Monday, August 15, 2011

Car Buncles

We're car shopping!

So easy to drive, even a lady can do it!
Actually, it's not my car we're replacing. My darling Beetle, while not as young as he used to be, is still zipping along smartly. Although the glove box handle broke this weekend. Eh, I'll just have to put my gloves somewhere else.

No, the time has come to replace Beloved Spouse's aging Buick.

His Dynaflow is not what it once was, if you know what I mean.
OK, it's not that old. It is, however, older than Precocious Daughter. We bought that car three weeks before she was born. They've grown up together. But while PDaughter has gone from squealing infant to smart and beautiful middle schooler (with a BUNCH of attitude that she certainly didn't pick up from me), the Buick has aged somewhat less gracefully. It still runs great, but we're just about to the point where we'll have to carry the engine around on our backs to prove it. A short list of what has failed on this car includes:

Power windows - have no power
Driver's seat - has no springs
Blower fan - blows when it feels like it
Stereo - has to remain on at all times because it won't come back on if we turn it off (also, front speakers add their own percussion to every song)
Service Engine light - winks at us for no reason
Odometer - stopped working at 105,000 miles (that was several years ago)
Suspension - like mine, has become soft and draggy

Then there's the body, which has a full complement of age-related dings and scratches. Oh, and a big old rip in the side where I clipped a power pole after BelSpouse's surgery earlier this year. I was upset. I'm an excellent driver.

And I look good doing it.
So we've been car shopping. Which means that I've been doing research, comparing models, calculating costs, and searching inventories, and BelSpouse has been hopping on one foot and yelling, "Let's test-drive some Buicks!" Have I mentioned how much this man loves his Buick?

He has a thing for 85-foot-long cars.
Well, I'm resisting buying him a new Buick, because they're expensive. And the best used Buick we've found had a V-8 engine and got about 12 feet per gallon. Seriously, we had to fill it up twice during the test drive. I would love to get BelSpouse his shiny new Buick, and if money were no object, that's exactly what I'd do. Sadly, the authorities would arrest us if we failed to feed and clothe our child for the next 60 months, so I've been looking for something a wee bit more budget-friendly. (How did we afford the first Buick? I don't remember - maybe we were still living on love in those days.)

Have I mentioned that BelSpouse can be an ass sometimes? By which I mean he's stubborn like a mule, not that he can be a big jerk. OK, not just that. Anyway, when he gets a notion in his head - like, say, that every car brand on the planet besides Buick is a stinking pile of excrement on wheels that he will not suffer to drive - it sticks. This makes it a challenge to deal logically with him.

Especially when he starts to turn green. I hate that.
 For several months now, I've been trying to convince him that if he wants a big American sedan, he should try a Chevy Impala. Cheaper, better gas mileage, and just as ridiculously big and old-fashioned as a Buick. And I've been rebuffed at every turn by his in-depth, iron-clad argument that he doesn't wanna. This is an argument he never, ever lets me get away with, by the way. By his reasoning, it can't possibly be a double standard if it only applies to one of us.

I've tried this. It only works if it's his head.
Long story short, over the weekend I finally got him to stick his skinny man-mule butt behind the wheel of an Impala. And he loved it.

"I told you I would like it, you silly wench."
 I'm not looking for recommendations here. I don't care how much you love your Honda or your Ford or your minivan. Believe me, BelSpouse cares even less. He has his particular taste in cars, bless his inflexible heart. I'm just trying to accommodate him before his current car decides to take a little nap and never wake up again.

But Lord above, I hate the process of buying a car. I don't like car salespeople. I don't like filling out finance applications. I hate haggling. In fact, I'm not allowed to be around when prices are being discussed. I tend to feel bad about arguing and actually start bidding the price up. This upsets BelSpouse, whose natural contempt and distrust of others serves us much better during the buying process than my Catholic guilt and fear of conflict.

Bless me, Father, for I have dickered.
 So we're dividing the labor. I'm searching out a car that has more going for it than comfortable seats and a good stereo, and he's frightening salespeople with his best my-people-are-from-Sicily glare. I'm sure we'll end up with a good car at a good price.

It just might take a while.

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