Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Where's My Camaro?

When GM brought back the Camaro several years ago (2010 models? Has it really been that long?), I loved them. Loved them like I have not loved any other model of Camaro since the late 60's/early 70's models became scarce.  '80's Camaro, I did not care for.  90's Camaro, oh yuck, puh-lease.  But the new Camaro? Oh yes, PLEASE can I have one?  The look, so reminiscent of the beefy muscle-car Camaro body style I loved as a kid.  This car looked powerful.  Strong.  A work horse with the speed of a racehorse.

Then, DH happened to bring one home from work one day (bringing cars home from work is nothing new, and has actually been part of his engineering tasks for over a decade, but rarely are they models I'm interested in), and I got to ride in it.  The round dials on the dash, the racing-type bucket seats, the rear wheel drive power!!  Work horse look, racehorse speed, and dressage horse handling.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Some serious car lust going on.

Didn't take me long after that to look up what the cost would be on my dream Camaro.  Custom built, of course, because I don't want all the bells and whistles, just the basics.  Manual transmission.  Dials, not digital display.  Knobs on the radio.  Heck, even the windows can be manual.  Vinyl floors, not carpeted.  And no leather upholstery.  I must have those seats, though.  :0)

At the time, a brand new Camaro in my desired color scheme (bright yellow because underneath my staid exterior is a flamboyant soul) and options quoted at $23,000.  $23,000!  That was only half as much as the sticker price on my Suburban in 2005!!  $23,000, imagine a brand new, just as I want it, vehicle for only $23,000!  My mind was made up.

"When DD2 graduates, I want a Camaro," I informed DH.

He, of course, was not on the same train of thought as I was.  He couldn't imagine why I would a) want such a base model vehicle, b) put a far away date of 2015 on the purchase of it.  I had to patiently explain my reasoning.

A) I don't want a tricked out car.  Big price, more computerized shit stuff to go wrong on it, and less chance DH would let me drive it with dirty shoes (my shoes are almost always dirty, what with both living on and working on farms).  I just want the body style, the easily cleaned interior, the simple stuff I understand how it works, and of course the bad ass engine good acceleration and handling.

B) I wanted one in 2015 because that was when I would be officially retired.

Of course, I had to explain the retired part too.  Retired because DD2 would graduate from high school, move away to college and turn 18 years old; effectively ending my 24/7 job of parenting that I would have been 'employed' at for nearly 26 years at that point.  Besides, with just myself to haul around (instead of four offspring plus assorted friends and teammates of theirs) I would no longer need an 8 passenger vehicle (such as the Suburban) as my daily driver.  A nice, 2-door Camaro would fit the bill.  Besides, it would get better gas mileage too.  (Since we're being all practical here.)

DH said he would think about it.  And, occasionally in the last several years, he has mentioned it.  But I keep having to remind him this is my Camaro; that I don't want it to be a convertible (long hair and convertibles don't really work all that well together, especially if the driver has long hair flying in her face blocking her vision), that I don't really want air conditioning (if it's even still possible to buy a car without AC), that I don't want OnStar or a nav screen (no GPS thank you, I don't want to be trackable should I decide to disappear for a while), that I did not think the heads up display was cool (rather distracting, IMHO).  This is a muscle car, for Pete's sake, not a Cadillac!

Now that DD2's graduation day has come and gone, and we are on the countdown to her departure from home for the college dorm (73 days she has informed me), I've been thinking about 'my' Camaro a lot.

Brutal truth is, I'm not getting one.  Nope.  No brand new, custom built Camaro for me.  We really need to replace our Suburban, as it is both our trip truck and heavy duty hauler--say if we need to deliver a couple tons of hay, or take our tractor somewhere-- and as of last week sports over 200,000 miles.

A mileage which makes it not such a reliable vehicle for driving long distances (say, oh 500 miles one way to DD2's college or something) any more.  We've had to replace a few 'larger' items on it in the past year and a half or so,(plus, you might notice from the picture that the PRND321 no longer lights up, so you really need to count how many 'clicks' you pull the lever down for to know which gear you're in) and we know from past experience that after the 200k mark, a major component breakage is looming, usually for the most inopportune time.  This is our fourth vehicle we've taken up over 200k miles, after all, with the record for our personal fleet being 238k (and then the rear axle went. . . )

So anyway, my Camaro is not on the acquisition list for this year.  It's not the $23,000 price tag keeping it off the list; no our new truck, when we actually purchase it, will be much much more than that.  Possibly even twice that, as we need four-wheel drive, six passenger seating, a heavy-half ton or a 3/4 ton truck with the towing package and trailering mirrors.  Really, the Camaro is symbolic of so many other things that I want but more than likely will not get this year:

--the house that stays clean (what with having two grand kids living in it)

--the peace and quiet that was supposed to come when my youngest child leaves home (what with eldest child and his family living with us)

--the easing up of the pocketbook since there would no longer be anyone other than DH & I that we needed to support (the rent we are charging DS1 & family is not covering all the increased bills, repairs, and replacements that have occurred since they moved in)

--the freedom to do what I want with my time each day once I'm off of work and before DH arrives home from his job in the evening (what with extra people underfoot varying hours of the day and night)

I'm struggling a bit with accepting these facts.  I won't deny it.  I've never experienced life as an adult without being responsible for someone other than myself; I had DS1 one month and two days before turning 18.  Through all the rough years, all the sacrifices made, I've looked forward to the 'someday' when my kids were all grown up and I could get my reward of experiencing on going days where I did not need to think of someone else first.  Where I did not need to plan my breakfast, lunch, dinner based on the food allergies or preferences of my offspring.  Where I could actually go for two or three whole days of cooking and eating without running out of clean dishes!  Where I could pick up and go away whenever and where ever and however long I wanted (as long as I had obtained reliable livestock sitters).  Where I could have frivolous things like a Camaro.

That was supposed to happen this summer.  2015. Retirement from active parenting.  Time to myself.  A clean house.  No more tripping over other people's things, or planning meals around whims and schedules of others, or rushing to aide in someone else's crises that in the big picture aren't really crises at all.

So, as the days on the calendar go by, inching me closer to the day marked "DD2 moves into dorm", and I still find myself with dinners being kept warm waiting on others to return home, or tripping over someone else's dirty clothes they left lying, or opening the silverware drawer at lunch time to find that somehow not one of 12 dinner forks is clean (!!! how does this happen before noon?!?), I'm a little discontent.  I find myself asking out loud "Where's my Camaro?"

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