Monday, March 10, 2008

Swamp Trip: Check. Home: Check. Walter: Check. Good Thing, Because I'm Up To My Ass in Alligators Again.

Yes! I'm back from the swamp. We had a fabulous time, We took not one but two boat trips, and explored all three entrances to Okefenokee. There were lots and LOTS of nice big alligators, and I have the pix to prove it. The one I almost stepped on is in there too. Mom didn't like that part. But I'll have to tell you about all that a little later.

Walter is home. This is an extremely good thing right now. See, the bad news is, on the way home from the swamp, the poor beleaguered Saturn threw a rod and died. Permanently. The engine is toast. And it took such a beating from the hurricane, the value of the car is not enough to make it worth repairing.

Meaning I'm now without a car.

My mother drives to Florida every fall, and leaves a car here all winter for her snowbird trips. She has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in a major way. So she saves up the frequent flyer miles she accumulates for meetings with clients (she's a medical writer) and comes to Florida every other week or so in winter. That way she gets enough sunlight to treat her SAD.

When she's not here she likes us to drive her winter car from time to time, so it doesn't sit unused. Apparently cars like to be driven to work right. How handy it would have been if her car were here when the Saturn died. I could borrow Mom's car for my doctor trips and so forth. Take my time, figure out a way to get a loan with our demolished credit, research cars, shop carefully...

But why were we all going to the Okefenokee in the first place? Even with kdad, who rarely leaves his little incubating tissue culture cells alone in his lab, missing his nurturing?

Because it's time for Mom's winter car to go back to Chicago for the season. Her snowbird time is over for the year. Terrible winter or not, she has enough sunlight up there now, and doesn't need to come down here for it.

So we went to the swamp because it was on their way home.

When they told me they were driving home together, instead of just Mom driving that distance by herself, I asked if they might like to go a-swamping. I could drive up separately in the Saturn, we'd do our swamp trip, then they'd head back to Chicago, and I'd head back to South Florida.

Thus, no spare emergency backup car now. Ah well.

But wait!

My wonderful neighbors across the street are selling a 2001 Isuzu Axiom. Keeping in mind, please, that I'm missing the Car Part of my brain, this looks like a good deal to me. It's loaded, and very comfortable to drive. They're the only owners it's had. They are careful and particular about taking care of their vehicles, and it's had its oil changed every 3-4000 miles since they bought it new. Now there's 62,000 miles on it.

It is used, and has some barely discernible dings here and there. It seems to want a new battery, and the neighbor says he can feel a slight wear in the shocks. They seem fine to me, but hey. I'll do the right thing and take it to the mechanic first.

Enter Walter.

Well, he already Entered, in the adventure of Getting A Dead Saturn Home from Titusville.

Having him here to think about a car purchase? Priceless.

Walter thinks it's a good deal too. Add to that: we both have sentimental attachment to Isuzu vehicles because we used them in our old shipping business. We want to buy this car. Walter asked the neighbors if we could drive it in the meantime, just occasionally, and at first they said no - insurance and all, and perfectly reasonable - but then they said yes.

So I'm not without transportation any more.

Now I just need a quick $7,800.

But I've got something in the works for that, too.


Nancy said...

Your Ms Saturn.......dead??


I hope the 7 grand comes in good time.

Pretty Lady said...

Endless excitement! Glad you're home okay.

Mr. Bud said...

i guess the question would be.. How tall a plant will it hold? (sun roof?) and or... trailer hitch?

i always ask. where do you put a 2x4 in that thing?

Kat said...

Ya know... what the $#!#$@#!$ is UP with cars dying?! My car died permanently too and was officially diagnosed as such today. Or rather, "More to repair than it's worth, so give it up already!"

and the van needs a new CV joint... SOON.




So yeah... I feel your pain!

Kat said...

oh, by the way = WELCOME HOME and glad you had an enjoyable trip, dead car notwithstanding. :)

Jean said...

I drive with my fingers crossed.

Hope the Izusu plans work out.
Looking forward to the swamp pics :-)

k said...

Ah, Nancy. Yup. It's gone off to the Great Car Yard in the sky, forevermore.

Do I hope that $8 grand shows up soon? Oh boy.

Pretty Lady, it's been non-stop around here. Yoikes! But, also, surprisingly calm throughout. Odd, but good.

mr. bud, I see we see eye to eye on Car Requirements too, bro. Those are my own exact first questions. (Then comes gas mileage.)

This baby can hold VERY large plants, huge piles of 2x4's, really big rocks, and my scooter. It has a trailer hitch, and it fits my scooter platform perfectly.

It can sleep not just me but me and Walter together, comfortably.

The sun roof part isn't on the list because living in Florida, I finally get enough sunshine. So even though it may have one, I can't remember. I think you maybe were thinking of using it for the far end of the 2x4, though, rather than sunshine. ;-) This vehicle can handle haulage. OH, yes.

And comfort? It even has a seat warmer in case your butt gets too cold. I kid you not.

Keeping in mind I don't do cars, this baby is about as close to perfect as I could find. I hear it's called a *mid-sized SUV.* The only imperfection, of course, would be that gas mileage thing.

Luckily, neither of us commutes to work. I don't drive much locally except for doctor visits and rx/food runs, and that's usually once a week max. Then, of course, I love my pleasure drives. Those will cost me fuel.

But the extreme increase in physical comfort - not to mention, safety - is way, way worth it.

Yeah. I want that car.

kat, you know, I think cars do this on purpose sometimes. I left a comment over at your house: I've no doubt the Saturn and your car got together on this, and planned the WHOLE damn thing just to make us miserable.


I feel YOUR pain too! I'll send up some prayers and positive energies on the car front for you. On all fronts, actually.

And thank you! It really was a great trip. I refuse to let the demise of the Saturn ruin that.

Jean, now I wish I'd been driving with mine crossed too. heh! We think the Isuzu bit will come right for us, but we're on pins and needles a bit until that happens. I should know better in a couple days.

Swamp pix coming shortly - now that Walter's gone...

Desert Cat said...

I know I'm funny that way about cars, but I figure that whatever I have into the vehicle already is a "sunk cost". When I view it that way, I then compare what it will cost me to get my current broken vehicle repaired and back to good running condition versus what it will cost me to purchase a comparable replacement vehicle (keeping in mind that any used vehicle purchase has the possibility of including the purchase of one or more "deferred maintenance" issues that aren't apparent at the time of sale).

It has frequently been the case that paying a big repair bill ends up being the most cost-effective approach, which has the added benefit of lower uncertainty versus buying another used car with unknown issues (and they all do).

A blown engine is pretty bad though, especially if the rest of the car has major cosmetic or other issues.

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