dec 20
to help my moving efforts, i temporarily swap cars with my dad. i drive his big pickup truck and he is on vacation from work so my car sits in his driveway. we plan on swapping back when i come down to visit for christmas on dec 30.

dec 28
i get a phone call from my dad around mid-day. “hey kris, your brother took your car to work this morning because it was icy out and he is uncomfortable driving his new trans am in such conditions. well, on the way home for lunch he slipped off the road and rolled it.”

dec 30
i do the final walk-through and checkout for my apartment, and then i head to my parents. my insurance company has sent an adjuster to look at my car. initial reports look good. they say that while there is a lot of sheet metal damage, it appears to be minor enough that there shouldn’t be anything seriously damaged underneath. they think they can probably fix the external damage and give it back to me.

jan 3
i head back home in my mother’s minivan.

jan 6
the body shop has found more damage which has pushed the car past the possibility of repair. the insurance company totals my car.

jan 7 – 20
i car shop. i narrow it down to a 2006 malibu ss maxx and a 2004 grand am gt1. i decide that i can afford the grand am much better than the malibu and schedule pickup of the car for jan 23.

jan 23
i map out a public transportation route to the used car dealership that has the grand am: taxi from home to train station, train from my town to chicago, el from one chicago train station to another, train from chicago to the town where the dealer is, and another taxi from the train station to the dealer. but before i buy the car, i figure it’s probably a good idea to pick up a new driver’s license with my corrected address. i have already changed the address in the state’s computer through a web interface they have, but still have the old address on my license. i head to the dmv just down the street and have to wait nearly 1.5 hours for them to print a new card. because of the crazy, unanticipated wait at the dmv, i end up missing the first train. the next train is in two hours so i reschedule the taxi. when the time comes the taxi arrives and takes me to the train station. i try to pay with debit card.

“the card is declined.”

“what?”

“it’s declinded. it’s got no cash.”

“that’s not possible. here try this credit card.”

“also declined.”

“again, not possible.”

so i have to run to an atm to get cash for the cabbie. on the train ride in i call my bank and ask them why my card was declined. they see no declined transactions in their logs for my accounts, so i’m guessing my cabbie was just scamming me.

i finally get to the dealer and do all the paperwork and pick up my new-to-me grand am. on the way home i stop at a store to pick up some things, but afterwards my car won’t start. when i turn the key the lights dim and the starter clicks. so, i call aaa and wait an hour for them to come out and jump me. they do, and then i realize i have so little gas that i probably ought to fill up before i try to go any farther, so the aaa guy follows me to the gas station to jump me again after i fill up. once that’s all taken care of, i head to a national tire and battery that is near my house and have them check out the car. looks like just a dead battery and nothing else, so i get that replaced. the car seems to be ok now, but i don’t think having to take the car to the shop in the time between i buy it and i get it home for the first time is a good sign.