Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ruby Car

Well, as you can plainly see, I did not manage to keep up with my ambitious start to documenting each and every day of our month-long road trip. Now we are home and I have some other things to write about, so I'm moving on. I hope to go back and fill you in on the rest of the highlights of the trip, but we shall see.

So, on to the latest happenings.

Our beloved 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager, Ruby, survived the 5,000 + roundtrip drive from Ann Arbor to the Oregon Coast. At the time of our return, just one week ago today, she had driven over 216,000 miles. Before our trip, I just wanted to hang on to Ruby as long as possible, to drive her until she could drive no more. But my heart changed on our trip. She began to leak more and more oil. After one night on Dan's mom's driveway, she had hemorrhaged so much dark fluid that we moved her to the street. The same thing happened after one night in my parents' garage. It was like having a child that you thought was potty trained pee on someone's clean carpet. Her sliding door handle, which used to need to be slammed back into place every month or so, deteriorated to the point of requiring a hard slam or kick every time we wanted to use it. One night on the Oregon Coast her front windshield cracked while we were sleeping, grinning crookedly at us the next morning. On the freeway just outside of Boise, the rearview mirror fell right off without warning (we were able to glue it on the next day). On the final 4 days of our journey, she developed a greasy film across her entire backside, Dan believes from all the burning oil coming out the exhaust pipe. We had to put a new quart of oil in her every single day to get home. By the time we got to Michigan, I just wanted to let her rest in peace. I didn't have the heart to keep putting more money into this poor dear, already so long past her life expectancy.

We had decided before the trip to buy a newer used car in March or April of next year (tax return season), but a day after we got home I started looking on craigslist for something we could buy right away. For awhile the big debate was whether to buy a car we could afford to pay cash for ($5000 or less), which would be newer than Ruby, but still pretty old, or to get a loan and buy something newer. I have wanted the latest safety features, especially side curtain airbags for the second and third row of seats, and to get that we would need to purchase a 2005 or newer Odyssey. Those appeared to be selling for around $18,000 to $20,000. As an afterthought we checked the Honda website and discovered that for just a few more days, we could get a 2008 Odyssey with financing at 2.9% for 5 years. We would have had to pay a much higher interest rate to buy a used car, so we decided to look into that. We ended up getting a brand new van for just $22,000.

Friday, August 29, was the big day when we took our Ruby for her last drive with the family and traded her in for our new "baltic blue" Honda Odyssey, which has yet to be named. The boys are still struggling to forgive us for our betrayal of loyal and brave Ruby car. Esther is pretty fine with it. On Saturday, when I took her to the store in our new car, she just kept saying: "Ruby car all broken. Uncle Jake get new blue car." "Uncle Jake" is Jake Morse, the fine young sales associate at the dealer who sold us our new car. He was only 3 weeks out of training, and it was the first car he's ever sold (he's not really Esther's uncle). I feel pretty guilty to have given up on Ruby, too, but Dan and my parents are assuring me that the decision made sense. I can't tell you how almost obscene it feels to drive this beautiful new car. In one afternoon we upgraded 15 years and almost 200,000 miles.

We are having trouble choosing a name for our new family member. Dan wanted Ulysses or possibly Homer. I wanted Sapphira at first, then Bella, Penelope, and now I'm settled on Babe (Paul Bunyan's big blue ox). The boys wanted Sapphire and now Neptune. Please write in with your vote. And if you see Ruby getting destroyed at the next demolition derby, I'd rather not know.