Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baby, You Can('t) Drive My Car

I purchased my first car, a beautiful emerald green Plymouth Neon, in 1995. I say that I purchased it, but honestly, my daddy went with me, picked out what he thought was best, and did the haggling for me. I chose the color. But I was fine with that.

When we got to the first of like three dealerships (and ultimately the one where I got the car), the salesman went straight up to Dad and asked him what he could get for him. Dad said, “Well, it’s my daughter, here, who is looking for a car, so you probably want to talk to her.” Thanks, Dad. So the salesman looks at me and asks me what I’m interested in. I don’t recall my exact words were, but essentially, I stood there like a deer in headlights, drooling, and looking like Moe and/or Ron the idiot twins, then I expressed that I wanted a good stereo.

Yes, my IQ and the plight of women’s equality suffered that day, all because of Rose.

Dad just shook his head and took it over from there. As I said, I was fine with that.

Flash forward to 2001. Jennifer and I went car/window shopping. Went to Saturn, just as they were closing, as I recall it, and Rodney, the salesman, spent a couple of hours after he was supposed to be off work, showing me the car that I currently own. I was very impressed by this. Now I know that it was in his own best interests, fiscally speaking, because of the commission he’d get from selling me a car, but still I thought well of him because of it – he also sent me birthday and Christmas cards for the first several years afterwards. Looking back, I don’t recall if I looked at other cars or not, but it ended up with me dragging my daddy to Saturn that weekend and buying me my current car, Baby.

The more perspicacious of you will be sensing a trend or two, here. First, my daddy played a big part in me purchasing my cars; and B) I tend to make decisions quickly. I know what I like and once I see it, nothing else is going to make me happy. I could give you a variety of examples, but that would bore you and drag this blog out.

When we looked at the Neon, we also looked at a Mercury Mystique. Now I really liked the name, but all things being equal, I just didn’t like the stereo. I wanted the Neon. As I said, I don’t recall looking at anything after the Saturn. I knew I wanted it. And it’s been a very good car, I’ve had it eleven years with nary a problem. There was one big repair having something to do with the timing belt? that cost $1900 to get repaired, but then I ended up being reimbursed by GMC because it was later part of a recall, so I don’t count that. The original battery, after 10 years, had to be replaced last year, totally blowing the mind of the AAA guy who came to help me, and there’s been new tires and oil changes and things. I’m not sure, but it might even have the original brakes. I guess I ought to keep track of that stuff, eh? Hmm.. If it weren’t for my 43 year old knees and the fact that between the car being so low to the ground and my legs being so long that I feel like I have to climb out of a hole to get out of the car, I’d probably keep it for longer. I don’t like change unless it has pictures of presidents on it.

Anyway, since I paid off the Saturn, I’ve done my best to put money in savings toward a down payment for a new car, whenever that time came. Yes, there have been other things, like vacation trips to the beach, and the like that some of the money went to, but as of this moment, I have $4,700 in savings. Then, there’s the income tax return. Thanks to my medical bills, mortgage interest, and other deductions I can take for the first time in my life by itemizing, I get everything back this year. Yes, EVERY PENNY. Tee hee!! So, there is another $4,800. My car fund is as flush as it’s ever had a chance of being.

Rose is ready to go shopping. I’ve been looking off and on at the cars on the road, the internet, the paper. And I’d decided that I wanted either a Honda CRV or a Toyota Rav-4. (I would have just got the Saturn Vue, but Saturn up and stopped production of the whole line of cars!) Then there’s the whole new vs. used issue. I tend to waffle. Maybe I’m a snob. Everyone tells me that the reason to go with one of these vehicles is because it’s going to last me for YEARS! Well, I’m thinking if it’s going to last me well into my 50’s, by golly, I want it to be new going into it! I understand the whole depreciation thing intellectually, but in my heart …

I went to the Toyota dealer the other day, to get a brochure. I should have known better, you can’t go into a car dealer, get a brochure and leave. I spent about 45 minutes with the salesman talking about the Rav-4 and fell in love. I know that Dad would have been impressed with the way I've grown, car-wise.  I asked perspicacious questions, and if the sales guy said something that I didn't understand, I made him explain it to me.  I knew just about everything there was to know about this vehicle, and I was in love.  Afterwards, I went to the Honda dealership to see the CRV, but it was only so I could say that I did it.  I knew I was getting the Rav-4.

So I had to wait...  about a week, plus, for the tax return to show up in my account.  I took the afternoon of the next Friday, (this past one) off and intended to go shopping.  I was oddly at peace with the whole thing.  After signing the paperwork for the Neon, I went home and suffered all weekend with buyer's remorse until I could go back and pick up the car.  With the Saturn, my only concern was signing a car loan when I'd only been at my "new" job for 3-4 months.  Having been "let go" was still very fresh in my mind.

But now, no problems.  I was ready to write that $10,000 check and get my new baby.

Friday afternoon.  I go to the dealer and ask for my salesman.  He was another thing that I felt good about.  I would recommend him to anyone.  I'd prayed for a good salesman and I got one.  I'd prayed that if this was the wrong thing to do, that they would not have the one I wanted (blue, with a sunroof, were deal breakers), but if it was the right thing, they'd have one.  And they did!  Now, I could go into a LOT more detail about the FIVE hours I spent there Friday, but you don't want to be bored by it.  You want to see it. 

So, now, without further ado, I'm happy to present, my new baby...

I have not put the "Rosemary's Baby" plate on it and do not plan on it, at least not for a while.  I may change my mind.  I've decided that there is comfort in anonymity.  Now, I'm going to go get in my car.  He doesn't have a name yet, but we're working on that.  And go for a drive.  Later!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha!

I met with my new therapist yesterday for the first time. I was a wee bit concerned that she might not like me, but that didn’t seem to be a problem and we got along like gang-busters.

You’ll recall that I was seeing someone last year… Janet. I can’t really recall if I went into it or not, but Janet is a Christian, as am I. But it seemed like her answer for everything was to ask, “How is your walk with God?” Now, I believe in prayer and I know that God can and does perform miracles. But I also think that he probably wouldn’t have led me to a therapist if the only advice I was going to receive was something I could get from my pastor, my deacon, my Christian mother, sister and friends. So, after she “released” me from my initial five free sessions, I just never went back!

Flash forward to now. My friend Ashley told me about her therapist and I’m like, I want to go to that person! So she gave me the contact info and I made an appointment. Last week, I had a day of appointments, including my first appointment with the new therapist, and I just took the day off for Rose (and her appointments, of course).

Anyway, my new psycho is Pat. We got along well, and I have high hopes for our success. My first assignment (and we all know Rose does NOT like homework), is to make a list, as I’m going through my daily life, of each moment where I feel contentment/happiness with whatever I’m doing, where food is not involved. For example, I probably shouldn’t list the enjoyment I get from biting the little head off of my Teddy Grahams. That would probably be bad on a variety of levels.

Knowing that I risk being yelled at again by my “fans” if I wait another month before I blog again, I decided to put my list in a blog and kill two birds with one blog. So here goes….

First, and honestly, this happened the Saturday before I met with Pat, but she said I could include it, so I’m going for it, I had to buy new shoes. I know! Every woman’s nightmare, right? But no, these were the shoes I wear when I’m walking. Back in May, I’d bought myself some Sketchers, the kind that are supposed to trim your butt and legs while you walk. I don’t know if that happened, although my butt does appear to be smaller, but I loved them because of the extra cushioning in them. After I bought them, my knees and hips didn’t hurt after walking, like it did in the other shoes. Also, in the other shoes, which were “Walking” shoes, I would get shin splints and that wasn’t a problem in these shoes. These shoes helped me lose 126 (new total) pounds, got me around London and, well, what little of Scotland that I saw. But they weren’t giving me the support I needed anymore and my knees and hips were aching after walking.  I'd worn them out!  Back to the Shoe Carnival went Rose!  But unfortunately, I couldn't get another pair of the exact same shoes.  I did get some that are very close, and am happy with them.  I just can't wait for these shoes to wear out!

B) I had an appointment to have my eyebrows waxed and I was going to get a manicure and pedicure, but then a few weeks ago (don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before), I had some neck and shoulder pain and I went for a massage and it felt good and helped, so I switched the mani/pedi appointment to a half hour in the sauna and a massage. The reason for the sauna is that for me, the first 30 minutes of any massage are generally wasted because it takes me that long to relax. The poor masseuse told me to relax at least 5-6 times. And I really try! But she suggested that I try the sauna because the heat might help relax some of the muscles, making the time to relax into the massage less.

I said, “I’m hip!” and signed up for the sauna. Now, everyone who knows me, knows that Rose don’t like to sweat. I would have bet money, and I’m too cheap to be a betting woman, that I wouldn’t last 5 minutes, let alone 30 minutes, but I stayed for 25 minutes and it felt great. And during my massage, the masseuse only had to tell me to relax once and that was when she was pulling my neck muscles, and I’m sorry, but I’m never going to relax through that. I’m too afraid that my little head is going to pop like a big ol’ pimple!

All of that aside, I was the most relaxed after that massage. It was almost like I felt after being off of work for a month! There was nothing that could spoil my mood. I made the decision that since I’m saving money by not eating out as much anymore, I can afford the sauna and massage once a month. A little Rose time got put into my regular schedule.

3: I’ve been a “blonde” all of my life. In the beginning, it was all natural, then starting in my 20’s, it received some help from Garnier Nutrisse.. (#100 Extra Light Natural Blonde). It served to cover up the white hairs (our family gets white hair, not grey hair) and gave some color to my natural color which, I think of as a dull dishwater blonde, almost no color to it, like black and white TV… I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, but for those of you who followed me through the spring and summer of ‘09 when I revisited my natural hair color, you may understand. I’ve flirted with the idea of what I’d look like as a red head. But I just didn’t have the guts to make that leap. Then I thought about just darkening it to like a dark blonde or even a light brown.

I was at Target, and they had a little computer set up there to “help” you find the right hair color for you. Basically, you tell it what color your hair is and it tells you to go with something no more than 2 shades up or down. Really, the whole computer thingee was rather disappointing. So I left without any purchase, but later that day, I had to go to CVS to pick up a prescription and I bought me some “Dark Golden Blonde.” Now, I’d used Extra Light Golden Blonde in the past before hitting upon the Extra Light Natural Blonde. I don’t think I could have put it into words what the difference is, but there was one. So why did I got with Dark Golden Blonde instead of Dark Natural Blonde? That’s a good question. The answer is that the color on the box had more color to it. I did my hair. It turned out more red that I planned on, but that’s probably the “Golden” part at work. I have before and after pics, but be warned, the before one is eerily reminiscent of Nick Nolte’s mug shot  but that's what you get when you take your own picture in the mirror using your iphone.

And the after pic looks like it belongs in a school yearbook. 

I still forget that I did it and am shocked when I look at myself in the mirror, but everyone seems to like it and got used to it. I like it a lot. But when I had to go to the Federal Building for computer training and show my driver’s license, I’m like… that picture doesn’t look at all like me. Before, at least I had the blond hair going, but now… I just look like I may be related to that woman. We’ll be having to get a new driver’s license next. Which will be another happy event!

Finally, I went to the eye doctor for my annual eye exam. I haven’t had any problems with my distance vision (other than being horribly myopic), but, especially since I passed the big 4-0, I’ve been noticing issues with my near vision. I almost bought me a pair of purple cheaters at Burlington pre-Christmas that were on clearance, but Jennifer told me not to because if I started using them before I needed them, I’d never not need them. Well, it made sense to me. But they were purple and regret not getting them, but that’s neither here or there. Anyway, it was time to visit the eye doctor. First, I’m not sure why the eye doctor’s nurse took my blood pressure, but it was 116/67. I’m thinking Dr. Marienau and I may need to discuss the small amount of Atenolol that I’m still taking (not for BP, but as a preventative for migraines), because I’ve been noticing wooziness when I stand up quickly of late. Any who, Rose is feeling pretty good because the BP is healthy!

Then, Dr. Irwin comes in and looks at me like I’m a total stranger. Now, seriously, we see each other one time a year, so I wasn’t hoping for much of a reaction, but he didn’t disappoint me. The first words from his mouth were “They told me you were here, but I didn’t see you in the waiting area… I just didn’t recognize you!” It felt so good! Tee hee!

I said “Finally” after that last one because although there is one more, it’s a blog entry on its own. And I anticipate it being a whopper!