Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Halfway There

I'm halfway there. I did one of the two things I said I would do before writing anything more on my blogsite. I bought a laptop. However, it will be two weeks before it arrives via UPS or Fedex. (I sure hope it doesn't come via the U.S. Postal Service; my sister forwarded to me a package of mail via "Express Mail'; it took seven days to get to CA from NY and when it arrived, it was in pieces. I got one third of the mail that was originally inside the package; the rest was returned to my sister in NY. The note that came with my mail said "Unfortunately, we ripped your package to pieces; sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused you." The Postal Service wouldn't even give my sister her money back! In addition, she had to re-mail all of the pieces of mail that were returned to her. She mailed them via regular mail this time; regular mail usually only takes four days to get from coast to coast. She wrapped the mail in virtually indestructible bubble wrap-like super-packaging, before putting it in the official post office envelope. The postal service discouraged her from using the bubble wrap. Huh????? What is wrong with these people?)

So, for another two weeks or so, I am still tethered to the outside world via the library's computers, which were "down" yesterday in my neck of the woods, making contact with the outside world difficult. (No email, no Facebook, no instantaneous news feeds, no stock market quotes - what is a girl to do?) And this morning, I found out when I arrived at the branch, a few blocks from my home, that this local library doesn't open until 11:00 am on Tuesdays. So, this girl drove home and cleaned the bathroom for an hour. My house is cleaner, but my automobile research is farther behind.

Regardless, I have made some progress. You have to have some idea of what kind of car you want before you start your research project or you will be absolutely overwhelmed. New or used? Buy or lease? Cash or finance? Hummer or Prius? Family van, sports car, or sedan? U.S. car maker or foreign import? Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to get locked out of my house while I was doing laundry. Locked out in a tee shirt and flip flops and sweat pants, in windy, rainy 50 degree weather. Neighbor Barry across the street was home, so we had a nice mug of tea while we talked cars. Now I have some idea of what I want. Buy. Used. Three to four years old. Reasonable mileage. Cash deal. Decent mpg. $10K (OK, maybe $12K). Small car. And, courtesy of Consumer Reports Online and Carmax.com, I have narrowed my search down to a few models. But have not yet made a final decision, or even test driven any vehicle. My final decision will depend on what is available right now, how the car drives, the condition of the interior, and what color it is. (No red, no black.) I've given myself two more weeks to make a decision.

I've driven many different models over the past six months during my forced sabbatical. I have been surprised by the improved performance of some car makers (Ford and Hyundai specifically). Meanwhile, Toyota is getting trounced in the press for brake and acceleration problems. While my first car was a Chevy Nova, which I dearly loved and regret having ever given away, I have driven a Toyota Corolla for most of my driving life.

My final decision may surprise even me. Stay tuned.

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