Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Addendum to the Previous Post

Last night T was watching the news while I was in our bedroom studying. It was quiet and all of a sudden she screamed out "J! Oh my gosh! You have to come see this." She had been waiting up to watch a specific story on the news about used car scams. In light of what had happened to us it was fitting that she was so interested. You'll never guess who the story was about.

Remember the guy who rudely dropped the F-bomb on us because he claimed we had wasted his time. Well guess who just got busted on the news?

Check out this video. Sorry about the commercial at the beginning.

It looks as if Doug was wasting a lot of other peoples time. What nerve to be so disrespectful towards us when all along he knew he was trying to scam us. I'm utterly shocked at such behavior.

It also looks like we dealt with possibly two scammers in our attempt to buy a car.

Just an aside: Sometimes I wonder if people believe my elaborate stories. Well here's proof for at least one of them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Out With The Stolen...

...In With The New.

As many of our readers know, our car was stolen over three months ago and T and I have been roughing it with one car since. We've had difficulty balancing the use of one car with T's work schedule and my school schedule but we were determined to learn to sacrifice and suck it up. We lasted for awhile but eventually it was getting unmanageable and asking for rides from people was getting old.

T and I talked and we decided to use our hard earned savings on a car. That's why we've kept a savings in the first place, to pay for car troubles. We never realized we'd have to buy a new car because ours would get stolen. We figured we spend our savings on fixing our current pieces of crap.

First off, buying a car has to be the most annoying task I have ever endured. It started with meaningless searching on autotrader.com, cars.com, and craigslist. Then it turned into an obsession, I was checking craigslist about 40 times a day to make sure I was the first to call on a new posting. When we finally decided we needed a car we were out of the gates fast, seeing a different car almost daily.

The first car we went to look at was a 1999 Volvo S70 from a very nice, honest couple who had just had a new baby boy, their first. We hit it off with them and felt extremely comfortable with them. They seemed to like us too. T and I really wanted their car but they had it listed considerably higher then it was worth. And while looking at the car we discovered the locking mechanism wasn't working with the remote keyless entry button or the button in the car. Normally I could care less about such a thing. We've always had to open our door locks manually. Volvo, however, made it difficult to open the doors manually because the lock on the rear doors were not located next to the hinge of the door (like most vehicles) or near the inside handle. The locks are located at the most rear aspect of the door so it is almost impossible for me to reach them after unlocking the drivers door and truly impossible for T to reach them. This would make getting into the back seat a real hassle. It wasn't a deal breaker, however, and we made an offer. We gave them two different offers, one lower price for the car as it was, with the locks not working and a higher price if they got the locks fixed. They told us our offer was fair but declined saying they wanted even more money and didn't want to fix the locks. T and I were both sad because we thought we had found our car from people who we trusted (a hard thing to do when dealing with craigslist as you will soon see).

The next car we looked at was a 1999 Nissan Altima. T contacted the seller and he told her it was in great condition. It was his grandpa's car who had recently passed away and he was in charge of selling it. T told him our budget but explained we would have a look at the car and give him an offer according to what we felt it was worth. He agree. We met him in a grocery store parking lot because it was dark and it was the best lit area around. We looked it over, drove it, and felt it was worth $1000 dollars lower that the budgeted amount T had discussed with him. He reminded us off our original budget and we re-explained to him that we didn't feel the car was worth that much and again made our offer, with a after thought that if we decided we could pay more we would give him a call. He was obviously annoyed as he quickly ended the conversation and drove away. T and I thought it strange but got in our car and started for home, not too upset to miss out on his car.

On our way out of the parking lot we noticed the man returning in his car and flagging us down. We stopped thinking he had had time to think it over and was going to accept our offer. On the contrary, he told us not to call him because he felt, and I quote, "You wasted my f@&#ing time!" Since T was in the driver seat I felt he was saying it to her and I flipped. For anyone that knows me, I rarely let people push me around and I wasn't about to let some jerk swear at my wife. So I proceeded to yell at him telling him he had no rite so swear at us and who was he to think it was okay to act so rudely. Let's just say a friendly visit to view his car turned ugly. On our way home T was rattled, she's not the type to engage in such hostility. I, on the other hand, was fired up and ready to knock someone out if I had to (I routinely engage in such hostility).

We looked at many other cars and couldn't seem to find the right one. We narrowed what we wanted down to a Volvo or a Subaru, though. We also decided our next car had to be newer then our 1999 Ford Contour and less miles then the Contour which was 140,000.

Then we finally found the one. A 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Limited Edition. This baby was sweet. All wheel drive, leather, and only 109,00 miles. It was perfect. Again it was dark when we went to see the car so this time we met at a McDonald parking lot. I looked it over carefully, drove it, and was overall very pleased. We gave the guy, who had a thick Russian accent, our offer and we negotiated a very enticing price. I agreed and asked the guy if he would accept a check, he said he'd only take cash. This was a Sunday night so there was no way I was getting that kind of cash then. I told him I'd call him the next day when the banks opened up.

We spoke briefly the next morning and I told him I was working on getting the money together, he said to call him back when I was ready to purchase. When I tried to call him back, though, his phone would not ring. I'd get a recording explaining the line I was calling didn't currently have a mailbox set up so I couldn't leave a message. I called and called and called to no avail. A day or so went buy and again we were bummed that we were going to miss out on another opportunity to get a car we liked. Then I saw his post on craigslist get re-posted and again I called him. Now this was getting fishy. He answered and I asked him where he had been and he explained he had been out of town for business. Business? When I was test driving his car he told me him and his supposed wife had lost there jobs so that's why they were selling the car. What business did he have? Something wasn't smelling right anymore and I started to become suspicious. But the price was too good to pass up so I told him I'd still buy it. He agree and we set a time to meet. As soon as I hung up the phone I got all these horrible thoughts about the decision. I called T and told her that I had agreed the buy the Subaru but was having a lot of bad feelings about it. After further discussion she told me to trust my feelings and call it off. So I did and boy am I glad.

Later that day T read a post on craigslist titled exactly the same as the Subaru but with the addition of, "WARNING." The post was all about a Russian guy who was scamming people with fake car titles and rolled back mileage. Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost, he really saved my butt this time.

Then we got discouraged. We stopped searching the web as often and I made the decision to start looking at dealerships instead of private sellers. I had originally stayed clear of dealers because I didn't want to deal with a bunch of salesman bull, but eventually I gave in.

I found a guy selling a 2000 Volvo S80 (a model I had really liked and really wanted) so I called him and went to have a look. He was a dealer but it was his wife's car. They were only the second owners of the car and the previous owner had it for 10 years and practically babied it. All the maintenance was done on time at a Volvo dealership and every part on it was Volvo, not some cheap generic parts. I was stricken; I was in love. But he wanted more then T and I could afford. I gave him my offer and he countered with his offer. I explained it was out of our budget but I'd talk to my wife about it. I left thinking our next car slipped out of my hands again. A few hours later he called me back and left a message that said his wife had told him to give us the car for the price we offered. I was ecstatic and agreed to buy the car. T and I went to pick it up later that night. Here she is:

She's got all the bells and whistle. Leather heated seats, sun roof, duel climate control, CD player, remote keyless entry, power windows, power locks (that actually work), power seats, huge trunk, fold down rear seats, and tons of other features (some a little weird, but that's what makes a Volvo a Volvo). And it's the safest car on the road. It's perfect and after all of our troubles T and I feel we deserved to have her.

I also decided finding the right car is like finding the right person you're going to marry. When you find the right one everything just falls into place. It happens relatively easily and you don't have to stress over it. That how it happened when I found T and that's how it happened when we finally found this car.

Sorry for the really long blog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween 2010

Since this was Camo's first Halloween, we felt it was really important to dress him up. He was the cutest giraffe ever. I am not sure who was more excited about Halloween and getting candy, Camo or I. I will be honest I was for sure. Why not use your baby to score some candy. Anyway we went to our church's Halloween carnival on Saturday night, then headed to my sister-in-law's house to go trick or treating on Sunday. Here are some pictures from the events. Camo does not look overly excited in any of these pictures because he was so tired. J wants to put him back in his costume and get some cute ones when he is in a good mood. These will have to do for now.

Crater Lake

Back in September we went to Crater Lake. Crater Lake is 5 miles wide and 1,943 feet deep. It is the deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the deepest in the world. The lake rests in the shattered remnants of a volcano called Mount Mazama which erupted and collapsed into itself 7,700 years ago.

J had a two week break from school the end of September so I decided to take a couple days off of work so that we could take a trip to Crater Lake. It was absolutely beautiful and I recommend making the trip if you live anywhere in the Portland area. It was definitely worth the 4 hour drive. We spent all day there, then stayed at a hotel in Medford and headed back the next morning. We did a few hikes while at Crater Lake. One of the hikes took us to the shoreline. It was a relatively hard hike. If you notice in most of the pictures I am holding Camo in the backpack. Don't worry, it wasn't because J was being a wimp. I really wanted to get a great workout in that day so I told him I would carry Camo on all the hikes. J didn't argue with me on that one. It was quite funny all the stares we were getting from people thinking to themselves why is he making her carry the baby. Camo was so comfortable that he even fell asleep. You will notice that in one of the pictures I post. When we got to the shoreline we noticed people jumping off some of the rocks into the water. I was shocked at how clear the water was and how far deep you could see into the water. The water was really cold, but it was so hot outside that I bet it felt nice for those jumping in. Here are a few pictures from the day.