Monday, January 29, 2007

huh? It's Almost February Already?!

Last week was nuts
In between the normal hectic schedule of running hither and yon during the school week and a regular working schedule - we got our taxes filed and got our tax refund back. Just in time for an almost $300 repair bill to our minivan - which we traded in that very day for a brand-spankin' new minivan.
Interesting story that.
Or annoying...
Wednesday, Rubi said "Let's go look at new minivans." Our van at the time we had pretty much driven the life out of. We bought it used with some 30k miles on it - and promptly added 120k on top of that in the 5 or 6 years we had the van.  We replaced the transmission about 4 years ago. For about the past 6 months the tranny has been slipping any time it's been cold. Transmission problems, on top of the high mileage, has made the van a money pit and we've been talking about getting a new one for awhile now.
As Rubi and I both had a couple of hours completely to ourselves Wednesday afternoon, Rubi suggested we go van-shopping.  So after treating ourselves to a nice quiet lunch with no kids, we went to our usual car dealer and didn't find anything.  The next day we again had a little time to ourselves. So we went to another dealer across the "money-saving bridge", as the advertisements say, into Henderson, Kentucky . We found a brand new minivan with the few features we absolutely had to have and little more with a price we were willing to pay.
We got the paperwork started at the dealer and called our bank to start the paperwork on their end - this was right before I had to go to work, and close to the end of the business day on Thursday.  The next day- Friday, we played phone tag with the bank and the dealer trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle together - plus we had other errands to run that day too.
Early Friday afternoon, we went to the bank to fill out some paperwork before they could do the final loan approval We signed that stack of paper and went back out to our van to leave.
The van wouldn't start. 
Let me rephrase that. The key would not turn.
At all.
The steering wheel moved. The tranny was in park. No apparent problems.
The ignition just wouldn't budge.
I literally tore apart the plastic molding around the steering column to get into it to see if there was something simple I could fix.  Heck - I even banged on the ignition and kicked it! 
Now it's not so early in the afternoon and close to school letting out. And we're on the other side of town from our home, our kids school, and our other vehicle. And the van we are about to trade in has just broken down.
Call a tow.  Call my dad for a ride to go get our other car. Call the school to put the kids in after-school care. Call the mother of our carpool kids to arrange alternate transportation.  Tell the repair shop to please put a rush on the repairs because we're supposed to be trading that van in for a new one sometime today.
The flatbed arrives and drags our van onto the back (since the ignition wouldn't budge, we couldn't put the car in neutral). Dad drives us to get our car. We go get the kids from school. I take everyone home and go to the salvage yard to pull a replacement for the plastic molding I ripped off the steering column. Hey, that only cost me three bucks! Go back home, pick up the family. Drive back across town to the bank to get the check for the new van 10 minutes before the bank closes.
Drive to the shop to get the old van literally two minutes before they close - in fact, after we paid and drove across the street to where our van was, the guy was turning out the lights and locking the door at that part of the business. We quickly clean out the van of our belongings and throw the piles of stuff into my car and park my car on the lot of the garage - and I replace that plastic piece on the column.
Then we drive to the neighboring town where we are to purchase our new vehicle - almost draining the gas tank in the process.
Is that a bad thing? Trading in a vehicle with practically no fuel in the tank?
Then we spend the next hour completing the paperwork there, signing over the check, and twiddling our thumbs while they get the new van cleaned up for us. (Shouldn't they have had that done before we got there?) Now it's almost, if not shortly after seven o'clock Friday evening as we drive our brand new minivan off the dealer's lot. We drive back to the shop so I can drive my car home and I stop and get pizza on the way home since no one has had dinner yet. Rubi's asleep by 8:45 - just after the kids get to bed.
The new van had twenty-seven miles on it Friday night when we pulled off the lot. By Sunday evening it had about a hundred and ten miles on it.  It still smells new inside though!
The only requirements we had when we started looking around were Stow~N~Go and Rear Air - everything else is a bonus.  We've never had a brand new vehicle. We've always bought used or "program cars".  And we've never owned a vehicle with an in-dash CD player - we've been stuck playing cassettes.  We traded in a 1999 Purple Dodge Grand Caravan (Dodge said it was "Amethyst") and drove away with a 2007 Silver Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow~N~Go Seating, CD/Cassette player, tinted windows, Rear Air, Power Doors and Windows, and that's about it. 

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