My mom’s car is financially “free”, but emotionally expensive.
I have my mom’s car. It’s a 98 VW Beetle. It’s been sitting in my uncle’s driveway for the passed 2 1/2 years. I’ve struggled with what to do with it. Keep it? Give it away? Fix it up and sell it?
My uncle decided to be the fantastic loving person he is, and took it to his mechanic who looked at it and said it just needed new tires, new brakes, and a new battery. I decided I’d be okay putting $1,000 into the car, because somehow it was going to be worth it. I’d either sell it or use it myself.
I have to tell you that I used to have my own Beetle. It was the first car I ever had (and my dream car at that). In 1998, my entire family got new Volkswagens. I got a techno blue beetle. My mom got a black one. And my dad got a Golf VR6 GTI. One big happy VW family.
In 2008 my car was in an accident (ruptured oil pan on crappy Brooklyn streets). I had taken it to a mechanic who wanted to charge $5,000 to rebuild the engine. I decided to take him up on it. Why? Because I was emotionally attached to my car. Why was I emotionally attached to the car? Because my dad bought it for me (although I made several car payments on it from my Office Max job in high school that trailed off over time, he still had made the purchase and the pay off).
They re-built it, I handed over 5 grand, and I was on my way. 6 months later, the car broke down. Apparently they did a poor job on the build and the engine was going to have to be replaced for another $3,500. I was deeply wounded over this. I sold the car for $750 to someone who would hopefully rebuild it and I said good bye to my baby bug. It was so much harder than I ever imagined because it was like I was saying goodbye to my father all over again. My father is not in the car, it wasn’t even his, but yet I still INSIDE MYSELF attached that car to the memory of my dad.
After that, I rented a car for a month (out of my own pocket) and decided to sue the Brooklyn based mechanics shop that, when I called to tell them what happened, would not take my phone calls or responsibility. Needless to say after TWO 1/2 YEARS of on/off sueing and waiting around (and OMG carrying around that energy!!!) we ended up settling for about $1,200; enough to buy me a plane ticket and a week’s stay in Amsterdam, which I definitely utilized.
In the meantime, I had been given a 94 Ford Taurus wagon from my uncle for $1. The best deal I ever got. I’ve been driving it around ever since but… lately I’ve been feeling like… maybe it’s time to buy a new one?
I’m a technology person. I tell people I was born on a keyboard, because I might as well have been. My dad was a video engineer for CBS television for 20 years and we always had the latest technology. When my mom was in the hopsital and I was by her bedside daily, I found comfort in purchasing an iPhone 3g and just the other week moved onto the new iPhone 4S– and BOY do I feel liberated!! My phone is no longer attached to my mom and that time period. I no longer have texts (which I saved in photo format just in case I ever wanted to look at them again) from my mom or my mom’s number on my phone (the phone number got in there accidentally after a backup… I had to delete my mom from my phone; one of the strangest feelings I’ll ever feel) and I feel like a whole new world has opened up — it’s called FREEDOM. FREEDOM of the feelings of grief that surrounded my phone… that I didn’t even know were there.
When someone dies, we have to start a whole new life. And finding that new life and what that looks like is really hard.
So now, I want a new car and financially, I’m sure it’s a way smarter thing to keep my mom’s 1998 VW Beetle and drive it around – but it’s WAY more expensive on my heart and soul. Your taste and quality of life isn’t the best, VW, and for that reason, I have to chop you.