Birthday, A Recap

The Great:

Breakfast at the Mason Jar.  Have y’all ever been there?  I swear, I had eggs, bacon, home fries, biscuits and gravy, and a drink for like four dollars.  And it was so much food I almost couldn’t eat it.  An amazing amount of food.

Giving Little Pasture a Guatamalen baby.  God bless Brittney Gilbert for being up for anything.  We called her to tell her we were coming and that woman was in on the plan instantly.  And boy did she sell that she’d found something weird.

Brownies and ice cream.  Mack’s people made me brownies and ice cream for my birthday.

The kid who was peeking under the dressing room doors at the Goodwill, who, when he got caught, would not talk to anyone or do anything except stand there staring at his shoes as hard as he could.  So cute.

How I was trying to talk to my dad on the phone and Mack and his kids were all, at various points, also trying to talk to my dad on the phone.

When I called the Man from GM to ask him about how much more money I should put into my car, he said “About five dollars.  I think you can get a good ‘for sale’ sign for five dollars.”

The look on Mack’s face when I asked the Man from GM what kind of car he really likes and thinks a person should get and he said, “A Town & Country.”  Mack’s whole face scrunched up like he’d just tasted poo.  Pooh?  I guess Pooh probably tastes like honey.  So, it must be poo.

The Sucky:

My car.  It’s as aligned as it can be because I’ve got some other front end problem I can’t afford to get fixed.  And when I asked the guys at the dealership how I can tell if putting another five hundred dollars into it would fix the car to the point where I could at least drive it until it was paid off or if this was just the start of it being a never-ending money pit, the one guy said, well, to get your oil leak fixed is bound to be another $400, so, really you’re probably looking at $900 to bring it up to good condition, but you don’t have to do that right away.

And here’s the thing.  I love my car.  I don’t mean that I love my car as some tool that helps me in my day to day life.  I mean, when I turned it on last night and the dashboard lights flickered on and off a few times like they couldn’t decide if they were going to come on and stay on, I talked as sweet to that car as I’ve talked to lovers resting on my breast, coaxing it to just keep going, a little more, to get me home.

Having a car makes me feel free.

There’s that.

Then there’s the fact that I am not used to and have a hard time accepting when there’s just something I don’t know about.

Mack’s all “We’ll just get you a new car.  I can work a deal.  Blah blah blah fix-it-cakes.” and I’m standing there getting more and more frustrated and, frankly, scared because it makes no sense to me, none at all, that you can get a car when you still owe money on the car you have, which is, apparently, falling apart as fast as I can come up with the money to keep putting it back together.

I see Mack’s mouth moving.  I hear the words coming out.  I talk to the Man from GM.  He also seems to think this would be a reasonable course, considering the circumstances.

And I cannot wrap my brain around it.  It makes no sense to me. 

Mack and the Man from GM might as well be saying, “Purple buzzards lick red flowers.”  The words are words I recognize.  I get that that’s a sentence, but it has no meaning to me; it just sounds like nonsense.

I find that sensation really scary–this feeling like I have to make a decision about a subject I know nothing about.  And reading up is not going to help me because I cannot understand the basic concepts that underlie whatever it is I’m reading about.

I don’t get this at some elementary level.

And I really, really need to.

19 thoughts on “Birthday, A Recap

  1. Much like taxes and real estate and loans and other stuff that gives me a headache, I don’t really understand the getting-new-car-while-still-owing-for-one stuff either.

    But what you said about your dashboard lights flickering freaks me out, and I know you love your car, but I think it would probably be more prudent to get something you don’t have to baby or even think about whether it’s going to do what it’s supposed to for a while. After driving cars for the last 4-5 years that I was no longer comfortable driving out of town, I may hate this new car payment but I do love the fact that, for at least a while anyway, I should be able to get in that thing and drive it wherever without having to think about the car at all, or listen for any sound that doesn’t sound right, or any number of other things one does in that situation. Instead of feeling constantly worried, I finally feel free.

    And what The Man from GM said about the five dollars – CLASSIC. Ha!

  2. Stop whining, and send me your personal financial info. I’m trading today too, so I can work two deals at once. I have work to do at the barn, then i’m going to see my guy. Get your head around the fact that you are doing a smart thing, then voila! instant calm.

  3. This wasn’t exactly the “adventure” I was picturing for you when you told me that you were going to go on one for your birthday.

    Sorry about your luck, man.

    Saturday night will be much better, especially when I get you up on the stage to sing a duet with me.

  4. Heh. The house across the street from us is a rental. A formerly nice single-family house divided into two. The owner keeps renting to these total losers who wreck the place, neglect the yard (not that I would care, but when there’s a poke salad farm over there seeding onto everyone else’s yard, oof), then sneak out in the middle of the night and stiff him on the last couple of months’ rent. Right now both sides are empty, and the cool people next door to it have a friend who wants to buy it, live in it, and rehab it — so good for the block, and for him, and for the current owner, because he keeps not getting paid his rent. But he won’t sell it, because it isn’t paid off yet. Even though he could get so much by selling it that he could pay off the rest of the mortgage and still triple his investment. Because he doesn’t understand selling something before it’s all paid for.

    I realize that we aren’t talking about profits for you on this deal. But I’m with Mack, who has the wisdom that comes with age. Trade it in!

  5. I feel you on the sellling something when you owe more than it’s worth. I don’t get it either, but my dad broke it down for me once. I hate to feel rushed on a decision.

    Repair costs+monthly payment= $$ from budget

    Revised monthly payment= $$ from budget

    Which choice is cheaper in the short run for your monthly budget?

    How will your choice affect your monthly budget in the long run?

    Financial decisions like this always make me feel a little nauseus and like I’m a gambler in Vegas. Roll the dice, take a chance, make the best decision you can make for now.

  6. *Breakfast at the Mason Jar. Have y’all ever been there? I swear, I had eggs, bacon, home fries, biscuits and gravy, and a drink for like four dollars. And it was so much food I almost couldn’t eat it. An amazing amount of food.*

    Where is this?

  7. Just out of curiosity, what kind of car are you driving? I want to make sure I don’t buy one! Especially since I am considering trading in my current car before it is paid off because’s it’s such a piece of crap! (2000 Saturn LW2 station wagon).

  8. Dang RockyCat – my wife and I were just last night Jonesin’ for a Saturn Vue Green Line (hybrid). You give me pause.

    Oh, and the Mason Jar sounds like just the place I want to go to celebrate when I hit the 50 lbs lost mark :)

  9. Brittney, it’s in Goodletsville, on Hwy 41. You get two eggs, potatoes, ham or bacon, toast or biscuits and gravy, AND coffee, for 3.85

    I love that place. Friendly, and clean too.

  10. B., here’s the most sense I can make out of all of this.
    A car is not a commitment (although it is a financial one.)
    I’m not good at this either (my car is in need of an alignment right now and I haven’t had time. I hope that’s not foolhardy on my part.)
    If you are looking at monthly expenses on a car that doesn’t work, then it’s a relationship that’s not working for you, get a “relationship” that does.
    There always is a price, I guess.Best to pay the price for what works and gives you the freedom.
    That made no fucking sense at all, did it?
    Okay I tried.

  11. It’s funny, to me, at least, the number of different approaches people take to cars and financing of cars. Americans hold cars near and dear, and they are, for most people, as necessary as a stout horse was in the wild West. Here’s the thing, I see merit in the argument of driving a car until it falls apart. However, keeping it running and in a safe condition at some point costs more than replacing it. I do not buy new. I did once, and drove the car for 240000 miles and sold it for 25% of the purchase price. That was a Honda. I know B’s payment. She is comfortable making a car payment, that is, she knows she doesn’t have cash to buy, so I am recommending that she trade while her car has some value to a dealer or other potential buyer. She is slightly “flipped” (negative equity) but not an amount that would keep her from trading. She bought a shitty car to begin with, and she cannot un-ring that bell. She can trade out, slightly extend her term, and keep her payment the same for a 1 yr old car that has warranty and better gas mileage.

    Plus. Mrs. Wigglebottom will look better in a Toyota.

  12. A 2- to 5-year old Honda will last you forever, just about. Unless some oblivious East Nashville idiot runs a stopsign and totals it because he “didn’t expect anyone to be there,” of course.

  13. B, please listen to Mack. Some cars are beyond redemption, and sometimes you just need them out of your life, damn the cost, for your own peace of mind.

    Although I’m more of a Scion man: the poor man’s Toyota. Counting down the days till I get the 08 xB! 35 mpg average, and it’s still basically a Toyota.

  14. We have a Mason Jar in Hendersonville, too, except Ruby sold it it and then couldn’t stand not having it and opened up another restaurant. The one you’re speaking of, I think, is the one where Bill Monroe liked to eat. He liked the pie.

  15. UH……..Mack? Dad? Well, If you love that place, why don’t you take me and eggnog?

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