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by Woozle

Given the decline of Kestracel Weiss, it became necessary to get a replacement. We have long needed a minivan, since we keep having to rent them (at no small expense) in order to have enough room for everyone (up to 5 people and their luggage) on various family trips, so we decided that we would at last do this.

With some family-contributed funds earmarked for the purchase of a minivan from CarMax, we had picked out a couple (both 2008 Toyota Sienna; we were also looking at Honda Odyssey, though they tended to be a bit more expensive) that would have been good, but they both got snarfed up before we could even get a look at them.

Meanwhile, a professional associate-friend of ours whom I shall refer to as D said she'd be happy to sell me her minivan, which was significantly older (2003) than the CarMax vehicles (which are rarely older than 2008) but also a lot cheaper (like, under $3k) and was also a Toyota Sienna.

I said we were interested, but Harena (who was sick at home for several weeks during this time) needed to give it a sniff-test after D took steps to get rid of the cigarette odor (fortunately she hadn't been smoking for very long, so it wasn't bad), and also she planned to get it inspected by a mechanic so she had objective evidence that it was mechanically in good condition.

In the meantime, another minivan (a Honda, which we were a bit more enthusiastic about) materialized at CarMax -- at another location, but close enough that they'd move it for free, so I asked my rep to have it moved so we could look at / test-drive it. He said it might take several weeks, so we were seriously considering buying the D-mobile anyway, if the price was low enough, if only so we wouldn't have to rent a car for the next drive to Asheville on March 2 .

...but then the CarMax vehicle arrived over the weekend, and we went to look at it on Sunday...

...and they couldn't find it.

It turned out they had pulled it for some mechanical issues, and seemed to feel it wasn't going to be available. So we test-drove another minivan they actually had on the lot, a newer Toyota that was kind of more than we wanted to spend on a Toyota. It was ok but didn't wow either of us enough to consider paying that much.

Then, looking on the CarMax web site at home, I found another Honda, also within free-transport range and just barely in our price-range, so I asked our rep to have that one moved -- it was to arrive on Monday, March 4.

And I was, like, ok, then I guess we will definitely get the D-mobile, because we kinda need to get to/from Asheville on March 2, and this will give us time to make sure we're getting the best possible CarMax car.

...but then D found out that her soon-to-be-ex-husband -- who has been playing omfg headgames with her ever since an incident this past December which... is an enraging story unto itself -- did not want her to sell the car, even though:

  • they each had one car, and
  • had agreed she would keep the Sienna and he would keep the other car, and
  • they traded keys so she has both the keys to the Sienna and he has both the keys to his.

There was absolutely no reason for him not to want her to sell it, except to interfere with whatever she decides so as to undermine her autonomy (something he consistently has been doing ever since the aforementioned incident).

She was talking about letting us rent it just for this trip, but I think she'd had second thoughts about that because I wasn't getting an answer from her on price... ...but then I figured out that I could use all the "points" I've accumulated at Enterprise to basically rent a suitable vehicle for free (though the comprehensive insurance will probably bring it up to $20-$40 or so).[1]

The Saturday trip to Asheville was uneventful, and I returned the rental as planned the next morning -- while also checking CarMax for any new vehicles of interest, whereupon I came upon a slightly older but rather more luxurious Odyssey which had the dual advantages of being (a) slightly cheaper and (b) available now.

I texted my sales rep to make an appointment that afternoon; we went and looked at it, felt it would do nicely (not to mention being a bit wowed by the shiny aspects of it, even though we might not ever use some of them -- e.g. the DVD player with a rear-seat screen)... and, to make a long afternoon of paperwork short, that vehicle is now Daisy.


  1. As it turned out, somehow my paying with points could not be accessed when I went to pick up the car, but the total price was still only $70 or so. If I had the energy, I'd try to follow up with Enterprise and find out WTF that was about, but I don't.