For the past four and a half years, Katie & I have been sharing a car. She got her job as a firefighter nearly 2 years ago, and started working 24 hour shifts...in another city. I was left in Omaha without a car for long stretches of time. Katie's mom would give me a ride to/from work in the winter (we work for the same company), and I would walk or bike in nicer weather. My family was always willing to pick me up or give me a ride, but I couldn't help feeling like a burden. I tried taking the bus a few times, but it is a really inefficient way to get around Omaha. I definitely started to feel more and more 'trapped'.
However, all of that changed this weekend because we bought another car!! I am just ecstatic!! In fact, this will be my first car. I shared one of my parents' cars with my brother in high school, and since I went to college in NYC I didn't need a car then. When I moved back home, Katie & I started living together immediately and have somehow been able to survive with only one car for over 4 years!
Why did it take me so long to get a car? This is a good question, and I have several answers.
- I was used to not having a car. I had been getting around in New York on foot or public transportation for over 5 years - it was what I knew! I moved to NYC when I was 18, so I really only had 2 years of driving in my history.
- I missed New York like crazy! I think I held onto the idea of getting around on foot for as long as I did because I didn't want to lose the 'New Yorker' in me. But really, it is just impractical in Omaha. If Nebraska has anything, it's space, and instead of building 'up' (like New York), you build 'out'. This city just keeps spreading further and further West!
- I didn't want to feel a financial pinch. Needless to say, the cost of living in Omaha is much less than living in New York. Honestly, I loved the fact that I didn't have to live paycheck to paycheck once I moved here. I was happy to leave that kind of stress in New York and live a bit more comfortably, even if that meant I didn't have my own car.
- I wasn't sure Omaha was where I wanted to stay, and I knew that the more obligations I had, the harder it would be to move. Things have settled down - Katie found her dream job, we bought a house, and we got engaged! I think it's safe to say we have made a home in Omaha (at least for the near future), and I need to start living that way!
- I was scared of car shopping! This was the big one this last year. I was so nervous about the negotiating part and getting ripped off. I read so much about the process, that I had everyone's worst experience on my mind. I didn't want to pay too much, but even more, I didn't want to be made a fool of. As it turns out, it wasn't that bad! Sure there were maybe 30 minutes of uncomfortable back-and-forth negotiations, but the rest of the day was pretty much painless. We were lucky to work with a great salesperson that wasn't pushy or condescending. We even had a few good laughs!
It's weird, because I'm actually having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I was telling my sister how it's weird to think I can go anywhere I want...whenever I want. She said it's probably like getting your driver's license for the first time - freedom!! I've realized that I'm constantly thinking about what I need, where I need to be, when, and how I'm going to get there. Anytime Katie is home with the car, I try to have a streamlined plan for the evening - squeezing in as many errands as we can on each trip out of the house. No wonder I worry so much!
Also 'funny' is that I told Kate that I'm excited to be able to stay late at work now. Sad, I know. I think I just feel like I've been living on everyone else's schedules for SO LONG. It will be a weight off of my shoulders to not have to worry about making somebody wait for me or go out of their way to help me.
So, you wanna see the goods?! We got a 2010 Toyota Rav4 (with 4WD for the crazy winters!) Brand.Spankin.New. There were 25 miles on it when we got in for the test drive!
I don't know why I didn't think to take pictures of the inside! It's super roomy. If you fold the back seats down, you can easily fit a bike in there. I know, we did it on Mother's Day! ("I hope you have a big trunk... because I'm puttin' my bike in it.") It's only slightly inappropriate to quote The 40-Year-Old Virgin, right?
Darn, I guess I'll have to drive my coworkers to all of our team lunches from now on to make up for all of the bummed rides. But the 'oh I can't drive, I rode my bike today' excuse works so well! Anyway, I do want to say thank you to all of my friends and family for giving me rides these past four years! I owe you one...or two!
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