It’s true. Mama did say that there would be days like this. Or like that, I should say.
Those days when you’re at your wits end and just can’t seem to catch a break! For us, it started with the idea that we wanted to lower our car payment. Instead of refinancing a car that wasn’t meeting our needs (although I LOVE my ’09 Escape!), we opted to look for a used Subaru. Initially we went looking for older cars. Subaru is known for 400k+ miles before losing hope, so we didn’t mind those at 120k+. But when we saw a nice VW Passat Wagon at a local Subaru dealer Sunday afternoon, we started to talk seriously. Then they offered 11.9% financing (WHAT?!) and with an offer too low on our Ford and a price too high on the risky turbo engine of a VW, we walked.
I was really sad. Not that I was in love with the wagon, I just really wanted to help Dave lower our monthly payment. I loved the Escape- we’d purchased it right after we got married. Dave drove me to the hospital on all fours in the hatch back, being careful of all the bumps along the way. We loaded our sweet lady into the backseat and drove her less than 5 miles home in her first car ride. The SUV had served us well when we were just a one-dog/one-baby family, but with hopes of expanding and the lack of all or four wheel drive, it wasn’t what we needed. However with the VW, I loved the idea of AWD with the upcoming winter and the station wagon aspect was appealing- lower for Addie to begin to learn to get in and out. But it wasn’t meant to be. After we decided that we would not entertain the VW anymore, I began to sob in the passenger seat of our little SUV. Parked in our driveway I begged for Dave to not be mad that I got us in the position. I felt I wronged him. I brought debt into our marriage, and then medical bills. I was sorry I gave him a child who would continue to cost us so much. I cried because I can’t work full-time and continue all of her therapy and sleep studies, and working part-time won’t cover the cost of childcare. I cried because I trapped us in the catch-22 of never having enough.
He held me and let me cry it out into his shoulder. Then he thanked me for giving him the perfect child and reminded me that we would find the right car for our family- both in budget and size. I dried my eyes and we left to pick Addie up at my in-laws.
Monday came quick and I searched a different local Subaru dealership for used inventory. When I landed on Anchor Subaru, I was shocked at their large selection. I scrolled through 30 pages of different cars, always finding myself staring at the same 2010 Outback. I quickly closed the tab and looked for something a little less in price. With a lower price came other considerations: less space in the older models, higher gas mileage, no warranty, insurance stayed the same, older car than my own, more miles, and the financing package would be significantly worse than a newer vehicle. I weighed my options and called the dealership to inquire about a 2007 Impreza Wagon on Tuesday.
The woman who set up my appointment, Donna, was amazing. She even listened to me prattle on about how my husband was at work, so I couldn’t buy without him and that I had a baby so I wasn’t sure if I could even test drive- at the other dealership, they didn’t offer us the option of trying out our car seat. I could hear her smile as she asked me when I could come in and not to worry about anything. I set my time for 1 and showed up a few minutes after, greeted at the door by a warm smile. Gladimir. “Michelle, I assume?” He held the door and cooed at Addie, bringing out her “blush and tuck” (where she blushes and tucks into me). We talked for a few minutes about what we were looking for and he took my license to make a copy… “could I…” Before I could finish, Gladimir, a father and husband, told me he would unhook my car seat and install it in the car for us to test it out. I grabbed our Rock-a-Baby CD and we laughed and danced a bit as we drove through Lincoln. I loved it!
I called Dave who looked up the car and laughed. “The Impreza Wagon? It’s not big enough.” As I recalled Addie’s car seat barely fitting and the fact that the hatch was too low for our dog, I (again) was deflated. Sure that they had something on the lot, we talked for another hour, discussing different cars and financing options. Finally, Gladimir convinced me to look at a 2009 Forester in dark red. I knew it was Dave’s dream car, so I amused him. Sure that there was no way this car would lower our payments, with Addie a mess from being at the dealership for over 2 hours and me frustrated, I took the paperwork home- ready to search some more. Gladimir was happy to let me think more, and gave Addie a frisbee to play with in the car. She was asleep before we hit the highway.
Wednesday afternoon Gladimir called. Having found two more cars I liked, in the price range that was great (HIGH mileage), I told him I would talk to Dave and see when we could come in. Still unsure if we could do this, I was positive I’d just email him “Thanks, but we can’t”. Talking to Dave Tuesday night, we discussed our growing needs (no, I’m not pregnant yet!) and he agreed settling on a car based on price and AWD would be a mistake. We drive to Delaware twice a year, and Philadelphia at least three times- once being in the dead of winter and once in the beginning of heatwave season. Knowing our needs also included: a 70 pound dog, convertible car seat, the desire to add another car seat in the next year or so, long road trips, severe winter conditions and wanting to lower our car payment, I landed on the 2010 Outback… again.
Thursday morning (at their opening time) I sent Gladimir an email about the 2008 models I’d seen and that I would like to test drive them. He called me almost instantly. We set up a time to meet an hour later and Addie and I rushed around getting dressed. I was sure that one of these 2008 vehicles would be what we wanted. As I pulled in, I saw the silver 2008 Outback- I loved it… but it wasn’t as spacious as I’d hoped. Knowing that Addie will be in her large seat for [most likely] the entire duration of owning this car, I wanted something that a potential sibling would also be comfortable in. I gave Gladimir my “sorry” face and asked if he could pull up the 2010 Outback they had on the lot. His eyes scanned the building… “that’s a lot more than this one,” he said. “Yes… but I want to compare.”
I test drove the 2010 and was convinced. With about 20,000 more miles than my Ford, it was a year younger, rode SO quiet, had AWD, more room than my small SUV, 6 airbags, the best traction control and would do all of the things Dave wanted: lower monthly and lower insurance payments. My one contention was the trade in. I wanted a certain amount, but was offered $1,000 less at the other dealership we’d visited just the weekend prior. I was determined to get a better deal… and with only $200 to put down, I wasn’t sure this would work.
As we sat at Gladimir’s desk I saw his terms… and gave him mine. We talked. He offered a much more fair price for my Ford. I offered a deposit (I guess I bought a car for myself for my birthday?) to get the paperwork started. If it didn’t work out to numbers we liked, I would be refunded on the spot. With Dave texting me “Looks badass,” he completed the financing paperwork online during his lunch and submitted it. Addie and I played with pumpkins, paper and opened and closed the front doors a hundred times throughout the dealership. We made people laugh, we probably annoyed everyone… but then there were solid numbers. Our car was being given a fair price, and we were offered 4% APR! With that knowledge, I called our amazing Nationwide insurance agent, Joe Blaeser, in Coventry and asked him to run solid numbers. $67 savings every 6 months, which would be applied to our next month’s insurance payment. So far: lower payments, lower insurance, better gas mileage, more safety features, more space, a car that holds its value… and it was, in Dave’s terms, badass.
Dave passed along his blessing, and we got everything prepped for us to take the car home that night! When I pulled into the dealership, Dave wasn’t there yet, but I was so excited. I’d left the dealership earlier with this sign being put on the car:
We were able to sign the paperwork in less than 20 minutes because I had taken care of the bigger stuff earlier… and there it was. We were now a Subaru family (Dave drives a 2006 Forester)… and I again, was reminded that my husband will do everything he can to make sure that we are taken care of.
He will give up his lunch break to submit paperwork. He will take the time to research and dream with me… then he makes my dreams come true. After a post on Facebook where I’d listed three cars: possibility, stretch and dream… He’d reached to make the dream a reality. Our baby girl is traveling in style, our sweet boy is riding in the back in comfort and I am driving a safer car, ready to take on a New England winter. A wagon. I’m a wagon-mom. Hear me roar… or don’t… because my car is quiet as a mouse!
I want to thank Gladimir and Anchor Subaru for taking the time we needed to make this decision- three days and lots of hours- and letting us make the decision. I asked to see the newer (read: more expensive) car, and they made it happen for us. It’s never easy to deal with a mom and baby sans the decision maker, but with lots of care and patience, we made it happen!
So- mama said there’d be days like this. Days where nothing goes right and everything falls through. Until it doesn’t. There are so many things on our plate, but a safe car with lower payments is now a concern of the past! Happy 29th birthday to meeeee!!!
I was not offered anything in return for a review. We had a wonderful experience at Anchor Subaru and wanted to share it with you!