Monday, April 27, 2009

Super Short Stories About My Cars

Laura wrote a shrewd little blog with lovely wistful undertones about the discontinuation of Pontiac and the future valuation of the love of her life: her car. She proceeded to recount a tiny memory here and there about the other cars she's owned. I told her it felt like blog tag material, in my opinion. She said (paraphrase): "Consider yourself tagged."

Now I shall proceed to give you a tiny memory here and there about the cars I've owned and, if you feel so inclined, consider yourself tagged.

1988 Cutlass Ciera

When I was 16, my mom bought a new car and, instead of trading it in, let me drive her old. Not a bad deal given that I only had to pay insurance on it, no car payment. I was a superb student until I hit high school and decided that homework was too tedious for my fast paced (bahahahaha!) lifestyle. My mom took interest in my education only at report card time where I would inevitably be grounded for some arbitrary length of time due to my poor performance. One such report card day found me grounded from my car. After taking the bus to school (nothing short of social suicide in the 11th grade) one day, I came home to an empty driveway. My mom thought she'd teach me a lesson by selling my car (which, apparently, wasn't really mine) to my cousin.

1988 Chevy Nova

I was carless for the entire summer after 11th grade. In August of '93, I got a job and needed a car and convinced mom #2 to cosign for a small loan so I could buy a car. It did it's job until something funny started to happen. One day, I went to my car to go to school in the morning and my seat was all the way back and I couldn't reach the pedals. When I moved it back up and started the car, Metallica was blaring from the speakers which was odd because I didn't think I had been listening to that tape the day before. I was puzzled for a minute or two but shrugged it off. The next day, it happened again. At first I thought someone was messing with me, but, to be sure, I took note of the odometer. The third day found my seat back, tape changed, miles driven. My 14 year old 6'3" brother was stealing my car at night. My mom didn't believe me when I told her so I had to set him up. I told him I was spending the night out with Lori but really just went to a late movie. When we got back, my car was gone. I called my mom at work (she worked midnights at the hospital then) and she sent police out to look for him. When he came home and saw me there, he knew he was in for it. My car started to break down thereafter and he had to get a job as a bus boy to pay for repairs.

1995 GMC Sonoma (that color, minus detailing)

After high school, I did a semester of college and decided I wasn't ready and wanted to work instead. I got a full-time factory job and, after my first promotion, decided to buy my first brand new car. I didn't know how to drive a stick shift and, impatient as I was to have my new car immediately, I took what they had on the lot, even though I had no clue how to drive it. Mom #2 was kind enough to drive it home for me and give me some crash courses in driving it. After the first time I had to drive it alone, I was so frustrated, I was ready to take it straight back to the dealership. As that wasn't really an option, I learned and became a pro. I've missed driving manual transmission ever since. Three years later, I got pregnant with Jenna and when she was born, Todd and I had to switch cars as it wasn't really practical to have her carseat in my two seater truck. After a few years of essentially forcing him to drive a pink truck and switching vehicles back and forth depending on who was transporting her on any given day, I decided to trade in the truck for a used sedan.

1998 Cutlass

I was back to where I started. Nothing too exciting about that car. To this day, Jenna has loved that car the best because there was an armrest in the back seat that she could lay her head on when sleepy and it also had a cupholder right in it for the numerous happy meal Diet Cokes I hate to admit to having purchased. Eventually, I had to get rid of this boooring car and convinced Todd to lease me an evil gas guzzling SUV because I wanted something larger but refused to buy a minivan.

2005 Chevy Trailblazer

It's hard to say what I liked best about that car. The fact that the good deal that drove me to lobby for that (smaller monthly payments) over something smaller was completely eaten by the $5000 in gas I put in every three days, the fact that I really didn't need something bigger after all, or the complete hypocrite I was for driving it in the first place. Alas, the good thing about leasing is that it's only a matter of time until one can trade it in for something better (read: more practical). Unless you go and get divorced. We got divorced before Todd's lease was up but I kept it and made the payments until it was time to turn it in. Completely frustrated by my lack of disposable income due to the gas whore, I decided that, upon turning it in, I needed to just buy something outright and cheap to get me through until I was able to finally finish school and go get myself a real job.

1993 Mercury Cougar

Picture it just like that, only with rust lining the bottom all the way around and you have my hooptie. My cousin sold it to me for $300 and I put in another $500 for my uncle to repair it. Since, in spite of the scary "I'm going to disassemble myself at any moment" sounds it makes, it has been highly reliable for the eight months I've had it. I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to avoid a monthly payment because my store closed at the end of January and I've since been unemployed. Having a car with minimal insurance has been a blessing. It's been a champ, but the champ needs new brakes and I find myself reluctant to put any more money into it. I have the option to buy something used that would be slightly better so I'm on the lookout. But, as my boyfriend quite rightly points out, it may not make sense to tap out the rest of my resources when my only source of income is my unemployment check and any used car I buy is just as likely to need repairs sooner or later. Probably, I should just get my brakes fixed and call it a day. The best part about my car is the laughter it brings to my life with the backseat that's big enough for an orgy, the upholstery that just won't come clean, and the doors that are a good 8' long, thus ensuring that parking in between two cars in a parking lot will inevitably be a mistake.

Okay, this was remotely fun. I hope to read about some of your cars.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I went dress shopping today; or, when did the hippies take over?

I'll make this quick.
Many of you are aware that shopping is the worst for me.  I don't like to do it.  Ever.
My bff is coming home this weekend because she has one of these: her sister is throwing her one of those horrible events to celebrate the birth of her legitimate unborn child.

It's a small party and, while we ladyfolk typically dress up for these events, I'm sure I could get away with a skirt I already have in my closet.  But, as I don't actually own a single non-formal dress, I thought it might be fun to buy a dress.
Fun.  Shopping.  Never.
I went anyway.  The Asian found these on a mannequin at Kohl's:

We don't have many shopping options here.  We started at Kohl's, then Target, then Macy's, Younkers, and Maurices.  We noticed a pattern.  And we were horrified.
Shapeless peasant skirts.
Tie dye.
Intentional wrinkles.
Dresses sure to cover any body in head-to-toe frumpydom.
Pass me the bowl, the hippie is back and she's made quilts out of all of the feminine clothing.
I decided it was just my age.  I'm a tween myself, you know.  Not young enough to shop junior's but too hip to shop women's. 
Don't want to look old, but don't want my daughter to think I hired a hooker or a pothead to take her to Aunt Lori's baby shower.
Peasant skirts be damned, I found a normal spring dress in a last ditch effort to not fail at JCPenney.  Who would have thought that JCPenney could ever save the day?
There was entertainment, as well.  I had to invite Sarajane into the fitting room with me while I tried on dresses so she could hear the sex happening two rooms over.  We were disappointed, though.  It was just a senior citizen who was really out of shape and trying on clothes turned her into a heavy breather.
On a serious note, as the retailers keep missing the mark, the local mall has more and more empty space.