I wish I was cool enough to have a high school picture of us handy...but they're in boxes. These are the friends who liked me when I didn't like myself, who knew me when I didn't know who I was, and who loved me anyway through it all. That doesn't mean there wasn't drama (hey, I thought my life was a John Hughes movie for a good decade), but I love these friends dearly. The years have changed us and we're literally spread out around the country, but it doesn't matter...put us at a table and the years fall away. The only way yesterday could have been better is if Mike Wright had been available, but next time! Oh, and look on the left behind Noble--when I saw this picture on facebook (thanks, Allan!) I cracked up--I love, love me some Preston (Jen & Steve's son, our Godson). Isn't he Calvin personified?
So that was the old.
The new? If you've been following along, you know the Pilot has been acting up. A week ago James and I were heading off to Salado to shoot a wedding, and I fully intended to come home and sink the profit from that into Pilot repairs. But somewhere along the way I woke up and realized that we've been spending WAY more than a car payment on repairs since August, and there comes a point when it becomes less important to have a car that's paid off and more important to mind our budget. So, my Boy and I sat down and came up with the amount we could pay comfortably each month and a list of things we needed in a new car. Well, newer car--we are used car buyers, thanks to Dave Ramsey.
I love, love, love how the internet has changed car buying. I spent a couple of days online searching for Pilots, thinking I wanted a 2009 Pilot. Well, turns out we couldn't afford a 2009 Pilot--and the 2007 and 2008 Pilots we COULD afford weren't much better than our 2005 Pilot. So, it was a bit of a letdown.
And then I found a 2008 Explorer online that I liked, except for the crazy custom interior. So I did some research and found out that's a good, solid vehicle. And I kept looking and ended up finding a couple more Explorers at a dealership here in town. I called about them, since James and I are all for buying local (but in the case of a car, we weren't too set on it--when you're talking that much money, it's worth it to drive to the best deal). I liked the salesman immediately, and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with him to decrease the amount of time we'd have to be on the lot with our knuckleheads. The Explorer sounded good enough on the phone to spend time looking at, so we loaded up and headed over to the dealership. (It's Brenham, with stopping to pick James up from work it took 10 minutes. Love, love living in a small town!)
We liked the car a lot, and the kids were sold at sunroof. To be fair, we drove a Toyota, as well but didn't care for the interior. And that was a lot more money for less car, so we weren't very excited about it and knocked it off our short list. I still had a few Pilots lined up in Houston and another Explorer, so we talked to the salesman about price and he thought he could get the Explorer down to what we wanted to pay. We left the dealership and were ready to buy the car that day, but figured we'd better think and pray on it a bit longer.
After a day of that and a couple hours of negotiating and finalizing, we ended up with the something blue. :)
You guys know how I feel about money, and it was nice to buy a car we really like that didn't leave us with buyers' remorse. We didn't want to take on debt, but we didn't have the cash saved to buy a car...so we did the next best thing and picked a low amount that we could spend on a car payment each month and stuck to it. It feels good to have accomplished that more than it feels good to have a prettier car, to be honest. Oh, and a note: when we started negotiating, the dealership kindly worked a service contract into the deal. We kept asking to revisit it and get details, and when we finally did we found out it was a $2600 contract that would only last about a year the way I drive. I wonder how many of these "deals" we've financed into our previous cars...we were so young and dumb. So, we declined and agreed that if this vehicle needs $2600 worth of work over the next year, we shouldn't be driving it, anyway!
Today we're off to Clarkson Thanksgiving--this year Ronny's making gumbo. Yum!