New To Me

I can’t tell you about the new (to me) car I recently bought until I tell you about the masterpieces of automobilia (ha) I have owned in the past.

The summer before my freshman year of high school was full of anxiety about how I would get home from practice each day. I didn’t have a car, but I really needed one since it was always a pain for mom or dad to drive seven miles back into town to pick me up (plus, I think I wanted to keep up with my classmates, who also got cars that year). One week that summer, I saw an ad in our local paper. My neighbors were selling their car–a lime green, four door Chevy Malibu Classic that I always thought looked really old whenever we zoomed past their house. And, in ’99, I guess it was sort of old. A 1976, it had just turned 23. The neighbors were selling it for $675, and dad, being the neighbor he is (he never tries to talk down a neighbor, just gives them whatever amount they ask for things) bought that beast of a car for me. It was in very good shape–the radio worked, the air conditioner weakly blew sort-of-cold air, and it flew over the three miles of rough pavement we drove every day like a boat on the water.

That car lasted me all four years of high school, with only a few minor run-ins with phantom cows in the dusk, fences, ditches, and one guy’s jeep after school one day. That was totally his fault because my blinker was working (I was moving the lever up and down as usual!), but he chose to zoom past me on the left as I made a left turn.

I have a few fond memories of friends in The Beast aka The Booger aka The Banana aka Marvin the Martian. Oh, and did I mention the three letters on my license plate were RAR? That’s right. Raaaaarrr! What a beast. The Malibu declined significantly in those four years, including this wonderful squealing sound that was enhanced in the summertime as well as a tendency for the engine to blow smoke out from under the hood upon my arrival to school in the mornings. There might have been an oil leak or something. I certainly wasn’t driving too fast to make it to school on time! :) Oh, and it died at every stop sign on the way to town and I would have to pop it into neutral and roar it to life again. Good times.

But, alas, The Beast wasn’t going to make it to college with me, so I began searching for a new car and soon became obsessed with Monte Carlos. Dad and I found a silver, 1997 Monte Carlo in Frankfort with only 67,000 miles on it. We checked it out while at the Regional track meet that year, and then we bought it towards the end of May. I put all my graduation money down on it.
That car got me through ten years, three moves, and another 147,000 miles. What a blessing to not have a car payment as I started my new teaching career! I put up with the Monte (it wasn’t special enough to get a name) for another four years after I decided I’d like to buy a new car. I decided to pay as much cash as I possibly could for it. It took awhile to find the right deal, yet I had little anxiety over driving a car with 214,000 miles on it because my brother is my mechanic and I took really good care of the Monte.

A few weeks ago, I bought a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee with only 30,000 miles on it (what a steal!), and using the power of cash (thanks, Dave Ramsey!), talked the guy down $1600 on the price. I’m so pleased to have found such a good deal! And the best part is that I don’t have to walk to the passenger side to unlock the vehicle (I didn’t know what I was missing without keyless entry!), it doesn’t die at every stop sign, no smoke rolls out from under the hood, and I never hit my head as I get into the vehicle. Plus, there’s a sunroof. And it’s red! I’m so thankful for my Jeep! :)