I’ve Been Holding Out …

Generally, I blog about normal everyday life.  With (mostly) good humor and (hopefully) a degree of perspective.

But for the past few months, I’ve held back.

Not on purpose. More because I couldn’t FIND perspective. Because this past summer was one of the most difficult I can remember–especially after my car bit the dust in May.

For 4 months, I was without a car of my own.

At a party last weekend:

Friend: Amy, you are too nice. Always the ‘peacemaker.’ We are going to have to teach you how to be NOT NICE!

Daughter was within earshot…

Darling Daughter: Just take her car away. That’ll do it.

Me: She’s right.

Darling Daughter: She’s been horribly cranky…

She spoke the truth and I admitted it to everyone. Though we all had a laugh, those months were awful.  So much so that I couldn’t put words to the low points, my despair. I lost my freedom, my autonomy…and even my sense of self-worth sometimes.

But I finally bought a car. A used car, but it is new to me.

Though older, my Nissan Altima is loaded with safety features, has leather interior, disc brakes, a moon roof, a BOSE stereo system and much more.

I’m not sure anybody appreciates having a car as much as I do.

The cherry on top?

It is stick shift, which I wanted. (but couldn’t find when I got my last car) With its powerful V6 engine, my new/old car is a joy to drive. A party on 4 wheels.

My local Nissan dealership took it on a trade a few weeks ago. And it would have been sold in a day or two. Except nobody wanted a 5-speed.

Several Nissan employees (all men) had their eye on it. Were thinking of buying it.

So it was sort of funny that a girl strolled in and grabbed it.

My first car was stick shift, but I haven’t driven one since my early 20’s. Like riding a bike, it came back to me as soon as I got behind the wheel for the test drive.

The other thing that is sort of funny (In hindsight anyway…) is how quickly our car situation turned around.

My ex gave his Lexus to our daughter a couple of weeks ago, when he got a new car. The Lexus had high mileage since he drives a lot for work. Nearly 200K. But it is a solid car, not very old–and should last her a while.

Our  driveway was empty for months. Unless you count the 14 cars I borrowed off and on.

Somehow,  we went from ZERO cars, to TWO cars in a matter of days!?!

The kids and I have been through our share of challenges, but the ‘car thing’ was almost my undoing. And I have no idea how my children tolerated living with me at times. Or why they didn’t run away from home.

Not sure how family and friends coped either. But they did. Not only did they all hang in there, they went out of their way to boost my spirits,  support me and chauffeur me around.

They ALSO  let me borrow their cars.

And I’m not even the best driver. Yet only Aunt Kate handed over her keys and said, “Just don’t crash it…”

The car isn’t the only thing I’ve held out on…

I’ve had a new job for months. A job that truly enjoy. That I’m good at. (For a while, I wondered if I was ‘good’ at anything.)

After being laid off a couple of years ago, I was determined to find a job/career that suited me. I’ve sold vintage items online and I’m still an eBay PowerSeller and Top Rated Seller. I’ve also taken freelance projects; written and edited web content, set up blogs, even designed a restaurant menu . With no idea where it was going, I kept saying ‘yes’ even when I was terrified. Kept doing what I loved—Selling. Marketing. Writing.

Until I fell into my current job as a Marketing Manager for a local (downtown Willoughby) company.

Then, more serendipity. A friend that I met through my online selling leased space in downtown Willoughby one block away from my new job—and I’ve been busy moving my part-time eCommerce business there. Helping my friend market her upcycled furniture. (More on that another time…)

Not too long ago, I was down…though maybe not out. And suddenly, I’m surrounded by opportunity and possibility.

For the longest time, I felt as though I was on a roller coaster, with it clicking up…up and up farther. Seemed I went uphill forever. With no end in sight.

Then, out of nowhere I hit the top. And now I’m just hanging on for the ride as it rolls downhill…

I’ve got the beginnings of a career in marketing. A small side business doing what I love to do. A blog that has been read by thousands. (for some reason???) A car. Two (seemingly) well-adjusted, happy teenagers. A peaceful and happy home. Family and friends. A couple of dogs

And I’m full of gratitude. For my ‘inner circle’ of family and close friends for not giving up on me. For sticking by me when I wasn’t all that fun to be around. When it would have been far easier to bail. And for continuing to believe in me—even when my belief in myself got shaky.

As I type this post, I wonder if it gets much better than this?

Especially when I’m driving my new/old car. Because it hauls as#. I can’t wipe the smile off my face when I’m behind the wheel. There is a sense of triumph that I hung in there–even when I couldn’t see a way out.

And for sure, I am starting to get excited about what comes next again…

Special Thanks to my family & friends for getting me to and from my new job (one way or another) these past months. I’ve never been more grateful or felt more lucky to have all of you at my back.

Lucky #13 ~ The Ford Edge?

There have been 13 cars parked in my driveway in the past 3 months…

1. Honda Accord:

Back in May, I still had my Trusty Honda Accord. 13 years old and about 225,000 miles on it. It was getting tired, so I sold it.

LIFE JUST KIND OF HUMMED ALONG.

2. Dodge Grand Caravan:

I used the cash from the Honda Accord to buy The Green Van. I knew I was taking a chance, but didn’t want a car payment. Drove the Green Machine down to Washington D.C and it promptly bit the dust. I’ve been without a car since the end of May.

The relatives brought me back home. Sort of like an ‘Adult Carpool.’

3. Toyota Corolla:

My cousin dropped me off at my father’s house. They were out-of-town, so I borrowed their zippy little Toyota Corolla. Handled great. And got FANTASTIC gas mileage.

4. Chevy Tahoe:

Then my Dad got back and I was handed off their other vehicle for several weeks. That truck was top-notch for hauling my teenage son and his friends to football conditioning each day. They are all 6’ to 6’3” and bigger than most adult men. The downside? I think it got about 8 miles per gallon and it cost me a fortune to put gas in the thing…

5. & 6. Trailblazer & Audi A4:

Borrowed from my friend and her daughter when I needed to run an errand or pick up kids.

7. Ford Pickup:

Borrowed from my neighbor Chapman when I was in a bind.

8. Buick LeSabre:

One of my girlfriends had to travel for work and I had this car for several weeks, as well. One doesn’t so much ‘ride’ in a Buick LeSabre, one ‘floats’ down the road. And its burgundy. (She calls it Classic Old Person Color). Fully loaded, leather seats, power everything…its like rolling down the freeway in a recliner. Might be my favorite car this summer. (Was for sure Daughters favorite.)

9. Chevy Impala:

Same family that owned the LeSabre also had an Impala, which we also had here and there.

10. GMC Truck:

Borrowed from yet another friend when I needed to haul furniture. (Another story)

11. Nissan Rouge:

Aunt Kate’s car. Have had that, too.

12. Lexus Sedan:

Daughter has had her Dad’s car when he has been out-of-town.

13. Ford Edge:

This is Lucky #13. And what I am driving today. And this weekend. Fitting that it is called the ‘Edge’ because having it parked in my driveway is keeping me AWAY from the Edge. I’m just not sure how much longer I can be without a car of my own…

Me: I really, really LIKE this car.

Son: It’s a CAR.

Me: True.

Son: Like…any CAR works at this point.

The biggest problem?

For nearly 3 months, I cannot find these cars in parking lots. I have no idea WHICH vehicle I am looking for. Or even what I arrived in…

Sometimes, (Okay…frequently) I have to pull out the keys to jog my memory.

But the end of this disaster is near.

Because It just cannot go on. Not for me. Not for my friends and family.

Son: Mom, it’s a good thing you have friends.

Me: Yeah. For some reason, people seem to like me. No idea why…

Here’s to lucky #13.

May #14 be my NEXT CAR…