There are certain things that create stress in life. Illness. Trouble with children. Difficulty in marriage. A broken relationship. These (and others) are real, gut wrenching, soul-searching stressors that can cause us to spend hours on our knees in prayer, crying to the throne of God.
And then there are others…minor, annoying, aggravating, little stressors that just plague our living. My husband and I just went through one of our most detested…the car buying process.
We’ve known for a while this would be happening. As my dear daughter’s legs got longer and her brothers’ growth rate hasn’t kept up to get them out of boosters anytime soon, her car location of middle seat with long legs on the adult arm rest was just no longer working. Driving in the car with all three of them in the back was a continual disciplinary problem as all three were invading each others personal space.
We had a van before this car. One we had thought to keep for a very long time. But with John working two jobs and averaging 60 hours a work week to keep us going while there was no firefighter job for him, well, we had to downsize somewhere. At the time, our kids were small enough that 3 in the back together worked fine. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and we realize that we made a bad decision in our desperation. We ended up spending too much on a used car that wouldn’t work for the long-term.
Nothing exhausts like researching vehicles, test driving them, listening to the salesman and hear the “deal”. They count on you not being able to walk away without it. And if you come in with 3 kids in tow…well, they have a stamp for “chump” and they want to stick it on our foreheads. The idea that we’d go as a family, sit for 3 hours in negotiations and not purchase the car…well, I think we surprised several dealerships this month. But we were determined to be wiser this time. We did our research, knew our price range and knew how to play the game. We walked away from several offers. Some so insane I don’t know how they sleep at night. I had to continually remind myself that this may not be the right time for this purchase, we may have to wait longer… all the while hoping that we could get out of the used car with its outrageous negative equity we so foolishly signed into. But only if we could get into the vehicle that could take us the next 10 years. Just around the corner are teenage bodies, the kids’ best friends in tow, or the family vacation that we, after 10 years of marriage and 3 kids, may actually have a chance to routinely take.
In the end, I sit here and have a new van in my driveway. I never test drove it. I turned it down twice as the dealership lay-out was so horrible we could never find it to look at it. When we finally did get a salesman, he couldn’t find the key. Yet, two weeks later, after much negotiating and timing the buy to the last 2013 model on the last day of the month, we were able to get in our best price range, allowing the discounts to soak up our old car’s negative equity in the least painful way.
My tall girlie now has room to stretch her legs. The boys are separated by a row. I can haul their bikes again. We will take it this Friday to our trip to Legoland and have a seat for my father in law. It was a stressful process but I’m very thankful for the result.