It all started innocently enough.
“Does anyone have a cheap car they are willing to sell asap?” one of our Facebook friends posted.
“Oh, heavens,” I thought, “Do I have a cheap car for you!”
Our ’99 Chevy Tracker was a birthday gift from me to Ken over a decade ago. While remarkably rugged, it had seen better days. It had been rear-ended twice and not quite repaired by the Chevy dealership. The dome light blinks uncontrollably. It has a strange vibration over 45 mph. The inside door handle on the driver’s side is missing. One window doesn’t roll down. The air conditioning is anemic.
But we loved that vehicle. Its four-wheel drive had taken us to Canada and back several times, including through snow and ice storms. Though small, it had hauled washing machines, dishwasher, chairs, college students, new puppies, and all manner of junk. It moved down from Indiana with us. It carried me on rotations. It took us on vacations for years.
But still, its reliability was doubtful, and we were hesitant to pour money into it. Now with kids coming in the future, we needed to rethink our transportation options. Our beloved Tracker’s days were numbered.
But who would buy a glitchy ’99 Chevy Tracker? We thought we would do as we had done before, donating the car to charity and taking the tax deduction.
When I saw our friend’s post online, I remarked in jest that I had a car for cheap. When he asked for specs, I thought he was kidding. When his wife texted me the next day, I figured I should respond. So I was honest about all of the things that my brain could think of.
His response? “Sounds great!”
I thought he was kidding.
He asked if he could come look at it and how much we wanted for it. I figured we wanted to get the value of the tax benefit out of it, and I invited him to look at it when Ken was at home. I never thought that once he laid eyes on the vehicle would he actually want it.
Oh, right. This was KEN’S car!
I mentioned it to Ken in passing that someone wanted to look at buying the Tracker, and he flashed the same incredulous smile that I had when I saw the Facebook post.
The next day, our friend came by, and asked if he could take the car for a drive, and Ken said, “Sure. Here are the keys. We know where you live.” After a few minutes he returned and told Ken that he would be back the next day with the money.
“For the Tracker. I’m buying it.”
“Really, how much?”
Perhaps I hadn’t gone into enough details with Ken. Fortunately, Ken was agreeable and the deal was made. Turns out, our friend is extremely handy, and he can fix cars. Nothing that was wrong with the Tracker was anything that concerned him. The glitches could be fixed in his skillful hands. He was coming to get the Tracker the next day.
I had sort of accidentally sold my husband’s car.
And I had to go to a conference the next day. And Ken had to go to work.
Uh, oh. We needed a car.
I apologized profusely for selling Ken’s car, for which he graciously forgave me.
Fortunately, I had done a lot of research about what kind of vehicle would meet our needs and our budget, and we got a fantastic deal at CarMax the very next morning. The money from the Tracker allowed us to put down a down payment on a vehicle. While we had never pictured ourselves as minivan owners, we wanted the ability to haul kids, dogs, equipment, etc. but an SUV was just out of our price range. So when the deal was signed, the car was inspected, and they handed the keys over, it was quite awkward when neither of us wanted them.
“You drive it.”
“No, no, honey, I’ve been driving the newer car for years. You drive it.”
“No, no, I’d rather have you in the new vehicle, for the um, safety. Yeah, the safety.”
We giggled as we argued back and forth as to who HAD to drive the minivan.
So here is the vehicle I now drive. All because I accidentally sold my husband’s car.