Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Widow’s Impulse Purchase



I’ll give you a tip: Never walk through the showroom of a dealership unless you’re prepared to be wowed by their newest acquisition and never, ever ask the salesman you’ve bought your last few vehicles from what your trade-in value is on your present car unless you’re prepared to be pleasantly surprised. In the past I've never bought anything over hundred bucks without researching it and sitting on the decision for a day or two but on Wednesday I broke that unwritten Rule of Life here in Jean County. And how did that happen? I’m not sure beyond the fact that my Malibu needed its 15,000 miles maintenance done and I left the place with an agreement to buy a brand new Chevy Trax mini SUV. All I had left to do to own the thing was to arrange for insurance, local the title for the Malibu, get the money from the bank and return the next day. I got a great deal! Minus the trade-in and GM Family First discounts and rebates, the SUV now sits in my garage for just $9,000 out of pocket. Using Jean Math I’m also deducting my income tax refund from that which drops the 2015 Trax down just under $6,000. 

There goes the money for the trip to Alaska I was thinking strongly about going on next summer and good-bye to a new iPad. That purchase is getting put on hold---again---until I can sell a few more things on e-Bay. There’s irony in waiting for an iPad, though, because the Trax has built-in Wi-Fi. I still can’t wrap my mind around that feature. It even has a phone apt that lets you lock/unlock the doors, hit the horn and flash the lights plus remote start the vehicle. I would say the only thing you can’t do in that mini SUV is fry eggs but that would be a lie because it has a household plug to run a printer or whatever appliance you want including an electric frying pan. That should come in handy should I ever find myself living in my car. 

Impulse purchase or not, after a life time of driving pickup trucks and full sized SUVs I haven’t felt safe in the Malibu and it certainly has contributed to me being afraid to drive in snow these past two winters. I’ve also missed having cargo space, sitting up high enough to see ahead in traffic and having a back-up camera. It should be a law that everyone over seventy has a back-up camera, especially those of us who have driveways with blind spots. The neighborhood mothers can rest easier now that I’m no longer the old lady backing up on a driveway that tempts kids on tricycles to go "weeeee!" all the way down the incline. 

When I bought the Malibu a few months after Don died, it was the first major purchase I made with the exception of a cemetery stone and at the time I couldn’t get rid of our Traverse with the wheelchair lift fast enough. If I could have left his memory service and sold it on the way home I would have. It was depressing me to see keep seeing the place where the EMTs worked on him just before transferring Don to their ambulance a week or so before he died. I sold the Traverse to a relative for a few thousand over trade-in value, saving them a ton of money over dealership prices. They were (and still are) happy and for a while I was happy, too, to be driving the little Malibu. But over time I realized I missed having haul-stuff-around space inside. But mostly, I seriously missed feeling confident and safe driving in the winter. 

What worried me the most about buying the Trax isn’t that I bought it on impulse, although this is so out of character for me that if I had kids they’d probably think it’s time to put mama in assisted living where I couldn’t write checks or even go shopping without an escort. No, what worried me is that I might pull the same impulse buying trick when I toured a condo a few days later.  A house is definitely something you don’t want to buy on impulse! The condo, as it turns out, was in a neighborhood that was baron of any trees or landscaping and I hated all the dark wood floors, dark painted walls and black marble counter-tops. I wasn’t remotely interested in living there even though it was a zero steps concept condo which is second on my ‘must have’ list just under it being a pet friendly community. Thankfully, I didn’t make two major purchase on impulse in one week. Even I would have wondered about my mental health had I done that.  ©

The Great Debate:  Please weigh in on the great sweater debate going on in my head. Is this toddler sweater doomed to win the ugliest sweater contest or something else? I had fun making up the color blocking as I went along but I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed (or not) to give it to the senior hall craft sale and more importantly, make any more crazy sweaters to donate. (Note: The green didn't photograph well. It's a clear, primary color green.)



24 comments:

  1. Love your new SUV. Good for you. It's good to buy something that you want now and then. You'll enjoy going places when the weather gets better far more than you did in your car.

    I think the sweater is cute. Kids wear some colorful things these days so this would fit right in as far as colorful. I'm guessing that's your issue? All the colors.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Now that the shock of buying something that expensive on impulse is wearing off, I know I made a good decision and it's one I can live with until I'm probably too old to drive anymore.

      Yes, the crazy colors in the sweater is what I was worried about.

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  2. I love the sweater! It's the kind of sweater I dressed my kids in! And my mother used to knit them. And I remember her saying "are you sure you want those colors?!" Primary colors are great and the buttons are the cherry on top! It will be well loved!
    I'm not convinced your survey answers were tallying properly: I checked that I loved the sweater but that wasn't what showed. And then I think I confused it (as much as you can confuse a computer) by wanting to see the results.
    I think sometimes we do things and we think they are impulsive but there probably has been a lot of thought that got you to be in the showroom of the dealership. You did, after all, mention that you didn't feel comfortable in the Malibu.
    I drive a Toyota Yaris (think small) and because I car pool with others to weekly band practice, I get to ride in SUV's with all kinds of equipment and visual aids and beeps and remotes. In my car, I lock the door by pressing a latch on each door and I wind the window with the handle! The SUV's have heated seats (which I don't really like) and a button to open the truck. I'm impressed! I'm sure you will feel a lot more comfortable in winter driving conditions.
    Regards, Leze

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    1. Thanks for the feedback on the sweater. When you live alone sometimes you just need an outside opinion!

      I just read in the owner's manual that the Trax has heated seats, too. I can't image ever using them because I'd think "fire" all the time. LOL Don't like electric blankets for the same reason.

      I thought I'd trade in the Malibu on its 5th birthday in two years so the decision to trade to a small SUV was made in my mind. I walk through the sales room every time I go for service, to chat with the salesmen, but it was a total shock to me that I bought the Trax this week. When the sales guy asked how the Malibu was working out I told him it didn't have enough storage space and I didn't feel safe driving it in the winter, and he said, "I have just what you need" and he took me back to where they prep cars for the sales lot. Then he did some figuring and gave me a total after all the discounts, etc., I though, "Why not?" It was just the quick! But I know it will change my life in the winters.

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  3. Yay on the Trax! Good for you! Also....LOVE my heated seats...try it!

    Also love the sweater. My granddaughter is so fussy about her clothes it's hard to know what she will like..very opinionated. And my boys look at old photos and roll their eyes at how I dressed them. Too bad. At Toddler age it's about how the parents want their kids to look. LOL

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    1. The more think about the trax the more I like it and the timing on buying it. There is so much to learn with the WiFi and phone apt and new features that I wouldn't want to be doing all that in a couple of years. I plan to keep this car for a long time as I don't put many miles on a car anymore. It's even got that airplane coating on it so any dents, pits, scratches, window chips etc., are fixed for free.

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  4. Yay! Congratulations on your new SUV! Now get into that beauty and drive south to show it off to your nieces:)

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    1. Thanks! I will be headed south for Charlie's birthday party and if I can't get the phone apt and WiFi set up by then I might put Curt to work on it.

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  5. Hi Jean. Zoom, zoom with your new car. Tomorrow I take my Bumble Bee Camero out of it's garage out of winter's hibernation. I'll be zooming down the road also. Have a wonderful Sunday my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Paul. Next time I see a Camero on the road I'll think of you enjoying your ride.

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  6. AWESOME! I've been thinking about something SMALLER here in Maui. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the grandmothermobile (Honda minivan) in Portland...but that might be overkill here. I want a small SUV that is easy to get in and out of (kneesles ... and cars are just a LOT of work) .... I'm going to check out the TRAX!

    And I love the sweater. I would wear it!

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    1. I don't know how the Honda and Trax compare in size but I know the Trax is going to be prefect for me.

      Thanks for the sweater feedback!

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  7. Jean :

    congratulations on buying your SUV I think you made right decision you. Sometimes impulse decisions are the correct ones. both sweaters looks great

    Asha

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    1. Thanks, Asha...that's really one sweater, front and back.

      The more I think about it and get to know the new Trax the more I know I made a great decision. Things like sliding my recycling out of the cargo space will be so much easier than lifting them out of the low trunk in the car. And having a back window wiper and heater---I've really missed those in the winter.

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  8. I like the sweater too. I have a greatgranddaughter who would love it. Good for you.

    I drive a Dodge Grand Caravan and I love it. I can use it as a passenger vehicle and change it into a truck when I have a load of stuff. Best yet, I can go through quite a bit of snow if I need to and it's big enough that no one tries to intimidate me. Here in the frozen Northland we get a lot of the white stuff most years.

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    1. I'll say one thing, making up the color blocking on the sweater as I went along sure made it interesting to work on. If/then I do another one I'm going to make the back plain, though, to make it go faster. I took out almost as much as I knitted. LOL

      I would feel safe and like I could drive through anything with a Dodge Grand Caravan. Awesome vehicle. With my Trax, I'll be able to sign up for a refinishing class I've wanted to take or put a bike in the back. So much more versatile than a car.

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  9. OMGosh--the sweater is wonderful! My 3 year old grand son would love it!!! Kids like shirts and sweaters and jackets like that. Good job on the car deal--you did great!!!

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    1. I have so much yarn left over from making that sweater, I have to make some more so I'm thrilled that you think kids will like crazy combinations like that.

      I've known the car dealer for over a decade, we'd see him every time we'd get service on our previous vehicles. Everyone there treated Don like gold and I trust them not to over charge me.

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    2. I climbed into the passenger seat of a friend's car and off we went. All of a sudden, I felt my neather-parts getting warm. I wiggled a bit and she said, "Like my heated seats?" I breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Lordy! I thought I was having the beginnings of an orgasm!" Maybe you will like your heated seats?

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    3. Too funny, Judy. Oh, my gosh, now I at least have to try the heated seats. All kidding aside I've never liked leather seats because they are so cold in the winter. The Trax doesn't have leather but it's never been an upgrade I wanted.

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  10. First: I like the sweater. Very nice.

    Second: Congrats on you new SUV. Use it in good health.

    Adult kids pay attention when Mom starts making uncharacteristic decisions, especially when Mom lives alone, and especially when those decisions involve money.

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    1. I would hate having an adult kid start paying attention to what I buy but I can understand why it happens and in some cases it's justified. One of my elderly in-laws was writing so many checks to charities her son finally stepped in to put a stop to it.That just took her one more step closer to their decision to put her in assisted living. Thankfully, when I told one of my nieces about the new Trax she said, "Good! You'll be safer in it than that little car." That other one read about it here. I can't get away with anything. LOL

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  11. Congratulations on your new car! Sounds like that rare thing -- a painless car purchase.
    I also love the sweater, and I can imagine a lot of fashionable mothers (or doting grandmothers) being willing to pay very good money for it.
    Regarding family members weighing in on car purchases: When I first told my electronics engineer brother that I was interested in the new hybrid Toyota, the Prius (this was in 2001), he scoffed, saying that the technology would never work and that it wouldn't pay off economically. By the time I traded my first generation Prius in for a new 2014 Prius, he had changed his tune -- and I had learned to take his opinions with a large grain of salt. (As someone who has always preferred compact and sub-compact cars, the idea of a Malibu as a little car boggles my mind.) -Jean

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    1. Want to hear something funny. The Trax is actually shorter than my Malibu, judging the space it takes up in the garage. Where's it's bigger is the useable cargo space. The front and back seats fold down completely flat and you have all that room from the cargo space in back to the front to put something long like a bike or kayak. The Trax is heavier and has bigger tires, though, than the Malibu which should make a difference in the winter.

      My niece has a Toyota hybrid and just loves it. It sure is a nice running car to ride in. Because the pension money that I get comes from GM, I will always buy from their line of cars/trucks. That's funny that you were more forward thinking than your engineer brother back in 2001. I really do wish we'd move faster as a country on switching over to hybrids and get off our oil dependance quicker.

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