There’s a Time to Dream…

…and a time to let go of dreams.

August 2009 was going a little better than average financially, and when the opportunity to own this 2005 Jaguar S Type 4.2L V8 without making a change in monthly payment, I couldn’t resist. Since before I had my license, I dreamed of owning a Jag! I achieved that dream. Honestly, I had no idea that I’d feel slightly uncomfortable driving it wondering what others thought of me owning such a “high status” car. Brand new, this car was over $40K. There are plenty of cars out there on the road that are in that same ballpark, but they don’t seem to raise the same eyebrows. It’s weird how some types of cars just bring out the “snoot” judgment.

From the front, the Jag S is beautiful with its grill and round headlights reminiscent of the 1961 Jaguar Mk2 Saloon. Even the lines down the sides bear a resemblance. The rear, however, looks very much like several other cars on the road, especially the older Hyundai Sonatas. The seats are comfortable, even for long drives. The ride is smooth. When you tell it to get up and go, it’s already there! Oh the power! Yet, I don’t find myself really using or needing all that power very much.

A few people warned me that it would spend more time in the shop than on the road. I knew when I got it that it needed the climate control repaired. Other than that, along the way, it certainly spent more time on the road than in the shop. I haven’t had any major issues landing it in the shop. The knock sensors were replaced around the mileage that they’d normally be replaced. There’s a mystery issue restricting performance for a mere few seconds that, as it turns out, is a common report among Jag owners (both S and X Types) during the Ford era (they owned Jaguar from 1989-2008). It usually happens before the engine is warm, then it stops and all is peachy!

Cut to a year after the Jag joined our fleet, and our financial situation changed, taking a blow to monthly income. At that moment, I knew that owning a Jag was truly living beyond our means. I was afraid we’d have to file bankruptcy and lose a lot. I’m finally being candid here because I’m tired of the shame that comes with suddenly being in a lower tax bracket and the way people seem to think of you when you say more often than you ever have, “I can’t afford it.”

How’s this for candid? In our early years of marriage, we messed up. We wanted to leave home and start our lives together in the same lifestyle we had at home. To do that, meant charging things. Credit cards became the devil, and we were oh so easily tempted. Because of credit cards and loans, I really never knew what it was like to truly fight for something. Want it? Get it now. It’s really quite twisted, the instant gratification society we live in. We did finally get to a place where we didn’t use the cards much at all. However, we weren’t making a dent in paying them off because of the interest rates. Soooo… immediately after being slapped with that financial change last year, we got into a debt management program through Money Management International (MMI). We now have that devil bound and gagged and are killing it much faster – four more years or less!

Things are still tight, though. Almost every dollar earned is earmarked for this payment or that. What scares the britches off me right now are the birthdays and Christmas right around the corner. :( I have money sitting somewhere that I can’t touch or discuss right now, and I’m really hoping that I’m allowed to touch it before Christmas. Before then, though, a couple other bills are going to be slashed a bit since, as of next Monday, both boys will be employed full time and neither are in school. They will be paying their share of the cell phone bill as well as insurance.

Back to that dream achieved, though. I’ve been thinking about letting go of my dream (the Jag) since spring. This past month, I’ve been researching and looking at other cars. I was hesitant to bring it up with Greg because of my past record with blowing through cars every two or three years (if you’re keeping track, I’ve had the Jag for just over two years now). I thought he’d roll his eyes and think, “Here we go again!” What’s that old saying about assuming? Well, he’s been thinking about dumping the Jag for about a month now as well but was afraid to suggest it to me because he knows how much I love this car. And I do. I really, really do! But it’s just a car. Just a car that I’ll undoubtedly end up hanging a picture of on my wall, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

We discussed some numbers at a dealership yesterday, and their first offer was only for half the payoff! Get the hockey puck outa here! So I posted it on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace today to see if there’s any interest. If not, Miss Kitty (yes, she has a name!) will remain with us for a bit longer. Of course, my mind also wonders what would happen if we did sell it but then didn’t qualify for another car loan anyway. I work from home! It’s a luxury for me to be able to take off whenever I want to run errands. Honestly, though, with some creative scheduling, we could get by as a one-car couple. At least for a while if we had to. It would definitely be a major adjustment for me since we’ve always had two cars. I think the sacrifice would be well worth it if it meant cutting another year off that get-out-of-credit-card-debt goal and being able to enjoy more entertainment (movies, theatre, even bowling).

If it does sell, it would be great if it did so before the end of November, which is the longest I can put off renewing the tags that expire the end of this month. 8O

So there’s the story! I bet far more people have stories and struggles of their own that they would rather keep tucked away and private. I don’t want to pretend I’m in a class I’m not, though. We’ve been in a scary place before, and a series of events pulled us out of it (more or less). We made it to a comfortable place for several years. This could lead into several more paragraphs, but I might have to turn it into a separate post another day. To the few who’ve made it to the end of this post, I’ve taken up enough of your time for today. ;)

UPDATE:

Having only one car turned out to be a scarier thought than I was comfortable with, so on Thursday, October 20, we traded the Jag in on a 2012 Kia Soul. I posted on Facebook: “I love the visibility (even at night!), the ride, the backup camera, and the UVO sound system. Most of all, I like that it’s more representative of my personality. Jag possibly portrayed a pretentious snob. This portrays someone a bit quirky, fun, and not afraid to be different — NO! Someone who PREFERS to be different!” :D

I’m Convinced – I’m a Cr@p Magnet!

I may not be the ultimate crap magnet, but I’m a crap magnet nonetheless! Being such a major freakazoid over car issues in the first place doesn’t help but, as you may or may not know, the check-engine light came on again after about a 1.5 second flicker of the “Restricted Performance” and a slight hesitation on acceleration again. There’s some intermittent issue going on that needs to be figured out. The check-engine light stays on for a bit to say “Hey! Something happened recently that you might want to get checked out.” When it doesn’t happen again for so long, the check-engine light goes off … until it happens again. What is it??? 

So I took the car back to the shop this morning. But wait! Before I even got there, I attracted a bit more crap. I was behind a cement truck at a red light at Orchard and Parker waiting to turn left. I thought it was interesting for some reason and decided to snap a picture with my cell cam. As I was setting the phone down, I felt sort of a thud and my stomach flipped over. I thought something crapped out in the engine. Nope. Car still running. Instinctively, I looked behind me in case the car died to see how many people would be irritated. To my surprise, I saw this minivan in my trunk slowly backing up! I was rear-ended! Are you kidding me???

The woman was clearly shaken, which was probably intensified by the fact that she hit a Jag. :D My initial reaction was irritation, but it was such a slight tap that I’m not worried about it. I got her information anyway because that’s the right thing to do. True to my nature, I was the one reassuring her (being careful not to release her from fault of course). I told her I would call her and let her know either way.

There you have it! My exciting tale for the day. For anyone curious about the picture I took (and because I like as many posts as possible to include a photo) …

Maybe it caught my attention because this is yet another job my dad once had. ;) How many people have a photo to remind them of the few seconds right before being hit by another car?!

Update: I don’t speak auto mechanic, but some sort of acceleration throttle was pretty gummy. That was cleaned this time along with a little more fine tuning elsewhere. I’ve probably only put about 30 miles on the car since I got it back the second time, so with the fuel system cleaner added, the mechanic wants me to run this tank of gas through then run a tank of premium through and keep track of everything that may (hopefully does not) happen along the way. That’s over 700 miles worth of driving. Let’s see… Estes Park, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Garden of the Gods, Georgetown, Lake Dillon. Lake Dillon? Hey Marvin! Can I use your condo???

Jaguar Photos

Finally! Photos of My 2005 Jaguar S-Type 4.2L V8

Click on each photo to enlarge.  Then click your browser’s back button to return to this view.

Hearing “I Told You So” and Plugging Ears

ATT00039When people warned me that a Jaguar would spend time in the shop, I didn’t think it’s first trip would be to the body repair shop!  Allow me to set the stage…

I had an appointment for a haircut on Tuesday at 12:30 PM.  Jason was preparing to wash his new car (2004 Tiburon).  I told Jason I had to leave in about ten minutes.  He asked if I wanted him to move my car, and I said yes then went upstairs to change.  When I walked out of the house, the sun was really bright, so I was looking down at the ground all the way to my car, which was now parked in the street at the end of the driveway.  I proceeded to drive to the hair place, and it was only then that I turned back to admire my car that I saw the passenger door chrushed in!  The shock wave that hit me is indescribable as my brain struggled to regain functionality in the memory department.  Why had I not seen this before?  Where did I go yesterday?  Who hit my car?!

Never mind the haircut that wasn’t really what I wanted because I couldn’t focus on what she was asking me, I finally realized the only possible answer to that last question.  It had to have been Jason just moments before.  I drove home in tears ready to scream when I got home, but he wasn’t there.  He had to stop by work for something.  So instead, I went inside and just sobbed.  Then I told my boss I needed to use sick time for the rest of my day (2 hours) and explained the situation.  I was just too shook up to concentrate on work.  ATT00045x

Through some text messages, I discovered that the emergency brake was up, but it must have been in neutral instead of first gear when shut off.  Whatever the case, when Jason went to get the hose, he heard it!  His car rolled down the driveway and into my car!  He has a small scratch on his rear bumper.  Who knows where his car would have ended up if mine hadn’t been there!  Should that be any consolation?

Immediately, I went into the “what if” game and started beating myself up thinking it’s another omen or bad kharma (CAR-ma again).  Maybe I shouldn’t have bought the car after all.  What if those few nay-sayers were right?  Am I going to hear “I told you so” from those people?

Later that same day I had some errands to run.  When I came out of Target, it looked like someone’s orange soda had spilled and was running across the parking lot.  However, this was coming from directly under my car.  Closer inspection showed it to be running in a steady flow from under my car!  Coolant leak.  Oh, what NOW?  Is it possible the impact caused something to crack, or is this some freakish coincidence and totally unrelated?  I did mention this to the claims adjuster when she called.  Again, I get the feeling this will be a known issue with Jags and can hear more “I told you so” comments from the peanut gallery.

You know what?  I will deal with it!  This is a huge pisser for sure, but it WILL be fixed.  Thank God we have insurance!  So I’ll plug my ears and shout, “La la la la la la la la la … I can’t hear you!”  Tell me so all you want.  This car will be beautiful again and running sublimely before our trip to St. Louis in November!  This will not crush my dream.  My spirit … a little, but NOT my dream!

Nay-Sayers Take Heart – I’m Covered!

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Good News Keeps Rolling In…


Let me start by saying that I was able to secure an extended warranty for my recently purchased 2005 Jaguar S-Type.  We are covered for another 5 years/100,000 miles bumper-to-bumper.  So to the few well-intending people who were skeptical and tried to warn me about expensive repairs and that Jags spend a lot of time in the shop, take heart.  I’m covered!

I learned that same day that insurance is only $11/month more than the 2009 Sonata we traded in.

Also, after using just over a quarter tank of gas, I’ve found the gas mileage to be the same as our 2007 Sonata!

Good news keeps rolling in, and I have much to be grateful for at this moment!  It’s important to recognize this since I was also conflicted over need vs. want.  I don’t splurge on much, and this was a dream I never thought possible.  I worried about the materialistic aspect, and I still do a bit.  However, I did not purchase this brand new.  The S-Type has actually been replaced by the XF, and that would set you back about $50,000!  My 4-year old Jag only set us back $16,000 before trade, and it did not impact any current financial situation.

I cannot explain how things turned out the way they did.  Perhaps it was Karma (CAR-ma)!

New Car – It’s Really Mine?

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Comfort!

I can’t believe I have a Jaguar!  The way it all fell into place without even looking for it is a little surreal to me.  The first place time I remember saying that I wanted a Jag was while watching Knots Landing.  Gary Ewing drove a Jag, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever!

While signing and initialing a stack of papers, the sales guy filled out a “We Owe You” form to include repairing the air conditioner/unit.  They seem to think that it’s just low on freon and are going to try that first.  I insisted that they take care of whatever it takes if that alone doesn’t work.  Living in Colorado doesn’t mean air conditioning is optional!  Maybe if I always had carefree hair, I wouldn’t mind driving with the windows down and the roof opened.  It’s very distracting to have my hair blowing in my face when I’m trying to drive, though!

The S-Type is reminiscent of the old Mark II of the 1960's, which I love!

The S-Type is reminiscent of the old Mark II of the 1960's, which I love!

I loaded up the 6 CD changer in the trunk today, so I know that works!  They are ordering a manual for me, but Greg has already downloaded one.  That doesn’t do me any good since it’s on his desktop.  I’ll have to do the same so I can figure out how to set the clock.  You don’t just use a pen to set the time.  Oh no… there’s a complex step-by-step process beginning with pressing and holding “Mode” then cycling through some other buttons (and there are MANY buttons).  At least I have my seat/pedal/steering wheel settings saved!

2005 Jaguar S-Type 4.2L V8 is Mine!

We took it out on the highway for a pretty long test drive, and it just got sweeter by the minute.  Beauty, comfort, and excellent handling!  Back at the dealership, Greg got to have some fun “playing the game”.  I think he just likes to see the sales guy hustle back and forth!  It was pretty funny, but the guy was great about it.   It was dark by the time we got out of there, so I have no new pictures to share yet.  Be patient!

We ended up trading Greg’s 2009 Sonata (4 cyl) and keeping mine (6 cyl) for him.  What’s great is that they were able to accept our claim check to for hail damage repair on that car towards a downpayment!  Between that and getting them to come down another grand on their price, my smile kept getting bigger.  The bottom line exceeded expectations, and the car is mine!