Monday, November 4, 2013

Car Shopping

My car is falling apart.  It is literally unsafe to drive at this point.  The steering has a serious issue in that the power steering randomly stops working usually when you are taking a left turn.  Very dangerous.  My son has nearly gotten into two head-on collisions because the steering failed on him mid turn.  Now the exhaust has sprung a leak and it sounds like a ricer car (Japanese race car).  So I've been trying to car shop this past month.

Riding in a car is horrible for me.  It makes me deteriorate into whimpering, sleepy, bobblehead doll that can't speak, walk or make decisions.  So finding the right car is imperative.  I've found that I need something that is quiet and has a very soft comfortable ride.  This allows me to travel further before my symptoms deteriorate.  Due to my fibro and osteoarthritis in my back, I need something that is very easy to steer.  And to further complicate things, my wheelchair needs to fit in the trunk along with groceries. My husband is 6'8" and I'm 5'2" which makes finding a car that we both fit in almost impossible.  Kid is the main driver with hubs secondary and I'm a very distant third.  So the basic starting criteria are:

  • drivers seat adjustable so both hubs and I can drive comfortably
  • easy steering
  • wheelchair fits with a full load of groceries and room for three people
  • quiet squishy ride
  • hub's head can't hit the roof and needs an unobstructed view while driving
  • something I can easily get in and out of when I having a super bad day (no muscle control)
To further complicate things hubs and I are both ex auto-mechanics making us very persnickety about brands.   Hubs is worse than me in this regard.  He is very opinionated and flatly refuses to even try something Japanese such as Toyota or Lexus.  Granted he probably doesn't fit in the them anyway but it sure eliminates a huge number of vehicles right off the bat.

This past month I've been attempting to go car shopping.  For me this is a super human feat.  The trips takes hours and I'm usually a complete wreck by the end.  I've tried to do some of the research on line but I can't retain information about the cars or remember which ones I've looked at or what features I like.  Going out to physically car shop,  I can only drive around parking lots and don't trust myself on roads.  I also can't remember which cars I've tried out and which ones I've already rejected.  This is a very difficult project for me but I desperately need  a new car.  Every time the power steering fails on my son he threatens to drag me out car shopping again.

Today we were supposed to go back and see a Mercedes wagon that it took me overnight to decide that I liked it.  Things weren't going well.  I already had a meltdown and we hadn't even left the house yet.  I was scared that hubs would get mad.  He had that face on.  He kept saying he was fine.  We had discussed finances, how much we could afford, how much the down-payment needed to be, how much the monthly load payments would be and even what the insurance payments would be.  I thought we were all set.  Now one thing to note: hubs own five vehicles that are lucky to see the light of day once or twice a month and his daily driver is a company van.  I'm driving around in a dangerous car that shouldn't even be on the road.

On the onramp to the highway (we didn't even get to the dealership yet), his mad switch flipped on "The car is broken!  My wife is broken!  The bathtub is broken!  I'm being forced to spend thousands of dollars against my will!  Of course I'm angry!"  Me, "It isn't like we didn't see this coming."  (my car has had a this steering problem for over four years but it has only recently become dangerous)  "We've been talking about buying a new car for over a year now."  I shut up so things wouldn't get worse.

We got to the strip of road where all the auto dealers were.  I asked if he wanted to look around the lots we missed yesterday.  "Sure." I recognize that tone.  He's going to pop soon.  This isn't over yet.  So we go cruising around the various lots, Lexus, Toyota, Chevy, Porsche (hey I can dream) and then we get to the Jeep lot.  As we are driving around, I notice a Jeep which I don't recognize the model name and make a comment, "Hey, I've never heard of that model."  And it starts, "What planet do you live on????  Don't you remember that one that lived in our driveway for a month???  I was fixing it for a friend of mine and you couldn't get your crap together to go for a ride in it!!!"  I fall silent.  "What happened to that smart woman I married???  Huh???  You can't remember a damn thing!!!  I have to keep track of everything for you!!!  What happened to you!?!?!"  The words still hurt even as I type them hours later.  Needless to say I just broke out in tears.  He had to pull into the McD's lot to try and talk with me but it was too late.  I was a mess.  "I'm not stupid.  I'm sick.  I'm REALLY sick.  It affects my brain."  He took me home where I devolved into an incoherent CFS pile of bobblehead jello.  I was so upset that my CFS symptoms just escalated to the worst I've been in almost a year.  Shakes.  Head bobbing.  No words so unable to talk beyond single words.  Walking like a drunk sailor.  Foot dragging.  Mess.

I finally fell asleep on the couch.  Best thing that could have happened really.  I needed the rest.  I woke up somewhat recovered.  At least the shakes and bobbing had gone away.  I was still dizzy and had trouble walking.  While I had been sleeping hubs had been welding my exhaust back together.  He pretty much fixed it.  There is still a small hole in it but it no longer sounds like a ricer.  He also attempted to fix the bathtub.  He is being amazingly nice to me.  He is funny.  He SUCKS at apologizing.  Instead he has figured out that if he is super nice to me for long enough I just get over being mad at him.  Trouble is, it works.  It is only lately that I have started to insist on an apology.

I can tell the resolution to this little tiff is going to take several days of negotiation.  I've already fired the opening salvo earlier this evening, "you have six cars.  I need a car that doesn't suck.  Do you understand why I'm angry?"  "No.  I just paid off the house.  I do everything for you." etc.  This is an old argument pattern that started after I got sick so I didn't engage him any further.  Best to wait him out for a bit so I tucked him in to bed instead.

I'm going to have to think on things for a bit and try again tomorrow.  I'm still not totally sure what I want to resolve this.  An apology?  Him to understand why I resent not having a nice car while he has five of his own?  Him to understand my illness better?  Him to have more compassion around my illness?  Fat chance of that last one happening.  Compassion was never his strong suit.  Sigh....  I need more sleep.

Oh, BTW, I have my eye on a nice bronze 2009 Mercedes wagon with a beige interior.  Everything and everyone fits in it.  It isn't black on black so it won't turn into an oven in the summer.  I can afford it since the dealer is selling it at a super low price right now and it drives like a cream puff.  LOVE it!!  Hubs is brining it home for me to drive around the neighborhood tomorrow night.  Maybe he isn't all that bad after all.   Marriage is such a complicated thing sometimes.

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