Subie Appreciation Post

We love our new 2013 Subaru Forester.  I mean, we super duper love it.

I can’t believe how long we lasted without a hauler.  I love our Taurus, but it was never meant to haul big stuff.  I cringed every time I drove from store to home with a new purchase sticking 5 feet out the back.  The Taurus moved me twice, and I’m sure at least 10% of its 85k miles are from carrying my belongings piecemeal style, box by box, over the course of several weeks to the new place.

In short, welcoming the Subie into our family has completely changed our lives.  In appreciation, I give you:

THINGS THE SUBIE HAS HAULED

This awkwardly huge IKEA desk top:

Ikea

Our new toilet:

Toilet

All of these yard supplies:

Yard

Me (in the backseat, for a 6 hour road trip):

NewCar_1

Three arborvitaes:

SaturdayYard_Arborvitaes

“Hazardous” household materials:

HazMat

Tons of yard supplies:

SaturdayYard_Supplies

Our new IKEA bookshelf:

subaru_IKEAbookshelf

A load of things for charity:

subary_charity

And our long-awaited television!

newTV

Thank you, Subaru, for making an SUV that I:

1) completely love

2) can use to haul big things without actually having to drive a humongous car

3) don’t feel like a stereotypical asshole SUV driver in

<3

Best Couch for Our Budget: IKEA’s Karlstad

We bought a couch!!

What? Yeah, I am surprised too. :D  Our new Karlstad from IKEA is our first furniture purchase since buying our home two and a half years ago(!!!).

On break during work, Jim and I walk through Bellevue Square which has no shortage of extremely expensive couches on display. I’m talking $7500-$12000. Seriously, who spends that on a couch? That’s car territory.

But this got us talking about how we’d love a larger couch: one we can both stretch out on, and one that can accommodate a third person so we aren’t stuffed like sardines when Dad comes to visit.

So we went couch-hunting at My Home and a few other neighborhood stores. All of these stores wanted a lot of money for their couches, like $3000-$5000. I suppose I could *theoretically* spend that much on a couch, but I don’t want to. A couch isn’t worth that kind of money to me. My last one was $700 and it’s great, just too small.

Alas, this is when we realized that Jim and I like very different things in a couch. He wants something to sit on, something with support. I want a mushy bed to melt into. And we both dislike spending more than a thousand or so bucks on this. Realizing this, we shelved the idea again for a couple months.

Then we ended up at IKEA to return an unneeded desk leg.

We sat on some couches. We sat on Karlstad. It happened.

newCouch_2

Couch nirvana.

Jim loves it. I love it.

We both love its price.

$900 for the whole thing? What? How is this possible, IKEA? Don’t you know stores 10 miles north in Bellevue want $7000 for an uncomfortable couch half this size? And that’s about when I realized that Young House Love has the exact same couch and raves about it regularly. SOLD!

Karlstad didn’t fit in the Subie so it’ll be delivered Saturday, plus we bought assembly for $39. I’ve never bought assembly of anything before (I even build my own computers!) but $39 seemed like a bargain when weighed against the misery of spending Saturday putting a couch together.

We bought a bookshelf to put together instead.

subieBookshelf

December 2013 update: We still adore our Karl couch!  The cushions have stayed firm and crisp, and the cushion covers still fit tightly.  If I have any complaint at all about our Karl couch, it’s that we both seem to spend more time on the couch now that we can both lay on it at the same time!

Happy Birthday, Taurus! (Sentimentality about an old car)

The Taurus has been my much-beloved car for ten years now. Happy birthday, Taurus. :)

Some fond memories and stats:

  • First song ever played in the Taurus: Trent Reznor’s version of Supernaut
  • CDs burned for use in the Taurus: like, at least a hundred or so, all of which are in the car’s storage console
  • My first solo driving trip was in the Taurus: I was 19, and I drove it home from the Ford Dealer in Roselle, IL
  • The Taurus has traveled to: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan (where Jim proposed!), Washington state, Oregon, Vancouver B.C.
  • The Taurus was once shipped cross-country on one of those giant car-carrying trucks. I don’t know what adventures it had, but it arrived absolutely caked with bugs.
  • Driving home from ILIAS in a crazy blizzard
  • Driving home from Jim’s house in a crazy blizzard
  • This car took me to my first job, my second job, and my third job

This car and I have done a lot. I tend to think of it as a tank, rugged and strong, able to clear parking blocks, curbs, and piles of snow. I loves it and it’ll have to be pried from my fingers when it’s no longer roadworthy.

After much (MUCH) careful debate over the course of about four years, we bought the Subie to offset the risk of relying on aging car in a 1-car family. Part of the reason this took so long is because WHAT CAR COULD POSSIBLY REPLACE MY BABY?!?! The 2013 Forester came the closest of everything we’ve test driven over the years, so that’s what we got!

Here they are, my darling car children. :)

 

GrantFleet

But this 10 year anniversary brings up some important questions in my mind.

  1. How much longer will the Taurus remain reliable? The Taurus has been completely solid, aside from a failed cylinder last year (a fun $1200 repair). 85k miles was about when Jim’s 1999 Ford Escort started having serious problems to the tune of $1000+ every other month for repairs and new parts.
  2. Do we really need two cars? We work at the same company (and even when we didn’t, we found a way to make the commute work even though it meant I ate dinner at the office) and we do our errands together. In the three months that we’ve had two cars, we’ve had just one day where having two cars was very helpful. It’s about $1000 a year to insure the Taurus, and that’s probably worth it, but is it worth the cost of replacing the Taurus?
  3. What would we replace the Taurus with? We love the practicality of the Subaru, but do we need another practical car? Or can I get a flashy sports car instead? :D

My favorite aspect of the Taurus when compared with the Subie is its power. It feels heavy, tank-like, and sturdy. The Subie is bouncier, more upright, and more agile. These are good traits. But sometimes it’s fun to just VRROOOOM, y’know?

We took a quick “just looking” trip to the Ford dealer today, just to, you know, look. Because I like to look for about 5 years before I actually make a decision. My favorite thing to look at was this blue Mustang:

Mustang

I didn’t test drive it (because therein lies the path to damnation and a more crowded driveway), but it sure was fun to sit in. And at $18k / 30k miles it’s a pretty sweet deal. But is it too silly to get a fast, fun car instead of another practical car?

My dad, who just got a convertible Mustang of his own, advises me to buy myself nice things while I’m still young. He played it safe his whole life, just like me, stashing away savings and buying few luxuries. So I don’t know yet what we’ll do. Fortunately, the Taurus is in fine shape (knock on wood) and should last the many years it takes me to make a decision.

Meet Subie! How We Chose the Subaru Forester as our Next Car

We finally did it: we added a second car to our family! Welcome, Subie! It’s a 2013 Subaru Forester and we SUPER LOOOOOOVE IT!!!

NewCar_0

Ever since Jim’s ’99 Ford Escort croaked mid-WA-move, we’ve been sharing my 2002 Ford Taurus.

We did this for four and a half years and it went pretty well, but that was because we worked at the same office and that office was just four miles from home. After buying the house and after Jim accepted a job 10 miles from home in a different direction than the office where I still worked, we started to feel the need for a second car. (Also: Bah at America’s stubborn reliance on personal vehicles!)

Our Next Car Needs

If we were going to add a car to our fleet, we wanted all of the following:

  • All wheel drive for our neighborhood’s hilly terrain in the winter. Getting trapped on our hill in winter snowstorms sucks… and I don’t even want to think about what being trapped at the bottom might be like.
  • Hatchback for upgraded hauling capacity. The bigger the better.
  • A second car for times when we need to be in two places at once
  • A newer car, quite simply, because our beloved Taurus is now 11 years/85k miles old

We were pretty sure we wanted a Subaru, after a decade+ of admiring other Subies on the roads. We also needed a car that Jim (6’3”) and I (5’8”) both fit comfortably into, and a good number of hatchbacks failed at meeting that basic requirement. We liked Subaru for its AWD, general driving experience of their vehicles, brand reputation, vehicle comfort, and dealership’s presence in our neighborhood. We also figured that since every other car here in the PNW is a Subaru, it’d be hard to go wrong.

Test Driving & Lot Shopping

Over the course of six months (seriously, we are that slow!) we visited the dealership five times to test drive and browse inventory. We’re definitely reluctant spenders, so purchasing a new vehicle, even one we felt the need for, was something we wanted to consider over a long period of time. (We also both went into this expecting to buy a pre-owned vehicle, but used Subarus seem to go for as much as new ones.)

I have to give a shoutout to the guys at Eastside Subaru here in Kirkland, WA.  Not only did they put up with us dropping by the lot many (many) times to sit in cars, look at cars, and test drive cars, they did it with grace and friendliness.  No hard sells.  No nagging.  No asshole jokes like “when are you guys going to quit teasing us and buy a car already?!”.

This is why we kept coming back and this is why we bought Forester car here.  (And this is why we never went back to the Honda dealer.)

Test Driving the Forester

In January, a friend offered to take us along with her on a Saturday ski outing. We rode in her 2012 Forester and absolutely loved it. She probably thought we were nuts gushing about her car for an hour.

Then, a few weeks later, Subaru announced a 0% financing event. We took this as a sign and headed on over to the dealership to test drive a Forester.  We loved the Forester.

It met all our criteria, and the lot had two cars with all our desired features: back up camera, cloth interior in the dark color, tinted back windows, all weather package, silver exterior.

Outback vs. Forester

We’ve loved the Outback for years. I was certain that we’d bring home an Outback when the day came. We even referred to it, long before we even got serious about a second car. “When we get an Outback…”

We ruled out the Impreza as being too small for us, but we were wrong to overlook the Forester.

  • We had perceived the Forester to be larger than the Outback (it’s not, it’s actually narrower and shorter).
  • We has also read that the ride isn’t as nice as the Outback’s (we can’t tell the difference).

Debating whether to get an Outback or a Forester was a main topic of discussion for a long time.  The two cars are pretty interchangeable, but this is what made is choose a Forester:

  • The Forester is narrower and shorter, which made it fit better in our garage 
  • The Forester is a couple thousand dollars less
  • The Forester feels perkier, more “upright”, and a bit more nimble (to us – your mileage may vary)
  • I was going to be craving major Bloomin’ Onions if we had an Outback in the garage (as it happens, the Forester’s first trip ever was that night to Outback Steakhouse)

Purchasing

The 0% financing sealed the deal.  We went into car buying with no intention of leasing (we intended to buy it outright), but at 0% you’d be crazy to spend all $30k right now instead of slowly, over time, letting your money earn interest in an investment.

We did, however, use a chunk of the money we’d been saving for years towards a new car as a down payment to lower the monthly payment.  I hate monthly payments, even when they’re good deals like this one.  We drove our new Subaru off the lot an hour later.

The car has been nothing short of fantastic, unlocking all sorts of new capabilities like hauling large purchases and letting us drive places we couldn’t before. I feel good about it not just because we like the car so much, but because we researched it exhaustively and saved for years in preparation for it.

So, in short, yay!

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