Friday, September 18, 2009

Tom Brokaw researching Gander 9/11

Tom Brokaw has been in Gander interviewing residents of Gander and nearby communities about their profound display of generosity and trust during the Sept. 11 attacks. It is funny, but during a time when people were the most afraid, the most paranoid and uncertain, Brokaw says Newfoundander's were telling strangers: "That's my house, it's open and there's lots of towels in the bathroom, you can go take a shower, I won't be home, but it's fine. And by the way, the fridge is full."

We are a fine crew I tell ya. A fine crew.


Edited to add:

I notice this particular post is getting a lot of hits. I am not sure why exactly. Just wanted to say:
A) Thanks for the visit!
B) There is a little bit of an update to this post here:

Monday, September 14, 2009

It has been a busy time!

I have some good news to share: Hubby got a job! Wahoo! He started on September 3rd, and really enjoys it so far. The only problem with the new job is that it is in North Toronto, so unless he wants to spend 3 hours of his day on the Go train and GO bus system, he has to drive. So we had to buy a second car- something we never planned on, or even wanted to do, but hey, he got a job! I am not going to complain.

I always try to buy local where I can, and a big purchase like a car is no exception. We wanted to try and buy domestic as we did with our first car, and later the van we traded her in for. But for this new purchase we had two main concerns: safety and fuel economy. Don needed a car that can take the daily commute to the Big Smoke, won’t cost us a kidney in gas and won’t fold up like a beer can smashed on a frosh’s forehead when involved in a collision. So naturally we asked people we knew making the daily commute what they would suggest and we did a little research on the topic. I have to admit, very few North American cars made anyone’s list. Still, we wanted to try.

We did not have time to go back and forth with all the dealerships we planned to visit, so we gave them all the same spiel, and it went a little something like this: “We are buying a vehicle this week; we will be test driving for the next two days, and making a purchase on Monday. So give us your best deal- with any bells and whistles you care to throw in NOW, because the only dealership getting a repeat visit is the one we wish to buy from.”

We had to cross Pontiac off our list completely- they are not being made anymore after this year and resale value will be affected by that. We crossed Chrysler off our list because we had a horrible experience with our Neon. So the Cobalt was the North American car in our price range to test out. We selected a 2009, figuring we would get a better deal on last year’s model. It was a cute little car with just the basic options. With our down payment, we could have bought the car for $315 a month. Not bad. The test drive did not blow us away, but it had enough pick-up for what Don needs. This combined with a recommendation from a friend stating how much she liked hers and good gas mileage made it a contender.

On a whim we tried a Kia Forte which turned out to be a tinny little ride. It had all the creature comforts added, and it was a 2010. It came in at $368 a month which was a little more than we wanted to spend. And while this car boasts great gas mileage it is a new model and no one really could recommend it. Best we could get from people on the Kia cars was: “They have come a long way”. Not exactly a rousing endorsement.

Next up was the Honda Civic. This one we were a little excited about, because it made almost all the professional lists for good commuter cars, and several friends said they were reliable vehicles. However, a lot of thugs and “gangsta” wannabes think so too- as it is one of the most often stolen vehicles in Canada. Our test drive went well, but it was odd to have the dealer in the car with us. Not many features added to the base model and it was a 2009 it came in at $335 a month.

After that we went to Mazda. I have to admit, I am partial to Mazda products. My parents flipped their MPV with my little sister and her friend inside. The van was totaled as it flipped over an embankment about 7 times before landing on its wheels, every window was blown out, but all occupants safe and relatively unhurt inside. Then there was my other sister, who was rear-ended on the highway in the Mazda Protégé, again, that car was totaled, but both my sister and her friend suffered minor injuries. So I had this in mind when we test drove the Mazda 3. Don loved the sporty feel of the car, and I was comfortable in it. The only problem is it is a little short on space in the backseat. That little car was also a 2010, and came in at $319 a month, well equipped.

Our last car was the Toyota Corolla, a great ride, but not a lot of extras on the base model. However, the gas mileage was excellent. It came in at $330 a month. We had been told great things by family and friends about Toyota, we knew it could handle the pounding of the commute and has great resale value.

Since Kia was out of price range, and was an untested car, and Cobalt and Civic were all last year’s models at this year’s prices (What the hell is up with THAT?) we narrowed it down to the Toyota and Mazda vehicles. We could not decide. So we called our insurance agent to find out which vehicle would be cheaper to insure and the answer was the Corolla. So that is what we bought.

It helps too, that the Corollas are made in Ontario. And it was a great bonus to find out, since we bought at the end of the month, and picked up the car two days later, we were entitled to the discount for September which lowered our monthly costs by about 10 bucks. So if you are planning on buying a car, do it at the end of the month!

Of course all the Dealerships we visited are calling us now, saying they can work out a better deal. I had the pleasure of telling one of them they missed the boat big time- we already bought with someone who gave us the deal we wanted, when we asked for it.