Surprise! In Which I Buy a New Car!

I have told you all about my fun-filled, whirlwind, three-day vacation with my sister, but there was one detail we left hanging. I mentioned that two weeks ago, I was driving my Mazda and hit a very bad bump in the road, which caused some major damage to the car, such that my husband and I were not sure it could be saved. I've been riding the bus to work since then.

My husband called our mechanic, Dave, in Huntingdon, and scheduled an appointment for my car for Wednesday, the day that I would be in Atlantic City with my sister. As a contingency plan, he arranged for my mother-in-law to be on stand-by to bring him home, should the car not be fixable, or should the repair take more than one day.

When I left for my trip, I did not know if I would return to find my Mazda fixed, or gone, as plan B (should it not be fixable) was to sell it to the mechanic for parts. It was possible that I might come home to find that I had NO CAR AT ALL!!!

I did not call my husband to check in while I was gone, first off, because neither of us has a cell phone. (Nup, never had one, don't see the need!) And also because I knew that if the news was bad, perhaps even VERY bad, I would be very sad and my vacation fun would be ruined.

So you can imagine the state of myself, with my knees knocking, as I stood by the doors of the train Thursday afternoon, preparing to get off in Tyrone, with my husband waiting there to meet me and pick me up. What would be the final answer? Would my car live? Or would it die?

The train arrived right on schedule, and my husband and I headed over to the Burger King in Tyrone for a quick burger. The story he had to tell was a long one. He had told me he planned to go looking at cars while I was gone, and he did.

He went to both the Chevy and the Mazda dealerships on Tuesday. There were some new Chevies he had been scoping out, and I'd found some reasonably priced used Mazdas via some online searches that I thought looked promising.

He reported that the Mazda garage was a bust. The car I'd asked him to look at had more than 90,000 miles on it already, the engine was filthy, and the car wouldn't even start when he asked to do a test drive. What a disappointment.

But at the Chevy garage, there was a brand new Sonic, Arctic blue, pretty much loaded with every amenity except a sunroof, on discount for 20% off through the close of the week, that he'd worked out a deal on. "It has a SOLD sign on it; if you want it, we can go in and get it tomorrow," he said.

He also told me the tale of my Mazda. He had driven it, very slowly, to Huntingdon first thing Wednesday, and the mechanic hadn't even got time to look at it yet that morning. So my mother-in-law came and picked my husband up and took him home.

Along the way, my husband finagled a deal toward the new Chevy in which my mother-in-law would give us the GM points from her credit card (several thousand dollars' worth!), plus make a substantial contribution to the cause. The result: an unbelievably good deal for me; the kind a girl just can't pass up.

Oh, and the mechanic called around lunchtime on Thursday to tell him that yes, my Mazda was fixable, he would do the repair for several hundred bucks, and we could pick the car up sometime over the weekend. Win win win!

Thursday night, we talked it all through. There were multiple phone calls to the dealership, to the sales lady, to the GM points guy, to my mother-in-law. And finally, we agreed that Friday morning at 10, I would show up with my checkbook and take custody of my brand new car.

Yes, that happy girl in the picture is me! All the cars I've owned in my life include a 1974 blue Ford Torino, a 1987 blue Nissan Stanza, and a gold 1998 Mazda Protege. The car in the picture, a 2017 Chevrolet Sonic, is the first new car I've ever owned!

The car is a 6-speed automatic. It has a 1.8 liter, dual overhead cam Ecotec engine with variable valve timing. At 138 horsepower, it has significantly more power and giddy-up than my Mazda (which has 95 hp). The car has a wonderful stereo, and Sirius satellite radio (can you say 80s music?) and On-Star come with it for free for the first three months.

It is my plan to keep my Mazda and drive it until the end, and I'll still probably mostly drive it to work, for errands around town, and for backpacking trips. The new car, we will take on adventures and longer day trips. We've both had older cars for a while, and trips out of state sort of fell off the list.

Now we're making big plans. I can't wait to show you Kinzua Bridge in the fall! Have you ever seen the magic of an Assateague sunrise? Someday in the coming months or year, I hope to show you all these things. And this car will take us there! And when the Mazda finally goes, my back-up car is already sitting waiting in the garage. I've got choices again! I've got wheels!

The song to accompany this image has to be a car song, and here's a classic: the Beach Boys, with Fun, Fun, Fun.

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