Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Hawk, the Hemi, and a Side of Fries

Wow, I haven't blogged in quite a while.  Didn't realize it until my mother in law brought it up on the phone to me tonite.  I didn't know she liked my babbling so much.  

This story I am about to share has nothing to do with home decor, nothing to do with thrift store shopping, or any of the other things I have been sharing here with you all. Matter of fact, it is about a rather manly topic.  It will, however, give you a little more insight into who I am, so I hope that you will enjoy reading it just the same. 

As the one year anniversary of my illness is quickly approaching, I find myself reflecting on a lot of memories and seeing different ways that God has brought me through the past year. It amazes me to be able to look back on things and see how far I have come, and this is just another awesome example of His healing ways and how He chooses to show up in our lives.  It is a long post, but I really didn't see any way that I could edit it and not leave out a crucial detail, so forgive me in advance.  You might want to grab a favorite beverage and get comfy...

Last February, I suffered knee injury while on vacation. A month later, as a result of the injury, I suffered a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot) that traveled into both of my lungs. On March 31st, I had open heart surgery to remove them.  My heart stopped while on the operating table and my cardiac surgeon kept it beating with his hands while the surgical team rushed to get me hooked up to the bypass equipment. The next morning, just hours after having surgery, on April 1st I had another cardiac arrest and was revived once again by two nurses in the SICU ward.  I spent 21 days on a respirator in a sedated drug induced coma, during which I battled everything from suspected kidney failure and heart damage to pnemonia and bladder infections. To say that I was battling many circumstances at the same time is a huge understatement.

After 30 days, I was released from the hospital.  I was cleared to drive only six weeks after my open heart surgery, but I didn't get behind the wheel of a car for over six months. I just wasn't strong enough. I struggled to even get into our vehicle. It is a 4WD Dodge Durango and it sits up nice and high.

For the first month after coming home, the whole process of getting out of the house to a vehicle began with a walker. I needed it to stand up, I needed it to walk, I needed it to get up and down stairs, and I needed it to get to the car.

At the car door, I had to have someone stand behind me to steady me. I would then push up off the walker and have help getting up on a little Rubbermaid step stool that my husband bought specifically for this task. I used it to get up onto the running board, where I could position myself for the next step, turning myself so I could sit sideways into the seat. Then I rested before lifting my legs and feet around and facing forward, finally ending up correctly in the seat. It was a four step process.

My assistant of the moment would then buckle me in, shut the door, grab the step stool, fold up the walker, load it and the step stool into the back of the SUV, and then finally get themselves into the vehicle. For a month, it was a long drawn out procedure of about twenty minutes. It was awful. It made me feel so helpless. If getting in exhausted me, driving was out of the question. Something that people so easily take for granted was such an ordeal for me. It drained me both physically and emotionally, just to get in the car.

Those that know me well, know that I am a die hard Nascar fan. I love to watch the races on tv and we live about a half hour from Michigan International Speedway where they host Nascar races twice each summer in June and August. We have been to many races there, have purchased pit passes just to catch a glimpse of Nascar royalty, bought the bling for our favorite drivers, and have had many a tailgate party too. Oh, and another thing, I LOVE to drive.

So, for me to have lost the physical ability to drive for several months, made it an emotional thing too. I am a very independent person normally. It was very humbling to have to NEED someone's help in many different circumstances during my recovery, but the driving issue was especially tough. When it was at it's worst, I felt like I was constantly interrupting someone's schedule with doctor visits, lab work, cardiac tests, diabetes classes, trips to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, etc.

I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I would hear conversations between my kids, my parents and my husband, trying to figure out who could take me to whatever thing was coming up that week. They were all more than willing to do it, juggling whatever was necessary for me. But just having to hear it, so many, many, many times, began to wear on me.

As time went by, about mid August I was having an easier time of getting into our vehicle. It was then that I was finally able to not need the step stool to get up on the running board. Such a small thing, but such a huge milestone. My husband kept it in the back end of the vehicle, just in case I had a set back, which I did a time or two on bad days, but for the most part, it was out of sight, out of mind. I remember the day I saw him carry it in the house from the vehicle and thinking that it was another small victory on my part.

In late August, I told him that I thought I was ready to attempt to drive again. He wasn't really sure about it, because to get in the car on the driver's side required me to push off on my bad knee. But, being the stubborn person I am, I persisted, and finally convinced him to let me try. Off we went to the Durango to see how I would do. He brought the stool just in case.

After standing there for a good fifteen minutes discussing what the best way to go about this would be, we finally came up with a plan. Then I needed another five minutes after that to convince myself that I really could do this. I was scared, crying, nervous and almost defeated by the thought of re-injuring my knee, but I was also determined to try.

So after I mustered up the courage, I forgot the steps of the carefully devised plan all together and suddenly found myself sitting behind the wheel, not quite sure what I did or how I got there. All I know is that I was there, my knee didn’t hurt and I was elated! Today, I cannot even tell you where we went for my "first drive" but I will never forget the sense of accomplishment I had while taking it. I also remember that we got home and he called his mom to celebrate reaching our latest milestone. That was something he did and continues to do, all through my recovery. I guess it feels good for him to be able to tell her about my "baby steps".

Four weeks later, in early September, we were headed to Las Vegas for my birthday and my in-law’s 50th Anniversary. While we were there, we rented a vehicle to drive and toured Zion National Park and drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I did a lot of the driving, and I couldn’t have been happier to. I was pushing myself a bit too hard though, because as the trip came to a close, I suffered a setback with my knee and I ended needing a wheelchair to get through the airport for our flight home. All that getting in and out of the car to see the sights took a big toll on my knee. I took it easy for a few days after we got home, and it seemed to be healed after only a week or so. But I was back! I was driving again!

I don't remember exactly when it was, but a few weeks after our trip, early October some time, I hit another milestone. My husband had just arrived home from work one day and I told him that I had called in a prescription that needed picked up from the pharmacy. They closed in less than an hour and we were also out of milk. He was really tired, had school work to do, and was less than thrilled about getting back in the car after just walking in the door. So, I told him not to worry, to just stay put and I would go get it. It is just two minutes from our house, a quick trip. He looked at me without saying a word, but I could read his mind and it was screaming "By yourself????"

I grabbed my purse, cell phone and keys, and off I went to the pharmacy. I had only been gone about ten minutes when my phone rang. He wanted to know where I was. I told him, finished the call and stepped up to the counter to find it hadn't been filled yet, so I had to wait. About ten minutes later, I was on my way to get the milk, just one minute further up the road.

Well, you know how you go for milk and $20 later you leave the store? I headed for home and had been gone approximately 30 minutes total. I walked in the door to a slightly irritated man who asked me right away what had taken me so long!

And so it has gone, on and off for about the past 3.5 months. I leave the house to go run an errand, to go thrift store shopping, etc. and he keeps tabs on me and watches me like a hawk. Usually, he volunteers to take me wherever it is I want to go. Partially out of habit, but mostly cause we just enjoy doing stuff together. But sometimes, it is just me, and after all I have been through, it feels so liberating to do it all by myself.

We have been a one car family for almost three years. My kids live in the same town, just minutes away, so we've always done errands for each other or together. It just worked for us.

Lately, however, with work schedules and some conflicts of personal schedules, we have run into a few snags here and there. I mentioned to my hubby a couple of months ago that I think that I might want a car again. After he finished his anxiety attack, we looked at our budget, we talked about other things we had going on, house renovations, the upcoming holidays, and concluded that the timing just wasn't right to add a car payment. He also didn't want to buy a used one for fear I would have car trouble and get stranded somewhere. So, we continued to make due with scheduling and it usually worked itself out. But sometimes it didn't.

In early January I looked into taking a jewelry and metal-smith class. Something to get me out of the house.  Cabin fever can make you stir crazy. It was offered as an evening class that would work for us, allowing him time to get home from work and me to go to the class. I even thought that if he wanted, he could drive me there, then go to a coffee shop with wi-fi and do his homework while waiting for me to finish with my jewelry class. Perfect!

Well, I waited too long to register for the class and it filled. The only other day it was offered was during the week in mid afternoon, while he would be at work, ending in the early evening after he would need to be picked up. Not gonna happen. Dang! If only we had a second vehicle.

Every once in a while the subject would come up again and he'd ask what kind of car I wanted. Usually I would be thinking along the lines of another SUV so that I could load my treasures from thrift stores into it, an older model car with a large trunk might do also, but he wouldn't be happy with that answer.

Every once in a while I would tell him that what I really wanted was a black Ford Mustang Convertible, to which he would reply that a convertible isn't practical in Michigan in the winter. So I told him that a sunroof would do the job.  Just as long as the sun was involved, I didn't care, it was my "dream car". At least I thought it was, til one day I was out with my daughter and we just happened to stop in at a Ford dealer and commenced to drooling all over their ponies. The drooling stopped the moment I laid eyes on the back seat. Or lack thereof. I was shocked to see how very little space there was and thought that it would be more practical to have made it a two seater with a bigger trunk. No longer my dream car.

So much for tooling down the highway in a sexy hot car with my hair blowing in the wind, stereo booming out my favorite song, driving with no specific destination in mind. And for the record, in every day dream I have ever had about this scenario, the car either was a convertible or had a sunroof. However, it also had a functional back seat.

This past Saturday, we had a ton of errands to run and the hubby and I headed out around 11am to do them. We got no further than ten minutes from home, when we turned to toward town to get some lunch. There is an auto dealership on the corner where we turned and as we came around the corner, my hubby says, "Hey, do you want to go in there and just look around at cars for a while?" I was hungry, and being diabetic, I needed to eat. I said that I would rather just go to lunch, but if he wanted to back track, I'd be happy to come back, or if they were still open when we got our errands done we could come home the same way and stop later. Besides, I was pretty sure “buy a car” wasn’t written anywhere on the to do list.

Before I continue, you have to know something about this man. He doesn't "do" backtrack. Just like he doesn't "do" lay-away's. For some reason, he is a now or never kind of guy. I am not saying he does things spur of the moment, or without thinking things through, because in reality, that’s totally me. If anything, he tends to over think stuff, taking forever to make a decision about the most mundane things. The man cannot help but hyper analyze EVERYTHING. It is how his engineer brain works.

You can play that silly game Pictionary with him and even if you can guess the correct answer after only two grains of sand have fallen through the timer, he will still finish the drawing, every time. He doesn't care if you already guessed it, he is going to finish it and see it through to completion, adding the tiniest of tiny details in the process. Fun game. I used to like it.

So even if I did kind of want to look at cars, my hunger, and/or determination to relieve it, and the 26 year old unwritten rule of “no backtracking” won the decision. I didn't give it another thought. I did glance over and see a stunning white sports car sitting at the driveway entrance as we blew by the dealership and headed for lunch, and immediately my thought was that white would be an awful color for a car, showing all the dirt, constantly screaming “wash me“ every time you looked at it. And hadn’t that dream sports car of mine always been a black Mustang? Doesn’t matter, he doesn't backtrack. On with the day.

We drove on, we drove thru, we got our lunch and we were waiting for traffic before pulling back out onto the road. I casually asked if he still wanted to go look at cars while popping a wayward French fry from the bottom of the bag in my mouth, knowing full well what his response would be. We were in the left turn lane, the direction of our errands, waiting for a couple of cars ahead of us to go. I wasn’t paying attention as I started to dig in the bag for our fries, and we were inching ahead, waiting for our turn. While we sat waiting, it suddenly dawned on me that when I was distracted, he had gotten over into the right turn lane. It was right then and there that I realized this was no ordinary day and I was on suddenly on full alert. Whoa, Nelly, he was BACKTRACKING!

As we drove back to the dealership, he asked me what I wanted to look at. He caught me totally off guard. I was hungry and not thinking straight. I didn’t think we were looking at cars today, or anytime in the near future. I certainly never thought in a million years we’d backtrack to do so. So I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I had looked at some cross over vehicles (half car, half SUV) on their website a few weeks earlier and saw two different models that had some great features that I thought we might like to look at. They might have some on their used car lot too.

As we turned into the dealership from the opposite direction we had just came from, we pulled in the driveway and again I looked over at all the fancy sports cars sitting pretty in a row in the new car lot. And there it was again, that white car, closer this time, and as I looked, I heard a small gasp. Did I just gasp at a car? I can be such a dork.

The driveway pulls in right in the middle of the two lots, the new car lot and the used car lot. As we pulled in, there was a rather large group of people standing around a woman who had a huge hawk on her arm. I gasped again, at the sheer beauty of the bird. We started to head in the direction of the used car lot. I was mesmerized by this bird and trying to figure out why on earth a lady with a hawk on her arm was standing in the middle of a crowd at a car dealership, when suddenly the man stops our car right in the middle of a row of the cross-overs. He parked right in the aisle. Again, something he would normally never do. What is up with this guy? Normally, he and his engineer brain would park in a parking spot, precisely in the middle, so as not to park too close to the left or the right hand lines, but exactly in the middle. But apparently today was not his day to be normal.

We climbed out of our vehicle, which by the way, was totally covered in dirt and road salt that only a Michigan winter can produce. There it sat looking rather disgusting in comparison to all these shining specimens. No matter, we were not buying anything, nor were we trading in our only vehicle, so there it sat in all it’s yuckiness. And for the record, it is Platinum Silver, a very beautiful color, on a sunny summer day, after being freshly washed. But I had to laugh as I looked at it, after having such horrible thoughts about white. I guess any color, once covered with dirt and road salt can look pretty disgusting.

We hadn’t had time to finish our lunch, so he had climbed out with his French fries in hand, and was happily munching away as he started to walk around the shiny vehicles. This, from a man who will take a phone call and let his food get ice cold, rather than try to eat a bite here and there while having a conversation. Now he is walking around peeking in windows and eating fries, when Peter, the salesman, approaches him with his hand extended for a handshake. My husband wipes his salty, greasy fingers on his pants and shakes Peter’s hand while holding a fry box in the other. I am standing there watching this all take place, scratching my tilted head in wonder, trying to figure out who this imposter really is and what he has done with my husband.  I was also wishing I had grabbed my fries before we locked them in the dirty vehicle.

Peter, the very polished and knowledgeable salesman, starts with the usual questions. What are you folks looking for today? Would you like to test drive something? Got a trade in? That one almost made me laugh out loud.

I told him that I had seen the cross overs online and we might like to look at one of them. A White Gold Pearl colored one had caught my eye and we headed toward it to take a look. It was very pretty, he told us about all the features then asked if we wanted to drive it. I looked at the man with the fries. He looked at me and hunched his shoulders and with a tilt of his head, said “Why not?” Then he dropped one of his fries.

As Peter left to get the keys and a dealer plate, he says over his shoulder, “Careful with those fries, that hawk might peck your eyes out to get at them.” That kinda scared me, because as I said before, this was no ordinary day and anything could happen. I started looking in the direction of the hawk.

We commenced to opening all the doors, lifting the hood, kickin’ the tires and eventually found ourselves buckled in and heading for the open road with Peter driving and telling us all the wonderful features of this amazing vehicle. He showed us the cool media package with satellite radio, a rear backup camera that shows you what/who you are about to back over/into, DVD player, and a stereo system that uploads 6900 songs so you don’t have to keep a pile of CD’s in your car.

He showed us a drink cooler over the glove box that circulated cool air so that you could keep cans of pop cold while going down the road. He showed us built in storage under the feet in the second row of seats that doubled as a cooler for the rest of the 12 pack of pop. He was good.

It rode like a dream. Huge cargo space in the back end, seats up to seven people. Traction control (which he demonstrated by locking up the brakes and scaring the bleep out of me even though he warned me ahead of time!). It was a really, REALLY nice vehicle. With one exception. It had two toned cloth seats, with a really light colored beige fabric. We have a golden retriever that loves her car rides. She also loves running through mud. Nuff said.

So, French fry guy takes over driving at some point. Peter had gotten into the back seat, I moved to the front passenger seat and we are headed back in the direction of the dealership. Well, this was fun. On with our errands now. Nice vehicle. We will add it to the list of possibles. No really, we are just looking.

Just as we are nearing the dealership, my husband then looks over at me and asks if I wanted to drive it, as we again blow past the driveway, now going in the opposite direction, passing the pretty white car once again. A few miles up the road in the other direction, he pulls over and we do our own personal Chinese fire drill while Peter waits in the back seat of the car. Now I am driving. No purse, no wallet, no driver’s license on hand. Um, okay…

It took me a minute to figure out how to move the seat, the mirrors, and the steering wheel, but once everything was readjusted from 6’1” guy settings to five foot nuttin’ girl settings, we were off again. It took two minutes to get back to the dealership. I pulled in, put the car in reverse and marveled at the rear backup camera as I parked it exactly between the two other shiny sister cars on either side of us. Dang, I’m good.

So as we are gathering our stuff and getting out of the vehicle, Peter starts to tell us all about a special deal on financing and all about the rebates they currently have going on. I stop him mid sentence and say that before we talk all that, I wanted to tell him that that wasn’t the vehicle for us. I just couldn’t do the cloth, beige seats, no matter how cold it kept my Diet Squirt.

Our Durango has leather seats, and the dog messes them up, and sheds all over them, but a damp cloth does wonders to clean them up with ease. Unless they had something there with leather seats, it was a no go. Oh, and also, did they have any models that had a sunroof option???

Enter Mr. Black Gold Pearl. Peter heads in to get the keys. This one had the leather package, no sunroof. While we are waiting, hubby asks me if I liked the cross over and all it’s features. I could really see us in that vehicle. Trips to our cabin, dog in back seat, going out with our adult kids with room for everyone in one vehicle, thrift store finds loaded in the back end, the works.

Peter comes back out, hands me the key to the black one and says to take it for a spin and see what we think. I told him that two minutes behind the wheel wasn’t enough to get a feel for it, that it was kinda like driving a rental car, awkward and unknown at best. He said to go as far as we needed to make a good decision. Suddenly I am thinking warm, southern locations. I am thinking Florida, here we come!

My hubby grabbed our sandwiches out of the grubby mobile, which were stone cold. I am beginning to think he likes his food cold. We headed back out, once again, this time I drove the entire way. Along the way, I start getting this weird feeling. I wasn’t falling in love with this vehicle. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, because everything Peter had showed us about it sounded good. It should have been a good fit. But the more I drove it, the more I was convinced that it wasn’t the one. Those who know me, know that I don’t over think anything. Actually I tend to go with my gut and fly by the seat of my pants. My gut was saying nope.

So, as I am driving along, I start thinking to myself that I am going to blow this golden opportunity and have to tell my hubby that I just didn't like this car. We will head back to the dealership, get back in the grubby mobile and be on with our day. Car shopping will be over, and dang, he even backtracked!

We pulled back onto the lot about thirty minutes later.  I gathered our burger wrappers, the bag, drinks, etc. and I started to head for the Durango.  I turned to say something to him, and discovered that Mr. Not-Quite-Himself-Today was suddenly nowhere to be seen. He had wandered off, yet again, this time in the direction of some cars. I rolled my eyes and out of sheer curiosity of what lie ahead of me, walked in his direction.

I found him looking at some smaller cars that looked kinda like a tuna fish can on wheels after what we had just driven.  Not interested.  He pointed out a fun memory of renting a PT Cruiser a couple of years ago while on a business trip in Vegas.  Nope, not for me. Then Peter catches up to us and asks what we thought of Mr. Black Gold Pearl. I had to break it to him that I just wasn't feeling it.  We started to walk along the rows of cars as I told him about my hesitations and that again, we were really just looking, not buying.  We were walking and talking when we reached the end of the row and stopped right behind the pretty white car at the entrance to the driveway. This time I had to know.  What the heck is this car?
Turns out, she was a 2010 Stone White Dodge Charger SXT. What the heck is an SXT? Heck if I knew.  All I knew was that it was a beauty and I was drawn to her. Peter then says that this is what he drives. I started walking away from Peter to look inside and take a look at the ever dreadful price sticker, when I looked back at him for some unknown reason, and saw him shoot my husband a curious look.  It was the look between men that asks if this silly woman knows what she is looking at. Nope.

I stood there looking at the price tag and wanted to throw up my french fries and cold burger.  There is no way that this was ever going to be on the list of possibles.

I couldn't hear exactly what was being said between my two male counterparts in this ongoing masqerade that looked a lot like car shopping, but they were doing a lot of what sounded like grunting and groaning.  The kind of talk that men do in garages.  Think Tim Allen when he was working on his car in the garage on the show "Home Improvement".  Get the picture?

Enter Peter, the salesman.  He reaches the driver side door and opened it up, commenting that it was odd that it had been left unlocked.  I wasn't surprised. This was the car that made me audibly gasp.  I expected it to glow with heavenly light when the door opened. I peeked inside.  Hmmm.  Grey interior, cloth seats, no sun roof. Peter: Wanna drive it?

I shoot a look at my hubby that was really my attempt to see if we were truly leaving this time or if we were going out for yet another pretend-we-want-it test drive and he is nodding his head up and down like a bobble head doll.  So once again, Peter leaves to go get the keys and to retrieve the dealer plate from our last rejected test drive. I am standing there still wondering what is an SXT? I was also wondering, what time is it now anyway? It was close to 2pm.  We had been "just looking" at cars now for almost two and a half hours.

Okay, I know the routine. Adjust the seats, adjust the mirrors, buckle in, see ya, Pete.  Yeah, by now he is our buddy, Pete.

I drove the whole way again.  This time, not really paying attention to the car itself, but more formulating a line of questioning that I was going to aim at my husband while I had him confined to this car and his undivided attention. Things like "What are you up to... and What are we still doing here... and I wanna go because this is just cruel to tease me with all these beautiful cars that we just can't buy right now." But, before I could ask my first question, he asked me what I thought of the car. Drat.  How can I concentrate on my line of questioning when you are asking me that.  I was getting set to let him have a piece of my mind when instead I heard myself say "Oh my gosh, this drives like a dream." Whaaaattt???

I had headed out toward one of my favorite stretches of road in the area when we left this time.  I love it because it is curvy and winds through the prettiest scenic countryside called Irish Hills.  I went around one of the curves and again found myself blurting out nonsense.  "This corners like it is on rails!" a stolen line, right out of the movie Pretty Woman.  I think I have watched that movie too many times.

We headed back to the dealership after about fifteen minutes and the entire way, I excitedly chatted about how fun it would be to have a car like this. How we could just go out and go for a Sunday drive.  It would be so cool. Someday.

We got back to the lot, and I park the car like I work there.  We get out and this time it is me that starts heading to look at the other Chargers.  Now the hubby is scratching his head and wondering what he has started. Pete comes walking out and meets us. I stopped behind a really fine looking black version of the Charger, when something catches my eye.  If that one was an SXT, then what is an R/T? Again, more grunting and groaning from the two of them and Peter says it is the one he wished he had bought. Why's that Pete? "The seats in this one hug you.  It isn't a driver's seat, it is a cockpit." One look inside confirmed everything that Pete was saying. Oh. My. Goodness.

This interior was black leather and looked like Tony Stewart himself had just gotten out of it into victory lane. Then Pete added that the R/T has a Hemi 5.7 liter V-8 engine. Sure enough, it did.  It said so right there on the side in bright red letters. I know just enough about cars to know that a Hemi is a large engine that car guys love. I don't know, however, what the 5.7 liter thing is all about.  I am going to have to research that one.  I looked at my hubby and I swear I saw his eyes water and his bottom lip quivered just a bit. "Wanna drive one?" Mr. Bobble-head was back.

This time, he drove. Did he ever. I smiled at the look on his face every time he accelerated. He was sweet talking about this car like there had never been one ever before it. He drove and he drove.  He drove some more. Saying sweet nothings about how throaty it sounded.  Is throaty a real word? He joked that this car is the kind that you buy during a mid life crisis. 

Then he said something very profound.  He said that he felt that we had already survived a midlife crisis with my illness and all that we overcame in the past year. He said that he thought that having my own car was a good idea and that it would be yet another step in my recovery process, to regain some of my independence and to help him to let go of his fear of being too over-protective of me. Then he said that today, he was going to buy me a car and he said he wanted me to pick whichever one I wanted.  Then he simply turned around and started back.  I felt my eyes glaze over as I stared at the road ahead.

The driveway was starting to feel all too familiar.  We pulled in, parked the car and I stood there trying to comprehend all that had taken place in the past few hours. It was now going on 4pm. I glanced over and looked at the gorgeous white model that had started all of this in the first place. Remember when I said she made me gasp?  

We were standing there at the back of the car we had just driven, talking to Pete. No, wait. We had just driven a Hemi, he is now simply the P-Man. High fives all around. I asked him, just out of a curiosity that wouldn't die, "Do any of the Chargers you have here on the lot have the leather package, as well as a sunroof?" With that, P-Man looks at French fry guy and says that they didn't but that given the choice, the leather seat package was a far better option than cloth seats and a sunroof, and that we might just want to let that idea of the sunroof go for the better seats and comfort. My hubby then says to P-Man "Today I am buying my wife a car, but she has the final say on what she wants. I think she really wants a sunroof."

As he said this, from somewhere behind me I hear a purring of sorts.  I turn around to see another Stone White Charger pulling toward us. As it got closer, I saw that it too was an R/T.  I could hear the Hemi, and yes, throaty is a word.  The only word to describe what I now could hear. The kid behind the wheel edged it closer and closer to me, as if taunting me, and as I stood there like a deer in the headlights, I gasped.  Twice. No, I'm not kidding.

P-Man goes up to talk to the kid, who we find out is the car detailer.  He had just finished detailing this one because it was going on the showroom floor. As P-Man opened the door to tell the kid something, I noticed the black leather seat package.  I could see it really well from where I stood, because the whole interior of the car seemed to be... glowing... as if it were being lit from up above... like the glow of the sun... shining in from a... sunroof?

P-Man sends the kid on his way and I watch as the car pulls away.  Dual exhaust tailpipes, singing their throaty song.  Beautiful curved spoiler on the trunk. I don't think I can even bear to hear the answer to the question that just rolled off my tongue.  "How much is that one?"

"That one" P-Man begins, "is the top of the line.  It has all the bells and whistles, including the navigation system." Uh huh.  How much? "Your wife has expensive taste" he says to my hubby as he avoids the question.  I then said a quote that I have always wanted to use in such a situation. "Champagne taste on a beer budget!"  To this P-Man laughed and suggested that we head inside to run some numbers. By the time we got inside, went to the vending machine to get a drink and got seated in P-Man's cubicle, the detailer kid had parked the Charger on the showroom floor. About five feet was all that seperated me from it and the chair I was offered to sit in.

P-Man takes down our information and disappears to "run the numbers" while I keep glancing over at the fine specimen only five feet away from me, trying to act non-chalant, yet straining to see the price sticker. Finally I can't stand it any longer and I get up and go over to her. I walked slowly around her, dragging one finger softly along the front quarter panel as if I expected some kind of a response, like I get from my dog when I rub her tummy. 

I hadn't noticed, but my hubby had gotten up and followed me over to take a closer look too. We both met back on the other side where the price sticker was in the back window. Yikes.

About this time P-Man comes back and we head back to our chairs to find out what we had been approved for.  He says that we could pretty much choose anything they had on the lot, with maybe the exception of the lime green Viper that sat just across the showroom floor.  It was sold already anyway. At this time, we had been hemming and hawing about colors, engine sizes, interior packages, and fifteen gazillion other choices when my hubby says "What do you really want?" and in a moment of sheer lack of self control I said "That!" and pointed to the Charger with all the bells and whistles.

He looks at P-Man and says, "Run us some numbers on that, and let me know what the payment will be."  I am suddenly flabberghasted and have no words. P-Man again disappears and we are sitting there in the cubicle as I start imagining the possibles.  We discussed what we thought the payment would be, what we needed it to be, and what we wished it could be.  While we sat there, the owner stopped by and introduced himself to us. Very nice man.  My hubby then proceeds to tell him that we were very impressed with their service department on the three occasions that we had to have work done on our vehicles. That was what brought him here today to purchase a vehicle.

Meanwhile, every man that walked in through the front door immediately was drawn to her. They would walk up and stare at the engine, marvel at the trunk space, and ultimately declare "That's not a driver's seat, it's a cockpit!"  Do they pull the boys aside in school and teach them this stuff??? 

A man with three boys came in and all of them opened doors and piled into the seats of the Charger, opening and closing glove boxes and consoles like they were the latest greatest gadget that they had ever seen.  Power seats were humming forward only to buzz backward again.  Seats were tilting up and down. Buttons were being pushed.  Then they got out and opened the trunk, looking like they were getting set to climb in.  Just as I was fixin' to scream "Get away from MY car!" the dad announced it was time to go. Thank goodness!  That would have been embarassing... for my hubby. 

P-Man came back with the numbers. The payment was in front of us.  It didn't look good.   It was higher than what we thought it would be. It was way higher than what we wished it would be. And it was slightly higher than what we needed it to be. I sat back in my seat and was getting set to brace for disappointment like I had when P-Man locked up the brakes on our first test drive, when I heard my hubby say "Okay.  Let's do this."  Somebody pinch me.  I just realized that this entire day could be a really detailed drawn out dream sequence. 

(yes, that speedometer really says 160 mph.  Grin! )

P-Man disappears for the third time and I am looking at my hubby and just shaking my head back and forth.  He has this grin on his face like a kid in a candy store. P-Man comes back and says with a heavy sigh, "Sorry folks, we needed to get an approval for part of the paper work and they closed at 5pm. All I am getting is their automated system, so we will have to finalize everything on Monday."  No, this isn't a dream, it is now a nightmare! Monday? Monday? That means that we have time to go home and talk ourselves completely out of this crazy idea. Poop.  Yes, that was the exact word I said to P-Man.

We headed back out to the lot.  Climbed up into the dirty Durango and drove home, seven miles, having not completed even one of our errands on the to do list.  It was now 5:30, the day was spent. We walked into the house, I took off my coat and like a robot on auto pilot, and started doing the dishes and staring out the kitchen window.  It was getting dark and so was my mood.

I stood there quiet for several minutes when a whole new flood of emotions hit me. How could I justify that car?  Was I really healthy enough to think that I can go out and about on my own? Would I just wait for him to get home from work to take me anyway? Was he ready to have me going out and about on my own again? He is awfully overprotective yet. As I was getting set to go find him and hash all this over, he comes walking into the kitchen with the phone to his ear.  "Yeah, we can be there in ten minutes.  Let me ask her."

It was P-Man on the other end, wanting to know if we wanted to come get the car and drive it for the weekend. Seems the owner had asked him after we left without it if something had gone wrong.  When he told him the issue, the owner said he would personally call on Monday and get the issue taken care of and to get ahold of us right away and let us take the car. Oookaaay...

So the next thing you know, we are in the Durango once again, headed to the dealership with my daughter and son in law, who had arrived just moments earlier at our home. We are explaining to them where we have been all day and how we didn't get anything done.  We get there and P-Man had the car brought back out from the showroom floor, sitting at the front door.  It was idling and warming up for us, right next to his SXT.  He was getting ready to head home.  He and my hubby go in to his cubicle and I stood there telling my daughter the story of our day.  I suddenly noticed there were a small group of men gathered between the two cars, gawking. Doing the man grunt thing they do. I wanted so badly to say "Listen to that Hemi purr. Throaty huh?" Perhaps in time I would get the courage to. I couldn't help but wonder if this would now become an everyday thing?

Next thing you know, they come back out and P-Man says "Congratulations and enjoy your car!"  I start to say that technically it isn't mine yet, when my hubby says "I just signed the title." And again, I gasped. P-Man sticks out his hand to shake mine and I grabbed him around the neck and hugged him instead. He laughed as he hugged me back.

I drove it home on cloud nine. My daughter in the passenger seat, kept telling me how much she wanted to drive it. My son in law in the back seat said he wanted to drive it. My hubby was driving the Durango ahead of me and was on his cell phone.  He later tells me he was talking to a buddy from work who is a car guy and he probably said he wanted to drive it!

As I pulled it into our driveway, I was overwhelmed with emotion again. I looked out the front window and I saw our steps.  Oh, those steps.  I suddenly could see the paramedics that transported me down them and into an ambulance just ten short months ago. Then I remembered how nearly impossible four steps were to climb and how the physical therapist told me that my release from the hospital would be only on the condition that I could indeed climb them. I squeezed the steering wheel and recalled the death grip I used to have on his shoulders as my husband would go ahead of me while I fearfully tried to go down those steps with everything I had in me.

I sat there all alone in my car for a good couple minutes trying to come to grips with what had just transpired.  I shut my eyes and tipped my head back against the seat to clear my thoughts. When I opened them again, I was looking up at the most lovely sight.  

In my rush of emotions and excitement, I had completely forgotten about it! My sunroof! I slid back the inside panel and what little light that was left in the sky at the end of a Michigan winter day suddenly poured inside and lit up the inside of the car. It was a reminder of God's promise of the brighter days I had ahead of me. 

Then and there I ultimately decided that my hubby was right. We had survived our midlife crisis. I will love this car. The freedom and independence it will bring, whether real or contrived all in my head, will be another milestone in my recovery.  Just you wait and see! 

I'll be the one in the Stone White Charger R/T with the sunroof open and the stereo on.  Living life to it's fullest.  Try to keep up, she's got a Hemi.

Til next time,

P.S. Hubby went back Monday to sign the final paper work and P-Man sent me home this awesome hat! I love it! Thanks, Pete!


  1. WOW! WHAT A STORY. thanks for sharing that, it sure gives me somethng to consider. blessings to you. ;) enjoy the drive....

  2. Great story! Glad you are well! We looked at that car & the Mustang recently ... they are BOTH awesome cars. Enjoy!

    Have a great day.
    TTFN ~ Marydon


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