Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: The Importance of Planning

Maybe I should more accurately title this: A Lengthy Rant Story About the Importance of Planning.
You've been warned. (I promise it's a good story, even if it is ridiculously long. It's full of sarcasm too.)

My husband and I bought a new used car.
It's a VW Jetta Wagon TDI.
That means it's a diesel.
Which means it averages 40 miles per gallon.

Since I've been busier than usual, I decided to turn 90% of this purchase over to my husband to research, find, and plan out. I was basically his sounding board. Anytime he found something he liked, he'd talk to me about it, I would give him my two cents on it, and he'd continue searching and learning all about a few select cars we've been interested in. Then he got really stuck on these Jetta Wagons.

He found one and called it his "white unicorn," because it was exactly what he wanted, down to being painted white. But it was for sale in Georgia. We live in San Diego. California. He even found one in my home town in Tennessee. But again. We live in California.

So he kept looking. On Sunday he found one for sale about 2 and a half hours north from where we live. It was silver though, not white. It didn't matter. He couldn't sleep because he wanted it so badly. He would go back to the website it was listed on and look at it over and over during the day. He looked up the Carfax on it. He called the dealership that it had been exclusively serviced at ever since the previous (and only) owner had bought it. He even forgot to eat a couple of times. I began to wonder if he was falling deeper in love with it than with me.

By the next day (Monday) he'd talked to the guy selling it. He told me he wanted to go up and see it. I realize that having a 4-month-old means we'd need a little extra time to plan and prepare for a short trip up. I mentioned that, suggesting to my smitten husband that he devise a plan.

Silly me. Planning is my strength. Not his. I should have known better than to leave it entirely up to him.

Shortly after I suggested making a plan, Bob walked in the living room and said to me, "Let's just go."

I said okay, slightly concerned because I had a feeling that he hadn't actually planned or packed or prepared in any way to leave. So we threw a day's worth of clothes in a duffle bag, grabbed a few toiletries and diapers, filled our water bottles, then loaded all of it and our pack-n-play in the back of my car. And away we went.

The "plan" was to stay with Bob's sister that night (who lives about 45 minutes from the guy selling the car), and get up on Tuesday morning to go and see/buy the car. (I already knew we'd buy it before we even saw it.) We'd get to see it by 11am, test drive it, and then head home by 1pm at the latest.

We arrived at his sister's, had a nice evening, and went to bed. We got up the following morning and Bob found out that the guy (actually the car itself) wouldn't be available until about 1pm, and he would call us to let us know his address. So we sat around until then. No phone call. We finally got a call from him around 3:30pm. So we loaded up to go see it. We arrived at about 5pm, and find this guy working on something in the driver's side door. The inside panel was removed and he was trying to fix the sensor that 'dings' when the key is in the ignition and the door is open. Apparently it didn't work. And he wanted to fix it. I'm not sure why that was such a big deal to fix, but apparently it was. So the car wasn't ready.

Bob and I and Graham went to eat dinner. We went back around 6:30pm to find the car up on jacks. Bob was losing his patience (mine was gone since I was trying to take care of my sleepy infant son and be Bob's secretary for the day while he drove us and had me take care of whatever his ADD mind thought of while he was behind the wheel and I had his phone). Bob offered to help with whatever it was that needed to get done. I finally got Graham to sleep in his carseat, and then I curled up with a pillow next to him in the back of my car and dozed. By about 8pm the car was off its jacks and we were getting in to test drive it.

Did I mention that this guy was kind of a total back-yard mechanic? I mean, he does decent work, and he's an honest guy, but he doesn't really have the 'salesman' side of things down. Or the 'keeping the interior clean' part. There were greasy handprints all over the back seats, the driver's side door, the windows, the steering wheel. I don't mind if it's not detailed--that takes a hundred or so off the price of the car. But come on--now we have to shampoo and spot clean grease out of the seats and door panel.

Anyway, we got back and I went to feed Graham in my car and try to get him back to sleep. Meanwhile, my talkative husband and this rambling back-yard mechanic talk and talk. Bob finally comes to talk with me about the price, then he goes to pay for it and fill out the paperwork. And they talk some more. By the time we left, it was nearly 10pm.

I was anxious to get home, so we start driving in that direction, me in my car and Bob in his new used love affair car. Then I get overwhelmed by just how exhausted I am and realize that I wouldn't be a safe driver for the next 2+ hours. So we stayed at Bob's sister's house. Again.

By this time we're way out of any breastmilk that we had brought with us for Bob to bottle feed Graham, so I had to get up and nurse Graham at night and in the morning when Bob usually feeds him. The next morning I felt like I didn't get any sleep at all. We got back on the road by 8am Wednesday morning. I had to get things ready for a church activity that night with the girls I'm a leader for. I also needed to clean my house desperately, and shower, and read my blogroll for the past day and a half (there are 56 posts and counting), and write a few more posts to stay ahead, and finish some jewelry for my Etsy shop (because it's embarrassingly bare), among a few other things (like take a nap).

As we're driving, not only am I still groggy and exhausted, but we're dealing with the Los Angeles morning traffic.
I took this with Instagram. Ugh.

I think we averaged 20 miles per hour for the entire 30 miles we drove until suddenly a light turned on next to my speedometer. "A/T OIL TEMP." I called Bob and asked what that meant. My transmission was overheating. Oh, naturally. Naturally my transmission would start to have problems right then.

So around 9am we stop at a gas station and look under the hood. My transmission is dripping like a leaky faucet. Awesome! Bob finds a mechanic and we drive over just to get it looked at and top off the fluid. While sitting in the back of Bob's new car playing with my adorable, happy, red-headed son, I realized that I was starving because I hadn't eaten breakfast. I was just so anxious to get home that I hadn't even thought about it. So when Bob came back from pulling my car into the shop, I said, "I'm hungry and I want a huge breakfast. I deserve it." And I did deserve it. I'd been as patient and gentle and loving as I could be, and I needed something to take care of myself and fill my more than empty belly.

We found a Coco's Bakery Restaurant. I love Coco's. It easily beats to socks off Denny's and Ihop and Cracker Barrel. Combined.

I got my Cinnamon Roll French Toast combo (yes, yes it does exist; see the photo above) and was in heaven... For about 30 seconds until Graham started fussing because it was his nap time.

The mechanic just topped off the transmission fluid for us so we could make it home. We got back on the road by 11:30am. By 12:30 I was struggling to stay awake. Luckily, the well known and beautiful Aliso Creek rest area was two miles away, so we stopped there. I fed Graham, handed him off to Bob, and dozed off in the shady grass under a bunch of trees for almost an hour. I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed, and we continued on. We finally made it a few miles from home, when I called Bob and asked if we could just go ahead and take my car to the transmission specialist before even going home. So we did. And then we ran an errand for the church activity that night. We finally made it home around 3pm.

And then I was busy doing one thing after another until writing this post at 10pm.
How do I just keep going some days?
I must be getting those super powers all moms have.

So, a few good things about this entire experience. (And things I truly and grateful for!)

1. My husband has been apologizing profusely to me about the whole ordeal and has gone above and beyond to help me get what I needed done with the rest of the day after getting home. He did the laundry, started cleaning our bedroom, made me dinner, took care of Graham so I could focus on my other responsibilities, and even drove me up to church. He also promised to try and plan things out better so that this kind of thing won't happen again. (I'm more blessed than I deserve to have found/befriended/dated/married this man!)

2. I'm so glad we decided to stop for that second night. Can you imagine if my transmission had overheated and leaked out completely at midnight-o-clock on the side of the freeway in the middle of far-from-home Los Angeles? Thank goodness I put my son's safety first and took my potentially sleepy driving into consideration.

3. Bob was looking over the receipts and expenses just now and said, "Janae..... Look at this." He showed me the invoice for the shop that topped off the transmission fluid:
Parts:       $22.75
Labor:      $98.00
Discount:  $96.11
Tax:         $0.36
Total:      $25.00
Holy--wait, what??! Yep. The mechanic up there discounted us nearly $100 for no reason other than the fact that he's that awesome. Bob didn't even see it when he first looked at it. Now he feels silly for giving the guy a $5 tip.

4. We got that second car just in the nick-of-time! We still have a vehicle even though Charlene is in the shop getting fixed. The poor girl. She's 14 years old. What? Oh come on. You know your car has a gender and a name too. We're still figuring out Bob's new used car's name. We think it's a boy. I want to name him Jack, but Bob thinks it should be La Volpe. (Yes, we're Assassin's Creed nerds.)

And now, to sleep..........

Linked up on:
The Fontenot Four


  1. First you accuse me of being smitten and having a love affair with this car and then you say you think it's a boy?
    What part of WE HAVE A CHILD doesn't make sense to you?
    I'd be happy to give you a refresher course on just exactly how that fact came to be, if you'd like. And I think you would "like." ;)

    1. Dear sir,
      I see your point. And it is valid.
      Also, I'll be sure to take you up on that refresher course.

      Your Wife

  2. Oh golly. Not sure anything I have to say could follow up that comment, but I just wanted to say kudos to you for being such a supportive wife :) That is something that I look up to you so much for- something that I am still learning. I would have left at the first sign of discomfort- especially with a baby! Well, to be honest that is something that I would have made Jed do on his own! haha :) All in all, I hope you like your new car- that's pretty exciting!

    1. Thanks, Aubrey! You're sweet. At least we learned something from this experience and know what NOT to do now... :)

  3. I'm tired just thinking about it, but then again I likely would have done the same thing. My not quite 4-month-old and I will be heading up to my husband's family cottage next weekend while he is bear hunting, just in case something comes up... lol, the rest of the family will be elsewhere, so I guess it'll be up to me to help out if there is a need. What would they do without us?

    1. Margot, that sounds like fun! And hopefully nothing too eventful happens so that you can relax and enjoy the time there! And yeah, my husband has told me numerous times that he's not sure how he would function without me. Oh men... You've gotta love them. ;)

      Reminds me of a story. My oldest brother's wife went out of town to visit her family once and he had to stay home and work. I went to hang out with him and he told me he was so out of it with her gone that he'd forgotten to wash his hair in the shower that morning. Hahaha! Classic example.