On Days Like These

My Saturday can best be described in a repeating series of one letter: EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Alternatively: [Excitement]^2

I got a new car. A 2002 Mini Cooper, in fact, a car that I've been wanting to get for literally years now, but I've either been intimidated by the fact that a good portion of them happen to have manual transmissions, or that I was never really in a position to be able to buy one until recently.

Last week, I came across an ad (thinking back, I can't for the life of me think how I got around to searching for one - probably just a whim, honestly) for a 2003 mini (This one had an automatic transmission) in Grand Isle for a very reasonable price. I ran some numbers and realized that this was something that was well within my budget. I talked with my dad about the possibility and for advice, and a day later, he let me know that there was another Mini for sale near where he worked - this one was slightly more expensive, but it had far fewer miles on it, and the difference, I reasoned, would certainly make up for the higher price in the long run. This was a 2002 Mini with 35,000 miles on it - at the price, it was certainly a good offer. This one was also a five-speed.

On Friday, went up to take a look at the two of them, looking first at the automatic one up in the Islands and loved it. The car handled great, and minus a few problems (tires were worn, and there was a small leak in the back somewhere) it seemed like a good deal. The next one was in Williston, and having learned to drive stick the day before at home and on some of the back roads of Moretown, I test drove this one out of traffic around my dad's office - it was a little different than the car that I practiced on, but I liked it just the same. The dealer, Williston Wheels, offered an additional price drop on it, which had me sold.

So yesterday, instead of trooping in New Hampshire, I called up the dealer and arranged to pick it up. Dad came along with me and we looked at the car again, then went to the bank, finalized the loan and paperwork, and the car is now mine. I got a very good loan rate, and I arranged it so that the payments will come directly from my paycheck, which will be really good. The rest of the day I spent getting used to the car and the 5-speed. I'm still not totally there when it comes to driving stick, mainly with starts and hill starts, but I'm getting better at it quickly. I spent a couple hours driving around in circles in an industrial park practicing, then went to see a couple of friends to show this off to them.

I'm very, very, very happy with this vehicle. The Mini handles very well, is responsive, beautiful and suits me well for what I need a car for. It's a huge step up from my other car - powered things, a CD player (this was a big plus for me, as my old car didn't have even a tape deck), remote entry, etc. While I liked my Prizsm, it was time for a change. There was a rash of problems this past summer that sapped up quite a bit of money, and honestly, I wanted something that stands out a little bit. It's not that I want to be noticed or something like that, but wanted something 'cool'. And this car is certainly cool.

I know when I first fell in love with the little car - when I saw the film The Italian Job, released in 2002, in theaters with some campers on a change-over weekend. The last half of the film basically runs as a commercial for the car as they zip around with a half ton of gold, in and out of traffic and through places that certainly aren't designed for cars. Since then, I've always seen them, especially in Europe, on the streets, and I've never gotten tired of how they look or wavered in really wanting one. So, I quite litereally have a dream car here.

Back to my original noise: EEEEEEEE!