Saturday, January 26, 2008


We all had a stomach virus back in November. First Kaylee, then me, then Eric then Rich. Eric was hit the hardest and has not completely recovered.

We have been in and out of the gastrointerologist's office and there isn't anything wrong with his blood work. But his stomach hurts and his appetite is almost nonexistent. He's lost about five pounds since his weight jumped up over the summer. I know it's not gluten. If he gets any gluten, well, there are very particular things that happen. In the bathroom. That I'd rather not talk about. But this is definitely not gluten. But what the heck could it be? The doctor said, it's actually not that unusual for kids to have stomach aches months after a virus. It's unusual, but they do see it. We're doing Miralax, and probiotics and we just started him on Prilosec. But he's still not hungry and says his stomach hurts.

My worry is compounded by the fact that this began THE WEEK I STARTED MY NEW JOB. It has to be a coincidence. It wasn't until January that he really saw much less of me than usual, as I started part time. The Jewish mother in me shouts that IT'S ALL MY FAULT! But the normal person in me tells me that it's a coincidence.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Picking up the new car tomorrow

A commenter pointed out that, they get my car and $2600 and I get nothing at the end of it. That's pretty much the deal when you're going from a car you own outright to a lease. But usually a lease is closer to $200 on a car like an Odyssey when you give them a ten year old car.

I'm OK with that at this point. If I like the car, I'll probably buy it out, which is how I ended up with the Accord. Seven years ago when my Accord lease ended, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the buy-out price they give you when you lease a car is totally negotiable, so who know where we'll end up? If I decide that I am NOT a Woman With a Minivan, I'll figure something else out. This solves my immediate problem of the babysitter not being able to drive her kid and my two if they need to go somewhere. She does childcare pick up sometimes and in bad weather, this is really important. And it solves the problem where I just don't like being alone with my kids in a 10 year old car, even one that's as awesome as a Honda Accord. And now, we can go places as a family and include my sister and my niece without taking 2 cars. So, if I can do that without upping my monthly expenses much, that is a good thing.

But I'm excited. It's my first new car in ten years.

Whoo HOO!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Can You Get the Deal in the Ad? Yes, but you have to fight for it.

The new purchase has been made. Yesterday, I got a good lease deal on a 2008 Honda Odyssey LX. I saw an ad in the Globe on Saturday morning. But I was in a coffee shop, so I didn't tear out the ad. It just seemed rude. It said Cambridge Honda would lease me an Odyssey LX for $109 a month with 20% down. I thought, this is a good deal at my favorite dealership. We've bought two cars from there and have had great luck with them. My '98 accord is worth about 20% of a new minivan, so after much bickering Rich and I set out.

The dealership was busy. One of the chevy guys helped us until the Honda guy was free. I felt bad for him. He had no customers over there. We told him about our '99 Blazer falling apart (wheels-ball joints, fuel pump, brakes-- calipers roters) before 50k miles. He said that a lot of people were in our situation. Chevy lost a LOT of customers because of cars they made in the 90's. He said the product was much better now. It's still not a risk I'm willing to take. A Honda is a sure thing. But the guy was a good salesman and I felt bad for him. He took us on a low key test drive and definitely knew enough about the car to be useful.

Then he turned us over to the guy who would actually sell us the car. We chatted. Then we made our offer. We wanted to lease the van for the $109, with no money out of pocket besides my trade.

He came back with some funny math. And if you're a car salesman in Boston, you really should know this. You NEVER argue basic math with a guy in a Brass Rat. They gave me more money for my car than 20% of the advertised price, but the lease still came in at $160 a month for a 36 month lease. The guy was like, "It's 20 percent of STICKER. You need another $1500 to get the 109."

"Well what's the sticker price?" We asked. He told us. We were still at 20 percent. Even me, with my anti-math Sarah Lawrence degree can figure out 20% pretty fast.

"Yeah, but it's also 20% of sticker including, registration, title and destination fees." He was scribbling furiously, and punching things into his calculator.

The human calculator I married was still like. "Nope. That makes no sense. We're $400 off, not $1500."

He sputtered a while. And I asked for my keys and credit card back. I was really only interested in the car at $109 with no money down. He went off ostensibly to get me my stuff back, but came back with a copy of the ad, and new numbers on his paper. The ad said the $109 was for the 24 month lease. We were like "Sure! That's fine. What do I sign so I can get out of here in the next five minute. I've got dinner guests coming in from out of town."

So, at some point next week, I'm going to trade in my trusty old Accord for a navy blue minivan. And next year when Rich's lease is up on the CRV, we'll find him a zippy, economical commuter car.

So, I got a deal on a car that I feel good about. They sold me a car. A happy ending so far!