Monday, July 22, 2013

Another step forward.

Glenn Derby LOVED cars and trucks. Really. I was going to list all the vehicles we have owned but it would be too embarrassing. :) His last desire,and the subject of many daydreams, was a Ford F150 pickup truck. He (with help from me:)) could never figure out how to justify that purchase at this stage in our lives.

Every vehicle we bought had size requirements. As you know, Glenn was a huge man with a St. Bernard head. He was 6'5" and his height was all in his torso; in fact his legs were super short. So car size was imperative. In his head, Glenn always wanted to be a 5'10",  180 pound runner. Truly. He wanted so badly to fit in a Prius or something small and economical. Impossible. So when we had a chance to lease a van two years ago, and he was comfortable in it, he was thrilled. It was a "normal" sized car in his mind.  Which probably explains how we got stuck in such a dumb deal. We drive way too much for a lease and indeed, we were way over mileage.

Suddenly I was stuck with a van with a big payment and too many miles, and I realized I needed  to cut my loss. I couldn't get comfortable with the choice of just handing over  the keys and a fat check to the dealer and driving my mom's 10 year old Acura. Her car is a beautiful car, but I realized I don't  have the emotional energy to deal with an older car that is more car than I need,  plus there is no dealer in our town. I am selling it to my son and daughter- in- law.   Psychologically I felt that I needed a new car with lots of warranties. And maybe a new start. 

I did something today that I have never done alone in my whole adult life. I bought a new car.  No "co-signer." About 6 months ago on one of our many journeys to Alexandria, Glenn asked me what car I would buy if I didn't have to consider his size. Since I didn't share his love for cars,  I had no idea what to reply. He told me that he thought a Honda CRV would be a perfect car for me. I never thought about that conversation again until last week. It was a weird fleeting comment. 

Before I walked into the dealership last week, I did my homework, as I'd been taught by Glenn. There is a way to find out what dealers pay for cars. I looked it up. I asked my accountant-a purely objective outside source-if my idea made sense. I asked my friend Jim, and my brother Chris if my idea was sound. I asked Ben, who knows cars for a living....Rav or CRV? I looked at which cars hold their value the best. And I ran the numbers again and again.  Yesterday, Sunday, I went back to the Honda dealer when I knew no one would be there. Last week I was looking at the stripped down version. As I stood there yesterday and looked at what a little more money would buy me, and how battered I felt, and how long I intended to drive this car, I decided to get the upgrade.

And this morning I strapped on my holster and went to Dodge. Okay I went to Honda. I had them write up their best deal without telling them what my financial plan would be. After an hour, I told them that I needed  them to absorb all the negative equity from my van, plus I wanted the manufacturer's discount. They sputtered. They said that couldn't happen. I shrugged and walked out. They called back three hours later with a deal. It took all day. 

At 5:30, I blew a kiss at the white van as I drove  away in my new Honda CRV. Once again, I felt like I was leaving him behind. In my continuing conversation with him, I felt a thumbs up. 

 I sobbed half the way home. 

And then  Helen Reddy started singing her song, "I Am Woman..."

And I smiled.