Monday, March 18, 2013

The Ultimate Parent Driving Machine

Not our car.

We made it a whole year and a half but it didn't seem that long. Had circumstances been different, we proabably would have been able to continue like that for much longer.

1 1/2 years.  That's how long the LIAYF household was a one car household.   Let me tell you, with 2 full time working parents and two small children there were certainly times when a second set of wheels would have come in handy.  Many times.

However we managed without too many instances of pleading to friends or neighbors to help us out in a pinch.  But with Annabelle set to go into full time care soon, and Mrs. LIAYF going back to work after her Maternity Leave, it was the right time for us to once again have two cars at our disposal.

With all that in mind, I found myself on Saturday afternoon at a Seattle area BMW dealership, in the midst some very beautiful cars, most with lofty price tags.  Any one of them would have fit the bill nicely, providing Mrs. LIAYF and I a safe and reliable option to shuttle the kids around Seattle for the next several years.  But we actually came to this dealership with a specific vehicle in mind, and thankfully no one had snatched it up before we arrived.

When the salesman came to greet us upon our arrival, I asked if, in fact, the protagonist in the great novel 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' was a car salesman at a Seattle BMW dealership.  I thought I remembered it that way.  "I'm not sure" he responded as he handed me the keys "But you are about to find out".  Just then I felt the first rain drops landing on top of my head.  So, we hopped in and took the car for a spin.  It drove very nice, and met our satisfaction. It was exactly what we were looking for, so we decided to make him an offer.

Later, at some point during the very long and drawn out process of negotiating the purchase price of the car, I was in the waiting area of this beautiful facility, watching some college basketball when I spied a boy who looked about Lukas' age.   He was also missing front teeth.  His mother was nearby, and when she approached I asked how old her son was, which is always a nice conversation starter among parents.

After confirming that he was about the same age, the mom asked if I was there to buy a car.   I let her know that, yes we were buying a car since we had a new infant in the house who was about to go into daycare.

Her eyes brightened at that.  "Which one?!" she asked, smiling at me.  I'm a little slow so it took me a second to realize she didn't mean daycare, but rather - which of the shiny new vehicles surrounding us I would be taking home with me.  "Well...." I responded "I am actually buying a used car today."

"Get out!" she smiled  "My husband is the used car manager here.  He brings home different models for me to drive all the time!  But that's not why I married him!" she laughed out loud.

I nodded, now feeling a bit uncomfortable.  Perhaps she could sense that, because she immediately tried to put me at ease.  "Used cars are nice too." she let me know with a slight touch of sympathy in her voice.  "Yes, that's true" was my rather concise response.

"Because" she continued "The BMW models don't really change from year to year.  So it's almost like you are buying a new model".  That made sense I reasoned.   However, I simply smiled and nodded some more, looking for a way to extricate myself from the conversation, which mercifully came in the form of the salesman returning to negotiate some more with me.

Why was I so relived to be out of that conversation?  Because I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was actually there to buy a Honda.  A 10 year old Honda at that.

And, based on our conversation, I'm not too sure she would have appreciated the fact that it had low miles, was being offered well below blue book, and that our mechanic mentioned that it was one of the most reliable models of all the cars he saw coming into his shop.

Maybe wrongly, but I thought that would have been lost on her.  Sure, it would have been nice to drive away in a shiny new BMW. But with two young kids in private care, this driving machine was about as Ultimate as we could afford right now.

It's nothing fancy, but our new Honda is the perfect car for our family right now.

 Plus, It would be a shame to dirty up the back seats of a brand new Beamer with a bunch of food crumbs anyway.


daniel said...

Nice twist there sir...

James - The Rock Father said...

Well-played. I recently mentioned to my wife that I wanted to spend $45K on a replica of K.I.T.T. from KNIGHT RIDER. "Not practical," she said.

jetts31 said...

10 year old Honda. Best investment. Although I may be biased being a Honda salesman.
And as a car salesman, used is your best bet. Let someone else depreciate the car. Honda's last forever. Reliable, safe, cheap to maintain.
Good choice.

Krystal said...

I would take a Honda over an overpriced Beamer any day of the week - at least while my children cannot control themselves in the car which I think will be for the rest of my life.

I have a dodge now and I love it but nothing beats a Honda - how I miss my civic...reminds me of the days when I was young and well, young!

Diplo_Daddy said...

We're ia similar situation over here. We don't have two children like yourself, but all this running around is putting loads of kilometers on our one and only vehicle. Eventually we're going to have to buy another car. And m wife has been eyeballing her coworkers Jeep for six months now. She leaves this summer for Argentina and can't take it with her due to its age.

BMWs are splendid automobiles. But boy are they expensive!