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A 9th generation gray Toyota Corolla S (model ...

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February Update ~ A coworker bought The Green, so, with her husband dropping her off at my house, we met to transfer the flotsam and jetsam of the last 13 years, from The Green to The Gray.

I emptied out the trunk the day before, so I figured cleaning out the inside would be a five or ten minute job.

It took two hours!

The interior clean-up actually did take only 10 minutes: the odyssey began after Kaye taped her temporary paper plate in the inside of The Green’s rear window ~ we stood back, she looking thrilled, while I prayed that that ol’ car-o-mine, wouldn’t break-down before it got to her driveway, an hour away.

We said good-bye, I turned and picked-up the screwdriver I’d gotten out to attach my old plate to The Gray, and, as I stood in the doorway, with the screwdriver in my hand, and The Green turned the corner, I watched Kaye drive away with my old metal plate still firmly attached to the dinged-just-a-little-bit rear bumper.

CRAPOLA – there goes my plate.  Geez!

I quickly got my cell phone and called Kaye – and – left a voice mail.

I stood there a while, staring at nothing, as the car, Kaye, and the plate were long gone.  I finally went inside to kick myself in private.  Twenty minutes later, Kaye rang the doorbell, and we went to The Green and removed my metal plate, lickety-split.

But, no matter what we did, we couldn’t get the screws to tighten that ol’ plate onto The Gray.

Now, none of this would have been a big problem, except that with everybody’s busy schedule, MY paper plate would expire the next day.

Figuring I needed special/custom/unique screws, I went to the nearest dealer, 20 minutes away, and they gave me two white plastic screws, which worked fine, until I tightened one screw just a turn too tight and snapped off the screw top, leaving the rest of screw, in the hole.

Luckily, I had decided to do this job, in their parking lot.

Think stunned, frustrated, mechanic, bay, packed waiting room, one coke, and one coffee later.

No charge but two hours later, no walk in the park either.

Yours ‘til, Kate

January ~ OK – I bought a new car ~ new to me ~ to replace my old, dark green, 1998, 4 door sedan, with 150K miles on it, and rust in all the usual places.

My new car is a 2007, dark gray, 4 door, “sport” something or other, with 60K miles on it: one owner who turned in at the end of a 4-year lease, to lease another car.

After test driving The Gray, for an hour or more, stopping at K-Mart, Wal-Mart, the Wonder Bread Outlet Store, 2 car dealerships, and 2 tire stores, and listening to all the men, who, after they spotted the dealer For Sale signs in the windows, and me with the hood up looking at everything, came over to help and inspect it, (this is a ploy, it may be sexist, but IT WORKS !), I heard nothing but praise, so I bought it.  You know, borrowing money for the length of the loan and I do have someone who’ll buy the ’98.

I picked up The Gray, on Tuesday, after it had been detailed up the wazoo, so much so, that the engine looked lickable and the headlamps shone like Liberace’s candelabra’s.

Then I played with all the bells and whistles or as many as I could locate.

Both cars have sunroofs: The Green’s sunroof is a little bigger, while The Gray’s moves faster.  

The Gray has a fuel door release next to the driver’s seat, which, thank goodness, the dealer had pointed out.

The Green’s fuel door opens eventually after you jerk it two or three times, and the cap is now attached with some old wire-thingy.

What arm I moved down on The Green, I now must move up on The Gray, and vice-versa.

What I had to turn on, on the The Green, turns on automatically in The Gray, and vice-versa again.

Just what I don’t want – another learning curve in my life.

I was glad to rest on Wednesday, as we had a little snow and on Thursday we had an icy rain.

Friday we got both; ice turning to snow, on top of snow and ice, and I didn’t drive either car.  I didn’t have to, since I had heard the weather forecast earlier in the week and really did shop during the test drive.

Today, I forced myself to drive The Green to make sure nothing dies, and to drive The Gray, to see how it drives in this crappy winter weather.

The Gray started right up and the all the doors and windows were slick to open and close and locked tight.

The Green started right up too, ‘cause I just replaced the battery last month: it had died on a hill facing extreme, almost perpendicular, south.  The mechanics I called, arrived in a flat-bed truck, and after a consultation by committee, decided they couldn’t test anything, since the car was so vertically challenged, and towed it to their shop.  The bill for the tow, the testing, and only a new battery was about $300.

Today, in 20 degree weather, frozen under ice and snow, The Green’s driver’s door didn’t lock until the car had heated up pretty good ~ at least $20 worth of heat.   I forgot to ask about this persistent, seasonal problem last month.

The Gray’s heaters & vents worked very well and very fast.

The Green’s heaters & vents worked at about the same rate of speed it took for the driver’s door to lock securely once that door lock defrosts.

Both cars drove well on the icy/snowy/slushy streets we have today.

The Gray’s, not original, but good all-weather tires, had good traction, stopping, and starting on the flats and on the hills.

The Green’s, BRAND-NEW-IN-MAY, $800 all-weather tires, along with rotors, tie-rods, pads, brakes, shoes, CV somethings, and whatever else an additional $1100 got me in October, had good traction, stopping, and starting on the flats and on the hills, too.

Oh yeah, The Gray was $12K total and The Green‘s bills are still coming in !

Yours ’til, Kate