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Family Sedan Sans Family

September 15, 2011

For the past three years, I’ve been watching a crack on my car’s windshield grow larger and larger. I didn’t address it at first, because the crack was so small that it was hardly noticeable. When I first noticed it getting bigger, I didn’t have the money to replace the windshield. Then, when I did have the money, I had grown so close to the crack that I didn’t feel the need to take care of it. I became one with the crack. I named her Mindy and enjoyed watching her slow journey across my windshield. When I went to get my annual inspection, they told me that I would pass as long as the crack did not connect both sides of the windshield. Well, I know a challenge when I hear one. So I encouraged Mindy to continue her courageous trek.

About a year later, a rock hit my windshield, creating a new, pretty flower-like crack. Mindy now had a friend in her journey. I wasn’t bothered.

gold Pontiac Grand Am, old car

Here's my old car ... Old Not-So-Faithful

Really, the cracks were the least of my problems. My Pontiac Grand Am was coming up on 10 years, 147,000 miles and some interesting stuff started to happen. Like three out of the four speakers blew, and listening to the radio with the windows open was no longer an option. Oh well, guess that just means more quiet time to think on road trips. Then, the dashboard started coming up, effectively removing itself from the windshield. No biggie, no one notices but me. I had about eight flat tires in a period of six months (remember this story?), which I blamed on sabotage. Because, you know, I’m such an important figure that people are putting nails in my tires in the middle of the night. No worries, I thought. Getting so many flat tires is actually a really good way of testing your relationships. Chef changed at least two flat tires for me. Which means he’s dependable. And I came thiiiiiis close to actually learning how to change one myself.

Then the siding on the driver side door came up and made a funny annoying flapping sound when I drove faster than 60 miles per hour. Also not a big deal, just a good reminder to drive slower. Speed kills, people.

Then, my blinker stopped working about half of the time. In order to make it work, I established the following procedure: Turn on my hazards, then my blinker, then turn the hazards off, and the blinker would work. Um, about half of the time. The other half of the time I had the unique opportunity to practice my hand signals. Who knew those would come in handy beyond driver’s ed?

You see, I ignored all these minor, um, flaws, because I’m a smart spender. I don’t need a car payment! I can make do with what I have! I’m not cheap or anything.

And you know, keeping this car had nothing to do with the fact that I was terrified to buy a new car.

It all came to a head Labor Day weekend when I was driving my mom to our family’s place on Lake Gaston. On the way, two things happened:

1.) I tried to properly rock to Rolling in the Deep but could barely hear it over the siding flapping in the wind.

2.) I got the urge to visit the farmer’s market on the way, and when I went to turn, I mistakenly thought that my turn signal was working, when it wasn’t. I was almost rear-ended by an incredibly large truck. Going 45 miles an hour.

I could have died, people. Even scarier, I put my mom at risk. My laziness, quirkiness, cheapness and fear of making a major life decision could have hurt my Mommy.

Two days later I bought a new car.

I’d been looking at cars for a while, not really finding anything I liked. Well, I did like the Lincoln MKZ I saw parked outside my apartment complex. The only problem is I’m not 55. And I’d have to sell my first born to afford a car like that. There’s no way I’m putting my body through the horror miracle of childbirth only to turn around and flip the kid. I’m holding onto that sucker so I’ll have someone to do chores around the house in about eight years.

I asked everyone what they thought, but really, when you are buying a new car, you don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. You ask for fun. You ask to make them feel important. You ask because an integral part of buying a new car is agonizing over what you should get. But, you really don’t listen to their answers. You know what you like, what you want, and you don’t want anyone’s advice. Unless the advice is telling you to get the exact car you want. In which case, the advice giver is a genius.

Plenty of people told me to buy a used car. I get it, it’s smart, but I simply wanted a new car. Whenever someone suggested I buy a two-door, I balked.

A four-door car was a requirement for me. How annoying is it when you have to lift the seat up to let people into the back? What about when I have babies? I mean, we’ve already established that I’m not selling them or anything, so I gotta find a place to put them!

Yes, I’m aware of the irony. I write a blog titled Simply Solo; I’m in a pseudo-relationship; I can’t even imagine getting married anytime soon; yet I’m interested in a family sedan. For my non-existent babies that I’m going to have to drive to daycare.

I was really excited to purchase a new car all by myself. You see, when I was in high school, I drove my dad’s 1989 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme. Then I crashed it, primarily because Celine Deon sucks (here’s the full story). After I crashed the car, my father and I discussed how I needed a new car. At the time, I made a ridiculous amount of money telemarketing, so even though I was only 17, I could afford a car. One rainy day, my dad and I walked around a dealership and I pointed out a few cars I sort of liked. A few weeks later, there was a new car in the driveway for me. My mom had purchased it for me with her credit, and I had to pay it off. Which I did, in less than a year.

But I was always sort of bummed out I didn’t get to choose the car myself. I didn’t do a test drive, pick the color, nothing. It was sort of handed to me – but then I had to pay for it. Although I appreciate the generosity of my parents putting their credit on the line for me, and doing all the work in purchasing the car, I always wished I’d been able to participate more.

Purchasing a car is a ridiculously stressful decision. Haggling is exhausting. Test driving while convinced you are going to crash the dealer’s car is terrifying. Explaining that Chef is not your husband and has zero input on this decision and is only there for moral support, but then two minutes later saying that a four-door is a requirement due to imaginary future babies, is just awkward. Having unbearable heartburn through the entire purchase is frustrating, but the feeling of it magically disappearing after signing on the dotted line is a huge relief. Thinking about paying a car payment for the first time since you were 18 is daunting. Making the decision to buy a new car all by yourself, a decision you remember discussing for years with your ex fiancée, is empowering. And no longer driving a piece of crap is priceless.

When it’s done, you get a beautiful new car. In my case, I got a 2012 Nissan Altima, dark slate, leather seats, satellite radio, Bose sound system that can really rock some Rolling in the Deep, keyless entry, rearview camera, pretty headlights, a working turn signal and car payments for what seems like the rest of my life.

So I drive a family sedan, sans family. And I’m pretty damn happy.

My car was purchased from Saul Kazdal from Sheehy Nissan of Richmond (phone: 877-600-4491). I had such a great experience at Sheehy that I promised to mention them on the blog (and I maybe pimped the blog out to try and get a better deal. Can you blaim me?). If you are looking for a new car in the Richmond area, Sheehy Nissan is a great place to go. Just watch out for the popcorn machine. That stuff’s addicting. But really, the people at Sheehy were great to work with, very accomodating and while their job was to sell me a car, I never felt uncomfortable. And Saul has been nice enough to humor my half a dozen phone calls AFTER the purchase was complete and keys were in hand. Now, that’s customer service.

Nissan Altima 2012, gray

Here she is!

keys, new car

Here's Saul giving me the keys to my new car. Not staged one bit. 🙂 Thanks to my sister Natasha, the photographer

rear, back of Nissan Altima

I love the way car looks from the back. Avoid any sexual innuendos, please.

First pic in the new car

It suits me, no?

New Nissan Altima

(Me+New Car) - Only Slight Buyer's Remorse = Happy

inside of Nissan Altima 2012

Here's what it looks like inside. Ignore the diaper bag sized purse. I'm just planning ahead.

Under the hood, engine, Nissan Altima 2012

It wasn't until after I bought the car that I actually looked under the hood. Whoops.

backseat, interior, Nissan Altima 2012

Here's where the imaginary kiddies will sit. Until then, I'll just drive coworkers to lunch in comfort.

bird poop on new car

Two days after I bought the car, a bird pooped on it. That bitch. Guess all good things have to come to an end sometime.

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


70 Comments leave one →
  1. Zak permalink
    September 15, 2011 9:06 am

    I hear in some places, bird poop on a new car is good luck.

    Then again, I don’t need good luck, either.

    • September 17, 2011 10:02 pm

      Haha, I’ll just believe that it’s good luck. Glad I washed that bird poop off — hopefully the luck didn’t go with it 🙂

  2. September 15, 2011 9:12 am

    Congratulations Catherine on the New sexy car. Looks sharp! Drive safely and watch them curbs and fire hydrants, you definitely deserve a New car! Enjoy!
    Ps- did you know i only really seriously enjoy reading your blog! No joke 😉

    • September 17, 2011 10:00 pm

      Aww, thank you. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog, that means a lot to me. I will definitely be *trying* to avoid curbs and fire hydrants. I have all these goals to become a much better driver. Wish me luck!

  3. September 15, 2011 9:20 am

    Congrats! I understand the desire for a four-door car even in the absence of present-day children. I didn’t even think about buying a two-door when I bought my last car, as two-doors have giant, difficult to open doors, and crawling into the back seat of a two-door is awful. A family is definitely not a requirement for buying a family sedan.

    • September 17, 2011 10:00 pm

      I like the “absense of present-day children.” Makes it sound so technical that I don’t have a family. LOL 🙂 I never thought about two-doors having different sized doors – but that’s a really good point. You have made me feel even better about my purchase! Thanks!

  4. September 15, 2011 9:56 am

    I have a feeling I’m not too far behind you. My car is 10 years old, a little more mileage than yours, and now it’s making a clicking noise. It could mean somethings cracked…which means major repairs, which I don’t want to shell out for, but I also don’t want a car payment. Decisions, decisions….

    • September 17, 2011 9:59 pm

      Yep, it’s tough when stuff just starts to fall apart. On my old car, the things I needed to fix would have been like $400 or $500. And the car was really only worth $1,200. Didn’t seem worth it. For me, something just clicked and I was over it. It’s funny, because once I made the decision to get a new car, it was such a relief to stop stressing over the old one!

  5. September 15, 2011 10:17 am

    I just bought a new car I can’t afford because my car was 10 years old. The number one item I needed was a radio compatible with my ipod. But YOU have a BOSE? colour me jealous!!! Congrats on the new wheels!

    • September 17, 2011 9:58 pm

      Thanks, The Edmonton Tourist! I am really excited about just about everything the car offers. Sorry to hear you were forced into buying a new car…. hope you are able to enjoy your ipod in your car now. That’s the best! I used to have a converter in my old car that would play my ipod over FM frequencies. It was always so fuzzy and I could hardly enjoy the music. LOVE listening my ipod on my new car now!

  6. September 15, 2011 10:44 am

    Love the car. Very Classy 🙂 and Roomy! Congrats on the new car, and at least the bird poo can wash off 🙂 then it is back new and stylin again!

    • September 17, 2011 9:56 pm

      We’re Jumpin’,
      Yeah definitely washed off that damn bird poo and it was like new again! The car is super roomy. I need to have a road trip with a bunch of people now, for sure! Thanks!

  7. September 15, 2011 10:53 am

    OOOOO Yay! My last car, which was over 10 years ago, was a 1999 black Nissan Altima. Loved that car. I kept it for one year after moving into Manhattan and parked it in a garage (no street parking for that baby), which was over $250/month back then. I can’t even imagine what monthly garage space is now – eeeks! I couldn’t rationalize spending that much on keeping the car, so I wound up selling it and have been car-less for 11 years now. Enjoy your beautiful, brand new car!

    • September 17, 2011 9:56 pm

      Wow, I can’t imagine being carless! I guess it’s just a totally differen lifestyle, living carless in the city versus EVERYONE having a car in the suburbs. I’m really glad I got the Altima, it seems like everyone I talk with loved theirs. Really happy 🙂
      Thanks for taking a moment to comment!

  8. September 15, 2011 10:57 am

    Now that is a sexy car. Almost inspires me to get my licence.


    … Nah.

    But good on you!

  9. anklebiters permalink
    September 15, 2011 11:06 am

    Your new car purchase reminds me of an episode of Two and A Half Men where Alan buys himself a red convertible Poor-sha two seater…referred to as a girlie car by Charlie and the cast of characters in the show. 😆 Nothing like being TOPLESS with your hair blowing in the wind…..

    Don’t you just love the smell of a new car ❗ You just need to get yourself a satellite radio and you’ll be all set to driving to Sammy Hagar’s I Can’t Drive 55 :mrgreen:

    • September 17, 2011 9:54 pm

      That’s funny – haven’t seen that episode! It’s so funny how what people say about your car can really get to you. Someone told me my car had a BIG ass – and I was all bothered about it for a day! Is it’s ass big? Then I realized, I LOVE ITS ASS. And new cars do smell great. Chef told me that I smell like a new car the other day. lol

      • Anklebiters permalink
        September 18, 2011 10:56 pm

        You should take a look at the ass end of a 1997-2004 Corvette ❗ They called it a Big Butt when it first came out….

  10. September 15, 2011 11:07 am

    I have a 1995 Mustang and I’m keeping it. Really need a four door like you said, but have had this car since it was new. Don’t want car payments and beside I know all the little quirks about my Stang. Good luck with the new car. Hope you love it for years and years.

    • September 17, 2011 9:52 pm

      My sister begged me to get a Mustang. I think they are really great cars and I’m glad you love yours! I just really needed the four doors. No good reason why…. just something in me 🙂 Thanks for reading and your comment!

  11. September 15, 2011 12:05 pm

    As we have already discussed on Facebook I totally just bought a Nissan Altima! Mine is a 2007 because I don’t believe in new cars (I mean It’s not like I don’t believe they exist. It’s just not for me at this point in my life) and I couldn’t afford one even if I wanted it — what with the whole quitting my job thing (which I will be writing about for my blog today.

    Mine is Ocean Grey — which is probably close to the slate color — and from the outside I doubt that many people could tell the difference between our vehicles, but the interior is totally different. Although I LOVE my interior I’m pretty sure from looking at it that yours is far more fancy! And I totally don’t have Bose satellite anything.

    But I did pay for an extended warranty. Just the piece of mind has already made it worth it. Next time I’m going to get a warranty that last the entire term of the loan.

    • September 17, 2011 9:50 pm

      LOL, Crystal. Love the clarification “It’s not like I don’t believe they exist…” haha. I’m glad you love your car too. Between you, me and Mikalee, we are some Altima babes! 🙂

  12. September 15, 2011 12:08 pm

    Oh, and I was totally a dork about a having a four-door too. Big MUST for me. I was just imagining road trips with girlfriends. And I went nuts for the trunk because I’m planning on starting my own local magazine within the year (which means I will probably be distributing them myself — hooray for a trunk that can fit two dead bodies in it! They have to be dead, of course, because if they were alive they could get out because there’s a trunk release inside).


    • September 17, 2011 9:49 pm

      The trunk on this car is huge!! And, my car, you can fold down the backseat too if you need more space in the trunk. Is yours like that too? I’m so excited to hear more about your magazine 🙂

  13. September 15, 2011 1:34 pm

    Hey now…that’s my sexy family car, too! Only mine is red. And just a coupla years older.

    But I totally bought the Altima because of its a$$. These cars have a great rear end — I tell this to everyone I know!

    So I’m assuming your Bose has the digital read out that displays the names of songs? I have a future blog post in the works about how my car stereo channels my inner thoughts, reprimands me, mocks me, etc. through the words that appear at inopportune times. I named it “Bose” (creative, I know…). Kinda like your Mindy. Only less cracky. 😉

    Congrats on the new car, Catherine. We rock our Altimas, sista!

    • September 17, 2011 9:48 pm

      Glad to hear you love your Altima’s ass too! I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s so pretty from behind! LOL
      My Bose does have that read out… I’m really looking forward to reading your post 🙂

  14. September 15, 2011 1:57 pm

    My first car was Wanda The Honda. Missing mirrors, malfunctioning lights, and an odor that made me sure someone had died in the trunk. Poor girl couldn’t get anything right 🙂
    Love the new car!

    • September 17, 2011 9:47 pm

      Thanks, Tori! LOL about Wanda the Honda. You have a knack for picking names… I need a name for my car. Nothing’s clicking yet! Any ideas?
      When I had my dad’s old car, the Oldsmobile, it used to sound like there was a dead body in the trunk. Put Wanda The Honda and my old car together and we’d be in some trouble with the law 🙂

      • CavTanker permalink
        April 16, 2014 1:39 pm

        I bouught a 4-runner when I was in a cavalry unit, so I called it my ‘Horse.’ My wife later bought a silver-gray Altima, which she parked in the garage, and for which she couldn’t decide on a name. One day, she came running scared in the house saying there was a ‘big mouse’ in the garage. When I went to investigate, I found no critters. This happened several times. When I finally discovered what kept scaring my wife, it solved the problem of naming her car. ‘Possum’ has been a reliable Altima for several years now.
        Later, when she bought a black-on white Pathfinder, the same problem arose. She solved that problem when she decided on a ‘beanie baby’ travel companion. The stuffed cow is very cute riding prominently on the dash, inside ‘Cow,’ everywhere she goes.
        That is how we named our ‘menagerie.’

  15. September 15, 2011 4:06 pm

    Congrats on the new car! It occurred to me not too long ago that I hadn’t actually bought a new car since I graduated from college 19 years ago. Since then, it’s been one used car after another. Right now I’ve got a little 4-door hatchback that’s 9 years old and a beat-up van the kids love that’s considerably older, each with little nuisances and quirks that I ignore/justify/befriend much like you did with your old car (reading that brought quite a few chuckles). Yeah, one of these days I’ll have to make the plunge and get something new… maybe from Sheehy 😉

    • September 17, 2011 9:45 pm

      Hehe, Ben. Definitely go to Sheehy if you are looking for something new :). I see nothing wrong with used car after used car…. I just really wanted a new car, for some reason. Lovin it! I’ll take better care of it, too. No cracked windshields for my new car, that’s for sure!

  16. September 15, 2011 7:59 pm

    You are hilarious! Congrats on the new car. I have multiple “crack friends” on my windshield. I consider it a challenge to peek through them so I don’t hit the cars ahead of me.

    • September 17, 2011 9:42 pm

      Haha, Heidi. Thanks for reading and commenting. As long as your “crack friends” aren’t dangerous, I say embrace em. Adds character. Haha

  17. September 16, 2011 5:03 am

    Goodness your a terrific writer girl! Well congrats on the purchase of a new car which was chosen all by yourself ! The car look amazing with you in it 🙂
    Car IQ Test – Before you check your car, check your Car IQ!

  18. September 16, 2011 9:28 am

    Your old car sounds a bit like my current car, complete with crack in the windscreen. The are a number of things I have to do to coax her along the road so I felt I knew what you were talking about there. Good luck with the new one which looks very smart. Never mind the rude bird !

    • September 17, 2011 9:40 pm

      Trust me, I don’t blame anyone for keeping an older car even if it does give you problems! It really wasn’t until it became an actual danger that I decided to get a new car. I’m definitely going to miss not having a car payment…

  19. September 16, 2011 1:52 pm

    Ugh, I have the WORST luck with flat tires! I’ve been driving for about 7 years now and have had about 12 flat tires, 6 of which have been in the last 2 years. I don’t know why!! Your car is super cute!! Congrats!

    • September 17, 2011 9:39 pm

      Thank you! Yeah, it definitely wasn’t my old car’s fault that I had so many flat tires, but it sure did get old fast. Maybe I should have actually make the leap to learning how to change the tire myself, lol!

  20. mom permalink
    September 16, 2011 5:43 pm

    Great post … I wasent scared until I looked back after the turn into the farmers market and realized I could have reached back and changed that Big trucks headlight lamp love ya baby enjoy you car whats her name?

    • September 17, 2011 9:38 pm

      Glad I didn’t kill you. That’s about all I got. And her name – good point. Gotta name my car. Suggestions anyone? Usually names just occur to me, but not so far with my new car!

  21. September 16, 2011 7:35 pm

    Congrats – great-looking car, and it definitely suits you! This post simply reminds me of the fact that my Hyundai is nearly ten years old, has over 100,000 miles, and I am too damn broke to even think about buying a new car! Fortunately – knock on wood – she rarely gives me any sort of trouble. Let’s keep it that way.

    • September 17, 2011 9:37 pm

      Thanks! I love it! It seems to me your Hyundai is probably going to fair better than my crappy Pontiac. Foreign cars are so much better. And, your car better stay in good shape, you’ve got lots of trips to see a girl ahead of you 🙂

  22. September 17, 2011 9:45 am

    You crack me up. 🙂

  23. Anklebiters permalink
    September 17, 2011 2:16 pm

    They say that 62% of new car buyers are now women ❗

  24. September 18, 2011 12:20 pm

    Congrats on the new car Catherine!! I hope to one day be a new car owner myself, you are an inspiration! lol

    • September 24, 2011 9:33 pm

      Thanks Gizzy! I love it. Not loving the car payment…hahaha 🙂

  25. September 18, 2011 9:15 pm

    Congrats on the new car!! Definitely an exciting purchase and a great choice. 😀

    • September 24, 2011 9:32 pm

      Thanks summerslowrunner! Appreciate it! Loving the car 🙂

  26. Yogesh Manocha permalink
    September 19, 2011 11:07 pm

    Congratulations Catherine :-).

  27. September 21, 2011 5:56 pm

    It was incredibly difficult for me to buy my first car (about 4 years ago). The first major purchase of my life and danged car payment. But it was also exciting having this thing that you knew was YOURS.

    Oddly, I’ve never had buyers remorse about it. I enjoy every time I get into that car and plan on holding on to her (yes, her) for many more years before eventually trading in for something a little bigger.

    Within a matter of days mine became a bird poo magnet too. It urked the heck out of me. Seriously. New car. Give me a week at least. And then within the first year of owning it a “soccer mom” rear-ended me (sexual inuendos welcome) resulting in a week without her (the car) but a kick-a$$ rental.

    It is all worth it. And recently I became pucky enough to completely pay it off. So, when I received that lean release indicating she was ALL mine. Happy times = Happy Dance.

    • September 24, 2011 9:28 pm

      Congrats on paying off your car, Matt!! It’s going to be about a gazillion years before I’m in your situation 🙂 I’m hoping I love my car as long as you’ve loved yours!

  28. September 23, 2011 10:51 pm

    I’ve been car-free for last 30 yrs. of my life. Cycling nearly last 20 yrs. after a hiatus of 12 yrs. between university and before meeting my partner, a cycling-advocate-biz person.

    I did write about this:

    We like cars….only a few times annually for big furniture hauls, moving or ramping up a vacation because one of us lacked sufficient vacation time before returning to work.

    So whenever I get a car ride, I appreciate it.

    My partner drove lots before he met me: he has 2 children. He also had a career where a huge part, he drove lots during business trips …and lived the difficult career of biz lunches, meals….and gaining weight.

    My health and lifestyle is such that I can still fit same clothing from 20 yrs. ago. Which makes me a hopelessly unfashionable person,….shrug. I don’t care except for classic styled clothing. So I choose my health over …a car. And save enormously in fitness club fees also.

    And I rent out my parking stall to a car-lover with 2 cars for himself plus a motor scooter.

    • September 24, 2011 9:22 pm

      I think it’s great that you’ve been able to live sans vehicle for so long! I live in an area where that’s not really possible – I drive about 20 minutes to work each day. But I can definitely see the health benefits of bicycling everywhere… props to you for fitting the same clothing from 20 yrs ago! Not many people can say that!

  29. September 24, 2011 1:44 am

    “Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything.
    That’s how the light gets in.”

    Leonard Cohen

  30. September 24, 2011 3:53 pm

    YEEEEAH, GIRL!!! I wish you & your new beautiful car as much fun & adventure as I have with Hannah Honda!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  31. September 25, 2011 7:42 pm

    You’re such a talented writer! I love reading your blogs! This is yet another one of my favourites. Congrats on the new car, this time try not to invite Mindy and her friends? Lol.

    Take Care:-)

    • October 4, 2011 8:40 pm

      Ha! Mindy (and her friends) are not welcome in my new car!!
      Thanks so much for reading. I always love seeing your comments 🙂


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