Monday, May 4, 2009

Meaningful Monday - Happy Tears... Really

I once had a baby and people called me a freak.

Yup. That's right. People told me I was a freak when I told them I had a baby. This baby came into my life in March 2005. My first new car. A 2005 MINI Cooper S. I named her Claire. 

I remember being quite timid about the whole process. I was fresh out of college and I landed a very nice job straight out. I wasn't tied down to any sort of girlfriend or stuck to any responsibility. It was just me. I was making plenty of money and I wanted my dream car. 

I asked my father to join me in this process because he was, and still is, the one guy I look up to for everything in life. I remember sitting at the dealership and picking out options skipping over some just because they would be "nice to have" but not necessary. 

My dad stopped me as I skipped over the upgraded stereo system. 

"Son, this is your dream car. Make it yours."

So I did. Every little thing about her was exactly what I wanted. At the time it was well within my budget and fit my lifestyle to a T.

April 05

I started chatting more with the most amazing girl in the world. She loved Claire as much as I did and we spent countless hours simply driving around and purposely getting lost. My wife, at the time, lived in Chicago so Claire and I spent many nights driving back and forth between our cities. Things got more and more serious with Isabella and I until eventually...

"It's a huge get together for MINI Owners"

Along came MINIs on the Dragon (or MOTD). MOTD is an extended weekend where MINI owners from all over the country gather at Deals Gap, TN at a road called the Tail of the Dragon. 311 curves in 11 miles... and we're not talking about your sissy curves either. MINIs, known for their amazing handling, tear up the dragon like it's nothing. 

Isabella and I planned a trip in 2006 to head down to MOTD and chum it up with a lot of MINI owners that we had met online. 

Little did she know that the purpose of me wanting to go to MOTD had nothing to do with MINIs. 

On May 5th, 2006, I got down on one knee and asked her to stay by my side forever. (You can read even more about it here.)

We went back the next year and got to know even more cool people, and hooked up with the Milwaukee MINIs too.

I would spend lots of free time thinking of little home-brew things I could do to her. Connecting an aftermarket amplifier without rewiring the whole car, hooking up an AUX input without buying the expensive add-on, even doing tests with different air diverter designs. 

I also spent lots of extra money on her too. Upgraded engine bits, new brake systems, etc. When I wasn't spending money on Isabella or necessities - it usually went to the Claire fund. 

I had always told people that I was going to hang on to her until she pooped out, which with as ridiculously anal I was about keeping her clean and in good healthy shape - was going to be a long time. 

funny how my plans aren't always what's best.

April 19, 2008

My life got flipped upside down. Everything that I was came to a sudden halt and I no longer cared about me, it was all about her. 

I'm not talking about Claire anymore... I'm talking about her.

My baby. My actual baby. There was no purchasing agreement. There was no picking out my options. There was just her big blue eyes struggling to stay open while getting used to a world that was so bright. 

My money. My life. My Everything. Is Yours.

Suddenly I was finding myself enthused about something totally different. I was (and still am) constantly excited about being a father. Constantly trying to find new ways to better myself and connecting with people that have similar interests in being good dads. I went from North American Motoring to Dad-Blogs. I went from Helix Minisports to Baby's-R-Us. 

Suddenly there was no longer a Claire fund, it was replaced with the Niamonster fund. 

So why am I paying for you anymore.

It hit me a month ago and I've been thinking about it ever since. Isabella and I don't live outside of our means... we live right at them. Rarely is there a month where we are socking away savings. And that's bad. 

It especially hit me with Isabella's latest "unknown" with her medical condition. (If you read her blog... which you should... you know what I'm talking about.) I was thinking about what would happen if suddenly we had huge medical bills or some other act of unknown that would hit us with a big financial burden?

While pondering finances I looked out my window and into the garage... and I saw Claire. I have a weird love for that car... but not as much love as I have for my family. 

I knew it was time to let go.

I had to say goodbye. It made absolutely no sense to pay as much as I am a month for that car loan when it is nothing more then a machine that gets me to and from work (and the occasional date night). There are so many things that I want to save for... and buy right now for my family. I want a big fat down payment on a house... I want a car seat that works better for Niamonster... I want to look at my finances every month and not have to "juggle" sometimes. I want another kid sometime in the not so distant future.

Niamonster deserves it. 

The quickest and best way is to sell Claire. 

You know it's best. You feel it's best. It still sucks.

Wussy mode engaged. This weekend wasn't easy. I spent a lot of the nice hours of the day washing and waxing her to a super shine. Cleaning her interior twice over. Making sure everything is in tip top shape. I took pictures. I wrote up a description. 

I held Isabella's hand, said a little prayer to the big guy upstairs and clicked "Publish".

The Moral of the Story is...

I guess I wrote this for 3 reasons. (I need a list to make me feel better.)
  1. Therapy - I know that sometimes talking or writing about a difficult thing makes coping and coming to terms with it easier. So you just subjected yourself to my therapy session - you're like my shrink only you just did it for free.
  2. Moral - It's not a sacrifice if it's something you want to do. There is no need to hang on to past things if you know that it's only going to impede the better future things. I always have to remind myself that I'm only 26. I often times forget that and think that I'm way older.
  3. Know anyone who wants to buy an awesome car? (You knew it was coming.)

I'd do anything for this family.

And if selling what was once my passion means good things for my family - then I'd do it a million times over. 

This is my passion. This is my life.

What else could I ever want?


Melisa with one S said...

Great post!

Funny, my dad has a MINI Cooper and has done the Tail of the Dragon (ugh: I wanted to barf just watching the Youtube videos!); he and my mom live in Knoxville so they can just go drive in the mountains whenever.

Anyway, I'm so sorry you have to give up the car! But it's awesome that you are doing it for your family. You'll get to have another dream car when your baby gets older, and chances are (although the MINI is awesome) it'll be something way fancier than the MINI!

Good luck on selling it! If my 16yo had anything close to that amount of money saved up, I'd be bringing him up to look at it! (unfortunately he's only saved about $4000 so far. :) )

Eternal Lizdom said...

First, you and Isabella have the EXACT same smile!

Second... I had to part with my first car, too. The first car I owned, that I had bought myself. It was a real symbol of my independence and freedom. It was a 2 door Toyota ECHO and I loved her (Puff). But once Teagan came along... life needs changed. I dealt with my little car with 2 doors for as long as I could. But too soon, a change had to happen. Getting her in and out of the carseat was too difficult. Hauling a stroller, stashing a diaper bag, etc... just didn't work so well in my tiny car. But she served her purpose and she helped me get the car that serves our family now (Hyundai Sonata).

And now that we have 2 munchkins, we are considering stepping up form 4 door sedan to... *gasp*... minivan!!

Jason said...

Great post man! Sorry you feel the need to sell your car but I can totally understand. I bought my Mom SUV early on with the plans for family in mind. It was paid off shortly after Number 1 was born and knock on wood has been treating us great.

Great family pic too!

Jim and Garret said...

I love the family pic and agree with Liz on the smiles!


Otter Thomas said...

Great post! I feel for you losing a friend but you are doing a good thing. I didn't have to because my dream truck was already paid for and quite old when I got married. Now I will sacrifice by keeping it forever instead of getting rid of it.

Busy-Dad-E said...

I really enjoyed this post. Blogging is also good therapy for me. I know you'll treasure that family picture--it's great. Hope your car sells quickly.

Out-Numbered said...

Wow. Great post. I pretty much want to leave my wife and marry you. A couple of things...

I used to have spinners on my Hyundai. It's a nice subtle touch.

I bought a 2 door, Jeep wrangler a couple of years ago and my wife hates me but my kids love it.

Life is Good.