Love And Your Local Car Dealership

Did you know that a car dealership can actually be an ideal place in which to test the strength of your romantic relationship?  Really, it’s true.  I just found that out for myself the other day…

Recently I had to make the difficult decision as to whether or not to repair my old car or bite the bullet and get a new one.  Actually it wasn’t really all that difficult a decision since my old car was about 24 years old and limped along more than it drove, but I was very anxious since buying a new car meant I would either have to negotiate with a salesperson myself or fake a seizure and motion for said salesperson to make a deal with my husband instead.  For an introvert like myself, the latter option held a certain appeal.

But while my loving husband did come along to the dealership with me, I actually tried to take the lead in the car-shopping process myself instead of just dumping the whole thing in his lap.  (We’re still not entirely sure if that was a good thing or not.)  After spending time researching online, I found a suitable automobile prospect at a local dealership, we called ahead, and then we went down to meet with a saleslady.  (For the purpose of this blog post, let’s call her Mabel, because quite frankly I think the name Mabel is grossly underused in today’s society.  And because it’s my blog, and I can do what I want.  Ha!)

On the way there, we discussed bargaining strategies and whether or not we should prearrange secret signals to use:  tugging on an earlobe meant “I don’t like this particular deal/car/upholstery/strange odor, let’s get out of here;” scratching a nose meant “They’re trying to play hardball with us, but I think we can take ’em; offer to throw in a cheesecake;” and wrapping one’s arms around the steering wheel of the car being test driven and refusing to let go meant “I love this car and must have it, and if you try to talk me out of it, I will shriek like a banshee.”  Needless to say, our adrenaline levels were high.

As soon as we pulled into the lot, salespeople popped up on all sides.  Highly-trained military operatives could not have appeared on the scene with more speed or precision.  I may or may not have squeaked and tried to prevent my husband from unlocking our car doors at that point, but he calmed me down, squeezed my hand, and we made it inside the building without incident.

Since this was my first time taking the lead in buying a car, I was understandably anxious that I not come across as a gullible fool who would take the first deal that was offered to her.  This might have made me overly mistrustful, as evidenced by when the saleslady introduced herself to us by saying, “Hi, I’m Mabel,” and I responded with a sneer and an icy “Sure you are, lady.”  But somehow we made it through the test drive and wound up at a desk, discussing pricing.

I don’t consider myself a shrewd negotiator, primarily because I fear confrontation of any kind–which tends to work against you when you’re trying to talk someone down to a lower price range.  On the plus side, I remembered to start with a lower number than the actual sticker price, so I’m calling that a win.  There were a number of offers and counter-offers, each one leaving me more tense than the last because I was so sure I was going to say the wrong thing and wind up somehow ruining us financially.  Don’t ask me how; paranoia was in the driver’s seat by that point, not logic.

Plus I wasn’t confident in my ability to recognize a genuinely good deal, so every time “Mabel” got up to go speak to her boss, I’d give my husband a furtive look and say, “What do you think?”  At which point he would respond with, “I don’t know–what do you think?”  And this would go on until one of us would see the saleslady returning, hastily shush the other, and then try to blurt out an insightful question about the car that would convince her that we actually knew what we were doing.  (My husband and I are both remarkably indecisive people.  It’s kind of amazing that we managed to set a wedding date or even decided to get married at all:  “Should we get married?”  “I don’t know–do you think we should get married?”  “I asked you first…”)

We were there for a couple of tension-filled hours, but in the end a deal was struck with which we felt comfortable, and I staggered out of there on my husband’s arm feeling both triumphant and dizzy.  And also a little nauseous.  But we had done it!  And my husband held my hand throughout the whole stressful thing–sometimes literally–and I like to think our marriage is even stronger than it was before, because any man who can talk me off an emotional ledge like my husband can is a true keeper.

But here’s hoping we don’t have to buy another car anytime soon…  🙂

10 Valentine’s Day Ideas For The Unconventional

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and if you’re still frantically trying to figure out the perfect way to celebrate, look no further!  I’ve complied a list of ten delightful romantic activities to present to your significant other, each of which I think will result in a special occasion he or she will never forget.  Even if they want to.

1.  Sign up for tango lessons.  Preferably with each other.  Don’t forget to stretch first–nothing ruins a good tango like a pulled hammy.

2.  Enjoy an elegant candlelight dinner on a luxurious yacht.  I do recommend that you get permission from the owner of the yacht first, or at the very least, confirm ahead of time that your pookie pie can swim in case you two will need to dive overboard to avoid an angry boat owner.

3.  Write an original poem for each other.  Set parameters in advance so one partner does not present the other with an epic work of multiple verses only to discover that his or her sweetie has chosen to go with a limerick and a few questionable choices in rhyme.

4.  Have a friend plan a “mystery date” for you and your honey bun.  Be sure this friend is someone you trust completely and who does not owe you such a significant amount of money that he or she would benefit if you never returned from said mystery date.

5.  Discover the hidden romance in yodeling.  In public.  Go ahead, I dare you.

6.  Give dining at a revolving restaurant a try.  Do pack Dramamine in case something goes horribly wrong.

7.  Play matchmaker with your single friends.  For added fun, do it without their knowledge and then laugh and laugh and laugh…

8.  Dance cheek-to-cheek.  Which cheeks you use are entirely up to you.

9.  Snuggle together with hot buttered rum in front of a roaring fire.  If you or your sweetheart don’t drink, just have hot butter.

10.  Role play “Pirate Captain” and “Saucy Wench.”  Flip a coin to see who gets which role.

There you go!  If those 10 activities don’t just scream “romance,” then I don’t know what does.  Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!  😉

In Celebration of Furry Critters–And I Don’t Mean Hairy Football Players

It’s that time of year:  Groundhog Day!  Yay!  Did you get all your cards mailed out on time? Decorate the house and yard festively?  Plan the party of the season and invite all the A-listers?  Yeah, neither did I…  Well, I invited a few, but so far Tom Hiddleston STILL hasn’t RSVP’d.  🙁

Maybe you’re sitting around in a football jersey instead with your face painted and your coffee table covered with enough chips and dip to feed a small nation, so caught up in the Superbowl frenzy that you forgot today was a very important day for one particular rodent: Punxsutawney Phil.   He’s a cute little fella, but since I just found out that he’s predicted six more weeks of cold, dark winter, he’s in the doghouse as far as I’m concerned.  Bad rodent!

Hope you all have a nice Groundhog Day nevertheless, and if you plan on watching the Superbowl–or, like me, just the commercials–I hope you enjoy that, too.  In the meantime, here’s a clip from the movie Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray re-lives the day over and over and–at least in this part–attempts to use that to his advantage.  Enjoy!  🙂