Wednesday, February 11, 2015


On the upside, we visited a horse farm.


And, Butter ran all the way to the farmhouse to greet us when we came home.


And earlier, breakfast was lovely, if a bit hurried. (No, don't pour out the smoothie! I like to drink it straight out of the blender! with the good, firm handle! Unlike me, Ed likes a different breakfast each morning.)


And I had a wonderful afternoon with Snowdrop.


Let's talk about the petty frustrations that inserted themselves into this gray-ish day. It started in the same old way: before even getting out of bed, I hoist my laptop on top of my belly and I scan the car ads for the day.

And there is one for just under $5000. A Pontiac Vibe, which means nothing to you, I'm sure, but it's a joint venture with Toyota and this particular 05 model, though dangerously old for my current tastes, gets good ratings and has no visible flaws.

I call the owner.

He calls back.

We chat.

No, nothing wrong. Leaks? No. Rust? No. I run through the list of things that have turned me off. Rain moisture inside? No. I might have added "child vomit," because seriously, one ad had this disclaimer -- my kid threw up in the car last summer, but we washed the carpet and the smell is gone, though we can't be sure for the summer season! Now that's honesty for you!

Alright. It's in Brooklyn. For a Madisonian, that can be a 40 minute drive, but for us it's actually just shy of 25 minutes, along pleasant country roads. And the roads lead us straight to the horse farm, where the owner works, hence the horse photo. (At the end of our excursion, Ed magnanimously tells me -- I got to pet that horse. That was fun!)

The Vibe isn't spanking clean, that's for sure. I put on my pretend rose colored glasses. The owners hustle a crying child inside. She's sick -- her mom explains. I notice her car seat is still in the car. I should have asked about vomit.

As I sit behind the wheel and notice that the seats are as dirty as those in our truck and that's saying something, the owner leans over to explain -- the engine light is on, but I have a rather long story as to why.

And he launches into how they took it in when the light popped on and this was fixed and it popped on anyway and that was adjusted and it still kept popping and finally they decided that it must be okay, just a light malfunction...

I cut him off, saying -- the car doesn't feel right. Too big. So long as we're all lying our tails off, why not jump in with my own? What I should have said is this: if someone calls you and asks in great detail about every known issue, that is the time to mention flashing engine lights, rather than have the person drive to the horse farm because honestly, not everyone is going to be grateful that they had a chance to pat a horse when they come here to look at your dirty, awful and now it appears malfunctioning car. But, his child was sick and so I let it go.

At home, I step up the effort. By the end of the afternoon, I have two other solid offers outstanding and two very serious inquiries. And you know what? The carwheeling-dealing process kinda grows on you! Ed tells me -- you're becoming a real American.

The sun is close to the horizon. I'm packing up to go home. Bye, little one. I leave Snowdrop playing "stick out tongue" with her mom. They take turns.


My phone pings. One of the car sellers has written back. I respond.  Can I look before it's dark? -- I ask. He is in Fitchburg. We live in Fitchburg.

Ten minutes later, Ed crawls under the car. I stare at the incredible dashboard of this 07 Mazda3. I've never seen anything like it! The owner has turned on the heat on the seats. Oooooh! Lights are on. Because, they go on. I look up to catch the last wisps of sky in the sunroof. Lovely!

Consumer Reports loved this car, but is it fun to drive? It's a manual shift. It moves from one gear to the next so smoothly that I feel butter has been thrown into the stick!

And it comes with snow wheels! (Not that we need them this year...)

Yes, there are tiny rust spots. Eventually they will make mincemeat of the body. I don't care. Not now, not this year.


I write the check for $6000, surreptitiously checking my balance to see if there is enough to cover it. Phew! Just barely.

I drive home in something that resembles a cloud.

Name. The car needs a name. I try this, I try that. It'll come. Not today though.