Friday, February 8, 2008

return to the dark ages

My car has been acting up for a while, steadily getting worse, and the oil change and other stuff I had done to it at Jiffy Lube last week didn't seem to help any. We decided I would take it into a local dealer. Turns out that in addition to me needing brake pads (which I already knew), the transmission was totally shot, and I need a new one. No, that's not expensive at all. They have something on order, and it may arrive at the dealer's on Saturday, but if not, then Monday at the latest, so I won't get my car back until sometime next week.

So that promised tax refund the politicians keep dangling in front of us has already been spent, and then some.

In the meantime, I have a rental from Enterprise - a 2007 Ford Focus. It's actually not bad - four door, drives nicely, coincidentally about the same color as my car. But it has manual locks. And manual windows. Which are really hard to crank up and down. I had manual locks and windows on my other cars, but when I bought my present car in 2003, I went for the electric locks and windows. Love it. The electric window is especially handy (and yes, it's one of the reasons I wanted them) when I'm driving to Disneyland by myself and I get in a line where the toll booth is on the passenger side. With manual windows, it's a pain in the ass. With electric windows, it's a breeze. The other weird thing about this car is that the headlight control isn't on the stick thing on the side of the steering wheel. I actually had to hunt around for it. It's a dial thing on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel.

I'm used to getting a new car when the previous one is pretty much on its last leg. The husband is telling me I don't need to wait that long. Since we're spending a fairly substantial sum of money to fix the car now, I'm going to keep it for a while, but maybe I'll consider getting a new car next year. I had my last car for about 11 years.

The car I've wanted since I saw "The Italian Job" is a Mini. It was just too cute as they were simulating driving it around the house. How cool would that be? So today, after telling a co-worker the drama surrounding my car, and having previously mentioned how much I like and want the Mini, we spent some minutes building me a Mini.

I had trouble deciding on a color. My current car is red, as was my last car (burgundy red and cherry red, respectively, not fire-engine, oh-Mr.-Police-Officer-please-give-me-a-ticket red), and I rather like that color. But I'm thinking it would be time for a change. I do like that you can have the side mirrors and top be black or white no matter the color of the body of the car, so I'd be going with black for those in any case.

I rather like the British Racing Green.

But I'm also partial to the Oxygen Blue.

The color I really like is Lightning Blue, but it's about the same color as the husband's truck, and I don't want two same-colored vehicles.

I guess I'd have to see them in person to decide which color I like best. Of course, that's presuming I could actually talk myself into buying a Mini. I've always had practical cars, so this would be a change. I've also gotten used to having a four-door car, which I really like for its convenience, so I'm not sure I want to go back to having a two-door. And I've never even seen the inside of a Mini. As we were building a Mini for me today, I saw pictures of the dashboard and steering wheel, and it looks a bit odd. I'd have to see it in person.

But no matter what car I eventually get, I've decided it's time for new plates. I've had a personalized license plate since I got my last car, and when I got my current car, I transferred the plates, so at this point, I've had them for about 16 years. I still like what my plates are about, but I think it would be time for a change. I checked out a few different things that would interest me. Some were taken, as I expected, given their popularity, even with slight spelling changes, and some, I couldn't figure out how to narrow down to 7 letters and still have it make sense. But there were a few that I came up with that are still available, and they're mostly obscure enough configurations that I expect they'll still be available, so I'd just have to decide on which one to get.

But for now, I'm driving the unmotorized-lock-and-window rental. Anyone have Fred Flinstone's number? Maybe he can give me tips.


Andrew said...

Sounds like the same car I got when I had my car in for bodywork last year. I was surprised to learn that car companies still make manual-crank windows.

As for the practical car issue, I've heard from Mini owners that they seem larger inside than they appear outside, i.e. lots of cargo space. I'm pretty sure they have lift-back doors, which somewhat mitigates the two-door vs. four-door thing.

Oxygen Blue would be my choice. It's very close to the "Lakeshore Slate" I have on my Infiniti.

Sherry said...

Oxygen Blue is my choice, too.

My question is...would your husband be comfortable in it? He's tall. I know they say that there's a lot of leg room and all of that, but I'm thinking of long trips, or being stuck in traffic for awhile.

Cindy said...

The husband has a co-worker who has a Mini, and he's sat in it while they went to lunch. He said he was comfortable. And whether or not he's comfortable, he has said previously that if I wanted a Mini, I could have one. :) And, I figure if we were going anywhere that required a lot of driving, he would normally drive, so that wouldn't be an issue.

I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up the convenience of a four-door though. In addition to making it easier to get stuff out of the car, there's the whole passenger issue. It's nice that people in the back can get in and out without anyone in front having to do anything.

Oh, well, it's an academic question at the moment anyway, since it's at least a year before I would even be getting a new car, if I were to get one.