Sunday, June 28, 2009

You never forget your first

I decided this week that I must, despite appearances to the contrary every now and then, finally be a grown up. This realization came as we were heading back into the city, having just signed my life away (or for the next five years, anyway) to a car dealership. And earlier this week, I ordered my wedding band. A car and wedding ring, in the same week? Feels pretty grown up to me!

So, the car. I have been admiring the Toyota Matrix on the roads for a couple of months, and had pretty much decided that unless a test drive revealed major problems, it was what I wanted. Wednesday we went and test drove one at a local dealership, which shall remain nameless. We got a bad feeling about them from the start -- too smarmy -- and while I loved the car I didn't particularly want to buy it from them ... especially when the saleswoman quoted a final price $1000 higher than the figures she was adding up in front of us would indicate. Not sure if she couldn't do math or was deliberately padding the price, but either way, not something to give us great confidence in that dealership. And when I received a phone call from a "customer service representative" from the dealership not 12 hours later, pushing me to make a decision, I knew this wasn't the kind of company I wanted to deal with. Meanwhile, Serdic had been in contact with another dealership about an hour's drive out of the city, and they offered us the same car for $3000 less. We decided the $3000 was worth driving out to see them, and so yesterday morning we did.

I had a better feeling about this place right from the start, and the sales representative we were meeting with seemed to be on the up and up. I thought to myself at one point: "He's going to play fair." I did a second test drive and still loved the car, and so decided to go for it. Gulp. It's not a cheap step to take, but I have a sizable down payment and financing it over five years makes the payments manageable. Of course, now comes all the other expenses that go with owning a car -- parking and gas and insurance and all the rest of it. But this is hardly a decision I made lightly or spontaneously, so I know it'll work out. They didn't have the colour I wanted (electric blue) in stock, but one is expected in on Tuesday so they promised they'd have it ready for me Friday after work. I am SO excited, I can't even tell you. Also a little scared. But mostly excited.

It's weird to be approaching my mid-thirties and buying my first car. It feels like something I should have done by now. The financing guy at the dealership was a little taken aback that I didn't have a previous car loan on my credit report ... is it really that strange? But in a way I'm glad that this will be my first car -- exactly what I want, and something I am finally in a position financially to afford. I think this is the beginning of a long and prosperous friendship, me and my car.

Pictures to follow once the car is actually in my possession. It's going to be a long week!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not dead yet

I know, I know, I've been a very bad blogger. It's not from a lack of things to talk about ... on the contrary, I don't know where to begin! It's been a very busy few months. Some updates are in order.

Vroom, vroom

First of all, as a follow up to my last post, I have not yet bought a car, although the decision has definitely been made to make the purchase. See above about how busy it's been ... I've been trying to find an evening or Saturday afternoon to go test drive some vehicles, but the days are slipping away from me faster than I can keep track! It's on my "to do" list for June, though.

Wedding plans

Wedding planning continues fast and furious. The dress is here (and it's GORGEOUS) (no, you can't see photos). The invitations are printed, and now need to be assembled and readied to go in the mail. We are starting to come up with a cohesive vision of what the decorations and flowers and colours will look like, although I know I am driving Aunt C crazy with my inability to articulate clearly what I want (i.e. I am being difficult by being TOO agreeable!). But I think we're on the right track now and everything's going to be beautiful.

Perhaps most exciting of all, we booked the main section of our honeymoon last week ... a 7 day Mediterranean cruise. It departs a week following the wedding from Barcelona, so at the moment the plan is to fly out the Monday after the wedding, spend three nights in Paris, then a couple of nights in Barcelona and on to the cruise, returning to Ottawa the following Monday. So we'll be gone two weeks. It's going to be awesome.

Music in the air

I was particularly busy in April and May with concerts and assorted choir stuff. I made a big step towards relieving that stress by getting myself voted off the board of directors of one of my choirs, and refusing to commit to anything for the fall (it's so easy when you have a wedding as an excuse ... all you have to do is say "well, it's going to be a busy fall" and everyone immediately says "oh, of course, you've got the wedding, don't worry about a thing, of course we couldn't expect you to commit to anything" -- give it a try some time!). I do very much enjoy my choirs and the friendships I have made there, but I'm looking forward to the summer break all the same.

Savour the moment

I read a very interesting editoral in the paper recently about the need to stop and savour the moment you are in more often, and I'm really trying to put that into practice in my own life these days. It's so easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of day to day life, and the little stresses and frustrations that crop up every time you turn around. And so often we are in a perfect moment, and we let it pass unnoticed because we're thinking/worrying/stressing about something else. So I am really trying these days to stop, take a breath, and acknowledge the little perfect moments. It's especially true with the wedding planning -- these are supposed to be such happy days, and the anticipation and excitement of planning should be part of the fun. Someday I will look back on these days and remember, for example, the day I put on my dress for the first time, or the way my hand shook a little bit when Serdic put the engagement ring on my finger. And while having those memories is important, I also want to acknowledge those moments as they happen, to fix them in my mind and savour them, and not let them pass too quickly.

And finally ...

Could someone please let Mother Nature know to check her calendar? These little glimpses of spring/summer weather, followed by multiple days of cold and wet and grey are not cutting it. Thanks.

My only hope is that if spring and summer are later getting here this year, the nice weather might hang on a bit longer into the fall? Like, say, maybe until the end of October? Wouldn't that be nice?