Alternate title: In which I give the reader a bit of back story before launching in to my tale of used-car shopping.
There are several advantages to growing up the daughter of an auto mechanic:
One: "Daddy? My car is doing X, Y, or Z. And making an "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" noise. What's wrong with it?" This question is soon followed by: "Drop it off and I will take a look at it."
Two: Oil changes that I don't have to do myself or take to Jiffy Lube for the hard sell.
Three: Anytime I need a car, one is available to me.
Four: Family Discount.
These advantages all went away when the Goodlaffs moved to Seattle. Bummer.
As you can imagine, being the daughter of a mechanic means I've never had to buy a car. I've never even considered having to buy a car. When I turned sixteen, the car conversation went something like this:
"So, you want a car?"
"See that car over there?"
"That's your car. The engine's broken. You are going to help rebuild it."
The car my dad pointed to was a copper-colored 1974 Mercury Comet. Behold "Nimbus" (I name my cars--they run better that way) in all its glory. I have pointed out some of its best features:
At first, all I wanted was a lovely 90's Honda Civic like all the other cool kids in school, but in all honesty, I came to love my car, and wouldn't have traded it for anything. It was easy to find in a parking lot: Honda, Honda, Honda, Honda, my car. I never had to worry about anyone stealing it--its age made it theft-resistant. Nimbus had a beastly engine that once hit 100 miles an hour (shhh), was practically a steel tank, and once I installed a CD player, had a kick-ass stereo. And did I mention the leopard print seat covers?
Sure, Nimbus had a few issues. At stoplights I had to keep my feet on the brake and the gas so the engine wouldn't die. There was a massive water leak that soaked the carpets every time it rained, and the water that came in would pour directly onto my foot on the gas pedal; I once found an actual living seedling growing out of my carpet. The cyllanoid wouldn't always work, so sometimes I had to start my car with a screwdriver (though, this, I considered to be more of a plus than a minus--how many people do you know that can start a car with a screwdriver? Two words: Bad. Ass.)
I would also like to point out the car next to Nimbus. This was the second car I drove, and was named "Fluffy" after the three headed dog in Harry Potter (seeing a theme here?), because no one wanted to go near the car. In college, all my friends would offer to drive because Fluffy was not cool.
I got my third car when I came back from teaching English in China. Daddy Goodlaff had him (and the bill) waiting for me.
Neville, my maroon 1984 Honda Accord was lovely. He was a little slow at times, but brave when it really counted (like his namesake, Neville Longbottom). Before we moved to Seattle, we sold Neville and decided to stick with one car until we couldn't any more.
We hit that point a few weeks ago. Mr. Goodlaff got a job that would have meant a two and a half hour bus ride for him, or an extra hour added to the commute for me. We weighed the time, the cost, and the quality of life, and decided to start the hunt for a new (to us) car.
Up next: I actually tell you about my shopping experience....