22 06 2010

It’s official. I now own a 2008 Chevy Cobalt LT Sedan. Hooray!

I’m pretty sure it is twice as long as the Midgie, so parallel parking should be a fun adventure.

Quick pro/con of the car & the process. I’m going against the grain and doing the Cons first:


  • I received a call today telling me they didn’t have the paperwork yet. It should have arrived yesterday. And it did… But it was delivered to the Baierl Honda location rather than the Chevrolet one.  Thanks, UPS.
  • I was told I had to come in after 4pm because they had steam cleaned the interior and it needed to dry. I was told it was dry when I was given the key*. Uh, it was NOT dry… Good thing I had a towel in the trunk… It still wasn’t dry when I got home at 7:30pm.
  • The guy I work with was on vacation, so a different sales person handled the paperwork, etc. He got confused part way through… He said he didn’t handle the paperwork end of things… so here’s hoping that everything is in order.
  • They gave me one single key. Just a key – not a key with a remote for the doors etc. The sales man looked for more keys & the remote and couldn’t find it. So now they have to order them for me…
  • The interior of the car wasn’t as clean as I believe it should have been. It’s still a little dusty and there was liquid (from the steam cleaning, I assume) in the front & rear cup holders. Um…


  • The driver’s seat is super comfy. Even better than the Midgie, and 30,000 times better than that stupid Kia.
  • I love the color. Love.
  • The trunk is so big that I could probably fit a few people in there. Or every single thing that was in the back seat & hatchback of the Midgie.
  • The radio presets allow me to set FM and AM stations right on the radio display so that I don’t have to switch between AM & FM bands to get to the individual presets. Awesome.
  • The radio also has a jack where I can attach my iPod… I just have to figure out what adapter I need.
  • The instrument panel has a “Driver Information Center” that shows me outside temperature & mileage in normal mode, but also shows the fuel range (until empty!), average fuel economy, average speed, engine oil life… Fuel range is an awesome feature for me, since I might have been known to run out of gas in the past… (Not since way before I owned the Midgie, but still…)
  • Automatic Headlamps.
  • It has CRUISE CONTROL!!! We didn’t expect it to have it. But there it is smack dab on the steering wheel. Bonus!

Besides trying to get the seat in the right spot & angle to drive, nothing annoyed me about the car at all… It drives like the Midgie did, but it feels heavier & I guess more sturdy. And the gas & brakes aren’t quite as “jumpy” as that stupid Kia was.

So yeah, I like this car. And besides some jerk changing lanes on McKnight Road – barely fitting between my NEW CAR and the car in front of me, and then hitting his brakes (hello flashbacks to the accident…)  my drive home was quite pleasant.

New-to-me car

17 06 2010

Ok, so here is what I believe the new-to-me car is going to look like. I say it’s what “I believe” because it was just purchased by the dealer the day I decided on it and just arrived there yesterday, so I haven’t seen it yet.

I did see the “CARFAX” report and the dealer info, so I know it’s good to go – it was a rental for 2 1/2 years and it has less than 40,000 miles on it. Not bad for 2 1/2 years (although the Midgie was nearly 5 and only had 58,900 miles).

I am way too excited for Little C and Me weekend to even get excited about the new car. I’ll probably face that on Sunday to offset leaving Little C and the family.

Oh, and I guess I need to find a name for this car, as Midgie just won’t work.

Car Magic.

15 06 2010

I talked to the insurance company today. Apparently, my family and I were mistaken and I didn’t have a 60-month purchase plan (or whatever they’re called when you buy a car…) I apparently had a 72-month plan. Meaning I owed somewhere around $3,000 rather than $1,000 or so.  Yuck.

I end up with a payout of around $3,600. Is everyone nauseous along with me?

When I got the call from The GrandPa last night telling me he found out the Midgie was a total loss, he also told me his friend at Baierl was checking out used cars. I immediately assume I’m going to be driving a 1996 Buick or something, given the whole unemployment and $3,600 payout thing.

I’ve bought and/or leased my last 3-4 cars from the same man at Baierl, so I was interested to see what he came up with.

Imagine my surprise when The GrandPa called tonight at 5pm or so and said I had to go immediately to Baierl and clean out the Midgie. And then discuss a few cars…

I rescheduled picking up an important item from ClumberKim until tomorrow, and drove to Wexford…

I was given the key to the Midgie and told where to find her. When I did find her, I promptly started crying. I calmed down long enough to start removing my belongings, and contemplated taking more pictures, but I just couldn’t bear it. (She looked so broken. I miss her.)

Everything from the Midgie’s back seat & hatchback fit in my rental’s trunk. Wow. Maybe I miss having a trunk…

Anyway, I go back and I’m told we’re looking at three vehicles:

  • 2009 dark blue metallic Chevy Aveo sedan (i.e. NOT a hatchback)
  • 2008 blue granite metallic Chevy Cobalt LT
  • 2008 silver metallic Chevy Cobalt LS

The price difference between the three is around $1,000. And the mileage difference is somewhere around 5,000 – 8,000 miles.  The only really major difference is that the 2008 Cobalt LT has power locks, windows & mirrors.  None of the three had cruise control – the only thing I really missed from the Midgie.

Because I loved the Midgie, I really considered getting the financing numbers for the Aveo. But it is a 4-door sedan. And I had the 5-door hatchback. It be strange to me to drive the same vehicle in a different “shape,” if you will.

And then I remembered that I still can’t bring myself to drive on the Parkway yet. And that people braking in front of me still freaks me out. (All expected considering my accident hasn’t even been a week removed.)

Hmmm… Maybe not only a trunk would be good, but also a bigger car would be better for now…

So, I’ve asked them to work things out for the 2008 blue granite metallic Cobalt LT. I’m hoping “the numbers” work out to somewhere around my previous car payment. No, I’m praying – I don’t want to drive a 1996 Buick.

Please cross your fingers that my dealer and I manage to work this out so that this car – or some car – becomes mine sometime on Thursday so that I can drive to Virginia on Friday for Little C and Me weekend. And also because I can’t handle this stress.

The story.

11 06 2010

This is kind of long. Sorry about that…

Yesterday morning, on my way to my class I was involved in a craptastic accident that rendered my Midgie unable to drive. It’s been just over 24 hours, and OMG I miss my Midgie. I’m not kidding or exaggerating here. I miss her.

For some background: I enter the Parkway East/I-376 outbound at the Wilkinsburg on ramp. The road is three lanes there, the far right lane exiting to Churchill just at the top of the hill. It then goes to two lanes for a very short while, and a new third lane is introduced when the Churchill on ramp enters on the LEFT. (ie. No merging required immediately. Those from Churchill ideally just drive along in their own new third lane.) Also, just after this on ramp, there is the Monroeville/Business 22 exit on the right.

I-376 has been under some form of construction for what seems like FOREVER. And the brilliant minds that run PennDot decided that this year, they would not only plop a stop sign down at the end on the Churchill on ramp (the one on the LEFT,) but also nearly immediately block off that new 3rd lane.

I seem to spend an unbelievable amount of time lately on the outbound Parkway East towards Monroeville – for school (every Tuesday through Thursday,) rugby, shopping, and random other things… And nearly every time, I pass this area in the RIGHT lane… This brilliant combo of stop sign and traffic cones has resulted in one of two things:

  • The on ramp from Churchill is backed up to who-knows-where because people are cautious at the stop sign.
  • The on ramp is near empty because the drivers on the on ramp take chances and jump into traffic. Sometimes flooring it to get up to speed, and sometimes joining more slowly.This morning, as I joined traffic on the parkway and merged into the middle lane, there was a big ol’ box-type truck in front of me – driving below the speed limit. I signaled and moved to the left lane.

I was easily 300-400 feet or more behind the car in front of me. As we approached the Churchill on ramp, I happened to notice a car entering skipping the stop sign and VERY SLOWLY joining the lane of traffic I was in… And by very slowly, I mean OMG. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!? SLOW. Or simply, at a snail’s pace.

I quickly looked back to my right to see if I could change lanes. Nope. Too many vehicles, going faster than we were in the left lane. I turn back to see brake lights on the car in front of me. I used every ounce of pressure I had & weight in my legs & body to hit my brakes – I couldn’t swerve right or left – right was into that fast line of vehicles and left was either into the jersey barrier or another car coming from the on ramp.

So I rear-ended the guy in front of me. Great. (I drive a 2005 Chevy Aveo hatchback. Tiny car…. TINY. People call it “mouse” or “midget,” thus the name, Midgie… The car in front of me? A Dodge Caliber. Apparently it’s a very sturdy car. Midgie did nearly no damage to the rear bumper… It was dented, but still attached and no where near the damage the Midgie experienced in any way, shape or form.)

I then heard brakes screeching. I look in my rear view mirror and see a ginormous truck – something like a Ford F-150 or bigger/similar – barreling for me and then breaking right into that speedy traffic. Horns ensue… Right after that I see ANOTHER huge truck, same situation, but he breaks left and his maneuvering around the traffic on the ramp, the barrier and us was amazing.

I’m still in the left lane, so I manage, no idea how – Midgie didn’t want to move at. all – to get into that “protected” construction lane on the left, behind the guy I hit. I get out to make sure the other driver is okay, and an Einstein from the inbound lane tells me my car is smoking… No, really? Gee, I thought it was fog, just centered on my car… I didn’t notice that I just hit someone, my hood is buckled, and my car is not being driven anywhere, anytime soon. Moron.

Other driver is okay, apologizes for slamming on brakes because of the 3rd party entering the parkway at such a slow rate. I’m already dialing 911, and my car continues to smoke.

Oh, crap, I think, I might need/want some of the stuff in my car in case it blows up! You know, like my school bag (which today, of all days, contained my netbook, along with my wallet, iPod and all my class materials and such. Yikes.)

While I explain to the 911 operator what happened, I start grabbing any miscellaneous plastic shopping bags I can find and stuff anything I’ve left in the car (jackets, big a** rugby boots, my bio book on lend from the library!!, etc) or will need (insurance & maintenance info) that I can see that I might need/want/not want to burn in a fire… By this time, I’ve got two shopping bags crammed with “essentials,” have everything outside of my vehicle, and I have been transferred to AAA to arrange a tow…

As you saw yesterday, the Midgie was a hawt mess – she was also leaking fluids. I didn’t even think to take pics of the leaks or the sides of the Midgie… I was honestly happy to be alive… And, proud that I didn’t just burst into tears at any point…

I spoke to the guy I hit again – he’s from Germany and is here to do an internship for a company that happened to be right near CCAC Boyce campus. We talked and he offered to drop me off so that I could attend class, which he did and I am SO very grateful. He was a very nice guy, and I feel bad because he didn’t have a number for his office to tell them he was in an accident and was going to be late, especially because he took the time to drive me to my class.

I ended up lucking out and Mechanical Engineer was available to pick me up from class. It took forever to file the insurance claim, and my insurance company called 5 different rental car locations before they found a car. But I had to wait until nearly 5pm to have a vehicle available…

I’m so used to driving the Midgie that I’m seriously uncomfortable in this rental. I feel like I’m sitting on the street surface while I drive. Ugh.

I’m due for some awesomely good karma for the next few weeks, right??? Right????


10 06 2010

I got into an accident on the way to class this morning. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

My car had to be towed. It took me all afternoon to arrange for a rental.

My poor little Midgie:

sigh. The good thing is I’m fine.  I’m damn lucky the trucks behind me swerved to avoid me or I’d most likely be dead or seriously injured.

The Lincoln Penny Test

19 02 2009

Since age sixteen, I have had 5 vehicles:

1) 1988 Olds Delta 88
2) 1993 Plymouth Acclaim
3) 2000 Chevy Prism
4) 2003 Chevy Cavalier
5) 2005 Chevy Aveo

That’s over 17 years… And maybe only once, with one of the first two cars, do I recall needing tires. Back with those first 2-3 cars, my dad always took care of my vehicle isues. So there’s a chance one or both of them needed tires at some point… But somewhere around car #3, I started taking care of going for oil changes, inspections etc. That is, until the Midgie.

The Midgie is a 2005 Chevy Aveo. I love her! Dearly. Probably more than any other car on the list besides my first car. (Point of information: when I went to college and my parents kept the Delta 88, my mom accidentally backed INTO the back driver’s side quarter panel of it. She was terrified to tell me for FOUR MONTHS.)

Anyway, with my purchase of my Midgie, I also got a nifty little maintenance plan built in. I have a little coupon book that makes ALL oil changes and tire rotations etc. FREE. I also got 4 free emissions inspections. All I have to do is pay attention to my mileage, show up on or near the date an oil change is needed, produce my nifty little coupon book, and wait 30-60 minutes for it to be over. It’s great. One of the best things I’ve done to maintain my car.

That being said, my tires have been rotated whenever needed since July/August 2005. So when I tried to move my car during a snowstorm in February 2007, I was shocked to realize that my two rear tires were nearly bald. Almost no tread whatsoever. So I went to my nearby Pep Boys and wasted an entire workday getting two new tires. Yay! Fun!

Then, in July 2007 when I had my car inspected, I was told that my two other original tires had passed inspection, but weren’t looking so good, and I’d need to replace them before my next inspection in 2008. Well, I managed to cut that timeline short a few months later, in October. I cut too close to a sewer well and blew a tire. I replaced the tire with the “donut” from the trunk and a day or two later, dropped my car off for two MORE tires at the Sears Auto Center in Tarentum while I worked nearby.

If you saw yesterday’s post, you know that I was told on Monday that I need TWO MORE TIRES!!!  (FYI – Monday’s mileage was 48,774.) I started thinking about the two previous tire purchases and realized that at least one of those purchases MUST still be under warranty. So today I dug out the paperwork.

I still have to check the “DOT code” & “Date of Manufacture” on my tires to figure out which are from where. I’m hoping both failed tires are from the same place… And I think I see a warranty issue in my future:

In February 2007, when they replaced the first set, my mileage was 25, 064. So if these are the failed tires, they lasted two years and 23,710 miles… The stated mileage warranty is “65,000 miles prorated…”

In October 2007, my mileage was 36,119. If these tires failed, they lasted 17 months and only 12,655 miles. The stated mileage warranty on the Sears receipt is 40,000 miles…

However, both of them, especially Sears have some references to treadlife and the amount of treadlife remaining… So tomorrow, I’ll try the “Lincoln Penny Test” to see what’s up. But right now, I can tell you that the crap tires? Yea, there’s ZERO tread on the outer sides of the tire…

So, if any of you men out there are “tire experts” and would like to accompany me to Sears or Pep Boys, let me know. I can hold my own in a lot of situations, but tires and the warranty of tires is new territory. I’m going to learn. And I’m going to be angry… I just want backup. If you’re willing & able, please email me. 🙂

I’ve probably already posted this song, but I don’t really care…