My plans to cover a fashion show in Minnetonka last Thursday wound up derailed when a mild coughing noise from my 1999 Ford Escort turned into outright bronchitis. The Plan A involved dropping Mike at work, enjoying breakfast, blogging and then going to see the fashion show for said blog. Instead, after breakfast, my car decided to alter my day. After it stalled on starting, and only chugged after three attempts and possibly some desperation-driven telekinesis, I drove it up the repair shop also fortunately located up the street from LouAnn’s.
For those not in the know for whatever reason, Mike and I share a car. It allows us to enjoy a great deal more latitude in our finances, and is a big part of what makes my current profession as blogger/perfumer/writer/concierge witch possible. Most of the time, if I need to go somewhere during the day, I can just hop the bus or the train. But the minute the buses get outside Minneapolis they proceed to suck in stunning and unreliable ways, so for that day I needed a car – and a car I did not have.
I took it as a bad sign that when the shop owner came out to speak to me, he began with “So, was it you I heard coming?”
The diagnosis on the Ford is grim: something significant in the engine cracked, and a rebuild would cost $4500. The car’s trade-in, if the car dealer is too drunk to notice two dents and a cracked windshield, is around $1100. Also, once car repairs get into the thousands it’s generally no longer worth the car anyway. Mike suspects foul play on the part of the mechanics that I wish to point out he insisted on going to in the first place. So it may be a win back to Amiga’s, a place I researched thoroughly and wanted to stick to.
After a weekend of no car and some rushing-for-Samhain with Brenda, we did discover through Mike’s dad that nearly every car rental agency offers a rent-to-buy program on their fleet cars. Rather than buy outright, however, we’re using it as an extended test drive on a four door Toyota Yaris. While making sure we indeed have transport (for a surprisingly low price considering) we also did the application to our credit union for a car loan. Approved, no problem, and at last my debt recovery is showing signs of actual, you know, recovery. I’ve assiduously avoided debt since that first round, refusing all credit cards or even localized accounts, treating my debt issues as though I were an addict. Sure, I could join OA, but I’d rather be rich than thin. By combining our credit and some long-term rewards I had for sticking with the credit union for over a decade, we do have a decent interest rate on the loan and a little latitude to shop with. Our first loan as a couple. Squee? ’til settled debt do us part?
The Yaris we’re testing is amazing. 55 miles to the gallon. Makes me a little nervous in highway traffic, because I’m not used to that kind of pickup. I’m thinking this may be our car.
And it’s the first non-American made car I will own or drive, ever.