If this post is incoherent, it’s because I am. I couldn’t fall asleep because my back was screaming. Even with a lot of drugs, I didn’t pass out until around 2 a.m. Then the roofers rang the doorbell at 6:45 a.m.
The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, but my irritability gene has. I might have dropped an f bomb this morning. And by an I mean three. But not in front of the kids, I promise.
Our Simple Year goal is to, obviously, simplify. And part of simplifying means finding out what we really need. And that includes cars.
Last Friday I sold this:
Ironically, while I tell people I don’t really care about cars, the truth is I care about my car. Or more to the point, what my car says. I didn’t think I did, but this last week has proved to me that I’m a snob and I do care.
In my area, we’re surrounded by fleets of Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. And huge SUVs. The car is a status symbol and, if I’m being brutally, horribly honest, I wanted mine. I asked myself why that was. I guess to scream to the world that I’m successful? Really getting to the bottom of it would involve way more psychobabble than I’m qualified to dish out, but let’s just say it hurt to sell it.
Also, this was the first car I was able to buy for myself, with money I earned, and in the form of cash. No financing, no payments. I wrote a check and I wore that as a badge of honor.
After I sold it, I was admittedly in a funk. I can’t believe I just sold my car! What have I done?
Since I got hurt, that car has mostly resided in my driveway (because there’s no room in the garage for it). I’ve realized two things:
- It’s really stupid to have a garage used to protect a boatload of crap from the elements, but not a car which cost more than all of that crap in the garage did.
- I drive that car a couple of times a week when the kids aren’t in school and only to school once a day (Stephen picks them up). It makes no sense to have all of that money locked up in a depreciating asset that just freaking sits there.
So I sold it.
The initial reactions from my friends and family were, quite honestly, more difficult to deal with than the loss of the car.
My dad wanted to know if we were in financial trouble.
When I explained my rationale to him and the fact that we were going to replace it with a less expensive car at some point before school started in the fall, he got it. I put it in money terms he would understand. And he did. Honestly, I skipped the whole simplicity experiment part of the deal in my conversation with him. He sort of would get it, but he talks the language of cash better.
One of my best friends simply said, “I have no words.” So I explained how little I used the car, like maybe 25 miles per week during the school year, even less in the summer, and the fact that I’ll be replacing it before school starts and she very tentatively said, “Okay.”
I’m not sure who I was trying to convince, her or me. Probably both.
Then she picked me up and we went to dinner. And I drank. Alcohol.
One Car Family
It’s now been a week since we’ve been a one-car family. It hasn’t been that bad. Stephen and I are forced to communicate about the car. When I have a day where I have to go to physical therapy or a doctor’s appointment, we all drop him off at work and pick him up later in the day. We have a summer nanny, who really is an extended part of our family, who takes care of the kids while I work. She takes them to their activities. If I needed to, though, we’d drop Stephen off at work and use the car. It’s an annoyance to do that, but nothing more than that.
Our remaining car is a very old, battered Lexus SUV (the small one) that we bought in 2003. It’s worth very little, but *knock on wood* works just fine. It’s not shiny or pretty anymore, but it is well loved and has served us well.
I’m researching what kind of car I’ll eventually get, and I’m leaning towards a used Toyota Prius. I’m calling it green chic. I won’t spend a lot on it and it will be used to get me from Point A to Point B. That’s it. That’s all I need. I’m going to spend more time researching this purchase than I’ve ever spent researching a car. And that’s not a bad thing.
In asking myself what do I need, I decided that the answer is safe, reliable transportation. Preferably fuel efficient. I don’t need a designer label. I don’t need a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW to be a loving mother, thoughtful friend or a happy wife. I don’t need a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW to be successful.
I am all of those things regardless of the car I do or don’t drive.