Apparently, March did not get the whole “in like a lion, out like a lamb” memo. It both came in and went out like a particularly rambunctious and attention deprived feline. Or, you know, an Audrey.
I woke on Saturday night to rain and wind battering my hippie hovel. I checked all the doors to make sure they were closed tightly against the wind, and discovered a couple of new roof leaks in the kitchen by stepping in the puddles in bare feet. That will teach me not to wear my slippers, which were snickering quietly by the side of the bed when I went back upstairs, flashlght in hand, Just In Case.
As I listened to the roar of the storm and tried to quell my fears by reading the latest in Lisa Lutz’s always entertaining Spellman series (about a family of private eyes in San Francisco), I thought how lucky it was that Megan and Rob had ventured to the city the day before to buy a car. By the time Saturday was over, there had been four hailstorms, heavy rain, a thunderstorm or two, and the highway to civilzation was closed due to the river overflowing its banks. Again.
But Megan and Rob didn’t have to care about all that as they sat with their dogs by the cozy fire. Safe in their driveway was a BRAND NEW CAR!
At least, to us.
So far, they are the only ones in our family to actually own a car made in this millennium (or century, for that matter), this one being a 2004 Hyundai Elantra:
On Friday, they went all the way to the wilds of the unknown East Bay, with Miss Scarlett and Miss Star (leaving me to give Schatzi that unforgettable midday pill) to buy a car. A couple of the other cars they had been looking at online had been snapped up in the meantime, but fortunately, this one remained.
Not only did we conclude the Great Car Share of 2011-1012, we learned why used cars are so #%^$#*%^ expensive. When this car shopping odyssey began, I foolishly assumed that with the economy so bad and the unemployment rate so high, there would be plenty of used cars for sale by desperate people.
I was wrong about this, as with so many other things, both recently and not so recently. It turns out that people are desperately hanging onto their crappy old cars and driving them until they no longer go, like Megan did, since they can’t afford to upgrade. There is a serious shortage of decent used cars for sale, at least in Northern California (Megan searched as far away as Sacramento and San Jose), and when one does come up, there is a bidding war for it between used car dealerships.
As I said before, the new normal is not a pretty one.
So for around $7,500, Megan and Rob got a car with a mere 45,000 miles and 8 years on it, but with no floor mats or extras of any kind, unless you count the slight ding in the windshield. Still, it drives well and has good pickup and good handling around the curves and good gas mileage, which is pretty much all we care about.
As Hootervillians, it has come to my attention that our concerns when making big purchases are not the same as Civilizationites. With cell phones, it’s durability and receptiveness, given the lack of cell towers in our big, but underpopulated County, not how many apps and games and movies you can get on it or how cool or pretty it is. With cars, it’s how safe it is, along with its ability to grip the serpentine, rough roads and enough get up and go to pass those losers who refuse to pull over as soon as you have the chance. Oh, and good gas mileage if you can get it. We do not care about coolness, color, moon roofs, or leather-wrapped steering wheels. We really don’t.
Anyway…I’m happy that they once again have a safe, reliable vehicle (already test-driven by our brother) and that once again, all’s well that ends (or starts) well.