(Mazda 3 by the way.)
In a nutshell: There was a hail storm over the summer. And then a resulting insurance check. And then a fender bender to the front AND back. And then ANOTHER resulting insurance check.
Insurance $$$ + a lot of simmering little problems, some of which could get big at any time = "So, how about a new car?"
I'm feeling better about the new car now. I think it will help a little once I can actually drive it.
I know what you're thinking: WHAT?!?!? You haven't driven it yet?
Well, see, there's this little catch. The new car is a manual. M likes manuals and it was $1,000 dollars cheaper. (Remember the stinginess?) In THEORY I know how to drive a stick. In practice, I'm a little scared to do it without M around to "hold my hand." And what with the three kids that have the audacity to keep calling us Mom and Dad, we haven't exactly gotten around to getting out the crowbar and cramming all three car seats into the new car yet. So, no, I haven't driven it yet. Besides, would three screaming kids in the back seat really be conducive to a non-panicky learning experience for me? I think not.
M will be the primary driver anyway, commuting to work and what have you. But it doesn't matter. It's important to me that I be able to drive this car. M can't have ALL the fun. Not being able to drive it makes me feel like such a dumb broad. But at the same time, I'm kinda horrified of driving a stick. I haven't done it for like 8 years. And even then, I only did it a few times in my best friend in college's car. I got okay at it, but I think I forgot everything because I haven't done it since.
My guess is that I am scarred for life by my first time driving a stick. It went a little something like this. I had a guy friend in high school who would periodically stop by my house and make faces in my bedroom window that faced the driveway as a way to announce his arrival. One time he arrived driving his dad's red convertible. He took me off for a drive like we often did, but then while we were out, he pulled the car over and insisted that I drive it. I protested that I hadn't learned to drive a stick yet and he said he would teach me. Apparently "teach" consisted of telling things on a "need to know" basis. He told me how to work the clutch and gas together to start moving. So I stuttered along for a bit. Then he asked me if I was going to shift gears. Shift gears?!? He never explained that part! He told me to push in the clutch, then shift into 2nd. Okay, it would help if all the numbers hadn't worn off the shifter knob... Which one is 2nd? He reached over and did it for me. Okay, then there was a stop sign. So I hit the brake. Oops. Yah, it would have helped if he had mentioned that I had to push in the clutch when I stopped.
And so on and so forth... Did I mention that my friend may or may not have been high on drugs during all this? So yah, it was... interesting. It all seems so obvious now, but back then, no one had ever even mentioned to me how it all worked. I don't know that I'd ever even really watched someone drive a stick once I was old enough to not be totally oblivious.
I have driven a stick since then, but never long enough to really feel like it came naturally. Here's hoping I eventually figure out how to drive this thing. Because right now, that is one REALLY expensive CD player parked on our driveway...