I'm a librarian, spinner, knitter! This is my blog for crafty things, updates to my shop and more.
You can check out my handspun yarns here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns and my hand knit items here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Knits

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What a week!?

So much for getting back to blogging! It has been an interesting week, I guess you could say.

Last week, my car decided to "die" on me . . . I say that because it didn't *quite* die all the way, but enough so that I had to have it towed home from work . . . $500 worth of repairs . . . BUT! Wait! "You also have an engine noise that could become something serious and that would probably lead to expensive engine repairs" . . . so, I called my Mom. I'm not sure why. I'm 35 years old, I'm probably old enough to deal with my own car problems, but my Mom and her boyfriend are . . . I don't know exactly what to call them . . . but Jim loves to buy vehicles. Recently they just bought my Mom a new Ford Explorer . . . on EBAY! They also, you know, "know a guy" for just about everything, including a mechanic. SO, I called my mom and in a round about way, Jim. I explained my car situation to them. Yes, my car could be repaired . . . BUT I have been thinking since summer about buying a new car . . . a bigger car, preferable a small SUV to make doing craft shows a little easier.

Now, don't get my wrong--I love my Prizm and I loved how much I could actually pack into it and I would always grin when I got to craft shows, saw all the big SUVS and trailers, and here I pull up in my little Prizm and start unloading it . . . clown-car like! Also, couldn't go wrong with the gas mileage, though it definitely hadn't been as good lately.

BUT, I really felt that using this as a reason to buy a new car would be good, but I still needed a "second opinion" on my car, so Jim came out, and yes, indeed, the engine would probably have to be replaced in the near future. I said, get my car back to my apt., and I will start looking for a new car. This also worked out because, like i said, they seem to love cars, so they usually have one or two extras parked in their driveway, so I was able to borrow one of them. Unfortunately, it wasn't my Mom's *old* Explorer (the one I drove in the summer for a couple of shows), but, rather, a Dodge Caravan.

Okay, honestly, I sooo did not want to drive a minivan. Jim says, "Oh once you drive it you'll love it and want one!" I doubted it but was very happy to have a vehicle to drive . . .

so, my car got towed 12/11, we got it back from the dealership and i got the Caravan 12/12 . . . all ready to get back to work on 12/13 . . . and I got sick again!? Not the flu, which I had the week before, but one of those horrible migraine-level headaches that I was convinced was brought on by the car stress. Or, well, something, I don't know. So, basically another wasted day!?

(Keep in mind that even though I don't have any craft shows until January--I still wanted to be spinning and knitting during this time so I could be ready to add some new items to my site!)

okay, back to the car stuff . . . so, I managed to get to work on Friday and at this point I started actively looking at cars. I was going for the smaller SUVs/Crossovers and was looking for something with decent gas mileage. The RAV4 was high on my list, but I was also intrigued by the new Jeep Compass. I managed to drive that one on Friday . . . I really did like it. Very similar to a car, actually, but I wasn't sure it had enough space, a big enough gas tank (I really want to be able to go 300 miles on a tank of gas), and the rear visibility was kinda bad--along with feeling a little claustrophobic in it.

My plan then was to test drive the RAV4. But, along in my research I came across the Ford Escape. I liked the way it looked--even though most reviewers say that it's style is a negative (hasn't changed much over the years i guess), I actually liked it because inside it seemed a lot more open and lot better visibility. Cargo space was also more than the Compass (not as much as the RAV4) and bigger gas tank, even with the slightly different mileage, just might be able to get the 300 miles/tank.

I really wanted to do all of this Saturday, but it snowed. A lot. Like all day. So, no car shopping for me!

Sunday was actually sort of relaxing, I was feeling a little better and even managed to spin a yarn!

This is "Pretty on the Dark Side", spun from a carded batt from TerraBellaSpun
It hasn't been listed anywhere yet because in addition to sickness and car issues, a new problem arose on Saturday night . . . a leaking ceiling in our apartment!
This is what it looked like Sunday morning . . . note the three spots--water drips . . . but, by 9pm it looked more like this:

I reversed the angle, but that was to try and show how those three spots had transformed into one long slit--like a crazy gaping mouth! And, this is what was coming out of it:

Gross brown sticky water! Uggh! Luckily, we rent so this will be taken care of (unfortunately we don't know when as it is roof/snow related and the roofers are aware of the problem and apparently there are other similar leaks in other units) . . . but, it is a bit of a pain as this is right above where one of our couches is . . . so the couch is now pushed back, effectively blocking our kitchen, so we have to climb over or shimmy around it to get to the kitchen. (We are very happy we weren't planning on company for the holidays!) AND . . .

how this relates to my yarn is, that silver pot is what i used to set the twist in my yarns! now, i have to find something else for now (though really we are only using the cooler to catch the drips as the leak seems to have stabilized and is only coming from the gap) but that water is so gross I don't want to be using this again until i can clean it VERY well!!

So, leaky ceiling on Sunday, but some spinning, YAY!

Monday, I go to work! Yay! My goal was to work an entire week, something i have yet to do in December due to sickness, mostly, and also the car issues . . . so, I work my day and get ready to leave--I am psyched because I was planning on test driving more vehicles . . . but . . . I back out (using the Dodge Caravan, remember) and something feels weird. I stop and get out to look . . .

the front passenger side TIRE is COMPLETELY FLAT! I drive it back to my parking spot. the stress and frustration of the past couple of weeks comes to a head and i pretty much just have a mini breakdown! i try to call my mom but they are on vacation. i call my boyfriend, but what can he do, really, and of course says the most logical thing . . CHANGE THE TIRE!

Well, I am 35 years old and have never changed a tire. I'm sorry. That's just the way it is. So, I go back inside and try to figure out what to do . . . I know one of my coworkers has a Caravan as well so I happen to catch her just as she's coming down to our office area and I ask her if she's ever changed a tire on her van. Well, she says, no, not really, BUT, one of my other coworkers had! He had changed it when they were on their way to a work-related event. SO, I go back out to see if there even is a spare and they both come out a few minutes later to help me. After some problem getting the spare tire off of where it was (underneath, outside the vehicle) . . . he changed the tire! YAY FOR WONDERFUL CO-WORKERS! Then the debate was, could I get the 30 miles back home? AND, what about test driving cars?

So . . . I risk it and head home, driving MUCH slower than usual . . . the car dealerships are literally right on my way, so I stopped.

The first was a Toyota dealership. Now, I understand with the snow on the weekend Monday was a tough day of moving cars and plowing to get the lot back to normal . . . I understand I sortof stopped by unannounced, though I had sent an email in reply to one I had gotten that I was hoping to come in. So, I stopped. Had to find the guy whose name was on the email (though it really didn't matter to me) . . .

well, he seemed right off kind of annoyed. it seemed like a *problem* to look through his listing for a vehicle to my specifications which was pretty much "the most basic model you have in black or green" . . . he said he had one. he went to go get it . . . it was one that had come from another dealership and wasn't quite ready for a test drive, or so he said. it also didn't have any gas in it. so, he basically says i can't test drive it. i sat in it, got a feel for it, and while the cargo space is great, i really didn't like it . . . . on our way back inside i asked about their inventory and he snapped "you're not going to find exactly what you want" or something like that. at the time, it didn't really bother me, but afterwards, i was like, why not? you're saying i'm going to have to settle for a more loaded vehicle in an ugly color? well, no, i won't be i'll be going elsewhere!

and so i did! i went to the Ford place down the road and test drove the Escape. Right off the bat, it was a little more laid back--the guy that ended up helping me recognized my name from SCHOOL! I went to grade school, jr high, and high school with him!?!? How crazy was that?! Anyways, he pulls up a vehicle . . . it ALSO needs gas!? BUT, does he say, sorry we can't test drive it? NO, he says, we'll just have to go get some . . he gets the paperwork needed from inside and we head out! Woohoo!

Now, in the reviews I've read about the Escape, mentions are made of the "cheap" look inside and the lack of power . . well, I'm looking for something basic to keep the price down and gas mileage up and I won't be hauling a trailer or anything but yarn and an ez up tent . . . so, those two things really weren't on my radar--the inside was pretty basic and a little plasticy--but, honestly, i didn't care . . . I LOVED how I felt driving it . . it felt small and maneuverable like a car, but I was higher up than a car, and the cargo space was pretty reasonable, especially with the back seats down. I really did like it. I probably would have bought it on the spot, but I was smart and tried to take it slow . . .

Back at the dealership, I received a quote for the car that I felt (having done some research) was pretty good. I know I always worry that I'm getting screwed over somehow, but the price they were quoting me for a vehicle with some options I didn't really want (6-cd changer, upgrade on the wheels, roof rack w/out center rails, cruise control, and a couple other things) seemed to be close to one for a vehicle without those options. Plus the $1500 in rebates, and an additional $835 in discounts . . and I felt "okay" about it . . . I do know that they didn't seem to try and do some of the slick maneuvering I read about here. For example, we started with the car price, NOT how much I wanted to pay in monthly payments . . . and just the overall feel was very good. (This was true of the Jeep/Ford/Chevy dealerships I went to, which are actually all owned/operated by the same OVERALL dealer, so I think they probably work off of a similar philosophy.)

ANYWAYS, loved the car but still wanted to drive the Chevy Equinox and the RAV4 . . . though I was slowly starting to eliminate the RAV4 based on the jackass salesman and the fact that I didn't really like the feel/look of it . . .

I did end up driving the Equinox, but it felt so heavy and lumbering . . . I could tell I was in an SUV and just didn't feel as comfortable driving it.

SO, Tuesday morning arrives. I'm supposed to use Scott's car for work, but first I want him to see the Escape to make sure I'm not missing anything really obvious . . . so we go for another test drive. We also do some measuring and realize that the EZ Up tent will be a tight squeeze, but much more doable than in my Prizm. He does point out a few minor things about the cargo space, but in the end we (I?) decide that I'm willing to deal with them for the other things i like about the car.

I want to buy the car right then, but thought I should really give the RAV4 a chance . . .

but, on our way out of the dealership I start to have some really bad stomach rumblings, so instead insist on going home.

Where, in between visits to the bathroom, emailing in for another sick day at work, I do MORE research and read MORE information about the cars I'm considering.

And, I pretty much decide I want the Escape. I hope that my stomach settles down enough to be able to get back to the dealership before they close, as my salesman won't be in again until Friday. My hope was to get the details on financing/etc., so that on Friday all i would have to do is give them my down payment check and drive off in my new car!

And, that is pretty much what happened. I returned later, around 5:30-6pm . . . and of course the financing part of it wasn't very fun. I went in knowing my credit score, that it was good but not great . . . before going i had called my bank for information, and as it turned out, financing via the dealer meant i was financing via my bank anyways!? I ended up with a rate not as low as my first car loan (or scott's from 2 years ago) but also not as bad as it could have been given my credit rating. I did have a few things going for me, though--nice sized down payment and debt-to-income ratio that is pretty darn good . . .

so, well, after that stress, and waiting and all that . . . I signed on the dotted line . . . a bunch of times . . . and now I am the proud new owner of a black Ford Escape! I will be posting pictures as soon as I get it, because of course I didn't have the down payment check yet because the money was in limbo between my savings and checking accounts! Friday morning I'll be going to the bank, getting the check, then going to pick up my new car!!

While it is going to mean a very strict FIBER diet, it also is such a relief knowing my car issue is taken care of now. I won't have to worry about for awhile and Scott and I can both start a regular house-savings plan so that we still will be able to get into a house eventually . . .

wow, i think this is the longest post i've ever done! i know it is long and rambly, but, oh well . . . it's what is on my mind today!


Now, all I can hope is that I can get back to some spinning and knitting so that I have new products for the new year! I've got to get selling, after all, I have a car payment now!

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