If you haven't read yesterday's entry yet, let me summarize: the car is dead. On the way to work on Monday, it overheated. That afternoon, when I tried to turn on the car so I could drive it to the repair shop, it wouldn't even turn over. The alternator/generator light was on and the oil light was an angry red. It was done for. Kaput.

Ricky at Eddie's Evergreen had assured me that someone would look at the car Monday night, and would get back to me with a status of what was wrong with the car and how much it would cost to fix it. For some reason, I had a gnawing feeling that this was going to be yet another debacle... where the car would be in the shop for weeks and that even if the repairs went well, that the car was going to become a regular customer at Eddie's.

So, when I got home Monday afternoon, I started calling around to car dealerships to see what sort of financing I could get on a new car. The numbers looked good, so I knew that if the Civic was destined to be a problem child, we had options. Monday night came and I called Ricky. His response was that he was busy and wouldn't have a chance to look at it until Tuesday morning. I made a decision that if I didn't hear from Ricky by noon, that I would hit the car dealership on the way home.

Tuesday. Noon. No call from Ricky. A call to the service station gets me the following response from the maintainance desk: "We're swamped, but we'll get to it this afternoon" Ok. Does Avery smell the bullshit here? They sold me the car less than a month ago and now they're balking on fixing the car which is still under warranty? Something was seriously wrong with both the car and the people at Eddie's who sold it to me. No more negotiation... time to get a new car.

I had been researching cars on the internet, and decided to look at a Kia Sephia. The Sephia is a Korean interpretation of the Honda Civic, but with a larger engine, better warranty and a lower price tag... almost $4000 less than a similarly-equipped Civic (power steering, AC, automatic transmission, extended warranty, etc). The local Kia dealer was less than 10 miles from my office, so I called Joe, the salesman at Crowley Auto and made a 4:30 appointment.

3:30pm: Called Ricky, he said that he was busy and that he would call me back in five minutes.

3:55pm: Called Ricky again, asked why he didn't call me back. He informs me that Mike is working on the car and will have some information for me soon.

4:00pm: I'm in the car and on my way to Crowley. Enough is enough.

I arrived at the dealership on time, and Joe (the salesman) immediately had me in the driver seat of a Garnet Red 1999 Sephia. It felt just like the Civic, except for the fact that this car had its tires aligned and didn't smell like burning anti-freeze. A 5 mile test drive later, and I decided that I could see myself driving this car. For the heck of it, I also test drove the Kia Sportage, their entry level SUV, but the gas mileage and handling weren't what I was looking for.

5:30pm: While the paperwork was being processed, and I was on the way home to pick up Janet so she could test drive the car. But first, I needed to make one quick stop.

6:00pm: I arrive at Eddie's so I can get the registration and front plate off of the Civic. I pull in, expecting to see the car in one of the service bays. It isn't. It's still sitting where the tow truck had left it at 2pm on Monday. Fuming, I get the paperwork and spare plate out of the glove compartment (which is still sitting on the passenger side floor) and ask for Mike. Mike tells me that he's been busy and will get to it Wednesday morning.

7:00pm: Janet and I are back at Crowley, and Janet gets behind the wheel. No problems (though she has a little concern with the acceleration from a full stop when the A/C is on), and we tell Joe to finalize the credit application.

7:40pm: We're at the desk of Barry Savage, the credit officer to sign our life away and get our temporary registration.

8:00pm: With the paperwork complete, Joe takes us to see our brand new car... a 1999 Sport Blue/Grey Kia Sephia.

17 miles later, I'm pulling into the driveway, smiling. It was the right choice for the right price, and I couldn't be happier.