The mister has complained about the length of my blog news cycle. There tends to be about a week’s delay in Happenings and when I announce them. But I have to wait until all the chips fall! But now, without further ado, the Automobile! Thanks for all your previous advice, folks.

Last Saturday we bought us a 1996 Toyota Corolla with 90,000 miles on it. On Friday, The Mister had gone to check out various “private seller” cars for sale. He would call these cell phones, and the guys on the other end would say things like, “Meet me at the CVS off of York road. The car is there.” (Yes, THAT CVS. The one where the drug dealers hang out.)

The Mister would say when he got there, “Why are you selling this car for higher than its Blue Book value?” and “You listed this as good condition, but to me it looks fair.” To which the parking lot guy would invariably say that the stated price was actually an excellent deal and he wasn’t budging. “Let me be honest with you,” he’d say, and lie through his teeth. “This car has never needed a single repair even though it is ten years old! The only reason I’m selling it is because my teenage daughter doesn’t like the color!”

So it was a relief to find the listing for the Toyota, and meet an ordinary working person in front of his house, and get the maintenace records and take the car for a test drive, and have him offer a lower but still reasonable price and throw in a pair of new tires he had sitting around, primarily because he took a shine to us. He drove the car to our house himself and in general oozed friendly, enthusiastic trustworthiness. It almost seemed too good to be true. I wonder if maybe he had trouble selling it because of the piles of papers and the giant teddy bear filling up the back seats.

We were pretty sure we got a great deal, but I didn’t want to say so until we got the car inspected. Our nice mechanics put on the new tires and replaced some belts and gave us the thumbs up and the coveted yellow “pass” paper!

Woohoo! couldn’t have been easier, really. The only problems were that car apparently hadn’t been cleaned out for five years or so (yay for coin operated industrial strength gas station vacuums), and the very prominent bumper sticker, which read “secular jews of baltimore.org”

Our last car had a Christian fish on it from the previous owner. We left it on there despite our suspicions that the Mazda was not born again. “Close enough,” we figured. This bumper sticker was a little different since it did not correspond to our status in any particular. Not secular, not jewish, not from Baltimore or planning to stay here, not organized. We spent a week falsely advertising ourselves to Maryland traffic. But The Mister came through again, with a little elbow grease, some solvent, and a scraper! Now we are unidentifiable. And that’s the way we like it.