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Decisions, left and right

April 9th, 2013 at 07:04 pm

First off, I want to say again that my wrist is about 90% better! What an amazing turnaround. I was really worried for a while there, but once the swelling subsided it was SOO much better.

As for the title of this blog post, not sure whatís gotten into me, but I decided somewhat impulsively to buy a new computer. The computer I have is about 3 years old but from very early on Iíve had nothing but problems with it. Itís a Dell desktop. The problem that has me gnashing teeth is that it frequently freezes or locks up, whether Iím on a Word document or surfing online. Nothing I will do will knock it back to life so I am forced to wait, sometimes for several minutes or longer, until it cycles through whatever it is doing.

I brought it to a local computer repair guy twice and he still didnít fix it, though he charged me $100 to add more memory. I think Iíve got 8 GB in it now which is very substantial for a non-gamer like me. My plan had been to bring it back to him, hopefully without having to pay him more money, but it is extremely difficult for me to find some down time to bring it, and he prefers it early in the week which I tried to accommodate so I could get it back in a day. But I wasnít sure I wanted to bring it back becus I suspect he just added more memory as kind of a knee-jerk reaction without really trying to duplicate the problem. Maybe it's the motherboard? I really don't know.

The other longstanding problems include the Dell printer, which I bought at the same time as the computer, very often not working. Iíll often get an error message saying there is no communication, and the only way to resolve that is to keep reinserting the printer driver and doing a repair/update. This was also something I attempted to resolve with Dell support; they sent me a replacement printer but the replacement does the exact same thing! The other problem with the printer is that if you have more than one sheet of paper in, it will often jam up so multiple pages go thru at the same time. So I have to constantly hand feed one page at a time to avoid paper jams.

The other problem thatís always bothered me is that when you go to open a Word document and you look at the list of documents, you normally are able to read the documents before opening them in the preview panel. My preview panel has never worked. Itís quite a handy feature.

Anyway, the computer is a huge source of constant frustration and so I took the easy route out. My new computer is 6 GB, Inspiron 660 and I decided to keep Windows 7 as Iíve read about a lot of unhappy Windows 8 customers. MS Office will be pre-loaded and I also got new speakers since my old ones here sometimes buzz, AND the real treat is a new monitor, a 21.5Ē screen. It was all a lot of money but by calling them on the phone instead of simply ordering online I got them to knock off $75. The printer I will keep for now as Iím trying to keep costs down (sort of). The new monitor should be a delight when I watch my Hulu movies.

The other decision I made today is that (thanks to all your input) I am NOT going to Kennebunkport with my controlling friend! Bottom line is that while I am willing to spend the big bucks on a vacation, even while being underemployed, itís important to me that Iím getting a good value for money spent and in this case I felt I was already being forced to make compromises, in terms of destination and departure time (it had to be this one week becus my friendís sister had put in for vacation for a certain week).

Yet another big decision coming thru to possible fruitionÖ.a new car!!

This has been on my horizon for years now. I drive a 14-year-old Honda and while it runs great, I donít really want to push my luck. I had one close call when the fuel and gas lines rusted out and I lost my brakes; luckily, I was driving in my motherís condo complex and no other drivers were around, so I was able to coast to a stop, but I canít imagine what could have happened if I was on the road somewhere.

The car has 136,000 miles on it and I suspect it has many more. Itís just that Iíd rather not take unnecessary risks driving such an old car. Itís already made me feel a little reluctant to go visit my dad in Jersey because I donít want to do the 3-hour drive by myself anymore in case of a breakdown.

I hadnít really made this a front burner issue consciously, but something clicked in my head today and just whispered, ďdo it.Ē

Without having examined the cars or done a test drive, Iím kind of set on a 2013 Ford Fiesta S hatchback. The S is the cheaper version. The hatchback I really, really want becus it seems much more practical for hauling stuff than my tiny trunk is now. And the Fiesta I want becus it gets great gas mileageÖ39 highway, for a non-hybrid vehicle.
Iíd love a Prius, donít get me wrong, but I read an article that said for a Prius or other hybrid to really pay off, gas prices would have to get up between $4 and $5 a gallon, given that most hybrids have about a $5,000 premium for the technology. If I had the money, Iíd get one anyway becus Iím an environmentalist, but I have to think more practically.

So maybe next weekend Iíll take the Fiesta for a test drive. Like a lot of sub-compacts, the car doesnít seem to have much personality, style-wise, at least not all souped up with the extra that I canít afford. My priorities really are GREAT gas mileage and a hatchback.

Itíll be in the $15,000 range; my carís got various dings and dents, but itís cosmetic; I should be able to trade it in for at least $2,000. I think Blue Book value was $3,000 OR $4,000. So t the least the trade-in would bring it down to about $13,000. I may also get a $750 cash back incentive and I will probably pay cash. In the past Iíve sold my old cars myself, but this time I donít want the hassle or the discomfort of driving around with some stranger OR letting some stranger take off in my car. I know that buying a one or two-year old car is probably a better value, but I don't like the idea of possibly inheriting someone else's problem and since I only buy once every 10 or 14 years, I figure I should get what I want.

I suspect that part of what's driving my flurry of decisions is the fact that I feel so stymied in other aspects of my life right now. I am trying to be a caregiver to my mother, and she just isn't budging on some things right now, frustrating me. My job search...well, nothing happening in that department either. The desired marketing and sale of my house? Another big fat zero, nothing happening.


7 Responses to “Decisions, left and right”

  1. Petunia 100 Says:

    Well, you certainly have been making a lot of decisions! Smile
    I didn't know what a Fiesta looked like, so I just visited Ford's website. They are cute little cars. What color would you choose?

    I didn't chime in on your vacation post, but I think if you really want a vacation, you should take one. But it should be to a place of your choosing, on your time frame, and include things (and people!) you enjoy.

    You have such an awesome frugal mindset. But, you aren't broke. And if you WANT to treat yourself on occasion, you should. A happy life is all about balance.

  2. Looking Forward Says:

    Glad to see your wrist is feeling better - Keep resting it and taking anti-inflammatory meds. Smile
    I say the same as everyone about your vacation. Take one when and where YOU want.

  3. littlegopher Says:

    You always think things through thoroughly, so you'll know you're making the best decisions Smile

    I hate when the big decision situations come fast and furious. For me, if there is not an immediate emergency, I'll wait a week or so, not actively thinking on it, and then revisit the situation. My thoughts and gut at that point are very reliable, and I feel better about the big decisions. (I have a feeling you might work the same way...)

    Getting to the other side of decision is wonderful! Best wishes for a better working computer, a smooth car search and fun and relaxing future travel!!

  4. snafu Says:

    Delighted the swelling in your wrist has subsided and pain is so-o much better. Will you consider a gel wrist band or Ace bandage wrap support while on computer or should you choose to yank logs? Good news that you've reconsidered joining an old friend in his Kennebunkport vacation plan.

    I wish I could persuade you to research the pros & cons of a 2 y/o car since there is so much antidotal evidence of the aggravating problems encountered by owners of new vehicles. Expectations are shattered when the car spends so much time at the dealership while they repeatedly try to identify the source of the problem. It's a major inconvenience to wait for the dealership van/bus service. I suggest you examine the warranty coverage for cars - ours fixes even the tiniest things in the 1st five years. We asked and got the manual which verified all the car/work for that SUV. Leased vehicles can be a 'best'buy' because they have such stringent mileage and maintenance requirements for example.

    My nephew just bought another car and swears by his methodology. He starts by putting financing in place. Step two examines choices by looking at the Lemon-Aid books which identify problem cars. Armed with a list of 'must haves,' he visits dealerships to test drive those he thinks he'll like knowing that's tiring and fraught with frustration and disappointment. Throughout the process he's checking KBB and private sales dealerships within a two hour drive asking their bid price for the year, brand, type, model and features he desires. It's pretty competitive in his market at this time if year so he got a phenomenal deal. I know more about the details because I drove him to pick-up the new car. He found it cost effective to sell his last vehicle privately but it was a high end, desirable, gas guzzler.

  5. snafu Says:

    Sorry, a sentence contracted and flew into cyberspace...
    DN, sent an e-mail to all dealerships within a two hour radius, asking for bids on year, make, model and features which resulted....

  6. dmontngrey Says:

    I chuckled at your concerns over a 14 y.o. Honda. Hubby *just* bought an 18 y.o. Honda with 150+K miles on it. Yeah, it'll need some work - but it's a rather reliable little car. He has no worries on a 30 mile one way commute every day. It does help that the roof is removable... Wink He got a Del Sol.

    Happy to hear the wrist is better!

  7. baselle Says:

    Its funny how life goes along - routine for long stretches then a flurry of decisions. I'm just finishing up on mine and I found it incredibly tiring. Make sure you give yourself an out to re-decide if necessary...especially the last ones you made. Kudos for re-deciding the vacation. Sounded even more stressful and less fun than the daily grind.

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