Momma Got Wheels

It has been 11 years since I’ve had to think about car shopping, so I found the entire experience stressful.  Knowing my darkened past wherein I played a weekly game of poker when I was a struggling actor living in Los Angeles, Fiddledaddy finally asked me, “You played poker, why can’t you put on a poker face when we’re on a car lot?”  “Because I was a LOUSY poker player.” Which is the truth.  Whenever I placed an actual bet, the other players knew that I must have 4 aces.

Today we decided to try our luck with a much smaller, family owned, car lot.  I had found a van that was listed on Craigs List over the weekend, in our price range, and it was everything we wanted.  Still, we felt the need to see the big boys at the hoopty ploopty dealer used car lots.  Over the span of 2 days, I lost 10 years off of my life, and a total of 6 hours or more that I’ll never get back.

Fiddledaddy sent me this article, written by an investigative reporter hired to work in the auto selling industry, to give a more accurate look into the life of a car salesman.  It is an absolutely fascinating account of what actually goes on behind closed doors, when the car salesman leaves you sitting at the little table, so he can go “check” with   his superior to see what kind of numbers he can come up with.  Please take the time to read this article entitled Confessions of a Car Salesman if you are going to be car shopping any time soon.

We pulled into this small car lot, run by a dad and his son.  We were greeted, we told them what we were looking for, he gave us a set of 2 keys to check out the two vehicles that fit our description.  Then he left us alone.  NO PRESSURE.  NO HOVERING. NO SMARMY SMALL TALK.  We were able to kick tires, conduct the sniff test (most important part of shopping for a used car, in my estimation), climb in the vans and move seats around, open and shut doors, flip switches, etc.  And the best part was that we could discuss our findings with one another openly.  NO NEED FOR THE USE OF THE POKER FACE.  Or lack thereof.

Finally, we asked if we could test drive one of the vans.  The son pulled it out so we could take it for a spin.  And then he walked away.  THEY LET US DRIVE IT ON OUR OWN.  We came back to the lot, and asked to test drive the other van.  Which they gladly let us do.  

Then we climbed back into the first van, discussed our options some more, agreed that it was perfect for our family.  The children were especially excited at the prospect, because we were leaning toward the van that had a DVD system.  We’ve never had such a luxury.  Then we decided we would go in and talk numbers.

That’s the part that I hate.  Honestly, you might as well just hand me the throw up bucket, because that whole process is the best way for me to remember what I ate for breakfast.  

We sat down with the owner of the lot, and told him that we wanted to trade in our ’99 Honda Odyssey, and we told him the condition of the van, and that it needed a new transmission.  He asked us want we wanted for it, and we told him.  And we also told him that we knew we were dreaming.  He went out, started it up, checked it out, and came back in and told us he would take an amount that we thought was extraordinarily generous.

That amount was deducted from the price of the van we wanted to buy.  A price, by the way, which was already very fair.  And he came down a bit more, and told us what we would need to pay to walk out the door with it.

It was in our budget.  A long while ago, I began a small savings account that was dedicated to purchasing a car.  I had been listening to Dave Ramsey and took his Financial Peace course at our church last year.  I knew the value of having an emergency fund, and saving up for a really big purchase.  And since our cars were getting older, I knew the day was coming, so I’d better start scrimping and saving.  

Because of this, we were able to pay cash for a 2005 Honda Odyssey.  It’s in fantastic condition, and has every feature that was on our I Wish List.  We have been praying for God’s direction as to what to do when our little van started giving us trouble.  We felt such a sense of peace when we made the purchase.  

And we immediately thanked God for his provision when we drove off of that lot.

I do have to tell you that Cailey started weeping in the parking lot as she bid farewell to our old van.  And I have to also tell you that the little nut didn’t fall far from the old Oak Tree.  Because I was weeping with her.  While the rest of our family did what any good caring and loving family would do.  THEY MOCKED US.  THEY MOCKED US MIGHTILY.  

I think she got over the loss on the way home, when she realized that she had her own set of wireless headphones for the DVD player.  And I wiped my own tears when I discovered that my leather seat WAS HEATED.  Oh happy day.  That feature has given new meaning to the term Hot Pants.

Each one of us has pressed our nose against the front window to stare out at the driveway tonight.  And I noticed that Fiddledaddy and Emme sneaked out the front door and braved the frigid temperatures to make sure it was pulled far enough into the driveway.  Allrightythen.

MOMMA GOT WHEELS.  And I feel extraordinarily blessed.

December 14, 2010

22 Responses to Momma Got Wheels

  • Congratulations on your new van! Isn’t it amazing how God provides exactly what we need? BTW, don’t feel bad. I have never actually cried, but I have found myself sad trading in a car that has served me well. Enjoy your new van and the peace and quiet that the DVD player will provide 🙂

  • You will love it. That is exactly the van (same make and model year) that I had before we sold it to help finance the downpayment on a new home. Never gave me any trouble. Congratulations.

  • congrats on the new van. I am sure it will serve you well. We had a DVD player in our van as well, and it was a life saver on those long trips. We we got our van, someone gave us the great advice of saving the DVD player for long trips. Not to put it on every time you get in the car. That way the kids don’t get bored with it when you really need it the most. I also discovered that you can play CD through the DVD player and the kids can listen to different music than you are listening to. It saved me from listening to many, many hours of children’s music.

  • Congrats! Be sure to spread the word around your community about the place your made your purchase…small business owners need a step up sometimes and word of mouth is a great way to get it! Drive safely!

  • Wow an honest auto dealer? Spread the word fast, send them the business. So glad you got the car you wanted and at a price you wanted as well. God is very good! Drive safe now and why – in FL – does anyone need “Heated Seats”?

  • Congrats, DeeDee! That is awesome! I hate the car-buying experience, but it sounds like yours was so nice 🙂 Woohoo! After my declaration of love for my Honda Pilot on here the other day, my hubby went out and crashed it! Everyone was ok, but I may be getting a new car soon, too. And I am not looking forward to the process 🙂

  • Very happy for you and yours! I’m still waiting for our encounter with an honest dad and son car salesman duo. Do you know if they have GA relatives? I’ll be reading that article you suggested. While holding my own throw up bucket.

  • Good for you for paying cash! We’ve never had a car payment. Mostly that is because we drive clunkers, but still, good for you!

    And congratulations on your bun warmer! We had a car once that had bun warmers. I’m wondering though, why do people who live in Florida need a bun warmer??? 🙂 (This from someone who currently has 24ish inches of snow in the front yard!)

  • My son cries every time we trade in a car. He doesn’t want them to feel abandoned! Poor car all alone on the cold lot with no kids screaming, dropping fries and milkshake on it!

  • Congratulations! Looks great!

  • Continued love for the Odyssey! We have a 2006 model that looks just like yours. Well, except it’s red.

  • WOO HOO on the heated seats!! While I live in Phoenix, I occassionally use that feature! But I love the A/C seat feature! LOL

  • Yeah!!! Nothing like being on the road again! Congratulations!

    I could use the heated seats today!!! 20’s last night and only 49 today! I haven’t been warm since I got out of bed. Did someone pick up the state of FL and move it somewhere????

    My oldest cried about a month ago when we sold our car. It was the only car she had ever known! I was a little sad, but oh so ready to drive a car that ran! hahahahahaha

    Now hop in that van and christen it with a trip to Disney! 🙂

  • Yay for you!!! I am thrilled you were able to pay cash. Way to go, Family of Fiddle.

  • We just saw Fiddledaddy and Jensen driving through the parking lot when we were leaving Shoe Carnival!!!! Beautiful New Ride Girlfriend!!!

  • Yay! I hate that whole process, too, so am very glad you not only didn’t have to use the bucket, but got a great deal on exactly what you wanted. We will be going through the same thing in the next few months, although we’re not trading in Michelle’s 89 Toyota Corrola, we’re giving it to Angel once she gets her license (pray really hard!). Thanks, too, for the article!
    (Do you have any other men that read/comment on your blogs??)

    • Mike,
      Yes, my friend, I do have several dads that comment regularly. 🙂 As you must know, Fiddledaddy always reads my post first thing in the morning. Although he seldom comments (in print). He says that he is checking for glaring type-o’s. But actually, I know that it is to make certain that I am getting my facts straight.

  • We love our Honda Odyssey. We’ve had a Civic and an Accord and a Mitzubishi something or other (sort of like a van but very small…our favorite car ever!) and we’ve loved them all! So glad you found something you can all live with/in. Good job and fascinating article too, btw! : )

  • Congrats on the new van!

  • How exciting!!! 😀

  • That car salesman article is REALLY interesting!