It took me several weeks to decide, largely because I spent the first few weeks sulking. I didn't want a new car. I wanted my Integra, dammit. Nothing on the market had everything I wanted: A nice looking sporty hatchback with good gas mileage, a moon roof, and leather seats. My Integra delivered that, and I was quite happy with it. Everything else wanted me to compromise, and I wasn't any too pleased about that. I was cranky enough that when someone handed me the keys to a brand-spanking-new STi I didn't even want to drive it.
(To be fair, that was barely 48 hours after the accident, and I hadn't driven since then. So my hesitation wasn't completely from crankiness. Most of it really was, though.)
I looked at the Mazda 5, which gave me good mileage and a hatchback. It was a good, practical option, and I hated the shifter. Shifting up or down, it was uncomfortable. Color me not interested.
I looked at the Civic Si -- arguably the closest car to my poor old Integra. The problem was that because of the earthquake/tsunami, the car was more rare than a four-leaf clover. I found one in orange (blech) and one in a smoke grey. I test drove it, and it was lovely. Drove exactly the way I expected, smooth and zippy. After bouncing around between several decidedly non-sporty cars, driving it was heaven. I thought I had my car... maybe. It wasn't exactly what I wanted. I was after a hatchback or a 4-door (preferably both). I would miss my nice leather seats and my moon roof, because the Civic had neither, and there was no chance of getting them added as an option. And under no circumstances did I want a grey car. I call grey cars "road-colored", and think they blend into the road, making it easy for idiots to not see them. I've had my fill of idiots not seeing my car, thankyouverymuch, so I wasn't any too eager about the color. Oh yeah, and I think the current Civic designs are butt-ugly. Having one in my garage would certainly be a step down from my lovely, graceful Integra. But given the situation, if I wanted an Si, that would have to be the car.
I took a test drive in a WRX, but honestly, the dealer put me off and then terrified me. He was really weird about letting me drive it -- he insisted on driving to a spot several blocks away before turning it over to me, and then only did so after driving, in my opinion, like a complete idiot. I think he was using me as an excuse to have a fling with the car. He was trying to show me how fast the car is. All he showed me was my life flashing before my eyes. And yeah, I did mention to him that I'd just been in a car accident just a couple of weeks before. I did not have a fun time enjoying the sportiness of the car. I thought I was going to die. When he finally did let me drive, I drove like a granny.
I was about to accept the drawbacks and go with the Civic. But a friend of mine -- a fellow gearhead who owns a couple of Porsches -- insisted that I go to a different dealership and take another drive. I've been joking for a while now that I've hit mid-life crisis so I should go out and buy a silly sports car. My friend mocked me that my silly sports car was going to be a Civic. I've been drooling over the WRX for eight years now, so I caved and visited the dealership near me.
And this is where destiny stepped in.
When I visit car dealerships I like to wander through the lot first, so I can see what's out there, and gather information. I've found some dealers show the car they want to sell, rather than the car you state you want to buy. So I was out there in the lot when my car rolled off the truck. No kidding, I watched it as it backed off the truck and parked in the lot. Shiny and blue, with that distinctive Subaru purr. I said, "Ooh, that one's shiny!"
I wasn't sold right then, not quite. What sold me was when the dealer pointed out that it wasn't just a regular WRX, it's a Premium.
"What's the difference?" I asked.
"It has a moonroof and a leather interior. A couple of other things too."
I lost all negotiating power right then and there. The dealer sort of noticed the drool falling like a river from my mouth.
And so I have my sporty four-door hatchback with my leather interior and moonroof. Subarus in the past couple of years have somehow managed not to be completely ugly, and I think this one is actually kind of cute. I look at it and think "it's hard not to love this car." The gas mileage isn't great, but then few cars these days outside the hybrids have what I got with my Integra, and the Civic Si wasn't that much better. My dad laughs at the color, and jokes that there's no way I can lose it in a parking lot. I can't really be stealthy when I drive up to their house either; the cat-back exhaust is standard on the Premium models. It sounds gorgeous, but it certainly doesn't sound quiet!
So, enough about the car, and on to the other purries. After the accident I had three days to feel all lost and alone, and then the kittens arrived.
They're sisters. They were taken in by a local rescue group after a shelter couldn't care for them. The couple who raised them did an excellent job. They are happy, friendly kitties. I've had no behavioral issues, and they have been remarkably cooperative about my rules of where to climb and where not to climb. They're about six and a half months old now, so they don't look like kittens so much any more. They love to romp and play.
Their names were originally Alexi and Willow, though Willow I now call Anko, because she is. (That's a Kamen Rider OOO reference.) Alexi I call a lot of different things. She's black and whit, so my mother calls her the Oreo kitty, which amuses me. She's gregarious. We joke that she's the popular kid at school, the one who always has to be the center of attention. The gentleman who raised them says she's got an agenda, and he's not kidding; she's not apt to take no for an answer. Play a game with her sister and she'll jump into the middle. Pet her sister and she'll be right there. It drives her sister crazy. Despite being such an attention hog, she's incredibly devoted to her sister. If I put Anko in another room for a time out, Alexi will sit patiently outside the door until I let her sister out. She's incredibly affectionate, and loves to be picked up and petted.
Her sister is kind of the opposite. Her way of dealing with such a forceful sister is to pretend that she doesn't care. Her sister horns in on her toy? Humph. Wasn't interested in it anyway. Her sister hijacks the pets? Don't care, I was only doing it to humor the human anyway. She's like the quite, geeky sister who thinks everyone's in love with her sister and only pays attention to her to get to the popular one. She never notices that she's the prettier one, and that her sister has to be more outgoing to get anyone to pay any attention to her at all. Anko's a gorgeous smoke, with a grey undercoat peaking out from under a lovely chocolate brown top coat. She loves her mousies. They're the only toy that she'll fight her sister for. She pounces on them and flings they around. The only time she acts particularly kittenish is when she's on her own, playing on her own with a mousie. She doesn't much care for being petted (though she purrs when I do it), and isn't happy about being picked up (though she'll purr for a few seconds before struggling to get down. (What can I say, she's a conflicted soul.) Her standoffishness makes it all the sweeter when she settles down next to me, or gives me a little kitty kiss. She's affectionate in her own gothish way.
So now I'm surrounded by things that purr. It's very calming.