A couple of years ago we decided that the next car we would buy would be for DH. What had happened in the past was that we would buy a new car for me and he would have the cast-off old car. (Oh, to be clear, by new we mean new-to-us, definitely not new-new). It was time to get a car that was suited to DH, that he wanted, that would meet his needs. So he went looking.
He has very particular needs in a car. He wanted the car to be newer than the one he had, but not too new. To be mechanically healthy but not too perfect. To be right but still have things that he could fix on it. He didn’t want a fixer-upper but he did want to be able to play with his new toy. He also wanted it to be four wheel drive and to be a wagon. It took a while to find.
After a while DH figured out the type of car he wanted and we started saving. Saving and waiting for the right time.
If you’ve been reading this blog you will know that this year has been pretty intense but despite that, we decided that now was the right time to buy this car.
Now the particular car that he wanted (an Audi Allroad, alright? Just for those who actually want to know) is not very common. And we realised (a while ago) that we were not going to be able to get one for a very good price here in Tassie. If we could get one at all. So we were looking on the Mainland (that’s what Tasmanians call the big island, the main bit of Australia) for possibilities. And if he was going to the Mainland to pick up a car then he could visit DD as well. The mainland is all connected – you can drive anywhere if you have enough time.
And I don’t know if you can tell but this was starting to get bigger than Ben Hur.
But we’re not even into the good part yet.
So, just to let you know, in order to buy a car we needed to redraw money from our home loan, book flights to wherever the car was, book a berth in the ferry back home, oh and actually find a car and agree on a price with the owner, and then do some important things like get it checked by a mechanic, insure it, and stuff like that. And all this had to happen within the school holidays. And being school holidays, the flights would be full and expensive, the boat would be full and expensive, and there was a chance that all of this could not come together at all.
DH said it felt like throwing lego in the air and hoping that it came down as a fully assembled model.
So having spent a year and a half looking at various websites DH looked again and found a car that looked good. Well, he found five and narrowed it down to two and then investigated further and found one. The owner was desperate to sell. He needed to sell now. It had to go this week. So far, so good.
We went to the bank.
‘Yes, you can redraw the money – no problem. It will take about 48 hours. Should be there Friday afternoon, or Monday at the latest.’
DH was intending to fly over on Friday and buy the car. Desperate to sell owner had lined up a second buyer for Sunday (in case we didn’t come through). No money, no car.
We did the maths. If we emptied all our accounts of all the money in them then we could probably still buy the car. It would mean no money at all for a few days but we could do it.
We would do it.
We went home to book the flight and boat.
All Friday flights were sold out. There were some there Wednesday morning, there were none by Wednesday afternoon.
We rang Desperate Owner. ‘Can we come up Saturday instead?’ Desperate Owner said yes.
We booked the flight and the boat.
We organised DH staying with friends Saturday night, driving up to Canberra from Melbourne on Sunday and staying with DD for a couple of days before driving back down to Melbourne and coming home on the boat. That’s a lot of driving in a car that we still hadn’t seen or test driven. Scary.
Contingency plan. If the car isn’t good we shall hire a car to drive and visit DD – the trip is therefore not a waste. It will all be fine.
Friday morning the money came through from the home loan, solving the money problem. At least, we thought so. We rang Desperate Owner and asked if he was happy with a bank cheque but he didn’t answer, so we thought, well, it’s the best way of transporting all that money, and we went ahead. We went to the bank and made out a bank cheque for the majority of the money (leaving some wriggle space).
After the cheque was printed and signed Desperate Owner rang us back. No, he was not happy with a bank cheque. (He had had a bad experience.)
Ah well, we could still empty our accounts and pay him with cash. It’s not the safest but we could do it.
DO rang back. ‘Oh, a bank cheque, not a personal cheque? One guaranteed by the bank? That would be fine.’
We breathe out.
We checked his name. Made out to ….? He said no, that wasn’t his name – it was just the name he went by. His actual name was different.
Back to the bank.
The bank sorted that out. Cancelled the cheque, made out another cheque. Now we were fine, right?
Well by this time we were feeling pretty stressed. Quite stressed. DH went back to the website to look at the car again. This had better be worth it. It was the car he wanted wasn’t it? He plugged in the details and not one, but two cars came up. The car he wanted, the car we were going to buy, the car we had gone through this trouble for, was advertised in a dealership! WHY?
Turns out that Desperate Owner has had a bad experience with a Dodgy car Dealer who had taken the car and paid by cheque only to cancel the cheque and keep the car. (Hence the paranoia about paying by cheque. Totally understandable, as it turns out.) Dodgy Dealer, thinking that he had nice car photos, put them up on the web as bait. Apparently this is a practice (with dodgy dealers) and when you ring about that car he says, ‘sorry, that one’s gone but I have all these other great ones’ and gets sales that way.
Desperate Owner rings Dodgy Dealer and asks him to take the photos down.
We breathe again.
This morning early, but not too early, I dropped DH at the airport and the great adventure started (or maybe continued). I came home and proceeded to wait.
As my sister says, ‘I hate wait’
I could not settle to anything today. No writing, no exercise, no house work, no cooking, no work. I just floated around the house, waiting. So much was invested in today.
DH sent me texts: ‘landed’ ‘on the train’ ‘on the bus’ and then nothing.
I did little jobs to keep me busy: watched some things I had been waiting for the time to watch, washed up. I browsed Facebook, refreshing over and over. I finished reading a book about the old Testament. (Philip Yancey – The Bible Jesus Read. It was good too.) I wrote in my journal. I waited.
Finally, FINALLY I got a text. ‘I have a car.’
Breathe out. It WORKED! We have a new car!
Is he happy with it? Yes. Very happy. He says I’ll love it. He’s driving down the freeway with the sunroof open and the radio blaring and loving every minute.
Now I just need to wait until Thursday to see it.