His and hers

Shawna and I had talked a bit about the idea of his/hers Honda Civics. While we both thought the idea was interesting, she wasn’t really having much of it. Her Chrysler 300C HEMI was quite a bit nicer than a Civic. We also felt we needed a four-door car for occasional passengers.

But then I found out that the Civic EX-L version has leather and heated seats! Once I mentioned that, she was all over it. So we threw out the idea of having a four-door altogether and decided on a second two-door Civic. The EX-L model comes standard with an automatic transmission. So hers is an automatic and mine is a stick. I’m sure that will at least mess me up once in awhile with me either trying to hit the clutch in hers or forgetting to in mine.

The vehicle pictured is identical to the one we got for her today. I call it the “princess” edition. And her Chrysler 300 is going to find a new home somewhere.

While two new cars at once would normally be a little unreasonable. We had very good trade-ins. I think we traded both cars in at a very good place in their lives. And we got a fair price for them.

Actually it really seemed that the two-door EX-L was just meant to be hers. These are very hard to find in the two-door models. We went to the only dealer in the area who had one. We arrived at 10:10am. And when we arrived our salesperson told us that she had an appointment with a man to buy this very car at 10:00am. But he was late because he got called into work. We literally bought it out from under him. He showed up while we were finishing up our negotiations.

New car

A few days ago I parted with my 2006 Mustang in favor of a new 2012 Honda Civic.

Things change a little bit when a single-person one-car situation turns in to a married-couple two-car family.

When we got married, Shawna had a nice 2006 Chrysler 300 with 90,000 miles on it. And I had a 2006 Mustang with just over 80,000 miles. Both great cars. But as I was thinking about practicality and the future, I sort of figured that one really nice car is enough. Our other car should be more sensible and more economical.

While a smaller two-door car would be ok for us most of the time, we know there will be times when we need something larger with four doors. So the logical choice was to trade in my Mustang on an economy car. Then just keep the Chrysler 300 for those times when we need a four-door.

So I started thinking about trading in the Mustang on something more lower-end. I was initially leaning toward a Nissan Versa or a Toyota Yaris. But we decided to go a notch or two up with the Honda Civic. We found one online at a local dealer that was two years old and “certified pre-owned” with only 12,000 miles on it. A four-door Civic with an automatic.

We went to the dealer with a pretty solid plan for negotiating. We decided if they didn’t meet our price requirements that we would just flat walk out. Turns out they had sold the car we wanted. So instead we started eyeing a brand new bright red two-door Civic with a 5-speed.

Oddly enough, the price of a two year-old used Civic was not very different at all from the price of a new one. After talking to a number of people about this, it seems to be true. The used car market is weird right now when you’re looking for low-mileage cars.

Their asking price for the new car wasn’t bad. But they initially made a pretty low offer for the trade-in allowance on the Mustang. However we knew exactly what it was worth. So we held firm and sent the sales person back to his boss about four times before they finally came back and gave us a good price.

While we said yes on the deal, we said no on virtually all the options and extras they wanted to sell us. There was an extended warranty, undercoating, clear bra, and a bunch of other things. We said no to everything except one. That was the theft protection where they etch a serial number into all the glass in the car so that it makes identification and recovery easier. Since Honda Civics are near the top of the list of cars being stolen these days, it made sense.

So far Shawna has been driving the new Civic to work each day since she has the longer commute. And we’ll probably take the Honda on most longer trips like up to the Portland area. Should work out rather well and also prevent adding too many miles to the Chrysler 300.

Yippee!

Communication in the modern age

I recently read a little article titled something like “Phone calls are rude”. The point of the article was that calling someone on the telephone demands immediate, undivided attention. Whereas other forms of communication we use today like instant messaging, text messaging, email, and many others do not. I find this to be an interesting topic.

Then a few weeks ago I was working on a fairly urgent project. I was waiting on a file from someone that worked for another agency. I emailed him to ask if he would please let me know just as soon as the file was available so I could do my thing. I then went to work from home for the afternoon because I was expecting a delivery.

Well, I never received notice the the file had been made available. So our deadline came and went and there was a fair amount of hardship caused as a result.

The following Monday I came into the office to find a voice mail from this person at the other agency. They had called my on the telephone to tell me that this necessary file was available. Gah! Had I received that message in a timely fashion, I could have met the deadline. But I did not receive the message until it was too late.

I don’t ever check my work voice mail from home. Compared to email… I almost never use the phone at work period. I might receive one phone call every couple of weeks if that. So checking my voicemail from home would never occur to me. Nothing important ever gets done that way anymore.

In addition to that… I made my request to this person via email. I can’t really avoid the blame for not getting the message. But when you ask a question in email, don’t you normally expect the response to come via email?

Malice

A couple of months ago, Shawna got in a bit of a fender bender. She changed lanes and didn’t see the car next to her. It seemed like fairly minor damage, but the repair bill was around $2,000. So a couple of weeks ago we paid the $500 deductible to get it fixed. The body shop did a wonderful job. It looked great.

Then a couple of days ago… I noticed that someone had KEYED her car… right where the damage had been. We’re talking a significant wavy scratch about two feet long. We got an estimate on fixing the scratch… $780.00!!

This makes me pretty angry. I don’t think a complete stranger would have done this. Hard to say. I guess I just don’t understand the motivation behind it. It’s probably not fair to suspect anyone specific without evidence.

Every time I see that scratch, I get a little angrier. I just cannot fathom that level of malice. The idea of karma comes to mind. While that term is derived from eastern religions… the concept is true. Whoever did this will reap what they have sown.

Wow

A ton has happened in the four months since my last blog post. I got married to a wonderful woman. We’ve merged our households, our finances, and our lives. It’s been a completely enjoyable and exciting process.

I think there’s always something in us that, when going through a period of excitement, waits for things to get back to normal. But normal is no longer the same. It’s a *new* normal. Yippee! Still figuring out what that new normal really is. But so far it’s pretty cool.

One of my best friends from my high school days (who I had not seen in about 25 years) drove about 550 miles with his wife to come to our wedding. That was pretty awesome.

Fairy tales

Shawna and I have been dating for 6 weeks. It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been that long. A lot of ground has been covered. And we are both quite committed to a relationship together. I think the term “soulmate” could begin to describe how we feel about one another.

We have both essentially been alone for the last 10 years. And neither of us has had much experience in relationships. So for us… this is pretty new. We’ve never really been here before. It’s kind of funny that two 50-year olds could meet and find romance that feels very much like a first-of-a-kind experience. But it seriously does to both of us.

God is good. As we talk about how each of us feels about things, and our life experiences, it seems as if He’s been preparing us for each other. I had given up on the idea that there is one perfectly-matched person out there for each of us quite a long time ago. I just stopped believing it. Sort of like you stop believing in fairy tales.

Well in all honesty… my relationship with Shawna has made me a believer once again. At least I believe that God is still in the match-making business. There is no other explanation for what has been happening between us. It’s as if we were designed for each other.

Dating – take 3

I’m currently involved with a new person I met via Plenty of Fish. She would be my third. So while my last entry was titled “take 2″… an entry about this new person would be “take 3”.

It’s a little funny. This new person actually read my take 2 blog entry. She said she was hoping there would be no take 3 entry for her. But here it is… take 3.

The good news is… I’m not writing about the end of things. I’m writing about the beginning.

I would have never believed that two people could have so much in common. It’s almost weird. Because of recent experience, I know what a difficult relationship is like. Seeing the contrast is very valuable. Think “night and day” and you won’t be far off.

Naturally, the future is unknown. But for the first time in a very long time… hope is in abundance.

Dating – take 2

I’ve had a number of contacts in the five weeks that I’ve been a member on the Plenty of Fish dating site. Many never went far for various reasons. I prefer to focus on one person at a time. So I’ve been out of circulation during much of that time. At this point there have only been two women that I’ve focused on.

I recently ended communication with the second. This was the first contact I’ve met face to face.

We knew each other for one month, although we had only four dates. Long story short… I got dumped.

A number of years ago I learned the hard way that when someone expresses doubts about a relationship, it’s best to simply accept it, say goodbye and move on. Although there might be an instinct to try and salvage things, that can have bad results down the road.

One thing I know… I do not want to be in a relationship where the other person isn’t certain they want to be there.

I’ll admit that I’ve made a number of good-sized mistakes in my dating experiences so far. But I am determined… I will get better at this. I’ve been dumped twice now in a little over a month. And I haven’t died. It actually makes one feel rather alive. And it sure beats what I’ve been doing.