Well, I've done it.
I placed my order for the Dark Forest Bohus kit (available here).
I've been brooding about it for awhile. Seeing Steph's Bohus inspired me further. Her remarks that Solveig (the genius who custom dyes the yarns for all the kits) has NO APPRENTICE!!! made the whole idea seem much more urgent. So. I've waited until the Sock for Just Our Yarns is designed, and sock 2 (the pattern tester sock) is well on it's way. This way, in theory, the JOY sock will be off the needles and on its way before the temptation of the Bohus arrives. My Size 2's will be empty and I'll be able to embark!
In honor of the inevitable long haul, I've joined SlogAlong, where I anticipate a certain number of cross posts to appear.
I've also placed my order for the Car.
You may recall that a few months ago I was out there test driving mini-vans and crossovers. I'd even chosen the minivan of my dreams, but came up against that reality- check wall when I saw the sticker price for the one tricked out the way I wanted it (`$39,000.00!!). We will not discuss that it's unreasonable to demand heated seats as the temperatures start creeping up toward their inevitable summer highs in the triple digits. We will wonder why it is that although two years ago it was possible to get heated cloth seats in some cars, now to get a warm tush, you have to get leather seats (that will feel much colder until the heater gets to work).
I then started thorough investigations of wagons and such like things whose back seat leg room exceeds 36". There are alarmingly few of them. Well, at least that I could find, and liked, and weren't SUV's or $40,000.00. But I found me two. The Subaru Outback is SUVish, but also wagonish. It came a close second to the new car of my dreams. And come Tuesday, I'll hand off the keys to the minivan and drive home in a brand spanking new VW Passat Wagon.... with the coveted heated seats. I'd link you to the very one I'm about to get, but the VW site doesn't work that way. I'm sure I'll take all sorts of silly pictures on the day it comes home.
Allow me to digress with a brief rant about the universe of car dealers and manufacturers. As a group, I hate them. I have several specific complaints:
1. You can't get answers to questions easily. They perpetually want you to commit to a deal before they'll give you its terms. E.g. I want to know what a lease rate and/or interest rate and monthly payment for a car would be... I can't find that out until I tell them I really want that car. How the hell do I know if I want the car until I know if I can afford the monthly payments? Let's try answering things straight up, even if it takes a few extra minutes of your time, so the customer (who used to be right) can make an informed decision.
2. The ads. Universally, the local dealership's ads suck. Why do they think that if they scream at me on the radio dozens of times a day it's going to make me want to come in, spend time with them, and then give them tens of thousands of dollars? Hello? You want my $20, $30, $40 grand? be polite to me! be nice! Do. Not. Yell. At. Me.
3. They suck up your time. No matter what you do, it takes a ton of time at the dealership. They must think that if they hold us there long enough, we'll agree to anything just to get out! Like paying more for the car. Or taking less for the trade in.
4. Your sales person is only authorized to help you find a car you like. He or she can't find out for you if what you want is available at some other dealership with whom your dealership can work a trade; he or she can't find out any more information on lease prices than you can find out yourself on the Internet; he or she can't find out what the interest rates are; he or she can't even find out how long it takes to order a car to spec. There's a manager somewhere who is the only person who can answer real questions.
5. The manager you need to get those answers from? He's out of the office. He's in a meeting (for hours on end). It's his day off. And there is NO OTHER PERSON at the entire dealership who can answer these questions. This is true even at a dealership that is so large it has about five buildings! The dealership I've been dealing with handles VW, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, and Scion... and has a huge used car, er excuse me, Pre-Owned Vehicle, division. Surely to Pete there's someone there who can answer some simple questions? but noooooo. grrr.
And then there's the manufacturers themselves.
1. They stop building, and so you can't order, the current model year --before the year is 1/2 over. My preferred Passat would be the wagon with a manual transmission. (Note: this would have been possible had I come in early enough --- unlike most manufacturers VW does actually make things with what used to be called "standard" transmissions). To do this, I'd have had to order one - the dealerships only bring in the sedans with stick shifts because apparently only lunatics like me want wagons and stick shifts at the same time. Okay, I'm prepared to suck it up and order and wait the four freakin' months for my car to arrive. Except that right now, in April, it is already too late to order a 2007 model. They've stopped building them! Now they're building 2008's -- for which we cannot yet know the price or the package configurations because that info isn't out yet. ARGH. It's worse than all that Christmas crap out in October -- okay, maybe not, that affects everyone who sets foot outside their homes, but you get my drift.
2. The manufacturers also seem to think that Americans can't drive stick shifts! It's becoming true, because Americans can't BUY them. Only high end sports cars come in stick. And if you can find a car with a stick shift, you can't have the luxury toys (like memory seats -- that are even more helpful with manual transmission, because a shift of a smidgen changes where you think the clutch disengages!). I can deal with making it so I have to special order my stick shift... I don't like it much, but I can deal with it. But making it so it is not possible to get one at all? GRRRRR. In Europe, 10% of the people drive automatics... here... its reversed. And VW? The folks who advertise "Drivers Wanted"? HELLO!? Real drivers like stick shifts! Even when we also have to put kids in the back seat and have room for the dog and the soccer gear.
Okay, enough. I'm sure I could grouse along for ages... but I'd much rather focus on the good stuff. Like despite all of the above, I liked my salesperson (Monique) and after our rocky start, I also liked my sales manger (Derrick). He did work pretty darned hard to find met the Passat I wanted. Evidently, I wanted a very popular combination, because there are very few with my preferred package/options out there. He checked all over the country, but I had to give up on my color preferences (Blue Graphite or Granite Green for those of you interested in playing on the VW site). However, I didn't have to get white or beige, so I'll be okay with my United Gray. And the interior color sounds like a yummy drink -- Macchiato.
More importantly...within a fortnight, I'll have a new car and a new Bohus to knit!