Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Not About The Camry (But It Sort Of Is)

pre-post message:

Anonymous commenter of my last post - I responded to you in the comment section of the last post.

Donna - I appreciate your input/compliment as well.


Well, last night did not really go as planned.

Every Tuesday evening, So has gymnastics at a community center not too far from my house. I was fortunate to make a carpool with a friend. She takes So there, because Hun is not home when gymnastics begins, and this saves me from needing to load my car with 3 other non-compliant, overtired, children in noxious weather. Hun typically leaves work at 5 pm or so on Tuesdays, just so he can be home to allow me to retrieve So and her friend from gymnastics, so that aforementioned extraneous activity does not have to take place. Other nights, he leaves work when he sees fit, certainly no where near 5 pm.

Last night at 6 something, Hun was kind enough to call me (and I am certainly grateful it was Hun on the phone and NOT a cop at my door) to let me know he had been in an accident and would not be getting home anytime soon.

Of course, I FIRST verified that he was okay, and Hun was being called away to answer questions, so I did not get details at the time. I then had to make a call to see if my carpool friend would be so kind to retrieve the girls, and of course she IS so kind. Then I called Hun back.

Apparently, the accident was significant enough to total the car. Hun was coming straight East down D. street and had just gone through a green turning yellow and entered the intersection. A 16 year old girl who was facing West and waiting to turn left, later said to police, that the guy behind her honked and it made her nervous and she accelerated to make her left turn. This is when she hit the front driver's side of Hun's car, deploying the airbags and hurling him around into a car to the South waiting at the red.

The police verified all the information from the three drivers involved as well as other witnesses who all corroborated, the sequence of events. The police referred to it as a "no fault" accident, and issued no tickets. An ambulance was on scene and Hun was offered to go to the hospital, which he refused at the time. The woman in the car, that Hun's car subsequently hit did go to the hospital, but my understanding is that no one suffered any serious injuries.

I did not share with the kids the details of what was keeping Hun, but they were inquiring about his whereabouts because while they would normally be going to sleep, they wanted to wait up to light the Menorah with him. I told them his car broke down and he would be late, and they of course, insisted on waiting up. This made for a very productive night on my part. They were hyped up on Chanukah treats and overtired and I was still concerned about Hun who had not arrived home yet.

When the initial shock of the accident had passed and Hun arrived home, he was a bit shaken and started to feel some soreness. We agreed that he would go to the Doctor today, just to document any possible injuries in case it becomes a problem later.

Mostly, it is a headache that Hun did not need right now. He has to deal with insurance and shop for a new car which was not in the immediate plans, although....

Recently I would mention here and there that at some point Hun would need a more presentable car. (Nothing fancy, Hun and I are not into that, just slightly more appropriate for a respectable business man who goes out on the road for business often.)

But the car had a lot of sentimental value to me...

No one (6 siblings) in my family had their own car growing up. My parents did not feel that a 16 or 17 year old needed their own 20 - 30,000 dollar piece of machinery, and I actually agree. I think teenagers can become spoiled if they just have a car handed to them. Even though license age in Illinois is 16, my parents would not let us get our license until we were 17. But once we were licensed, my parents were pretty fair and generous about lending us their car for our personal and social use.

In '94 I started College. While Chicago has a pretty decent public transportation system, it did not cover surrounding suburbs very well. Somehow, I was able to function at first by borrowing my parent's car or getting dropped off and picked up for classes. On the way to college, I saw a car with a "for sale" sign on it. I did not immediately know what make of car it was, but the body looked totally perfect and new and it had a sunroof, which really attracted my 19 year old self.

I told my father about this car and asked if he could come with me to the owners to negotiate a price. I had money saved from various jobs I had and I was also currently working at a restaurant. When we arrived at the owner's house, the door opened, and an older European woman looked at my father and said,
"Oh - maaaa Got"
in her thick European accent.

My father looked at her closely, and then gave a little giggle and said,
"Oh, look who it is..."

I was just dumbfounded really.

Apparently, they went way back and then she sat my father down and offered him coffee and mandel bread (cookies).

I just wanted to buy a car, but I was sitting there for 40 minutes and listening to "old" talk.

The car belonged to her daughter, who had actually moved to the suburbs, but she thought she could sell it quicker near my neighborhood. It was an '89 Mercury Sable (so 5 years old) and in GREAT condition. I was all prepared to haggle and negotiate and have my Dad get all business man like on her European tushik, but then my Dad said,
"just tell me what is a fair price.."



Huh, what, that's it? You just give her what she asks for. I was paying my father back for this car. I wanted to push for something lower. But what could I do? I mean, she gave him mandel bread for "Bubby" sake.

So, that was it. I became the "paying" owner of a Mercury Sable with sunroof. Little did I know at the time that American cars suck it and Mercury Sables suck it the most.

I will say that my parents did pay for the insurance, but I paid gas and maintenance.

The car was only good to me for so long (because it was a friggin' Mercury Sable). Then it started to nickel and dime me. And then one morning I walked out of the house to take my car on one of its many trips to College and it was bleeding. Seriously, there was red liquid all over the ground under the car. And my incredible savvy car knowledge told me ..... uh, that can't be good. Something died in my car. Turns out my transmission died and transmissions bleed red when they kick the bucket. 1200.00 and a new transmission later (WTF - I paid 5000.00 for this piece of crap) I was getting into the nitty gritty of nursing school. I had to wake up really early in the morning and take various highways to get to my clinicals at various hospitals. I needed a car I could depend on.

I sold the piece of crap for 3,000.00 and decided to actually learn a bit about cars. And in '98 I fell in love with a car called "Camry". I love you number one selling Japanese car in America. You get great mileage. You are considered low maintenance and have the potential for looooooong life. I am a practical person. I don't need me a perty, cool piece of crap. I want me the car that will last forever and not cost me more after I make the final purchase.

But I could not afford a brand spankin' new Camry. And my parents do not buy cars for their children. So my parents and I worked something out. Interest was really low in '98. We would finance the car. My dad would pay the bills to the dealership in full, and I would pay my father, monthly what I could until the car was paid for. My parents also still paid the insurance.

So I got me my sweet, brand spankin' new '98 Toyota Camry in blue and .... YES, it had a sunroof.

It was paid for, in full, by me in two years time, just in time for me to get married and bring it into the marriage.

Hun came into the marriage with a Ford Crown Victoria. He was always under the impression that if Police and taxi drivers drove Ford Crown Victorias then they must be great cars because police and taxi drivers drive HARD. To which I explained that Police cars and probably taxi cars were souped up vehicles and he was not privy to the souped up version of the Ford Crown Victoria, and also, nothing good could come from an American car. I furthered my point, just a few years ago when it came out that the gas tank of the Ford Crown Victoria was easy to explode upon a rear end collision, but the only recall Ford made was to the Police cars, a category my husband's car did not fall into. This was obviously the beginning of Ford's demise.

So, when I was pregnant with Ate and we obviously needed to upgrade from my lovely sedan and his gas guzzling boat, he reluctantly conceded we agreed to sell the Ford and Hun would drive my Camry and I would get the "mom" van.

And that brings us to today...

'98 Toyota Camry

survived (with gratitude to G-d) by Hun and Orah.
You were good to me my friend. And I stand by your safety, as my Husband walked into the door in one piece. You gave me 11 good years, and now you have gone to Camry heaven. Say hello to my Sable although, come to think of it, the Sable is probably in Hell. I will never forget you.

So, does anyone have any ideas for a new car. Hun wants an all wheel drive at this point. (Frankly, he would drive a big rig if I let him, but where would we park it?)

I want him to have something safe, that does not eat gas and hybrid would probably not be a bad idea these days...



7 have shown Orah a little love:

Shira said...

Why not just stick with the Camry? Scary stuff though. That 16 year old girl will probably not drive for a long time.

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

I know nothing about buying cars. We are on our 3rd Dodge Grand Caravan and I will get another one when this one dies. (it's at 220,000 right now) Hubby has had many different vehicles over the years but finally had to break down and get another van so that it would actually fit the whole family if necessary.
Good luck!

elisha said...

Thank G-d he is ok!! That is scary! I drove a Honda Pilot and looooved it, but bad gas mileage. And now I have an Acura MDX ('05-we don't have the big bucks) and it is AWD and is GREAT in the bad weather. Again, bad mileage. Good luck with your search.

Shosh said...

my husband drives a pick up truck....

S said...

Love Camrys! Maybe try the RAV-4 or the Honda CRV? said...

I am so glad to hear your Hun is okay.

That has to be a frightening call to receive.

Hope he is not in too much pain now.

Sorry about your special car.

Our 2002 CRV just became a money pit. We bought a Subaru Outback.

Lovin' it :)

Miss you during my crazy month :)

Melissa E. said...

Doesn't Toyota make a hybrid Camry? I thought they did. That'd cover both of your bases. I can definitely tell you not to buy a Chrysler. I have a Sebring and have had to replace nearly every part in the darned thing, even though it's only five years old.