Looks Like We Made It.

Looks Like We Made It – Barry Manilow

There was a time in my forties when I thought I was infallible, I could do no wrong.  It was a hot summer day when I discovered I had made a big mistake that jeopardized my marriage to Kathie.  I know.  What was I thinking?

I was driving around in an older Jeep Cherokee that had seen it’s better days.  The government was offering “cash for clunkers” and the Jeep qualified as a clunker.

On my way home from work I pull into the Chevy dealer.

“How can I help you sir?”  the sale guys asks as I get my first leg out of the Jeep attempting to get out of the vehicle.

“I heard the cash for clunkers is about to end so I thought I’d look into getting a new vehicle,”  I reply as I finish extricating myself from the Jeep to the brutally hot car lot.

“Well, sir, you are in luck.  Today is the last day of that program so we had better get cracking.” the super sales guy says.

As I tour the lot I find a Chevy HHR.  This was Chevy’s answer to the Chrysler PT Cruiser.  It was a funky looking little station wagon type thing that would work well in the business and I thought it was cool looking.

I pick the color I like and take it for a test drive.  It checked all my needs off my list and I was ready to buy.

Super Sales Guy and I go back and forth on the price and come to an agreement.  “Write it up!” I say thinking I had gotten the best deal anyone could ever negotiate.

As we are finalizing the paperwork, Super Sales Guy says, “I will need the title for the Jeep and we’ll be done here in less than an hour.”

That is when it hit me.  Kathie and I have always made big purchases together.  Talked about it, did our research and then when we are in agreement make our purchase.  I skipped that step.

With a chuckle, I tell the Super Sales Guy, “No problem, it’s at home I’ll go get it and then be back.”  Halfway hoping that I had dodged a bullet and could include Kathie in the purchase.

Super Sales Guy responds “Mr. Hunter, the dealership will close very soon and after today the cash for clunker program is gone.  Can’t you have your wife bring the title?”

He had me.  The Jeep’s AC had gone on the fritz earlier that day and I believed that I had no choice.  I made the call.

“Hey, Baby,” I say trying to sound like it was a normal conversation we about to have.
“What’s up?” she asked.  I could tell by the tone of Kathie’s voice she knew I was up to something.
“You know about that cash for clunkers they have been talking about on the radio.”
“Yeeaah,” she says already knowing the path I was taking her down.
“Well, I signed papers for that cool looking Chey HHR and I need the tile for the Jeep to finish the deal,” I say as nonchalantly as possible.
“Fine,” Kathie says curtly and hangs up the phone.

I knew right then I had violated her trust but still, I was able to justify in my mind that I was making a logical move.  It was the last day for the government rebate, right?   The Jeep is on its last legs, right?  I deserve a new car….right?

As I run this logic over and over in my head, Kathie arrives at the dealership.  Not getting out of her car, she hands me the title.

“You want to see the car?” I ask trying to relay enthusiasm over my smart purchase.
“No,  I’ll see it at home soon enough,” Kathie replies.

My heart sank, yet I went through with the purchase.  What was I thinking?

When I drove up to the house, Kathie was waiting outside for me.  I could tell by the look on her face that she did not like the car or anything about how this whole day had gone.  “The seats are too hard. The car is awfully small.”  There was a laundry list of things she did not like about the car.

Looking back I believe complaining about the car was her way to keep from telling me how much I had done to damage our relationship.

As time went by she did forgive me but she did not like the car..ever.

After a couple of years, the HHR started to get “ghosts” in the wires.  The electrical system would power down in the middle of driving down the highway.  No rhyme or reason.

One day, I was near a national car reseller that will buy your car for cash.  The car was being good and so I went in to get an offer for the vehicle that ended up being $6,000 over what I owed on it.

“Sold!” I said to the rep and quickly called Kathie.
“I’ve sold the HHR Babe, bring the title quick!” I tell her excitedly over the phone.
“Did you buy something else?” she asked a little gun shy from the last call she got like this.
I knew better.
“Nope, we’re taking the cash and running. Hurry up and get here.” hoping the rep didn’t overhear our conversation.

She must have broken every speed limit getting there.  We happily walked off that lot and went shopping together for a new car we both would love.

Even to this day when we see an HHR going down the road, we scream “stinkn’ HHR!”! and then flip it off.

Now we can laugh about my stupidity and I have truly learned never to violate her trust again and yes it looks like we made it.

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