What a week…

The past week has been a series of ups and downs, culminating in the saga for the last half of the week.  My car.  My Celica.  The first new car I ever owned started making a noise on Wednesday.  The noise was due to extremely low engine oil (hypothetical question – what’s the point of an oil pressure light if it doesn’t come on until after the car is making noise?).  The good folks at Jiffy Lube wouldn’t actually work on the car, but were kind enough to fill up the oil and suggested that I take it to an automotive shop immediately.  I called up Wasp Automotive and made an appointment for the next day.  I had heard a lot of good things about Wasp and even had that confirmed after I made the appointment.

About 2:30 on Thursday, Wasp calls up and says that my car, my baby, my constant companion for the past ten and a half years was dead.  Dead. Dead! DEAD!!  Well, actually, it’s not dead yet, but it had a terminal injury and would be dead in maybe 100 miles.  PANIC!  No, don’t panic.  I was expecting the noise to be fatal all day on Thursday, so I had checked out a few car places and was contemplating buying a car that night.

One really shouldn’t impulse buy a car.  Instead, I made an appointment to see a Prius over at Carmax on Friday.  I had a recommendation for Auction Direct and I saw an interesting Prius at another used car dealership nearby.  I called Bill Rankin who generously offered to loan me their truck for a few days.  I picked up my car from Wasp, drove it to Bill’s, borrowed his truck and was set for the night.

Friday, I left work early, picked up my title and spare key from K and drove in to Raleigh.  The Prius at the used car dealership was okay.  It seemed to be in mediocre shape, tires weren’t worn down, but they weren’t new either, however it was a 2009.  I left there and drove down to Carmax for my appointment to see a 2008 Prius.  This one was about $1k more, same mileage, but had more features.  The problem was that I really hated the service at Carmax.  It was everything I had been warned about.  Even though I had an appointment, and had been called about it a half hour before, the salesperson I had spoken to was busy, so they had to track down someone else.  They kept pushing their warranties.  They wanted to use their financing which was about 3% higher than what I wound up with, etc.  It turns out that Carmax salespeople work on commission, go figure.  I asked if they could hold the car for a day or two so that I could get financing in order.  They said, “no.”  kthxbai

Finally, I went over to Auction Direct.  They didn’t have any Priuses, but did have a very nice 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid that was about $3k less than the Carmax Prius. I drove it for a bit, decided I liked it and went ahead with the purchase.  The Civic Hybrid feels like more of a regular car than a prius.  There isn’t a big center LCD display with a graphic showing you when you are charging and when you are draining the batteries.  Instead, there are a couple of discrete extra guages that provide the exact same information. I like the fact that it uses regular tires, as opposed to the expensive, short-lived low-profile tires of my old Celica.

The only problem was that it still took forever to finish up.  I didn’t get out of there until about a quarter to seven.  After all of that, I was not very good company when I got a chance to see my friends.  I hope y’all forgive me.  I’m doing better this morning, but it has been a long week.

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