Ode to a Toyota Corolla and Birthday Thoughts

I bought a new car last week.  And turned 45 today (4. 5.  How did that happen?  50 suddenly doesn’t seem so old).  First, and most importantly, let’s talk about the car.  Brand spankin’ new.  New car smell.  2017 Toyota Rav 4 Limited.  Though the process wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t fun, either.  I was reminded why I only do this every once every twelve years.

Yes, you read that correctly:  I last purchased a car in 2005.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  We bought a new-to-him truck for my husband a few years ago.  But, that’s his primary vehicle.  Mine remained the 2005 Toyota Corolla.

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One would think that replacing the Corolla would be easy.  After all, the Rav 4 has leather-esque seats (whatever they’re made of these days), which are heated.  A moon roof (which I just discovered today actually opens.  I’m not sure why that didn’t occur to me sooner).  Built in navigation (good-bye Googlemaps through the Iphone).  All wheel drive (whoo-hoo, I’ll now be able to get out of the driveway if it snows!).

And, yet, as I drove the Corolla to the dealership for the very last time I found myself crying a bit (there may have been a sob or two).  A person can’t have a car for twelve years and not get attached.  The Corolla was a great little car.  I met her before I met my husband.  She was my first brand new car.  I first kissed my now-husband leaning up against that car.  And how many people can say that they’ve owned a car that’s been snuzzled by a buffalo?  True story!

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There is an animal reserve called the Olympic Game Park up in Sequim.  Bears wave at you as you drive through.  Fact.  Some are retired movie stars and have been taught all of the tricks.  Wait, allow me to back up:  when you enter the preserve you sign a release.  Blah-blah-blah they’re not responsible for any damage done to your vehicle.  Who actually expects anything to happen?  Release signed, we bought a bag of bread to feed the masses and drove in.  The animals you would naturally regard as potentially destructive…the bears, the cats…are kept in caged areas.  The llamas, elk, buffalo and a myriad of other beasts roam freely.  And, because they’re fed a steady diet of bread by tourists they are giant mooches.  Some are so bold as to stick their heads in the car window.

We were just about out of the park when we stopped due to a large buffalo standing in the middle of the road.  We looked at him.  He looked and us…and started heading our direction.  Buffalo are big and we weren’t quite sure what to do.  He stepped up to the car, put his head down, and gently snuzzled the driver’s side front panel.  Awwwwww…so sweet.  Then he stepped away.  We drove out of the park and paused to assess the buffalo snuzzle.  Dinner plate sized dent.  It’s like one of those State Farm commercials.

The husband took too long getting home from work. I felt compelled to start the party without him.

Anyways, you get the idea.  The Corolla took us on too many hikes, road trips and adventures to count.  Was she a bit worn?  Yes.  Could she even compare with the bells and whistles of the Rav 4?  No.  Did I love her?  With all my heart.  So, despite my excitement about the new car, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to honor the good, old Corolla. I love you, little red Corolla. Thanks for many, many good years.

Considering that I picked up the new car last Thursday one could assume that was my birthday gift.  Actually, the husband suggested that it was my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s and anniversary gift…for the next few years.  I’m ignoring that suggestion.  The timing just happened to be good.

So.  45.  What do I think about 45?  Well, I don’t feel 45. I’m not having a big party (but wait until 50!).  The husband took me to a waterfront casino for an overnight stay last weekend (first road trip with the new car!!) and we went out to a nice dinner and generally had a great time.  Today I got off work early because why would I work all day on my birthday?  I went out to lunch then went for a swim.  This evening I made my own birthday dinner and dessert.

Whuh?!

You read correctly.  Here’s the thing:  I’m an excellent cook.  Scratch that: I’m a kick-ass cook. What I really wanted for my bday dinner was homemade Beecher’s mac-n-cheese, green beans, rolls, the Pioneer woman’s chocolate pie and a bottle of sparkly.  Why would I go out if I can eat that good at home?

So, we’ve enjoyed a casual evening at home.  Not a bad gig.

I think what I said on Instagram this morning pretty much sums up how I feel about beginning my 45th year:  “On my 45th (holy crap) year on this earth I’d love to promise grandiose things (I’m going to run a marathon! I’m going to hike the PCT!), but let’s be realistic. Instead, I promise to continue hiking great trails with my best friend, traveling to beautiful places (also with my best friend), drinking fabulous wine, all with a camera in my hand (unless I’m too tipsy, at which point I’ll set the camera down).  Here’s to 45 more!”

6 thoughts on “Ode to a Toyota Corolla and Birthday Thoughts

  1. Happy birthday!! Happy new car. RIP Corolla. I cried when the Volkswagen van was towed away in 198somethingorother. I will sob when the 1998 CRV is replaced. In fact, I’m thinking I’ll keep her for a while. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Gretchen. It’s amazing how attached we get. Though I must admit, the new SUV was reeeaaally nice driving home in the torrential downpour yesterday evening.

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  2. I enjoyed your post. I’m 62 and I have a childhood friend named Sam with a Nov 14th Birthday who I never talk to. But each year we remember and text an incoherent happy birthday message to each other and it means a lot every time. He has (or had) a red Corolla too, so I finally decided I pass this coincidental info along to you. Happy Belated Birthday and enjoy your beautiful new car!

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