Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where in The World Was Car Mama?

I like to pretend that I have so many followers that my recent break in posts has distressed more than 2 people. (Thanks, Mom & Dad.) It caused me distress. And stress. Both, actually. Was it noticeable that my posting dwindled in November and is just now picking up in April? I refer to my time off as getting stuck in The Quagmire. But it could be called a hiatus. The Quagmire sounds like a place you don't want to be and hiatus sounds like a place of choice. I did not want to take a break, but stuff kept happening and I got stuck.

Looking back over the years A.C. (After Children), I see a pattern of low work-motivation between December 1 and January 20. It's the Holiday Break. I cram all the Christmas shopping and decorating and school crap into the 24 days prior to Christmas, and then it takes the next 24 days to clean up the house, the garage, and my brain. Even with 50 days off I rarely get Christmas cards out on time -- if at all. This year my Holiday Break lasted an extra few months and became The Quagmire.

Appropriately, most of the stuff that happened to create The Quagmire revolved around cars. In November my Lexus RX300 lost it's transmission. I was returning from a great day of driving cars and my brain was full of witty  thoughts that I was eager to weave into a few great reviews. All that wit and motivation came to a screeching halt along with my Lexus just off Highway 101. The next few days were spent online figuring out what happened and how much it would cost to repair. Lexus Corporate and Lexus of Marin stepped up and helped with some of the costs and I had a very nice RX450H to drive while my RX was being fixed. That loaner lasted through Thanksgiving and I did get a good review written and posted.

December came and I had 1st Grade Room Mom duties including a party and teacher gifts to buy and wrap, with a field trip thrown in for good measure. It was the normal chaos that I expect every December. I got my Lexus back with a new transmission and a new battery (-$4000), we got snow tires on our Subaru for even safer ski weekends (-$700), and I had to get really creative with Christmas gifts for family and friends (-$300). It all worked out: both cars were in good shape, I made a bunch of gifts, survived two class parties, and suffered only one hangover.

I was also fitting in two physical therapy visits each week (2 hours each) for my ACL reconstruction and trying to walk the puppy twice a day. Because of our compromised budget, I was cooking and cleaning without assistance, and didn't even try to take my husband on a date. I was wound up tighter than a drum and had no release. I couldn't ski with my family or exercise enough to sweat it out. Add in the fact that I didn't have one family photo for our Christmas card, and I was on the ledge. The only blog posts I could think of involved a whole lot of bitching.

By mid-January I was coming out of the holiday haze and was making progress on my knee, my health, and my attitude. I had a few blog posts started and was setting up my affiliates program. And then on January 30th we were heading to the ski hill and a Chevy Suburban slid through a stop sign and smacked into my Lexus. No injuries to any people, thank goodness, but the Lexus was crippled. So back into a loaner car we all went (a 2010 Nissan Armada). For the next three weeks we didn't know if my Lexus would be fixed or totaled -- totaling a car with a brand-new transmission sounded like a crime to us, but it was up to the other guy's insurance company. We spent hours online searching for new-to-us vehicles and talking and talking and talking about our options and must-haves. It was exhausting. But the thing that put me back on the ledge was the fact that our insurance company wouldn't talk to me about the claim because my name wasn't on the title of my car and my husband was traveling. The poor guy from the claims department sounded like he hated his job, so after a short rant I let him go. And then it was March: our son's birthday party, five other family birthdays, and the puppy was neutered.

On the car front, our whole family was getting very accustomed to three-row seating and the leg room of the Armada. This changed some of our new car criteria: three rows, 4-wheel drive, room for the dog, and comfortable to drive for 4+ hours at a time. Do we lease or buy? We decided to buy. New or used? We decided on used. But how old? When will the questions stop???

The sweet icing on The Quagmire cake was my husband moving to a new company. It's all good and he loves his new position. His commute is the same as mine now: down the hall and to the left. One of the smartest things we did was take advantage of his time off and spend five days in Hawaii without the kids.

Long story, not-short-enough, we bought a used Audi Q7. It fits all the criteria that we determined to be most important to us: three rows, good in snow, comfy and fits our growing puppy. I do love my Q7 and having a newish car under warranty has helped to get me out of The Quagmire. I'm still struggling to regain my leg strength and am very sad that I won't make it out on skis this season (which really bites when the snow fall at Tahoe resorts broke records this year). But I believe that all situations can have a positive outcome when we hold on to that belief and when we keep our heads above The Quagmire water line most of the time. 

My newest hurdle is figuring out how to share an office with my adorable husband. I'm writing this at the busy public library -- next time I won't come during Toddler Story Hour: "The more we get together, together, together. The more we get together the happier we'll be."

(c) Copyright 2010-2016. Erika JN Fish. Car Mama. All Rights Reserved.

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