April 13, 2014

Walter White

In case you haven't seen my obsessive postings on various social media, I GOT A NEW CAR!!!!!!! And I loooove it and just want to talk about it all the time!

I actually haven't had a chance to give my van the proper farewell it deserves, so here's the story.

My minivan, aka Grape Drank or the Magic Eggplant, was my third car but the first I ever bought for myself. She was a 1999 Plymouth Voyager and I bought her the summer after graduating college, before starting my dietetic internship and eventually moving to DC.

Grape on the day I bought her.
Why on earth would I buy a minivan? She came to me in great shape with 75,000 miles and every adult influence in my life told me I should buy her. In the end, I'm glad that I did. Grape and I drove 40,000 miles together in the almost 5 years that I had her. In that time, I also fit everything I owned inside of her and moved myself 5 times:  NY--> Hershey --> Silver Spring --> Dupont Circle --> Baltimore --> Navy Yard.

I had a lot of tears and laughs in Grape, as she was with me for some major life transitions - graduating college, surviving a break up and my dietetic internship, moving to new cities to start new jobs, going back to and finishing grad school and then finally, starting real life. She never once failed to get me where I needed to go. For that, I'll always be grateful!

On the other hand, over the years I spent a few thousand dollars fixing the minimum amount of things it took to keep her running. I spent 3 horrific DC summers driving without air conditioning and 3 years parallel parking her into extra large spaces on the street. As a minivan driver, I was disrespected and misunderstood by other drivers.  (Although I could always go whatever speed I wanted because who pulls over a minivan?!)

I've had a few thoughts about getting a new car before the summer since my commute is now over 20 miles each way and I don't think I can do it without AC. Those thoughts have been quickly abandoned though when I remember that I don't have car payments.

A couple weeks ago, Grape started making a violent, machine gun noise whenever we went over 50mph:


When I took her into the shop, they told me she needed $2000 worth of repairs. I got it down to $1200 and then stood outside for an hour on the phone debating whether I should fix her or look for a new car. I decided to get a second opinion near work - things are cheaper out in Vir-geeenia.

I'll never forget the conversation with the second mechanic:

Guy: I have some bad news about your van.
Me: Haha, what besides what I already know?
Guy: Well, technically speaking, this van is totaled. It is not legal to drive it like this. Your struts and shocks are completely blown, sway bar links are broken, there's fluid pouring out of your missing oil cap and busted power steering hose, your muffler looks like Swiss cheese and your brake lines are so bad that you are literally ONE POTHOLE away from not having brakes. Those are the things we could fix here.
Me: Wow.
Guy: But first you would have to take it to a body shop because your strut tower - actually the entire frame of the car - needs to be replaced.
Me: Oh...
Guy: Ma'am, it's time to put this van out to pasture.

I felt mostly relief that I did not have to make and second guess a decision - I had no choice but to get a new car!

That process was as painful as expected, but I quickly narrowed it down to a new Mazda 3 or Honda Civic. Thanks to Jimmy's negotiating skills and moral support from friends, just 6 days after Grape died  I was signing a new baby into my life!


So farewell, my Magic Eggplant.

Grape on her last day.
And welcome to the world, Walter!

He's a 2014 Honda Civic EX. I can't convey how excited I am that this car will be all mine in just 66 months. :P

Besides being super fun to drive and ridiculously luxurious compared to Grape, Walter looks like a champ.

Looking good on the first night at home:

Looking good in the parking lot at work:

Looking good on the streets of Old Town:

And looking good even in Baltimore!

I'm excited.

Now all I need is one of these...  ;)