Car Buying Breakdown

For the last three weeks I have been without a car of my own.  My brother, in his good graces, let me borrow his car for the time being.  Last week he had an offer to trade his car for a beat-up, broken-down, over-heating Range Rover.  He wants it.  He’s convinced he can fix it.  More power to him.  I still think he’s nuts.  In any event, I had to give up the car this weekend.  Now I need to buy a new one.

Bring on the panic attack.

To start with, I have little money to spare.  In fact it’ll be another ten months to a year before my wife and I will have any extra spending money (by then her school will be done and be bringing in a substantial second income to our family).  Until then I need to find something to get to and from work.  In mid-January it’ll go from ten miles round-trip to thirty miles round-trip.  Have you ever tried to find a reliable car for under two thousand dollars before.  Let me tell you.  It sucks.

So the search began yesterday.  I copied two pages worth of listing between craigslist.com, autotrader.com and cars.com. After driving four hours, making numerous phone calls and test-driving only one car… nothing.  Cars that looked good online sold between contacting them in the morning and showing up in the afternoon.  Once dinner time rolled around, we gave up till the next day.

I did not want to roll out of bed this morning.  I believe subconsciously I didn’t want to face another day searching.  Today I brought my brother with us thinking he was more car-savvy.  I checked the listings again in the morning.  I found three new pages of new listings using the same websites I mentioned before.  The scenarios were pretty much the same today except I got to test drive two cars.  One crappy, one decent.  A ’97 Volkswagen Jetta GT caught my attention right away.  It needed some work, but it drove nice and was clean.  $2,500 put it out of my price range.  So we haggled a bit.  I got him down to $2,000 (I thank my brother mainly for that).  Still out of my price range. I told him I would call him if I could come up with the extra money.

About three hours later I called back saying all I could manage was $1,800.  He held firm at $2,000.  Truthfully, I couldn’t blame him.  Then about a half an hour later he calls me saying that he would be willing to go down another hundred dollars.  At that price I would need to park it in the driveway for a week or two before I could afford the registration, but I felt it was worth it.  Okay, okay.  My wife and brother had to talk me out of my cold feet.  Once they did, I was ready to buy.  I called back, but he was on the other line and promised to call me back.

He never did.

I got busy with other thing.  My brother called and left a message.  He drove by the spot where we found the car.  It wasn’t there any more.  The last he heard from me, I was getting the money together to pick it up.  He was calling to congratulate me.  I still haven’t called him back to tell him otherwise.  It’s getting late as it is.   It could wait until tomorrow.

I’m sending it out there now.  Out to the universe.  The digital-verse.  The mini-verse.  Whatever.  I need a new car. I’ve been good.  I’ve played by all the rules.  I’m ever so grateful for all that I do have.  Good health, good family, good friends.  This is something that I need right now.  I don’t ask for much.  Not often.  Without this one thing, it will become harder to provide for my family as I do now.  Deep down I know we’ll survive.  We’re a strong family.  Too strong for something like this to bring us down.

So as I have my little vehicle breakdown all over the screen here, please know that I will pick up all the pieces and get them running once again.  Thanks for letting me rant.  Really I do try to keep it to a minimum.

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