Today I want to tell you about my 1997 green Toyota Corolla. My little green Toyota was an excellent car – although not as awesome as the 'Stang. She got good gas mileage (27 mpg). She handled very well. She started every morning and took me everywhere I needed to go without ever breaking down. Well, almost every morning, because of course she was not immune from the usual problems that cars have here in Arizona – she would refuse to start once every couple of years or so and I would buy a new battery and then all would be well again. She got a flat tire a few times. Twice in one week, actually, but it wasn’t really her fault. There was just way too much construction debris between my home and my office for a while there. She was, overall, a very reliable car. I didn't drive her just for the sake of driving, the way I had with my 'Stang, but that was probably a good thing. Better for the environment, anyway.
My kids loved that car. She was the only car they had known me to own. I bought her when my daughter was 3 months old and the car was 1 year old with about 25,000 miles on it. At the time, it was the closest I had ever come to owning a "new" car. My little boy named her "Lady." My little girl’s favorite color was green.
But Lady’s paint had become faded, mottled, and chipped – not very impressive when meeting clients of the new law firm I had opened, so if I were to keep her, I’d have to paint her. She needed new tires (immediately) and new brakes (within a few months), and she was due for the "big service" (the scheduled preventative maintenance package that costs about $500 where they replace not only the oil and filters, but also all the hoses, belts, etc). The driver’s side sun visor was shredding, dropping little pieces of foam all over my lap every time I drove the car. I couldn't just remove it, as a sun visor is a necessary piece of equipment here in Arizona. A new one would cost $175 (highway robbery!), and I had been unable to find one in good shape at a junkyard. The air conditioning still worked, but not as well as it should – it would need some work, too, if I were to be able to drive to court wearing my lawyer suit in the summer. And her blue book value was just over $1000.
In short, Lady needed much more in maintenance and minor repairs than she was worth, money-wise. She was also old for a car (11 years old, with well over 100,000 miles on her) and therefore possibly due to start having engine problems. It was just time for a new car.
So last January 1 (2008), I announced my intention to get a new car. My kids were, shall we say, less than thrilled with Mommy's idea. "NO!" they cried. My little boy kept repeating that I couldn’t possibly sell "Lady"! My little girl flatly declared that I could only even consider buying a new car if it was also green. Both kids were close to tears at the prospect of not riding in Lady ever again. Both kids embarked on a ceaseless campaign to change my mind. ("But it's Lady!" "You can't sell Lady!" "I don't want to ride in a new car, I want Lady!!") Holy cow, you'd think I was taking away their toys, or their dog!
I have to admit I was a little sad, too, to give up my reliable little green Lady. But I was determined to get a new car. Next time, I'll tell you about the search for her replacement.