How Downsizing my Life led to a Unique Experience Buying a Car

If you read my post about Downsizing, cows, a one-sided shootout, and The Wedding, you’d know that I moved and am renovating a smaller abused house on a much smaller piece of property.  In fact, I’m sitting at my desk in that house writing this post without the HVAC system on, and that’s with the outside temperature at 93 degrees Fahrenheit but a stuffy 81 degrees inside. That’s something I couldn’t have done before I had all the rattling, single pane aluminum framed windows replaced with double paned Melgaard windows, installed two solar powered attic fans on the roof and had the insulation blown into the attic. The idea of paying a huge monthly electric bill for a cooler, more comfortable temperature causes me to lose sleep at night, and to experience what the heat would have been like before the new windows and much needed attic insulation, all I have to do is walk to the garage where it is a blistering inferno that sucks your eyeballs dry and shrivels them.

The wedding is over now and the newlyweds are off on their honeymoon, but the former abused house in serious need of renovation is still there with lots of work left to do.

In fact, after our daughter’s wedding, I worked the next day installing an aromatic cedar floor for the closet in the master bedroom—the bedroom I’m not sleeping in at night, because it is the room currently under renovation. First, I removed the carpet and padding and then, after cleaning the filthy subfloor—it’s amazing what lurks under a carpet—I installed solid tongue and groove hardwood floor.

The challenge has been buying and transporting material to the house for the renovation work, because my car was a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and it was not designed to carry doors, lots of lumber and bags full of heavy concrete, etc.

Enter the 2016 Toyota RAV 4 that I leased about a week ago and have already used for a much needed replacement door for the house under renovation. The RAV 4 comes with a huge cargo area and a roof rack that can support up to 165 pounds of cargo.

I  didn’t start out looking at the RAV 4. I looked at a Subaru Outback first and then a Honda CRV. I was leaning toward the Honda when my Camry’s next service came due, and I took it to the nearest Toyota dealer in Antioch. While there I asked a gaggle of salesman if anyone would help me link my new mobile phone to the Camry, and David Meany stepped forward and patiently helped me link my phone to the Camry’s Bluetooth. Does anyone know why that system is called a Bluetooth—weird?

Anyway, I drove home and continued my search for a replacement car, and when it came time to finally do the deed, I returned to the Toyota dealer in Antioch and asked for David, because he helped with the Bluetooth. To make a long story short, instead of buying the RAV 4, I leased it for three years, because the payments were about half, and I used my paid-for Camry as the down payment.

I do not listen to the radio when I’m driving. I listen to book tapes and this RAV 4 did not come with a built in CD player. The Camry had one that held six disks. David said I could transfer my audio books from CD to a USB thumb drive and play off the thumb drive to listen to the books.  Okay.  After the deal was done, I drove the Hot Lava colored RAV home and sat down to see how you transfer a CD audio book to a USB thumb drive. It didn’t go well and out of frustration I called the Toyota dealer and said I wanted to turn the car in and lease one that had a CD player.

David offered to drive to my house after he was off work at the Toyota dealership and show me step-by-step on my desktop how to transfer an audio file from a CD to a thumb drive. He arrived about 6 PM and was still there after 8 PM as he took me through the steps.

Now I drive around in the new RAV listening to book tapes using a thumb drive. Tell me, has customer service changed that much in the last 11 years since I bought that Camry Hybrid back in 2006. I bought my first car when I was 15 and that was more than 55 years ago. Since that 1954 used Buick Century with the bench seats in 1960, I’ve bought and leased a lot of cars and probably driven more than a million miles and never has a salesman offered that level of assistance before.

Is David Meany unique or has the business of selling cars changed that much? David Meany is also the bassist with The Midnight Brothers. Watch the video and tell me if you can spot David, who sold me the RAV 4. Hint, he’s dressed in black.

The Midnight Brothers performing at the 2015 Walnut Creek Festival


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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6 responses to “How Downsizing my Life led to a Unique Experience Buying a Car”

  1. What an uplifting post, Lloyd! You’re on the go, being aware, constantly learning and finding out more and more every day. As you say, asking lots of questions makes a big difference. The answers to most (but not all) are at the touch of a finger (IF one has computer access).

    Sounds good with the new downsized dwelling.

    But I’ll ask, is it cost effective to lease a newer car to renovate a new decision to downsize? Now you have a monthly lease fee for a vehicle to aid the downsize rather than higher electric for AC (not to mention all the solar stuff and insulation).

    Musicians have that special talent (that is not always recognized) to grasp their interests and put it through a different language (music=universal). If they cross genres (which we all have to now with technology at the forefront), they can reach so many. You know that.

    For instance, have you translated (at the touch of a finger) your books and distributed (including your blogs) to all those who would be interested?

    David Meany uniqueness comes from his willingness to share.

    For goodness sakes – he drove to your house!

    I think that’s because he was willing to connect with you more than just lease you a car. A teacher – much like you. A “sharer” – much like you.

    Thank you, Lloyd, for continuing to point out truth and value in your own unique, special way.

    1. You’re welcome. Regarding the RAV 4. The Camry was 11 years old and parts were starting to wear out. The car only had 50,000 miles on it but the water pump had already been replaced recently to the tune of $500. No telling what was next. Planned obsolescence is not only linked to mileage but years. Originally I wanted to hold out for another couple of years, and then I changed my mind.

      And I had the money to afford the lease for the RAV 4 and felt the added cargo space would come in handy. The cost of the lease will slow up the renovations for the house but time is in no rush. All I have to do is live long enough to finish the job. This morning a friend helped me replace an old door for a new one. One more door replacement to go along with lots of other stuff.

      How do I translate my books at the touch of a finger? Do you mean translating into other languages?

      1. Sounds logical to me (your rationale for your decisions explained).

        It always helps if you have the money for things you desire are important (the money comes in handy, eh?).

        It may take a few (or several) touches of your finger:

        But it’s very possible if desired.

        Live long – and prosper!

  2. Wow. David sound like an exceptional sales person!

  3. I didn’t know it was so hot up there. And your experience is very unusual – when I bought my Prius they couldn’t even show me how to drive it because they didn’t know themselves. Oh well, probably a result of where I live. But you do restore my faith in people. Thanks for sharing. Wish I had all those skills to lay a floor, put in fans, etc. Quite an impressive project!

    1. To learn how to do all that stuff, you have to be willing to ask lots of questions and make mistakes. I also learn from You Tube videos. It is amazing how many videos offer help in doing just about everything. Last week I watched several You Tube videos on how to install a bi-fold door.

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