Monday, July 12, 2010

Blessings Abound: Going Freestyle

Last week we measured the back seat of our Ford Escape. With this third baby, it was time to consider how we'd transport little Baby Bean.

50 inches.  And actually, we measured the front part of the seat...and not the back.  So it was at most 50 inches.  The skinniest car seat I had found was 17.  I'm no math scholar, but it simply was not adding up.  The decision came that a new car was a must with this third kid.

I wasn't crazy about buying a new car.  I think buying a new car is only fun that very first time you do it...maybe the second time.  But the more you do it the less you like it.  I wondered why no one liked car shopping when I was younger.  I loved it.  I loved test driving things and checking out new cars etc etc.  The Escape was the 8th vehicle William and I had purchased together.  We've been married for 11 yrs as of last April...

I think we can say I've done my fair share of vehicle buying.

So we went out to a local dealership that we have already bought 3 vehicles from.  We asked them what they would give us for the Escape and even test drove a Trail Blazer (? something like that).  They gave us a pretty good deal on the car (one we were comfortable with), but we had just decided that day that we needed to buy a car.  I wasn't ready to pull the trigger yet.  (I'm very thoughtful when it comes to purchases like this!)  So we walked away.  It was easy to do - the dealership was open for only another hour and would be closed on Sunday.  So we had an entire day to think about it and could return Mon morning if it looked like we did want to purchase the car.

William and I discussed what we wanted in a car.  The two most important things to me were gas mileage and price.  I didn't want to pay a ton of money for a car.  I didn't want to spend a lot in gas.  (I hate filling up.  I hate paying gobs of money to fill up even more.)  I also didn't particularly want a mini-van.  Yes...I'm a mini-van hater.  More power to those who love them...but I did not want one for myself. One last thing we determined was that we didn't really want was another 4-cylinder car.  My Escape drove William batty. ;-) 

After some research, we were surprised to find that mini-vans in our price range had comparable gas mileage to SUVs.  So that pretty much cemented it.  I was concerned about 3rd row seating in the Trail Blazer we drove was very similar to William's Durango.  I don't hate his Durango...but it does have things I don't like.  So I was forcing myself to warm up to the idea of driving a mini-van.  (I even convinced myself that you probably didn't KNOW it was a mini-van inside the car...which is where you spend most of your time anyway...not starring at the outside of it!) ;-)

William took my hatred of mini-vans and was determined to find something that would fit our family.  I spent time in prayer...and God promised me a car that would be dependable.  He told me no matter what we bought, reliability would not be an issue.  (I was concerned with some of the higher mileage vehicles...)  He also reminded me that He gives good gifts.  So I told God that I would take whatever He had for me, and to please just give us wisdom.

I really have no idea where William got the idea (other than divine inspiration...), but he focused in on the Ford Freestyle.  Ford doesn't make them anymore.  He had never been in one.  Most people say "A what?".

There happened to be 3 in the Wichita area on dealership lots.  We did need to buy from a dealership, since we really needed to trade in our Escape.  So Sat late morning he set out to test drive one.  Even though he focused in on them, he knew he at least had to drive one to make sure that was really what we wanted/needed.

Long story short - William loved it.  He drove it home and I took a look at it and loved it.  It was perfect.  Not a mini-van, not an SUV.  It gets 27 mpg highway and 20 city.  When the deal was said and done, this ended up being about $500 more than that Trail Blazer we tested that we were not thrilled with.  BUT...this car has a lot of features.  A lot.  It is probably the fanciest car I have ever owned.

The BEST feature is the seat memory.  There are two settings...but it gets even better.  The memory for my setting is associated with my remote.  So when I unlock the car, it sets the seat and mirrors to my settings.  How COOL is that???  My second favorite feature is the trunk space.  It dips down and you can put things under the back seat.  This prevents things from falling out so easily when you open the back gate.

The first feature Rebekah noticed was the DVD player.  William hadn't intended to tell her about it until our next long trip to visit his family.  But she is an observant kid, and even though it was folded up she knew exactly what it was!

William said "Well, do you love it?"  I said I do.  It is something I never expected.  I wasn't crazy about the Escape, but it worked for us.  I did love the Impala...but of the rest of the cars most of them were bought out of "Well this will work" mentality.  When we found we were going to have to purchase another one, I didn't really expect to get something I'd love.  I expected to get something that would work.  The fact I love it is simply gravy.  I feel so incredibly blessed right now...

Couple funny antidotes.  The car salesman told William "No wonder your wife hates car shopping!  You haggle too much!"  Nope.  I was SUPER proud of him for getting the BEST deal he could possibly get and sending that guy back until he was satisfied.  (We always remind ourselves NOT to fall in love with whatever we are purchasing...and to be ready to walk away!)  Salesman also told William I'd be disappointed if he didn't bring those nice leather seats home.  When William brought the car home for me to look at - I specifically had said "You know, I know a lot of people like leather seats, but I could care less!"  LOL  Good thing William knows his wife...!!!

And a couple more "God things".  Later that day William saw an email from daycare.  Turns out we had been over-paying (Peter moved up a few months ago, we hadn't been told a new billing price yet) and had a $200 or so credit.  The price difference in what we actually owe daycare and what we were paying is about the same as the differences in price for the cars.  So that is pretty neat.  (We have been very diligent in not increasing our bottom line so that we do not jeopardize our ability to meet our goals.  We are very dedicated to becoming debt free!)

The other neat thing is that this car is black.  William kept asking me about this color or that color.  I always told him I don't really care about color.  And I don't...not really.  There is not a car color I'd refuse to buy or drive.  Color is not on my top 10 list of things I think about when purchasing a car.  BUT...I've always thought it would be neat to own a black car.  I realize they look dirty very easily yadda yadda yadda.  But they looks so sophisticated and classy...I wouldn't say my 'dream' car is black...because as I stated I'm not really picky about car color.  I would say that it is pretty neat to me that this car is black.  As you recall, God reminded me He only gives good gifts.  And it is a detail so small that it is just plain neat.

Oh - and this car has 8K miles less on it than my Escape had.  God is GOOD.

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