…. cause it went by in a total blur, especially the last couple of weeks!  Can’t believe I haven’t blogged in over a week!  Hope you’re all doing well, I owe so many people emails it’s untrue, I’m also behind on “phoning home” too, so I need to rectify that as soon as possible.

It all went pear shaped at work as not one, but two colleagues broke their ankles, and there was an awful lot of slack to be picked up by the rest of us!  The guys were hanging out together, doing guy things….. like messing about with a tree top zip wire without checking that the safety stop was in place!  The tree that Kazie smashed in to did a really good job of stopping him but Kevin mistook Kazie’s yell of “don’t come down” as an all clear and smashed in to the same tree!!  The result was a broken ankle each!  They both had surgery last Friday, Kazie has a relatively clear break and needed a pin put in to help the bone heal again but Kevin managed to break his heel which is an altogether much more painful and longer healing process, so he’ll be out for a while, Kazie should be back in a couple of days.  Talk about nominees for a Darwin Award!

I’ve also been making sure I spend a little time most days after work in the basement working on my fitness again, something I badly needed to do if you recall my self pitying posts before I went to England in May!!  I’m feeling better already, happier, healthier and I’m sleeping well too, I’ve also lost three pounds which is always welcome in the summer when the shorts and little tops are out and a bit more flesh is on display!

The final thing that came to a head during the last week was a frenzy of looking at “new to me” cars in three different dealerships.  Not sure if I’ve mentioned before but I’ve been seriously considering upgrading my 1997 Ford Escort with something much newer and safer with better features, warranty and reliability.  Andrew’s been bugging me to do this for the best part of a year or two, but I really liked my old car.  She certainly wasn’t the prettiest anymore but she was remarkably clean for her age with an excellent interior and very few body marks, there was also just 129,000 on the clock, which was slightly less than 10,000 miles a year, so very low mileage too.  Plus, having none of the “modern drive by wire, let me do it for you” kind of features, she was an absolute blast to drive, as input always equaled output, and if the back end stepped out around a corner it was solely and entirely due to the driver, who would have a grin a mile wide on her face!  I struggled to consider parting with her but after her last service Andrew warned me that she might not make it through the upcoming winter due to some corrosion that was taking hold under the drivers side foot well.

I’ve been looking around on and off all year, not too seriously, but I’d narrowed the prospective field down to just one type of car and then kept an eye out on the online trader sites.  We’d also been putting a bit of money aside as I didn’t want to get in to a payment plan, I wanted to buy out right, so I had myself a self imposed spending limit.  My car of choice was going to be a 2008 or 2009 model year Ford Focus, I really like the hatchback but they were proving difficult to come by with low mileage so I started to consider the 4 door sedan too, my choices were few and far between considering I was also looking for a manual not an automatic, they’re quite rare in Michigan, out of about 80 or so cars for sale in my area (50 mile radius of my address), typically about 6 were manuals.  Take in to consideration mileage, year and price and out of those six there may have been one worth considering.  So, out of the blue last week, not one, not two but three manuals with low mileage and at a price I could deal with turned up at three different dealers!  Sods law eh?  Talk about behaving like the the proverbial buses!

So to cut a long story short, the first dealership had only just listed their car and wouldn’t deal much on price and didn’t want my Escort as a trade in!  The second one gave me a fantastic price and a great deal on the trade in too but the car they had for sale had too many minor body blemishes and stone chips, plus it would need four new tyres very soon all of which worried us for a car with just 20,000 miles on it, it really looked like it had been driven hard and perhaps not looked after too well.  The dealer recognized this and cut the price drastically, but I wanted to look at the third one before making a decision.  This car was located just four miles from where I work so I went to see it on my own last Friday lunch time.  The Sales guy could see that I was serious, no nonsense, knew exactly what I wanted and how much I wanted to pay, so he talked to his Manager and the price was dropped by $1600 in about five minutes.  I knew this was my car, it’s been looked after and hasn’t a single mark on her anywhere.  The dealership took it on a trade in for a new Chrysler and they’d waxed, polished and prepped her very well, plus you could just tell that the car had been looked after, even the engine bay was completely spotless.

I took Andrew to the dealership on Saturday morning and we both had a test drive.  The dealer also put the car on a ramp for us so Andrew could inspect the underside, it was as perfect as perfect could be and so after a little more negotiating and a little haggle over the trade in price of my Escort I drove my new car home.  I do have to say I felt incredibly sad at walking away from my old girl, felt like abandonment!  We had a lot of fun together and apart from one small incident (the alternator about a month ago) she never gave me any problems at all.

So this is what was sitting on my driveway on Sunday morning, I took these pictures really quickly just before we headed out to the lake with our kayaks, to send to my brother.  She’s a very sweet drive, and looks, feels and drives just like a brand new car.  I spent a bit of time sitting inside her on Sunday afternoon going through the manual before I had to drive her to work this morning for the first time…..

And my favourite feature???  Being able to plug my Ipod in, press a button on the steering wheel, say “USB” for the device type and then say “Play All” – “Play Album xxx” – “Play KT Tunstall” etc.  I like it that my car talks to me!  Makes driving to work so much more interesting!  Now I just have to make her remember my name!