because we have to adds so much pressure to an already tense experience – it’s far better to shop for a car when you know you can easily walk away.