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My Bariatric Cadillac

When we bought my Honda Pilot in 2003, we made sure to get the top of the line model, because we knew we were going to hold onto it for a long, long time. The only option we didn’t buy was the DVD/Navigation feature, because we just didn’t need it. We also upgraded the transmission so that it would be able to pull the fishing boat we had at the time. I was quite specific that I DIDN’T want a minivan, needed to move a lot of bodies without much difficulty, and wanted it to “fit” me (because I was still obese and overflowed car seats on smaller vehicles.)

The Pilot seemed to fit the bill in every way. So we bought it and loved it. Until we noticed that the leather was garbage (Think: Band-Aids with those perforated holes and you’re getting close).

  • Then we noticed that the radio knobs were garbage (so we had it replaced under the warranty…though they failed again on the replacement model).
  • Then the airbag sensor went out and they wanted $600 to make it right. I told them what they could do with their airbag and sensor and was quite detailed about it.
  • Then we noticed that everything plastic that was painted (which is, after all, what makes it “top-of-the-line”) was flaking and peeling. Sorta like my face after my chemical peel only, in the case of my face, I ended up looking YOUNGER, while my car just looked…old.

Okay, so I learned to accept all of the disappointing stuff, figuring we could fix it in due time. We thought we’d bought the Cadillac of midsized SUVs, but we ended up with a Yugo (look it up.)

And then MexiKen lost his job and things went south (for longer than just the winter).

WELL, the latest thing to go bad on my 8-year old car (with only 103,000 miles on it, by the way) is the transmission. Yes, you read that right: the transmission took a dump, and the dealership wants $4200 to fix it. Plus, they want another $1800 to do the “100,000 mile timing belt service.” Are you freaking KIDDING ME?

Believe me when I say, this chain of events has thrown me for a loop and I have NOT been happy with Honda. It was my first and it will be my last – no doubt about it. Anyway, yesterday, I rented a little car. It’s a simple model with hand-cranking windows and no power locks. There is no leather, no remote-keyless entry, and no sunroof. There is just: A Car that Drives.

As I drove my little roller skate to work this morning, a few things hit me:

  1. I have definitely undergrown my big old SUV, and can “fit” a small car quite nicely now.
  2. Buying a Honda is NOT what it’s cracked up to be, and
  3. Buying TOP-OF-THE-LINE doesn’t guarantee you anything…except that you will spend more to maintain it.

Okay, so what’s the LIFE lesson in all of this?

  • Sometimes, I have goals that are unreasonable or unattainable.
  • Sometimes, I achieve goals that I absolutely, positively had to achieve, and then I am disappointed by the experience, because it doesn’t live up to the “marketing materials.”
  • Sometimes, that thing that I had to have from the late night infomercial does not work the way it does on T.V.

In other words, if I put my faith in something OUTSIDE of myself and what I have control over, I will pretty much ALWAYS be disappointed. Or, if I’m not, it may not live up to everything I’d hoped for.

I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t dream big — or dream BIGGER — because I know how important goals and dreams are in our lives — I just think that we need to maintain perspective. We need to know that “our mileage may vary,” and that sometimes we’ll get “flat tires” or have engine trouble on our life’s journey.

It’s how we handle the news that defines our success and happiness as individuals.

I didn’t handle my news very well. I tried to be positive, but it really sucked the wind out of my sails and took me almost an entire week to accept. The good news is, I am now more peaceful, because I know that better times are ahead. No, not in an unrealistic way — in a real way. This peacefulness comes directly from that Serenity Prayer that we all know:

God, Grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I cannot CHANGE.
The Courage to Change the Things I CAN,
And the Wisdom to Know the DIFFERENCE.

Do I have power over my transmission? Yes. I can decide to take it to an independent mechanic who will charge me less and offer me a great warranty. $1800 is way better 😉

Do I have power over my leather seats? Yes. I can decide that I may or may not need that option on future vehicles.

Do I have power over that thing I bought on TV that doesn’t work now? Yes, I can return it (minus shipping and handling) for a complete refund.

Yesterday, I hit the wall. I was tired of “NO’s” and just wanted some “YES’s.” I called it the “Wall of NO’s” and I just needed to find a way over, around or under it.

Guess what? I rented that little car and smashed right THROUGH it. (Yes, I have the extra insurance coverage, so don’t worry.)

As far as Honda goes? They are on my list and Santa WILL hear about how bad they’ve been.
….now, NISSAN is going to get an extra something in their stocking this year!

How about you? Are you guilty of unrealistic goals? Do you think that your happiness lies in settling for nothing less than the best? Do you think you can be comfortable and content with something LESS than top-of-the-line?

As we prepare to move into a little apartment somewhere and leave our beautiful house behind, I can tell you that it IS possible to be happy with less. You just have to have the right state-of-mind to succeed.


1 Jenn { 08.02.11 at 6:51 pm }

Love it!

However, my DH used to sell cars for 3 different "brands"…..if you haven't bought the Nissan yet Google Nissan recalls….it's pretty illuminating.

2 bariatricafterlife { 08.02.11 at 6:59 pm }

Ha! Not buying ANYTHING…just trying to hold on to what I have for now. It's just sorta refreshing to be content with something that is as basic as basic can be!

3 Nikkie { 08.02.11 at 7:00 pm }

Excellenté!! Just so happens (as you know), I drive a 110,000 miles Nissan Altima! ~0;-*

4 bariatricafterlife { 08.02.11 at 7:06 pm }

I love your little Altima, but I'm not buying anything.

5 Janine { 08.02.11 at 8:55 pm }

I think the ttrouble with all cars is that sometimes you just get a Lemon, regardless of what research you did etc. I had that trouble with mitsubishi. My Honda was perfect and my Nissan is heavenly. I do think you can't go past a good toyota though. We of course don't have many of the American cars here. Mostly japanese makes

6 bariatricafterlife { 08.02.11 at 9:08 pm }

Hi Janine! Haven't heard from you in awhile; glad to see you around these parts – LOL. Unfortunately, this transmission flaw is heavily documented online. It wasn't at the time, but it sure is now! They under-engineered it for the weight of the vehicle (5600 pounds). Ugh. Oh well….that which doesn't kill us…makes us buy AMERICAN! My husband's '93 Ford Ranger pickup is still going strong, as is our daughter's '99 Saturn and our '03 Ford Motorhome!

7 Sine { 03.07.13 at 8:18 am }

I "liked" this because it was well written, but i dislike that you were clearly in a pretty rough space. Good on you for smashing through that wall, you did great, and look, you're still here going strong xxxx

8 bariatricafterlife { 03.07.13 at 2:24 pm }

…One day at a time…

9 SINE { 03.07.13 at 8:11 pm }

Yeah I know :-/

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