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Chances

I vow never to take my luck for granted.

A week ago today I dealership-hopped with Brent and Shelly. I'm so grateful for them. They took their entire Saturday and dedicated it to helping me find not only the exactly perfect car for me, but also the fabled phenomenal car deal.

I was sure I wanted a BMW. I love the 330ci but the convertible is extra nice. The handling, the style, the intuitiveness of the automobile as a whole. But I was also sure I didn't want to pay an exorbitant amount of money for 3 simple letters. I didn't even know how to spell exorbitant.

Our grand rounds included Infiniti, Volkswagen, Audi, and the beloved bimmer.

We started out with the G35. Aaron Finger greeted us and immediately offered us Infiniti branded water. Before I could blink I was on the road in a 2006 automatic. I was taken aback with the smooth acceleration - that V6 moves! Could I really be looking for an AT? We discussed features, availability, and Aaron was respectful when we told him we had other dealers to visit.

We drove through the Audi lot but the A4 1.8 liters are really the only Audis in my price range. I can't imagine stepping down in engine size. Besides I had that BMW on the brain.

Volkswagen was next. Shelly really wanted to drive the new 3.6 liter V6 Passat too so we took one out. Cute features like an air conditioned glove box for transporting lunches and the umbrella storage is clever, but overall, there was road noise and it seemed like they cut some corners on the interior. Cheaper looking buttons, etc. No complaints about the ride itself though - one fo the smoother shifting automatics I've ever driven.

Have you seen the new BMW body style? I love it. But the coupes don't come out until next fall! The salesman pitched his "Ultimate Driving Machine" 4-door as sporty enough for even Richard Petty and gave us a 6-speed manual tester complete with the sport package. The seat was awesome. Adjustable in a million ways, hugged in all the right places. But I couldn't shift that thing without the threat of whiplash to save my life. Brent had trouble too so at least I didn't feel quite as bad. The automatic was nice, but not nicer than the Infiniti and at $43k without navigation... even used with 20K miles, they were asking - and getting - over $30k.

With the 330ci fresh in my mind, we made our way back to Infiniti to check out the G35 once more. I talked to Aaron again about options and asked to drive the 6-speed. As soon as I released the clutch, I knew I had to have it. We drove, I giggled, I almost ran a stop sign. It was a perfect match. We started talking about cost, options, rebates, discounts, things that only Brent and Aaron understood. The differences between the 05 and the 06 are distinct, but not worth the extra $3k to me. The 05 is already more car than I need. My cell phone isn't even blue tooth compatible and I don't know that I want to risk my key being more intelligent than I am. Plus, I like the taillights on the 05 better and the one on the showfloor was fully loaded and calling my name. Loudly. It wasn't a color I would have picked out of the brochure, but it grew on me quickly tempting "luxury" while the body screamed "speed". I was contemplating the attractiveness of ordering my own color and hand-picking my options when someone else opened the car door and gushed over it as he lowered himself into the driver's seat. I found my heart in my throat while I silently pleaded with him to "Get out! Now!" Yes, I was ready to make the deal. We started working numbers, they test drove my Prelude. We were about $1k off of where I wanted to be with my trade. They met me in the middle but Brent was smart and led the way out. "For now" he whispered as the door closed behind us. I was sad, but knowing it was closing time, making the car safe through Monday, helped. Was even thankful for another ride in the Honda and hurried home to get ready for Josh & Becky's party.

Thankfully, I had no time to wallow in any amount of disappointment that I wasn't going to show up glitzed, glamoured and G35'd.

The party was nothing short of perfect. I'd found a great dress, I was greeted with a friendly familiar face (Todd) and Josh & Becky's friends proved to be interesting, enlightening and fun. Some great connections were made, Texas Hold 'Em played and wine and delicacies enjoyed. I even met a wonderful gal who happens to sell blinds! I was worried I'd feel uncomfortable and sure I wouldn't stay long but I didn't leave until after 3am. A sure sign of cocktail party success!

Sunday = Slipknot = the first metal concert I went to and nearly fell asleep during. Another indication of a successful cocktail party :)

Monday: further negotiations + bowling intermission + more negotiations + papers signing = new car owner!

I absolutely LOVE it.

Thank you again Brent & Shelly. You made this whole experience fun and for the first time ever, I feel like I got an absolute steal at a car dealership!

And Navigation? The option I swore I didn't need? How in the world did I survive without it? It will even highlight the nearest shoe stores. Or more importantly, gas stations. I might be frequenting the local fill-up stations more now. I think the V6 comes standard with a straw.

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