Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Memories: Lessons Learned

I seem to have the most trouble creating my blog posts on Mondays. It isn't for the normal reasons one would think of. It isn't because it''s Monday and I just don't want to do it. It isn't because I am still tired from the weekend. (I am, but that's not why!) It's because I don't typically blog on the weekend, so by Monday I have multiple topics spinning around in my head, and it makes it hard for me to narrow it down and pick just one. This week instead of writing about only one thing that happened over the weekend, I am going to tell you about all the different lessons I learned throughout the weekend.

#1. Consignment sales rock!

2 skirts, 1 dress, 2 shirts, 6 zip ups, 3 sweaters, 4 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 PJ set, and a jacket (many new with tags) = $60

Sunday afternoon Larry, the girls, and I went to the Kid's Closet consignment sale. I have gone to this sale before, and sold at it a couple times. It is my favorite one in the area because they check everything so thoroughly before allowing it, so I am more confident buying things. This year I purchased way more than previous years, and was very pleased with the quality and prices on everything. Larry also found some great things for Stormie, so both girls now have the majority of their school clothes. We might need to get a couple more things and some shoes, but they really should be set for a while. 

#2. Buying a vehicle is stressful!

 Old Car

New Car

As most of you know I was in a serious car accident back in May, which totalled my car. Since I wasn't allowed to drive much since then, thanks to the concussion, I am just now getting around to buying a vehicle. I have been researching my options, and watching for deals on Craigslist as well as the local dealerships.  On Thursday I narrowed my options down to three vehicles, and on Friday Larry and I went to look at them. The first one was a no go right away. It had more miles that I was comfortable with, cigarette burns in the seats, and i couldn't even hit the brakes without my knew hitting the steering wheel. Then on top of all that the guy at the dealership said he wouldn't even really be comfortable selling it to me because he know it needed some work and was already at the top of my price range. Next we went to an individual's house to look at a Isuzu Rodeo. Several people had already told me that was what I should get because they hold up well and don't have many mechanical problems. It was half the price of the previous car and had 50,000 less miles on it. When we got there the vehicle was in much better shape than we anticipated. The owners spoke very broken English so we spoke to their daughter on the phone who acted as a translator. We decided to go back the next day and have a mechanic look at it. Well when we got there the next day they were okay with us having a mechanic look at it, but didn't want us to take it for long enough to bring it to our mechanic 30+ minutes away. I understood as I wouldn't trust someone I didn't know to do that either, but I was very nervous about buying it without having someone check it out. Larry had looked it over, but there were some things we wouldn't be able to tell without putting it on a lift. We decided we would leave it and think about it for a while. Larry was confident that it was a good car, for a great price, but I was still conflicted. I seriously have the worst luck ever and was terrified I would buy it and then find out it isn't safe to drive. I could turn around and sell it,but I wouldn't be comfortable selling it without letting people know we had found out. So we left, and went to a gas station to get drinks while we thought about it. Not getting it was hard, but getting it would be just as hard.

#3. Sometimes you have to take risks. 

 After leaving the vehicle I called my mechanic again. He told me a couple things to check for, but reassured me they don't have any big known issues. I talked to him about the price and he agreed if it was in good condition it would be a steal. Then Larry and I talked about it some more. We discussed the price we had seen on some without a working motor, and I finally decided I really wasn't risking much. It was reassuring to me to know that Larry would feel comfortable with me driving it, with the girls with me, and I know if he had any doubts about it at all he wouldn't feel that way. So as we were leaving KCK I said, "Can we just go back and buy it?" Larry happily said yes (he kept saying it was a great deal, but it was my decision.) So back we went. We offered them less than they were asking, haggled back and forth a couple times, and ended up buying the car.

#4. You're not ever going to please everyone, so if you are happy that's what matters. 

In addition to my nervousness about buying the car, my family was also very concerned about me buying it without taking it to our mechanic. I was worried they would be upset with me taking the risk, although I had checked everything the mechanic told me too, and we had driven it quite a bit. Ultimately I decided it really was my decision and even if people were upset, I could be happy knowing I made the decision  that was best for Ashley and me. Are you wondering how it turned out? Well..... we took it to my mechanic as soon as we got back into town, and they looked it over thoroughly and did an inspection on it. I was ridiculously nervous waiting to see, even though the mechanic had already told me for the price I was paying, if the car ran I was doing good. Anyway... we went and got lunch while they checked it out, and returned about an hour later. As we waited, and I wondered if I was going to have to kill Larry for talking me into it, or be relieved that he did. With much relief I can tell you, I didn't have to kill him after-all. After a complete and thorough check the only problems they could find is that I will need to replace the brake pads in the spring and at that time replace the ball bearings, and possibly do one other minor thing to the wheels. Total cost for all of that is under $400. What I paid for the vehicle was about $3000 under Kelly Blue Book, and the mechanic told me I could have paid at least $2000 more for the car and still made a great deal. So there you have it, it was definitely a risk that paid off.

#5. Shopping on tax free weekend is INSANE. 

After hitting the consignment sale we headed to Wal-Mart to get the girls school supplies. You wouldn't think this would be a big deal, but since it was tax free weekend the place was a zoo. Imagine Black Friday shopping except crammed all in the school supplies.

#6. Doing things as a group makes tax free weekend a bit more tolerable. 

I am very happy we all went together, because frequently it was too crowded to get carts down aisles. One of us would wait with the girls and the other would go find things off the list. It also helped the girls because they didn't get bored or start fussing since they had each other to talk with. 

#7. When shopping with a 5 and 6 year old girl make sure there are two of something before you offer it to them, and limiting the options is important. 

We learned right away the the girls wanted the same thing almost all the time. So we always had to make sure there were two of something before supplying it as an option. We also picked a couple things to show them instead of letting them pick from everything. In the end they got almost everything the same or very similar, except for backpacks, and one notebook. 

#8. It is hard to teach someone something that you do automatically without thinking about it. 

While at Wendy's last night Larry and I were trying to explain how to chew food. Now, chewing is something most of us do automatically so trying to explain it was more challenging than one would think. Especially trying to explain for to move food to the back of your mouth to chew. Larry got the idea of using two forks to help demonstrate, which ultimately led to him shooting a chicken nugget across the restaurant, which gave us all a good laugh, but left us no closer to explaining chewing. Seriously... how do you explain this to someone? 

#9. Real life relationship days are the best. 

After weekends like this one, or days like this, I always comment on feeling like we are in a real relationship. Which of course makes Larry laugh because obviously we are in a real relationship and have been for some time now. I still think days where we are accomplishing things that need to be done, and still enjoying our time together is very important. Days like that help me know that our relationship can last. It isn't all about the fun times, but making the every day times fun. 

#10. Surrounding yourself with people you love makes everything better. 

No explanation needed!

Go check out some other great blogs on the Monday Mingle, and leave me a comment letting me know what you learned this weekend!

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