Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Dearest Charles:

Oh, what a week/weekend.

Let's see. I found out about Tuesday or Wednesday (hard to keep the days straight for us old women) that they've finally hired someone to take my position. She starts Monday. I'll be training her all week this week, then most of the week (I'll be training at my new job 3 afternoons a week) for a few weeks after that, and then I'll be at the new position full time.

And evaluations this month mean hopefully some raises in the near future. *crosses fingers*

Also, I found out last week(end?) that a short story I'd submitted for an anthology a couple of months back was selected. Woot! So, as long as the publisher doesn't back out, I should have a short story in print come September.

There are no words, there. I mean...seriously. My "art" leaves me at the thought. It's just one step closer to The Goal, ya know?

Also, remember a few weeks ago when my transmission went el kaput? Well, when Dad came up that day to help me get it where it needed to go to be fixed, he talked about a few possibilities beyond just fixing it and mentioned that it'd probably be better to just buy me a new car. I laughed. I mean, really. Me? A new car?


So when he called up Friday and said he was coming up Saturday to do a little car shopping, I figured it was just kind of a joke. I mean, the tranny's fixed, right? And it seems to be running okay, though I'm still a little tentative about taking it long distances. But hey, I was getting a little hedgy about doing that anyway. Just ask the friend in Kentucky who's been trying to get me out there again for like a year and a half now.

But I said "Sure! Love to see ya!" and dutifully got up early on a Saturday morning to make sure and be wide awake by the time he got here. We hauled into my old Taurus and, to my surprise, Dad directed me to the car wash.

See, he'd told me to make sure and clean it out and put the title in the glove box after the tranny was fixed, just in case it wasn't fixed to our liking and we ended up trading it in on something else. I figured something else used, you know?

But we went to the car wash and scrubbed the outside down and took a vacuum to the inside (I can pick up the trash, but the little gravelly-pebbly stuff and dirt and straw wrappers and such? not so much), and then...went to a new car dealership. Chrysler/Dodge/Hyundai.

See, I figured he didn't mean it, but...he had stopped by a Chevy dealership closer to his home and told me about I figured I'd better at least have a few options so this Ford lover didn't end up with a Chevy by accident. Not because I thought he'd really buy a new car, but because I thought he might find some Chevy he really liked and bring it up "as a surprise", you know?

So I'd found a couple of options just in case, and one of them was the Dodge Caliber, a crossover that I'd seen driving around town. I'd also looked at a Toyota something-or-other-but-not-a-Corolla (absolutely no way, as Dad will only buy American, and good on him for that) and a Ford Focus. No six-cylinders, like my beloved Taurus, but hey. Gotta go for the better gas mileage, and I was totally looking for a lower price.

So we started at the C/D/H dealer because it was farthest away from home and I like to do everything I can in a loop. Makes me feel like I'm being efficient, rather than backtracking all over town, you know?

Yeah. I know. I'm weird.


So we test drive a Caliber, and it's pretty snazzy. Longer than I'm used to, so I was a little paranoid. That's a new car. And I've never been comfortable driving someone else's car, even if it's just a dealership's. I was afraid I'd break it, you know? But I liked it, so Dad and the dealer crunched some numbers.

And I sat there, oblivious to it all because, hey, it's just not gonna happen, you know? Sure, there's a lifetime power train warranty that you'd never get with a not-new car (let alone a not-Dodge car). Sure, there's Obama's new sales tax rebate for buying a new car. Sure, there's a year's free satellite radio (and just after I'd discovered Octane on the rental's dial!). Sure, just about anything new is gonna be a step up from my no-power-locks-no-cruise-control-no-CD-player Taurus that has been so faithful for so long and only now started acting up expensively.

It's just not gonna happen.

So Dad says we're gonna go to lunch and "think it over" and "do a little shopping". I figure that means we're gonna either hit a few used dealerships or that he'd go home and we'd just kinda forget about the whole thing for a while until either the next expensive vehicle crisis or until I'm not worried about the next vehicle crisis anymore, right?

Of course, the dealer's eager to say, "Hey, why don't you take the Caliber to lunch? Get used to the feel of it. See if it suits you, ya know?" Which translates to You totally wouldn't take a lot car to another lot, would you??, which we totally did. Heh.

Couldn't find a new Chevy dealer, thank goodness. I may be willing to flirt with other brands, but a Ford girl buying a Chevy would be like a Chiefs fan rooting for the Raiders in the SuperBowl. It's just disloyal.

But we did go down to the Ford dealership, where we were waylaid by a schmarmy used car salesman who distracted us from the very very limited selection of new cars on the lot to show us all these lovely bank repos for which he assumed we were there. There was a flyer, you see. How could we have missed it?


But he did talk us into at least test driving a few used 2008 models with 16,000 and 25,000 and 28,000 miles. One was a Focus, but it was just too cramped inside after riding around in that big ol' Caliber. The other two were Dodge Avengers.

Now, I'd seen a couple of brand-spankin' new Avengers at the C/D/H lot. They were only a couple grand more than the Calibers and looked like mid-sized Chargers. Not bad, but I hadn't been particularly turned on by them there. Since they were more, I wasn't even looking at them. What can I say? I didn't want Dad even pretending to buy a more expensive car, you know?

One of the used Avengers was a dark, midnight blue. Dad really liked it. It was the one with 16K on the odometer, but it looked a little used inside. Kinda grungy, like they hadn't bothered to detail it. It drove nice, but meh. The other was...get this...electric blue. My eyes went right over it the first time around because...c'mon...electric blue. But every time I looked at it, it seemed to suit the body style more. Crazy, huh?

So I decided to test drive it. 28K miles, but much better kept inside. Alloy wheels. Good set-up inside, but nothing too fancy. Basically standard, except the wheels. And oh, did it drive like a dream. I tell you, I fell in love.

But because I'm the hardened bitch that I am, when it came time to dicker, I had an amount in mind. Because I'd been to a new-car dealer just that morning, remember? And I remembered, even though I wasn't really looking close, how much they were charging new.

They shot us an incredible amount that was more than the new car cost. Dad and I looked at each other and just rolled our eyes. We'd both come up with a similar figure before talking numbers, you see, and it wasn't anywhere near what they were offering. But we tried, shooting him a number 1K more than what we thought it was really worth. No good. "We can't go lower than Ridiculous Amount B, thank you."

Well, I ain't never been so in love that I didn't know a bad deal when I seen it, so we walked away. I figured we were done for the day.

"Let's head back to the Dodge place. I want to see if we're remembering right about those Avengers on the lot."

I looked at him like he was crazy, but okay. We got there, and I'd only been about a grand off, mostly because I was looking at the employee pricing they had going on, which was the second number on the line (the first being the MSRP). Otherwise, we were just about right.

So, we test drove an Avenger. It was a beautiful thing. Smaller than the Caliber, but wider-feeling than my Taurus, it just hugs the road without feeling like you're sitting right on it. Corners like a couch, man. You hardly tilt at all. And sooooo quiet. So little road noise. Just a beautiful driving experience.

So we sat down and talked numbers again. With employee pricing and a factory rebate, it was only a grand more than the Caliber, which had only been about two grand more than what they wanted for that stupid used Avenger with 28K already on it. To my shock, Dad says, "Okay, squirt, which do you want? The Caliber or the Avenger?"

I blinked. "Are you kidding? I'd take either of them! It's completely up to you!"

Because I still didn't believe it, you know?

Next thing I know, Dad's signing the papers on a sparkly-new white 2009 Dodge Avenger SXT with 32 miles on the odometer (6 of which I'd put on myself) and handing me the key. The nice lady who had been ecstatic to see us pull back into the lot was promising me a full tank of gas and a full detail if we'd just wait about twenty minutes. We shook hands. Hell, the lady hugged us both (it's been a sloooooow year at the ol' car lot, lemme tell ya).

And after a while, I was following my own Taurus back to my house in my bran'-spankin'-new Avenger, marvelling at how none of it felt real at all.

Still doesn't, really.

And when I got home and tried (with uncertain efficacy) to adequately thank Dad for something that I still couldn't get my mind around, all the while turning back to look at that new car parked in my driveway -- it couldn't be my car, could it? -- and wished him a safe trip home, I went inside and called Pesh. And Dave. They were all over at Edgee's apartment (Edy's brother). Dave and Tracie are finally getting married (well, they at least set a date), so I guess it was a sort of celebration.

They said to drive my new-car-drivin' ass over there, so I did. Was there until 1:00 in the morning, and even driving back home again, it still wasn't real.

And then today, I drove over to see my beloved sister because I hadn't seen her since the SuperBowl, which is just atrocious, but I hadn't really trusted my car and all. So I tried out the satellite radio. And the CD player. And the cruise control. It's been 8 years since I had cruise control, people. I love it.

We watched Quarantine, which I hadn't seen yet. Ate pot roast, which I haven't even been able to SMELL since I puked it for 6 hours straight after a freak stomach flu that just about killed me a couple years back. And about halfway through Howl's Moving Castle, I realized that Sis's shoes looked familiar. In fact, they looked exactly like mine that I'd just bought a couple of months back to replace my Docs for everyday use at work.

I heft up my foot, and sure enough, they're the same damn shoe. We compared sizes. Same damn size. We practically have on the same shoes, though she got hers back before Christmas. It's a crazy old world, ain't it?

But it was great to see her, to hang out and chitchat with my beloved Sis for a while and talk about things. I made cookies. She made a cake to go with the fresh strawberries. We drank an ocean of coffee (I'll only drink hers, you know).

Good times.

And then I got back in my new Avenger and drove home and still don't quite believe it's mine. However, I think I'll stop by Wally World on the way home from work tomorrow and buy some WD-40.

Picked up a few bugs on the way to Sis's house and back. They're crapping up my brand-spankin-new bumper. That just won't do.

Oh, and first thing in the morning? Yeah. Totally transplanting the Chiefs fuzzy dice from the Taurus's rearview to the Avenger's.

I'm so sorry, my beloved Taurus, but you have been replaced. You were good to me for a long time, but I have to move on. My new love needs me, and I have no doubt that Dad will treat you well and keep your floorboards nice and rubbish-free. And he doesn't have my heavy foot or my on-the-dime turning strategy.

Goodbye, my love. May your exhaust never turn black, nor your pan gasket re-rupture. May your new transmission always run smoothly and your cylinders always be six.

And now, to bed. For I have tarried long and am weary.


Dude. It's like someone smacked me with a book of poetry. Not cool.

I'm outtie.


At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Claire said...

Ohh, it's purty!! I vaguely remember what it's like to have a new and reliable car, hah! Congrats Geeb!!

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Bulma16 said...

OMG it just dawned on me that I forgot to comment on this:

"Also, I found out last week(end?) that a short story I'd submitted for an anthology a couple of months back was selected."

Congratulations Molly!! As soon as you're in print, let me know where I can pick up a copy so I can tell everyone here that I know you, LOL!

At 8:15 AM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Thank you, Claire-bear! I can't tell you how much I love this car. It's suuuuuch a smooth ride. Like driving butter.

And I am SO excited about the anthology, but this is the publishing industry we're talking about, so until I get the final word from the editor, I'm trying not to celebrate too much. Plus, my beloved sister didn't get into the anthology, though our wonderful friend, formerly the adored Lizard Queen, did.

It's kinda killing me that Sis won't be in with us, but I try to remember that, with as fast as she's racking up publishing credits, it'd be a blue-eyed miracle for me to get into HER anthology next time. *grin*

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Zojojojo said...


She's so beautiful! I'm so glad that things are coming right for you!

Heh, I'll keep driving my baby Toyota until she collapses. (Side note: South Africa produces the most German cars outside Germany, and has a factory for all brands but American, and yet there is no South African car. Bites ass.)

I know you're going to get the anthology! Proud of you and wish you all the best!

At 10:08 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

ZO! *glomp-tackles* How did I miss this comment??

Yes, she's very lovely, though I think she's a he. I know, I know. Cars are supposed to be shes, but hey. Not my car, right?

I dunno if things are for sure coming right for me, to-chan, but they're certainly looking MUCH farther up than they have been. New car, new-ish job, new publishing opportunity (nope, haven't gotten the final say yet).

And now, if I could just get myself in gear to get my house cleaned back up so it doesn't look so cluttered again, I could maybe determine what home improvement project to tackle next.


Never mind. Scraping the rest of the wallpaper backing off my bedroom walls. No, I still don't have it all off. It's really, really on there, darn it.


And I'm totally lazy. Dammit.


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