Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Christine Does the Math

Oh, my life is completely weird now. I'm typing this on the back deck, trying to be invisible, while a very nice couple from Delaware tours the house. Since Ron has accepted a reporting job with the San Francisco Business Times, life has taken on an odd quality: a combination of Alice in Wonderland and two months of final exams.

And it's getting weirder as Ron and I dismantle our life in Michigan. Working From Home + No Car + House Showings = Christine Huddled on the Back Porch. Or as an alternate formula: Benny + No Car + House Showings = Christine Fleeing to the Park. We sold the Jeep last week, so we're down to Ron's small Saturn, which he uses to get to work.

I'm not cranky about it (really) because I'm pathetically grateful that the Jeep sold so quickly. Gas prices are at $3.18 a gallon, which doesn't help the SUV market. I drove our 2004 Jeep Liberty over to the dealership last week, praying for a decent sale price since we still owed more than $10,000 on it.

The used car guy inspected it, then sat behind his desk and looked at me as if his best friend just died.

"I'll give you $7,000," he said.

I blinked. "That's considerably below blue book," I said. Which it was, blue book being around $9,700.

"There's something wrong with the steering," he said. "And the oil changes aren't up to date. That really hurts the value."

I was floored. "But I'm only three weeks overdue."

He shook his head. "Doesn't matter. It's indicative."

"You're kidding," I said. "You're cutting down the price because of three weeks?"

All I got was a flat stare. "I can cut you a check in 20 minutes," he said.

I stood. "Thank you, but no, I don't think so." I stomped out, irritated with myself. I should have had the oil changed, and probably cleared those bits of mulch out of the back, too. Actually, I couldn't have sold the Jeep that minute anyway, since it was in Ron's name, but I wasn't telling Used Car Guy that. Creep. Blondist. Probably is mean to his dog, too.

I went home, chugged a Snapple and called another Jeep dealership. I described our Liberty to the used car manager, Ron N., who got excited when I said the mileage was 36,000. "If it looks good," Ron said, "I can give you $10,000."

"OK," I said casually, if a little breathlessly because I was dancing around the living room. "I'll stop by."

I raced right over and Ron N. confirmed the sale price. Then I raced home and tore the house apart looking for the Jeep's title. Couldn't find it, so Ron (husband Ron) had to drive to the Secretary of State in Canton (Mich., not China) and get a duplicate title. But the next night we sold the Jeep, and wrote a check for a few hundred dollars to cover the rest of the car loan.

So I'm not crabby about sharing the Saturn with Ron, although it's hard not having a car to stuff laundry and dirty dishes in when I'm showing the house. And it is really nice sitting out here under the trees, watching a soft breeze blowing our neighbor's huge camouflage drapes around. (1) After all, Benny's not around today and the formula is simple: Benny At Daycare + No More House Showings = Christine Popping Open a Beer on the Deck.

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1) Oh, the angst. The people living diagonally from us built a huge addition last year, with giant windows looking straight into our next-door neighbor's back yard. This gave our next-door neighbors the heebie-jeebies when they were relaxing in their gazebo or walking beside their little pond. So next-door neighbors hung giant camouflage draperies on one tree to block the view. They change the colors in accordance with the seasons. I'm thinking of buying them pith helmets with leafy branches as a going-away gift.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

You go! Way to tell that Jeep dealer guy what's what! Whoo!