Cars

...now browsing by category

 

Ins-and-outs

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Lately, I’ve been using this space for a lot of personal processing, and just realized that I’ve neglected to update you on some of my actual goings-on. Yes, I am just that pompous to believe that the world is desperate to know about the ins-and-outs of my everyday life – so without further ado…

1) I cut off my hair: 10+ inches on the salon floor, leaving me feeling like a sassmuffin. My hair hasn’t been this short since 2008, and I’m ready to go even shorter next time.

2) It’s hard to tell what’s been the worst expenditure of the past week: head gasket repair, new clutch, 4 new tires, bill from the ER, or dental work. When it rains, it pours. And I cry.

3) If you want to believe in magic, watch “Searching for Sugar Man.” I haven’t been so captivated by a documentary in ages.

4) Today, I’m wearing a grandma shirt. No really, it used to be my grandma’s. It’s a red and black silk houndstooth print with a high neck and puffed long sleeves that cinch at the wrists. It’s the most old lady thing in the world, and I kind of love it.

5) Lissie’s cover of “You Can Go Your Own Way” is haunting and beautiful and completely transformative of the original. And I know what you’re thinking: you wonder if this means that I saw the movie “Safe Haven.” And the answer is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

6) The things I am currently most looking forward to: eating here in March, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity next weekend, and Greta’s arrival tomorrow night. Praise be.

Wherever you are, I hope that it’s warmer than it is right now in Denver. Someone put me on a beach so fast.

Soul-stomping

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I recently took my car in for a major repair – one that required taking the engine apart, and then putting it all back together. I knew that it was going to cost a painful amount of money, so when the mechanic called to tell me that the clutch was shot, too, I lowered my forehead to the table. “Uh huh,” I said. “You can fix that, too.” TAKE EVERY DOLLAR, man. It’s all yours.

Later that day when I picked up the car, I asked the mechanic if there was any way I could have known that the clutch was on its way out. He said, “You should have felt it in the pedal.” I shrugged, saying, “It felt normal to me – just the way it always feels.” I settled the bill and headed to the car.

As I drove away from the shop, I was surprised at how different the new clutch felt. It was so easy to press down; my left leg barely had to work. All of a sudden, shifting was no longer a full-body effort – it was a breeze. Everything seemed quieter, easier – and I realized that this wasn’t some fancy luxury, this was just the way that it was supposed to feel.

It’s funny how dysfunction can sneak up on us. We go about our busy lives, from one distraction to the next – and just as long as we keep moving, we don’t have time to notice what might be falling apart right beneath our feet. The growing noise becomes normal. The increasing struggle feels standard. And before we know it, something inside is burned out, worn down, used up.

These days, I’m becoming more and more aware of the beliefs and thought patterns that have made my life feel hard for a really long time. Years? Always? It’s hard to tell. All I know is that the mantras I’ve repeated for so long, framing the way I think about this life and my place in it, have advanced to a point that has made everything feel like a fight.

Just like my stubborn clutch, life has gradually become a soul-stomp. And I just thought that was normal.

Famously hard on myself, I have a habit of self-pressuring to be better, be more, do more. I have pushed myself hard and fast, aspiring toward a place where there is nothing left requiring relief, all the while ignoring the ever-growing trouble inside.

And sometimes, it isn’t until we experience something the way it should be that we realize just how bad off we’ve been.

I’m going through somewhat of a personal renaissance these days, feeling revived and encouraged and all-around refreshed, and through this, I’ve had a taste of what feels right. It makes me sad that I have spent so much of my life fighting against things that were broken to begin with – things that could have been easier, should have been easier. I want to live differently.

So today as I drive my car to work, with each easy push of the clutch I will remind myself that it’s okay to go easy. It’s okay to quit training for the half marathon for the sake of my back. It’s okay to fall a little short of my monthly savings account goal. It’s okay to order the bridesmaid dress in the size that I am, not the size that I want to be. It’s okay to be a beginner at something. It’s okay to not know what’s going to happen – because whatever happens, it’s not worth the soul-stomp.

New plates

Monday, December 5th, 2011

It’s Monday, December 5th, and I have now been without a car for 20 days.

On a few occasions, I’ve had a friend or two go out of town and bequeath me their vehicle in their absence, so don’t worry: I’m not starving, I’ve made it to the gym here and there, and my December rent check was deposited.  Subaruthless should be ready later this week – hopefully better than new (Subaruthless-er?), and maybe they will have even vacuumed up all of the dog hair on the backseat.

The thieves stole the license plates, so this morning, I went to the DMV to get new ones.  When it comes to car stuff, it’s always more expensive than I anticipate, so when they told me that my total would be “eight-o-six,” I gulped and wrote a check for $806.  The woman looked at it, and then dryly said, “Eight dollars and six cents.”

I kid you not, the clouds opened up and the angel choir sang a chord.

Nothing like a slew of other unexpected, exorbitant expenses to make tiny check written to the DMV the very best way to start your week.

Subaruined

Monday, November 21st, 2011

On Friday, I dropped my phone and shattered the screen, rendering it useless.

Irony is contacting the police to tell them that if they in fact find my stolen vehicle, please don’t call me – call my sister instead.

And then I asked, “By the way, any news?” And they said, “No.”

On Friday night, I sat in the living room, listening to feral cats fighting outside the front door. What else was there to do? I couldn’t drive anywhere, and I couldn’t call anyone. This must be what a 50s housewife felt like, when her husband would take the car to work in the city and she would be left stranded at home with no outside contact, speaking only to her mute household companions. Hers were babies. Mine are dogs.

On Saturday morning, I went for a terrible run. My brain felt spiky and sore. Down every street, I searched for my missing car. I quit after 6 1/2 miles, when I was planning on running 10.

Later that afternoon, I got the news (via my sister, who has laryngitis, which makes all of this that much more hilariously complicated) that my car had been recovered, that it was not drivable, and that it had been towed to an impound lot.

So Becca and I drove to the barren wasteland that is the Denver Impound Facility, and claimed poor, vandalized, un-drivable Subaruthless. The inside of the car is completely trashed – the ignition punched out, wires ripped, the dash hammered to sharp little plastic bits. There are no license plates. The car now sits at a body shop, ready for surgery.

But there is a silver lining. Along with everything else in the glove box, guess what’s missing? $100 worth of unpaid parking tickets. I’m not paying anything I can’t find.*

In the meantime, I am still phoneless. All of you boys who are texting me because you want to marry me? I’m not getting those messages. Consider alternate methods of communication, such as pigeon carrier, smoke signal, or a St. Bernard with a note in a tube around its neck.

*Yes, I know.  This could totally backfire on me.

No stranger to this

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I thought that having the Honda stolen twice was more than my fair share, but apparently not.

I WILL say that I’m laughing pretty hard about this, though.  I mean, come on.

Holiday weekend airport pickup

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Julie: “What color is your car – red?”
Me: “No – dark green.”
Julie: “Oh!  Samsonite – I was way off.”

Announcing…

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It’s been a long time.

I’ve searched and searched.

I’ve been scammed.

I’ve been disappointed.

I’ve been tempted to give up all hope.

But yesterday, my dreams came true.

Because when it comes to a car hunt, you can’t just be ruthless.

Be Subaruthless.

Game plan

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

On this little blog, I don’t really talk in specifics about my dating life (do I have a dating life? You’ll never know). In the event that any given romantic endeavor doesn’t work out, I can handle my own disappointment – but the collective devastation of us all? That would just be too much.

I actually approach a lot of things like this. Unless something is a “done deal,” I don’t really volunteer much information about it. I have a secret project right now that will be blogged about at some point, but not yet. I have some upcoming plans that you’ll hear about, but not until they are fleshed out a bit more. I have some big ideas and dreams and such, but right now, they’re just that: ideas and dreams and such. Blame it on the fear of everything coming crashing down, but for now, my lips are sealed.

So with that said, maybe it’s a risky thing of me to talk about something that is by no means a “done deal.” But tomorrow, I have an appointment to go look at a car – one that, from the ad, looks like it very well might be “the one.”

And I have no idea how to buy a car.

And my dad is out of the country.

And I’m afraid of making the wrong decision.

Mike already pointed me toward a very helpful video of Cliff Huxtable and his game plan for negotiation. I plan on showing up looking one step above homeless, and talking about the moment that I realized I was poor (when I started eating the heel of the bread). But beyond that, I’m nervous that I’ll overlook the important things.

So, blog readers, tell me. What is a Carfax? What are the important questions to ask? What repairs should be red alerts? And when all else fails, is “going with my gut” as good a plan as I’ve typically found it to be?*

*Except for that time when I spent $400 on a date at a date auction.  But I don’t talk about dating here.

Update: car

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Since the Honda died 4 weeks ago, here is what I have been doing:

1) Checking Craigslist incessantly for cars. I am on the hunt for something that is Colorado-worthy, will do well in snow, and has high enough clearance to get into the mountains in the summer – however, I also want something with decent gas mileage that will cruise like a champion on long road trips. It needs to have low enough miles that I will be able to drive it for a lot of years, but high enough miles that I can afford it. And I definitely want a manual transmission and keyless entry. Is that too much to ask?

2) Test driving cars on lots. I don’t plan on buying from a lot, but it’s kind of fun to explore my options. I’m finding that car shopping can be a lot like dating, if you take your cues from, you know, the Spice Girls: “I won’t be hasty, I’ll give you a try / If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye.”

3) Feeling generally cantankerous about having a car payment. The last time I had a car payment was… basically never. This is both a life shift and a major budget shift, and in the meantime, I’m figuring out some ways to cut costs and cut corners. It’s all going to be fine, but still – who wants another bill?

4) Driving my sister Sarah’s ’94* Corolla. While she’s in Haiti, her little ruby red sedan has been parked in front of my parent’s house. This is lucky for me, because if she hadn’t offered, I’d be hoofing it. And in case you were doubting the cool factor of the Corolla, I should tell you that it’s name is Gene Parmesan. If you know the reference, you win the day.

*UPDATE: Sarah tells me that Gene is, in fact, a ’97.  My entire life has been a lie.