Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Car for Blondechick

Well, we bought a car for Blondechick over the weekend.

I found a lot of beater cars for sale on Craigslist, as well as some tempting ones if we'd wanted to spend a little more...but I stuck to my "under $2000" mantra and kept looking for something that wasn't too awfully old, ugly or unsafe.  Finally found a '98 Dodge Neon that sounded like it might fill the bill.  Met the seller, a college student who'd been given a second car, and took it to my mechanic, who checked it out, drove it, told me what it needed as maintenance--a tuneup and a timing belt--and told me to pay $1200 for the car.  He is a straight-shooter, my mechanic, an unsmiling Mexican man that I was referred to by another Mexican guy at Jiffy Lube, who described him as "famous." He has a very direct manner that is totally trustworthy; you feel that if he says so, then that's it, and it's fair.  In fact, when I offered $1200, the student agreed immediately and told me he'd already decided he'd take whatever my mechanic said! 

I was thrilled!  Oh, and did I mention this car only had 70,000 miles on it?

So you can imagine how my heart sank when I received a text an hour before we were coming to exchange money and title:  "I'm sorry ma'am but i just ran into family problems that concern the vehicle so i dont think i'm going to sell the car."

I told him to let me know if anything changed, and that was the end of that.

After all that time--scouring the internet, meeting up to see the car, taking it to the mechanic, back to the student's house, going to the bank--and now to start over?  I am a homeschooling mom of six kids, Lord, remember?  How much time have I already spent on the phone this week with the insurance agent, the claims guy, the storage facility, the junkyard people, not to mention a trip to a hospital in IL to pick up our kids at the trauma center and two trips to the storage facility where the wrecked car was?  And all this on a holiday weekend, in which Papa Rooster was desperately trying to write a paper for a class he took in July.  He could not ask for another extension, and we both wanted the paper off his back. So it all fell on me.

Blondechick was upset, of course, that the student was backing out.  As I told her, from a parent's perspective, what was probably going on--kid forgot to communicate with parents of plan to sell car, and maybe title is still in their name--it occurred to me that perhaps, after some communication, the parents would agree, after all, to his plan.  "Let's pray and see what happens," I urged her.

We prayed, but I still spent a lot of time on Craigslist the next day, whenever Chicklet needed a little break from school.  There were several good options that I researched and decided to call on, and they were all gone, sold already.  Of the remaining listings, there was nothing to get excited about, except a couple cars that sounded good but had worse safety ratings than the Neon's, which were already borderline.  So I kept praying.

And then, I got a call (not a text, this time).  "I cleared things up with my parents, and I can sell you the car!"

Thank you, Lord!  And thank you that I didn't find anything else!  And I pray that this means she'll be safe enough in it!

She's not in love with it.  Her other car had been owned by women, so it smelled nice, and an Optima is a nicer, quieter car akin to a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.  This one smells like a guy's gym bag, and it's a sport model Neon, with a louder engine and muffler, and with its spoiler and (non-functional) moonroof, it looks more like a guy's car.  But it's a pretty silver/champagne color, and there isn't a speck of rust on it. She'll vacuum it good and soak it in Febreze, and soon enough, it'll feel like hers.

She thinks anything is better than rollin' in the 15-passenger whale van she had to drive last week!

Thank you, God.  Protect our kids, and our investment.  This is tough, having teenage drivers--emotionally and financially.  But it's all yours--their lives, the money--and we trust You.  Amen.


Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Now, you got the good insurance on it, right? :)

I'm glad everything turned out well, but what a hassle to get there!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Amy, the frustrating thing is, it costs an extra $1000 a year to get the collision insurance--just a little less than the car cost! And as one of my commenters pointed out on the other post, if it's totalled, you don't get much for it--not replacement cost, just what the ins. co says it's worth, which is less than the blue book and other indices. For this one, we paid less than for the first car, and it's worth less, and we'd get even less.... It's a tough call! We don't have it right now but could still add it. Maybe we should for the winter!

Anonymous said...

Thanking God with you, Jeanne! Praying that this car will be safe and last a very long time.

Love, Deb